Want to live in a place where a smile, a wave (break), and a cup of sugar are always next door? Here are 10 seaside communities that’d make Mister Rogers ditch his cardigan for board shorts.

By Marisa Spyker
June 13, 2019
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Fact: When you live in paradise, it’s pretty easy to be nice. Science says that living by the shore, fresh air and all, is not only good for your physical health, but also your emotional well-being. People who spend time near the sea tend to be calmer and experience less stress. And when you’re more relaxed, it makes sense that you might be a little more pleasant to be around.

That applies, especially, to 10 specific beachy neighborhoods across the U.S. National Geographic recently analyzed stats from more than 200 cities to determine where the friendliest of the friendly reside, along with which locales are most conducive to neighborly behavior. Factors such as a community’s walkability, home affordability, public spaces, and prevalence of breweries and cafes were considered, along with its general perception on social media and crowd-sourced platforms like TripAdvisor and Yelp.

Related: These Are America's Happiest Seaside Towns: 

As it turns out, nice neighbors can be found from coast to coast (and in Hawaii and Alaska, too). From urban epicenters to laid-back beach communities, there’s a welcoming home (or vacation escape!) to suit every beach lover’s taste.

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Those who crave a slower pace, specifically, can jet off to Honolulu, where the city’s Waikiki neighborhood sports friendly surfer dudes and relaxed beach bums (plus some of the most beginner-friendly waves around). It’s no surprise that a Hawaii community would make the cut, considering the state’s residents are consistently ranked the happiest compared to those who live anywhere else.

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Happiest or not, however, other states outranked Hawaii in the number of neighborhoods that topped National Geographic’s list of the friendliest. That includes South Carolina—blame it on good old fashioned Southern hospitality!—where both the family-friendly summer hot spot of downtown Myrtle Beach and Charleston’s picturesque French Quarter earned spots on the list.

Sunshine, too, affects people’s neighborliness, it seems. In Florida, three communities, including Old Naples and Miami’s upscale Brickell neighborhood, were named among the friendliest. And elsewhere in the urban jungle, San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood (beloved for its indy bookstores and Italian heritage) and Seattle’s Capitol Hill (a welcoming haven for artists and the LGBTQ community) are amicable hangouts for city seekers.

Craving some sea views and socialization? Here are 10 of the friendliest coastal neighborhoods that made the cut. (The full list of National Geographic’s friendliest neighborhoods can be found here.)  

Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts

Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii

Capitol Hill, Seattle, Washington

French Quarter, Charleston, South Carolina

North Beach, San Francisco, California

Downtown Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Little Italy, San Diego, California

North Historic District, Savannah, Georgia

Old Naples, Florida

Brickell/Hammock, Miami, Florida