Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Perfect for: Outdoor adventures with strangers who consider you family.
Whitehorse is cold, isolated, and small. Like, population 25,000 small. It’s the capital of a vast, majestic region of Northwest Canada the size of California, yet with approximately one one-thousandth the population. In fact there are almost two moose for every human being living in the Yukon. (This is the best Yukon fact there is.)
To make life there tolerable, the locals have become alarmingly good at making friends. I stayed in Whitehorse for two weeks; by the time I left, it felt like I was abandoning my hometown. Within 24 hours of arriving I experienced the following: first, a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend heard I needed to borrow a WiFi router, came over, and installed it. Second, he invited me to dinner at his house. Third, he offered to lend me his car to pick up groceries.
Whitehorse is also surrounded by scads of great opportunities to hike, mountain bike, kayak, or ski and dogsled in the winter months. It offers honest-to-goodness untamed wilderness, with all the associated rewards -- and risks. This is where your new friends will come in handy. When you’re one twisted ankle away from a seven-hour limp back to civilization, having someone to lean on is priceless. Plus most locals carry bear spray with them almost everywhere, with good reason. -- Lewis Kelly