Coastal Living: Anna Maria 6th happiest seaside town in U.S.

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Lisa Carrier, left, and Cruce Shields, happily create sandcastles on the beach June 13. Islander Photo: Ryan Paice

Along with beautiful beaches, excellent restaurants and nifty shops, Anna Maria residents might just have another reason to smile.

On June 12, Coastal Living magazine released its 2018 rankings for the 10 happiest seaside towns in the United States, placing the city of Anna Maria at No. 6.

The 10 finalists were nominated on social media and deemed finalists by the magazine. The order of cities in the final ranking was based on popular vote on the magazine’s social media.

It is worth noting the final rankings were based on an online popular vote, with Anna Maria having the second smallest population of the 10 finalists.

Factors considered in the ranking were the percentage of clear and sunny days, wellness index, crime rate, standard of living, the financial well-being of locals and “coastal vibe,” among other criteria.

In naming the finalists, Coastal Living describes Anna Maria as “an old-Florida dream of an island town, with a sweet little main street, community gardens and streets lined with candy-colored cottages.”

“We’re just very proud that we’ve been nominated and recognized for being a happy city,” Mayor Dan Murphy said June 11 in a phone interview. “I’ve always felt that our residents are very happy.

“It kind of makes you happy to even visit our city, I think.”

“Tra-la-la,” Murphy emailed to The Islander.


No. 1 underrated beach town

Meanwhile, the three cities on Anna Maria Island were collectively ranked No. 1 in a June 15 Huffington Post story.

Writer Jess Bolluyt states: “Whether you love the ocean or prefer to spend your beach days at the lake, there are plenty of beaches and beach towns to explore across America. While some have gotten incredibly popular, others remain underrated, especially the most affordable ones.”

The Huffington Post reports that Trip Advisor users named Anna Maria Island as one of the most underrated beach towns in the United States. “This 7-mile-long island, located just across from St. Petersburg, retains its ‘Old Florida’ feel. The island feels laid-back and less developed than the surrounding area.”

Anna Maria Island is No. 1 on the list of beach towns in the post to “add to your bucket list.”

If you have a bucket list.

Coastal Living’s 10 happiest seaside towns in the United States

  1. Ocean City, New Jersey.
  2. Traverse City, Michigan.
  3. Cape Charles, Virginia.
  4. Vero Beach, Florida.
  5. Bluffton, South Carolina.
  6. Anna Maria, Florida.
  7. Cambria, California.
  8. Hampton/Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.
  9. Bellport, New York.
  10. Cannon Beach, Oregon.

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