Ask David Condon what he likes to do best when not attending to his duties as the mayor of Spokane, Wash., and he'll give you an answer typical of many other residents: skiing in the winter and hanging out at the lake in the summer.

Just 92 miles from the Canadian border, and stone's throw from Idaho, Spokane is a paradise for lovers of the outdoors, near great mountains, majestic forests and many lakes within an hour's drive. The city is known for its enviable mountain-biking, 125 parks and municipal golf courses, including one that is nationally ranked. Named one of Livability's Best Winter Vacation spots, and a Best Winter City, Spokane offers nearly unlimited choices of things to do. It's even been cited as one of Livability's Best Cities for Book Lovers.