Legendarily remote and pristine, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is one of the world's premier paddling regions. More than 1000 lakes and streams speckle the piney, 1.1-million-acre expanse. Nature lovers make the pilgrimage for the 1500 miles of canoe routes, rich wildlife and sweeping solitude. If you're willing to dig in and canoe for a while, it'll just be you and the moose, bears, wolves and loons that roam the landscape.
It's possible to glide in just for the day, but most people opt for at least one night of camping. Experienced paddlers flock here, but beginners are welcome, too, and everyone can get set up with gear from local lodges and outfitters. The engaging town of Ely, northeast of the Iron Range area, is the best place to start, as it has scores of accommodations, restaurants and outfitters.