- Story by Dena Temple
- photography by Ellis Anderson
If you want to find the country’s best wine tasting room, or zoo, or NASCAR track – or even best specialty food festival (how did a crawfish festival in New Jersey end up on that list?), USAToday’s “10 Best” section has your answer.
And now, Bay St. Louis has been crowned as the #5 Best Coastal Small Town in America!
A prestigious panel of nine travel writers and food experts selected the 20 towns named as finalists. Each nominee is a coastal town with a population under 25,000, according to the last census, and “coastal” can mean ocean, bay, Gulf or lake coastline. After the nominations were made, the top 10 were selected by Internet voting – and Bay St. Louis was ranked #5 Best Small Coastal Town.
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“Our secret is out!” exclaimed Tish Williams, executive director of the Hancock Chamber of Commerce. “We are not surprised that Bay St. Louis was named by readers as one of the top five best coastal small towns. Our authentic character, historic buildings, friendly people and bon vivant lifestyle are just a few reasons why publications like USAToday, Southern Living, Budget Travel and Coastal Living love our unique personality. Who wouldn't want to live in a place like the Bay?”
Local realtor Holly Lemoine-Raymond emphatically agrees. “Real estate here in Hancock County is flourishing, so our great quality of life is not really a secret any more. Houses are selling – I sold a house this week in four days!”
Holly continued, “We have the Parade of Homes this weekend (July 18), and many of the houses we included are already sold. We’re having to scramble to add more!
“What’s great about our area,” she continued, “is that there is truly something for everyone – beach homes, farms, land, subdivisons, golf course properties – and something for every budget.”
This year’s USAToday "10 Best" winners are:
- Chincoteague, Virginia
- Venice, Florida
- Rockport, Texas
- Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi
- Southport, North Carolina
- Georgetown, South Carolina
- St. Marys, Georgia
- Gulf Shores, Alabama
- Sandusky, Ohio
This is BSL’s second consecutive year on USAToday’s “10 Best” list, also earning the #5 spot in 2019.
Holly, a longtime Shoofly sponsor and our DIY columnist, gave a tip of her hat to the magazine.
“I also want to acknowledge the Shoofly Magazine for getting the word out about the USAToday contest, and making it easier for people to vote. Now our hidden gem will be discovered!”