Best Towns 2010: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Runner Up: Best for Surfing (West)
Kona (pop. 30,889) might be better known as the site of the Ironman World Championships, but the surfing is so good that it used to be reserved for island royalty. Newbies will find gentler breaks at Pine Trees, while hard-chargers will prefer the bigger barrels at neighboring Lymans and Banyans. But here’s the clincher: Housing prices are less than half what you’ll find on Oahu’s famed North Shore.