Best Towns

Portland, Oregon

Population: 510,000Annual Household Income: $31,260Median Home Price: $160,000Climate Perception: constant drizzle.Reality: frequent drizzle....

Santa Cruz, California

Population: 54,600Annual Household Income: $51,500Median Home Price: $325,000Climate: Every day's a beach--only the thickness of your wetsuit changes....

St. Martin/Sint Maarten

Population: 72,000Annual Household Income: $36,000Median Home Price: $350,000Climate: Out-of-nowhere cloud bursts refresh sun-soaked islanders....

Boulder, Colorado

Population: 95,600Annual Household Income: $44,500Median Home Price: $280,000Climate: Rocky Mountain highs of 88 in July and 45 in January....

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Population: 114,000Annual Household Income: $40,000Median Home Price: $160,000Climate: Spring and fall more than make up for the extreme seasons....

Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Population: 2,000Annual Household Income: $42,000Median Home Price: $200,000Climate: Not as hot as the local surfers....

Franconia, New Hampshire

Population: 900Annual Household Income: $37,600Median Home Price: $131,500Climate: Typical New England, with an extra dose of mountain shade....

Charlottesville, Virginia

Population: 40,000Annual Household Income: $29,800Median Home Price: $160,000Climate: Good thing summer (sticky, sticky, sticky) just lasts three months....

Homer, Alaska

Population: 4,100Annual Household Income: $30,000Median Home Price: $109,000Climate: Cold. Get over it....

Portland, Maine

Population: 140,000Annual Household Income: $38,000Median Home Price: $150,000Climate: Foggy on land, windy on the water....

Silver City, New Mexico

THERE ARE PLENTY OF 19th-century ghost towns in the untamed mountains and canyons of southwestern New Mexico, but Silver City isn't one of them. It's still thriving. Billy the Kid launched his...

Cedar Key, Florida

"AN IDEAL PLACE," a visitor noted nearly 40 years ago, to "live in shorts, go to seed, and rock away warm afternoons on shadowy porches." Little has changed since then, or since Cedar Key's...

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