COVER STORY Hideouts and Secret Destinations Paddle an endless maze of lakes in Ely, Minnesota. Hang 10 in Mal Pais, Costa Rica. Commune with grizzlies near the glaciers of Girdwood, Alaska. Those are just 3 of our 25 perfect hideouts – all you have to do is pack up, turn off the cell phone, and get out of town.
ELY, MINNESOTA You may feel out of place in Ely if you don’t have a 16-foot, scratched-to-to-hell Old Town canoe strapped to your roof rack. Unless you’re a fisherman, that is. Ely (pop. 3,742) is located 35 miles from the Ontario border at the gateway to the legendary Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a million-acre maze of lakes and boreal forest with 1,500 miles of canoe trails and endless runs of smallmouth bass, walleye, and pike. There are no fewer than 22 outfitters here, so setting up a multiday wilderness paddling trip is a breeze. Boundary Waters Outfitters (from $210 for a three-day trip; 800-777-7348; boundarywatersoutfitters.com) will take you deep into moose territory for up to 14 days – and hook you up with your very own loaner canoe. WHERE TO STAY Timber Trail Lodge (800-777-7348; timbertrail.com) has lakeside campsites ($24), log cabins (from $795 per week), and a new six-bedroom house with a stone fireplace and a deck ($2,300 per week).
HOW TO GET THERE: Ely is 112 miles northeast of Duluth.
– Jason Daley