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But despite its out-of-the-way, end-of-the-road status, Cedar Key does draw its share of visitors. Bird-watchers flock to one of the oldest bird and wildlife refuges in the U.S., and those in the know come here for what has to be one of the most impressive can't-miss-restaurants-to-people ratios in the country.
Top 10 Boating States
Top boating states, ranked by total economic value in 2012, including popular destinations for on-water getaways from DiscoverBoating.com
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There's a crooked desert road meandering northeast along the Salt River, from Mesa, Arizona, that turns to dirt at Tortilla Flats. It takes you past two smaller desert lakes called Saquaro and Apache, but if the weather is good and you're game enough to follow the trail another 45 miles, you'll find the real pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: Theodore Roosevelt Lake.
Turns out, imagination isn't far from reality. In fact, if you leave the growing populace of San Diego proper and head 30 minutes north, you wind up in a place that captures the classic, pre-21st century SoCal scene: Carlsbad. Not to say it's old-school; it's just dominated by beaches and boating instead of industry and commerce.
It could be that vacationers reach this northwest section of Montana with pinpoint focus (Glacier National Park) and ignore the periphery along the route. Or maybe most of the roughly 2 million annual visitors to the park enter from the east side rather than the more-rugged west entrance. A distance of 10 miles, all of it twisty, between the lake and the park might discourage side trips.