At one time, the focus of most of these river towns was probably the river. That changed for many, but even those usually have a small park celebrating their past. This is Elk River, MN, about 25 miles NW of Minneapolis.
The following pics are mostly boathouses and/or sitting areas along a wide, lake-like section of the river. It was a pretty day and a lot of people were outside.
I noticed how much effort goes into protecting the shoreline from erosion. My impression is that if there were no boats, then the water would be calm mostly. Wind can create chop, but rarely like what the boats do. No telling how much money is spent collectively by thousands of homes to protect their shoreline.