The Happiest and Healthiest Beach Towns in America
10. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach Destin, Florida
This slice of paradise on the Florida panhandle might have come in at 25 in the overall rankings, but in measures of financial stability and social wellness (meaning there’s lots of love in your life…aww) the area performed exceptionally well.
9. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida
Cruising along down the Gulf coast, this quiet and blissful community is rife with sugar-white sand beaches, unspoiled wildlife refuges, and people who report being totally satisfied with basically every aspect of their life.
8. San Diego-Carlsbad, California
Warm beaches, palm trees, fish tacos—what’s not to love if you live in this hip SoCal community? The region rounded out the top 20 in the overall well-being rankings, scoring the highest in measures of physical well-being.
7. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii
The idea of living on an island itself brings happy thoughts to mind, so it’s no wonder the capital city of our tropical island state made the list. Hawaiians scored exceptionally well in self-reported feelings of life purpose—“liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.” On the other hand, residents surprisingly reported lower levels of social satisfaction; so, who’s up for moving to Oahu and making friends?
6. Portland-South Portland, Maine
Maine’s trendiest city is known for its funky vibes and serious craft brew scene, which we can only imagine contributes to the high sociability reported by its residents. In addition to having high levels of social well-being, Portlanders reported having a great sense of pride in their community.
5. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California
There isn’t much not to love about this jewel of a city on California’s central coast. The charming downtown, the mesmerizing landscape, and the laid-back culture undoubtedly all contribute to residents’ well-being. The community ranked highest in measures of physical well-being, which translates to having generally good health and enough energy to get things done daily.
4. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
In case you’re not yet convinced that the Florida Gulf coast is basically Disneyland for happy grown-ups, here’s another Sunshine State community with exceptionally high levels of health and well-being. The area south of Tampa is the first beach region to crack into the top 10, landing at #7 in overall rankings of well-being, and #3 in measures specifically focused on financial well-being.
3. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
This laid-back West Coast town has gorgeous year-round weather, dramatic beauty, and a surf-centric lifestyle, so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the community ranked especially high in physical well-being. (Who wouldn’t want to be outdoors all the time?) Santa Cruz residents also reported especially high levels of life purpose and a deep sense of community.
2. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
New England charm, a storied history, an All-American summer baseball league, and some of the prettiest beaches around are all draws for the hordes of tourists that flock to this Cape Cod city each summer. If life seems fabulous here, that’s because it is: Residents reported higher levels of community pride than any other place in the country, and measures of social and financial well-being are also top-notch.
1. Naples-Immokaee-Marco Island, Florida
There’s a reason this adorable Gulf coast community consistently ranks high in measures of pretty much everything. According to the survey, residents here have the lowest levels of worry, depression, and stress, and the highest of life enjoyment. Naples locals also rank highest for making time for regular vacations or trips with family and friends. Sounds like a dream!