By Maddy Vitale
So, you think you’re in a happy place? If you’re not in Ocean City, you might not be. “America’s Greatest Family Resort,” with shops and restaurants galore, a 2½-mile Boardwalk, pristine beaches, rides and entertainment, was selected by Coastal Living Magazine as one of 10 “America’s Happiest Seaside Towns” for 2018.
“We are so excited to have the opportunity to participate in a contest like this because it recognizes all the fun and the diversity of Ocean City from the beach, to the Boardwalk, to the bay, to the boutiques and restaurants,” said Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Ocean City has something for everyone to enjoy.”
To choose the 2018 finalists, Coastal Living received nominations through social media. From there, they looked at factors such as percentage of clear or sunny days, clean beaches, commute times, walkability, crime ratings and the financial well-being of locals. The selection also included the Coastal Living editors’ assessment of each town’s “coastal vibe.”
Former winners were not considered for the selection. The other towns for 2018 are as follows: Anna Maria, Florida, Bellport, New York, Bluffton, South Carolina, Cambria, California, Cannon Beach, Oregon, Cape Charles, Virginia, Hampton Beach/Hampton, New Hampshire, Traverse City, Michigan, and Vero Beach, Florida.
Neither Michele Gillian, Mayor Jay Gillian, nor David Allegretto, president-elect of the Chamber of Commerce, are worried about the competition. After all, in 2016, Ocean City was named “Best Beach in America” in a nationwide online contest by Coastal Living Magazine.
“Coastal Living has recognized Ocean City as the best beach in the country two years ago, and now we are in the competition for the happiest town. This says a lot about Ocean City,” Michele Gillian said. “Nationwide, we are the place to go for happy memories. It really tells a lot about Ocean City that we really not only market to people in our coastal area, but beyond.”
Mayor Gillian said, “Our success in these polls is a testament to Ocean City’s enduring appeal to generations of residents and guests now spread across the country.”
https://www.coastalliving.com/travel/happiest-seaside-townHe continued, “We all feel blessed to live in such a wonderful place and proud that so many visitors share our passion. I encourage everybody to take a minute to vote.”
Chamber of Commerce President-Elect Allegretto remarked that as a lifelong resident, with “sand in his shoes,” he certainly hopes Ocean City is voted the top happiest seaside town.
“It should be. Where else do you have such great amenities with a downtown so close to the beach?” he asked. “It is truly one of a kind and it is definitely my happy place. I am confident we will be the happiest place.”
Michele Gillian said the city offers such a variety of entertainment along with the 100 storefronts and restaurants in the downtown shopping district.
And since Ocean City is a dry town, it is a kid-friendly vacation and family spot.
“We have attractions, water parks and rides, miniature golf. You get everything,” Gillian added.
Not to mention the parades, pageants, plays, swim competitions, charity runs, lifeguard events and other sports competitions.
When it comes to what makes Ocean City special, a lot of it has to do with keeping with tradition. People visit the resort because of the different activities it has to offer, but for many, their fondest memories come from experiences on the beaches, the bay and the Boardwalk, Gillian noted.
“We realize tradition is a big part of resort memories,” she said. “We stay up on social media, but we also the reasons people come to visit.”
The winner will be determined by online voting that opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, and closes at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6.
To vote, visit www.coastalliving.com/happytowns2018. Winners will be announced online on June 12.