I think it completely depends on your price range, all the digital SLR's from high quality makers like Nikon, Canon and so on are great. I would look at the Nikon's D series and Canon's EOS Rebel line. The D40 is a great pick for an entry level SLR.
That said, some point and shoots actually aren't too bad. The major advantage of the SLR is the interchangable lenses, but lenses can be really, really expensive. Personally I've got a PowerShot A570is and I've installed an open source firmware update for it called CHDK, which gives you finer control over everything from aperature size to exposure settings. You can even write simple scripts with it that will, say, automatically bracket a scene, or automatically take a picture when the camera senses motion in the scene. Really useful for things like lightning photography.
But still, some day I'll spring the money for a digital SLR. Until then its point+shoot and my trusty Pentax K1000