We live in a resort. Some days I have to remind myself that I won the Lotto by moving to Minnesota. In spite of harsh winters, taxes and perpetual road construction there really is something to that old "quality of life" adage. The Northland is a special place to live and raise families. We like it here for good reason.

But according to The Family Destinations Guide only one Minnesota town cracked the Top 100 List of US towns: Grand Marais. For the record 3 other Minnesota towns received an honorable mention, landing in the Top 175 Towns, including Lanesboro (#132), Nisswa (#154) and New Ulm (#164).

Is this list subjective? Absolutely. The metrics used for these rankings came from 3,000 families around the United States desiring affordable vacations.

Minnesota Now logo
Get our free mobile app
Credit: visitcookcounty.com
Credit: visitcookcounty.com
loading...

Odds are you've already spent some time in Cook County (we've been skiing at Lutsen since our kids were little) and unless you're living in a cave you realize how special the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is, not only to local residents, but visitors worldwide.

According to visitcookcounty.com: "The BWCAW is made up of over 1,000,000-acres of some of the most breathtaking backcountry you can imagine. It is a pristine example of the boreal forest, a sanctuary for wilderness creatures and those humans among us who aren’t afraid to let a mosquito or two get in the way of our play time. This wilderness area is unique and wonderful in so many ways, but the truly outstanding part about the BWCAW is that there is over 1200 miles of canoe routes. It’s a paddler’s playground." Yep. Put the phone down and just do the J-stroke, Paul. Best anxiety medicine on the planet.

Cook County Chamber of Commerce
Cook County Chamber of Commerce
loading...

In fact, spending time on the Gunflint Trail and doing portages in the BWCA is one of my family's favorite memories of exploring the Minnesota Arrowhead, a true adventure in our backyard. And while you're in Grand Marais be sure to stop and sample a "skizzle" at World's Best Donuts, which has been voted one of the best donut joints in the entire nation.

Plenty of good reasons to take consistent drives up Highway 61!

LOOK: Highest-rated Free Things to do in Minnesota, According to Tripadvisor

Stacker compiled a list of the highest rated free things to do in Minnesota from Tripadvisor.

More From Minnesota Now