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Camden, MENestled between green hills and a deep blue harbor bristling with masts (and with a steeple-dotted downtown), Camden is a picturesque home to 4,850, many of whom are authors, musicians, and artists.
Cape May, NJCalled “Queen of the Seaside Resorts,” the entire city of 3,607 is a National Historic Landmark, with nearly 600 preserved Victorian buildings (including grand hotels), sweeping beaches, and a charming promenade.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CAWith spectacular scenery that has drawn artists for generations, this village-like city of 3,722 on the Monterey Peninsula has wonderful dining, shopping, and is renowned for being incredibly dog friendly.
Dana Point, CAA true Southern California mecca for surfing, sailing, whale watching, and stand-up paddling, Dana Point (pop. 33,351) is blessed with a bustling harbor and graceful, romantic beaches.
Fernandina Beach, FLWith pale-sand beaches facing the Atlantic and a historic downtown full of Victorian charms, this North Florida charmer of 11,487 on Amelia Island has a fun-loving, pirate spirit.
Grand Haven, MISet on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and known as “Coast Guard City, USA,” Grand Haven (pop. 10,412) bustles with waterfront action from boating and fishing to strolling its boardwalk and pier.
Hilton Head Island, SCFor lovers of beach and golf, this 12-mile-long barrier island in the famed South Carolina Lowcountry is home to 37,099 and strikes the perfect balance between culture and playtime.
Langley, WAPerched at the southern end of Whidbey Island, the self-proclaimed “Village by the Sea” (pop. 1,035) has an artsy and colorful little downtown, plus breathtaking views overlooking dramatic Saratoga Passage.
Orleans, MAA historic gem with tawny beaches that grace both the Bay and Atlantic sides of Cape Cod, this charming New England town of 5,890 is both summer escape and year-round enclave.
Sarasota, FLWith big-city culture, great drinking and dining, and extraordinary white-sand beaches, this Gulf city of 51,917 is also home to a stunning collection of midcentury modern architecture.
How we picked the finalists:
To choose the 2017 finalists, we began by reviewing destinations that have been covered by the magazine and nominated via social media. From there, we looked at rank on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, percentage of clear and sunny days, healthiness of beaches, commute times, walkability, crime ratings, standard of living and financial well-being of the locals, geographic diversity, and our editors' assessment of each town's “coastal vibe.” The result: an all-star list for 2017 from every coast! (Previous winners were not eligible.)
How often can I vote?
You can vote every 15 minutes. Votes are limited to one per IP address.
The final rankings will be revealed online beginning at 7am EST on Wednesday, January 11, 2017! Don’t miss it!