2012 America's Happiest Seaside Towns

We've ranked the top 15 happiest places to live on the coast. And the winners are...

Half Moon Bay, California
Photographer: Jay Graham / Courtesy of Visit Half Moon Bay

7. Half Moon Bay, California

Everyone's first visit to Half Moon Bay feels as close to a "eureka!" discovery moment as there is. Your car navigates that vertiginous road over the coastal hills from sprawling Silicon Valley, and then you descend upon this little gem nestled against the Pacific. The place is simply overwhelmed by the abundance of organic produce grown there. (Go in fall and you'll see a sea of the town's famed pumpkins.) That's the magic of this fertile township of more than 12,000 residents that was first discovered and cultivated by 18th-century Spanish settlers, and proudly maintains its agricultural heritage into the iPad era.

Where to Stay: Oceano Hotel & Spa offers suites with fireplaces and organic bamboo linens. Rates start at $199; 888/623-2661 or oceanohalfmoonbay.com.

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Top 21 Beaches, Coast to Coast

Plan your summer getaway now: From white strands to secret coves, we've found the ultimate spots by the shore, plus fabulous lodging so you can stay as long as you like.

The Cove Beach, Cape May, New Jersey