The state of Minnesota alone is home to more than 10,000 lakes, but each corner of the United States has nationally—and sometimes internationally—renowned lake towns.

That a city is known as a lake town can be more significant than its proximity to landlocked bodies of water ideal for recreation. The lakes are often the historical breeding grounds of the nation's first industries, as well as early transportation and shipping hubs. As these lakeside communities grew into the 20th century, they became industrialized and modernized, springing up lively downtowns, diverse shopping districts, big business, new digs for artists and architects, strong primary schools, and top-notch higher education and research facilities.

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