Having about 5 miles of a sandy beach on the greatest of the Great Lakes, it's hard to argue with the idea Duluth might be one of the best beach towns in which to live around the United States.

The folks at personal banking/finance website WalletHub (who apparently really like to rank random stuff) released a listing of the top lake beach towns and top ocean beach towns across the country that are great to live in, based on a number of factors. In their ranking, Duluth showed up toward the top of a list of 46 towns they ranked in the lake beach town list. That's really awesome, but I have some qualms with where we landed. More on that in a bit.

Duluth was one of only two Minnesota towns that made the list (ranking #15 nationally), with the other being Eden Prairie down in the Twin Cities area (which ranked #14). I know, with 10,000 lakes and plenty of them having nice beaches, how are there not more on the list? My initial thought was 'not sure'.

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To get a little more insight, WalletHub explained on their website that to qualify, a town needed to have between 10,000 and 150,000 people living there and have at least one beach listed on TripAdvisor.

It looks like their qualifier to have at least 10,000 people living in the town is a big factor. Lake Minnetonka, for example, is an iconic summer destination in the Twin Cities with plenty of beaches. The issue is that all of the towns these beaches are in have populations under 10,000. Being Eden Prairie is nearby, and they have one beach listed on TripAdvisor, here we are. Meanwhile, Duluth well exceeds the 10,000 person minimum, and we have a sweet beach. Yet we remain outranked.

How did Duluth get edged out? They ranked the towns on livability factors like affordability, weather, safety, economy, health & education, and quality of life. According to WalletHub's data, Eden Prairie edged Duluth out in almost every category, except for quality of life, where Duluth ranked 8th in the country, while Eden Prairie ranked 31.

I don't have any statistics to back up my arguments, but I feel like some of the areas Eden Prairie beat Duluth out in are inaccurate. Call me a homer, but I think Duluth should have at least beaten out our only other Minnesota competitor. Heck, we actually have a (really big) beach. They don't, really. Then you can add on areas like Brighton Beach, which aren't quite as traditionally "beachy", but still offer a great lakeside experience.

When looking through the towns above Duluth on the list, I think Duluth should rank higher if you factor in the amount/quality of beach instead of just verifying that there is one in the town according to TripAdvisor.

Beside my whole case against Eden Prairie (sorry, fellow Minnesota town), towns like Pewaukee (ranked #11) and Brookfield (ranked #10) in southeastern Wisconsin are called "beach towns" for having a small municipal beach. Sure, they're a reasonably close drive through Milwaukee to reach Lake Michigan, but they're not on the lake. Come on. Really? The rest of the towns above Duluth on the list do have a reasonable amount of water and beach space, so I won't pick on them.

So, if we factored in beach amount/quality at least a little, Duluth would rank at a minimum #12, if not higher.

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