Pay attention! There's going to be a quiz at the end of class! 

By Tracey Minkin

While 10 wonderful little beach towns vie in an online vote for the honor of being named America's Happiest Seaside Town 2018, we're dipping into our Happiest Seaside Town archives for some fabulous HST trivia.  

Want to help us name America's #1 Happiest Seaside Town? Go here to vote. (You can vote for your favorite once per minute through 5 p.m. EST on February 6th!) 

And meanwhile... 

DID YOU KNOW #1: This is the seventh annual Happiest Seaside Towns competition, and the sixth to use online voting to determine the ranking. (The first competition used data only.)

DID YOU KNOW #2: Out of the six #1 towns so far, TWO are in South Carolina ...

Kiawah Island, SC (2012)

Beaufort, SC (2013)

ONE is in Virginia ...

Chincoteague, VA (2014)

ONE is in North Carolina ...

Southport, NC (2015)

ONE is in Florida ...

Stuart, FL (2016)

and ONE is in Michigan!

Grand Haven, MI (2017) 

That's some serious domination by the Southeast! Can the West take the crown for the first time this year, what with Cambria representing California (and San Luis Obispo County) and Cannon Beach competing for Oregon (and the Pacific Northwest)?

Can Traverse City bring back the crown for back-to-back Great Lakes (and Michigan) victories? Will Ocean City pull off the first HST win ever for New Jersey, or will Bellport put New York (and Long Island) on the winner's board for the first time? Will Anna Maria or Vero Beach score the second big win for Florida? Will the happiest little beach town in America title return to the Southeast in the happy grip of Bluffton, SC, or Cape Charles, VA? Or will the 18-mile-long coastline of New Hampshire (the shortest in the USA) win big, thanks to the happy charms of Hampton Beach?

DID YOU KNOW #3: Since 2012, the most finalists (14!) have come from California, and the highest a California town has placed in the rankings is Sausalito, named #3 in 2012. (Feel like a Sausalito getaway to check it out? Read more, here.)

DID YOU KNOW #4: Florida has had the second-most finalists (12), one winner, and three #2 towns (Naples in 2012, Captiva Island in 2014, and Venice in 2015).

 

DID YOU KNOW #5: Out of its nine finalists, Massachusetts has also produced two #2 towns ... Harwich Port in 2013 and Orleans in 2017.

Photo: Annie Schlechter; Styling: Jennifer Kain Defoe

DID YOU KNOW #6: Speaking of New England, the rest of the coastal states in the region have produced the following finalists:

Rhode Island: Newport (ranked #5 in 2013), Watch Hill (ranked #7 in 2014), and Narragansett (ranked #4 in 2015)

Maine: Kennebunkport (ranked #7 in 2013), Scarborough (ranked #9 in 2014), Portland (ranked #9 in 2016), and Camden (ranked #10 in 2017)

New Hampshire: Portsmouth (ranked #9 in 2015)

Connecticut: Rowayton (ranked #6 in 2013)

DID YOU KNOW #7: Taylor Swift has a house in one of America's Happiest Seaside Towns.

DID YOU KNOW #8: Although we call it America's Happiest Seaside Towns, the Great Lakes are included because, while they are freshwater, they are technically inland seas.

DID YOU KNOW #9: Speaking of the Great Lakes, Lake Bluff, IL, ranked #4 in 2012 and Sturgeon Bay, WI, ranked #3 in 2016!

DID YOU KNOW #10: Two former U.S. Presidents love to summer in one America's Happiest Seaside Towns.

DID YOU KNOW #11: America's #1 Happiest Seaside Town 2015, Southport, NC, generated more votes with a population of 3,060 than competitors nearly 10 times their size! How'd they do it? Some amazing grassroots smarts, including having Southport High School students vote on their phones once a day while in school (reminded by the school administration over the PA system!). Well played, Southport, well played.

DID YOU KNOW #12: Southport also made the most awesome Happiest Seaside Towns video ever:

We know we're clapping our hands as this year's competitors go after the prize. Join the fun by following the action on Instagram and keep an eye on our feeds and those of our fabulous 2018 towns! Good luck to all! And don't forget to VOTE!