Best places for a long life

Residents of these 25 counties enjoy some of the highest life expectancies in the U.S.

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20. Washington County, MN
20. Washington County, MN
Powers Lake fishing pier
Towns include: Cottage Grove, Oakdale, Woodbury
Life expectancy at birth: 79.8 years

Located northeast of St. Paul, Washington County is all about enjoying the natural environment. It's home to Afton Alps ski area, where skiers and sledders of all ages hit the slopes, and Afton State Park, a 1700-acre destination for camping, hiking, and swimming on the scenic St. Croix river.

But perhaps the key to Washington County's longevity can be found in a place like Belwin, a large and diverse nature preserve where scientists (and volunteers) are working to understand and restore Minnesota's natural habitats. They've even reintroduced a herd of bison to the area, sometimes visible from the road near Afton.

NEXT: 21. Santa Barbara County, CA

Last updated September 22 2008: 11:08 AM ET
Source: Life expectancy stats from consultant Bert Sperling of BestPlaces.net, Centers for Disease Control.
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