Congratulations! Grand Marais, MN, is America's Coolest Small Town 2015! Come back to BudgetTravel.com (and subscribe to our e-newsletters!) to read more about Grand Marais and the other top 10 towns in an online feature and in an upcoming issue of our bi-monthly tablet edition. Check out the final standings!

Allegan, MI

(Population: 4,998)
Locals sometimes refer to Allegan as a "modern-day Mayberry" and we can understand why! With the Kalamazoo River winding through this charming, friendly town, and four seasons of outdoor beauty and fun, it's a warm and welcoming getaway!

Berkeley Springs, WV

(Population: 624)
In the heart of the Blue Ridge’s beauty but a one-tank escape from D.C., this town is a magnet for folks seeking art, music, food, and cool shops. And it has been home to a thriving spa scene and mineral waters since (for real) the 1700s!

Blanco, TX

(Population: 1,739)
You’re never far from fun in the “Gateway to Central Texas Hill Country.” The town’s lovely state park, creative shops, and restaurants, all just 45 miles north of San Antonio, make it a burgh to remember!

Chincoteague, VA

(Population: 2,941)
This beautiful island town offers a mid-Atlantic summer getaway with perfect beaches, fresh seafood, and its legendary wild ponies, but it's also a year-round hot spot and an ideal locale for watching NASA rocket launches from a nearby space center.

Crested Butte, CO

(Population: 1,487)
This town puts the “great” in the great outdoors, with world-class skiing and snowboarding in winter and mountain biking, fishing, and camping in the warm months. When you’re ready to refuel, there’s an international array of suchi, noodles, Mexican favorites, and more.

Delhi, NY

(Population: 3,087)
The western Catskills make for a wonderful setting, with rolling hills and the western branch of the Delaware River flowing through town. Browse Main Street’s eclectic galleries, shops, and more, and dive into the Catskills Mountains Film Festival, Delhi Covered Bridge Run, Taste of the Catskills food festival, and other crowd-pleasing events.

Fort Myers Beach, FL

(Population: 6,277)
On Estero Island, on Florida's southwestern coast, you're never more than a mile or so from the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico in this town, which is a nice entry point for exploring perfect islands, Everglades National Park, and creatively prepared local seafood.

Grand Marais, MN

(Population: 1,351)
Get your canoe on here on the shores of Lake Superior. Whether you're craving a romantic getaway or a real adventure, this town has something for everyone, with cozy B&Bs, a vibrant arts community, and the freshest trout you'll ever taste.

Hillsborough, NC

(Population: 6,087)
This town amassed the most nominations this year to make our list of semifinalists. Enjoy the Riverwalk trail, Last Fridays Arts Walks, historical buildings dating back to the 18th century, and Occoneechee Mountain. And local restaurants offer live music!

Huron, OH

(Population: 7,149)
Where the Huron River meets Lake Erie, one of the Midwest's hidden gems is waiting for you! Hiking, fishing, and relaxing on the beach are musts, and you can enjoy Huron just by strolling downtown's waterfront streets, where craft beer and live music are on tap.

Ka’anapali, HI

(Population: 1,045)
This town on the Hawaiian island of Maui sort of redefines "cool" for the rest of us, with beautiful Ka'anapali Beach, whale watching, nearby Haleakala volcano (relax, it's dormant), and the opportunity to experience an authentic Hawaiian luau!

Old Orchard Beach, ME

(Population: 8,624)
Sure, the seven-mile stretch of namesake beach is awesome, with an amusement park and live music, but this New England charmer also offers opportunities for kayakers, cruises for fishermen and day trippers, and the quiet beauty of nearby lighthouses.

Pismo Beach, CA

(Population: 7,655)
You may feel that you've discovered the Cali beach town of your dreams when you first roll into Pismo Beach. Stretch out on the beach, stroll along the pier, and indulge in the area's classic retro restaurants!

Snohomish, WA

(Population: 9,098)
Welcome to a Pacific Northwest paradise, just a short drive from Seattle! Go big with hot-air ballooning or sky-diving, or have a blast at one of the town's unique festivals, including "Groundfrog" Day!

Washington, NC

(Population: 9,744)
With a small town feel but big town activities, this town offers a waterfront downtown with wonderful shops and a wine-tasting scene that surprises some visitors, plus sailing on the Pamlico River 10 months out of the year!

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Finalists Details

Allegan, MI

(Population: 4,998)
Locals sometimes refer to Allegan as a "modern-day Mayberry" and we can understand why! Friendly eateries like the Grill House, Minnie's, and Corky's Drive In, plus an old-timey movie theater and much more, make visitors feel at home here. And with the lovely Kalamazoo River winding its way through town and Allegan's proximity to Lake Michigan, inland lakes, and ski resorts, all four seasons can be filled with outdoor fun and natural beauty. Whether you're craving a thriving food and art scene, a buzzworthy county fair, or you just love fishing (including ice fishing!) or golf, Allegan is a warm and welcoming getaway.

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Berkeley Springs, WV

(Population: 624)
In the heart of the Blue Ridge’s natural beauty (including Cacapon State Park and the C&O Canal Towpath), but a one-tank escape from the D.C. metro area, Berkeley Springs is a magnet for folks seeking art, music, food, and cool shops. The town has been attracting visitors for its spa scene and mineral waters since (for real) the 1700s! The Apple Butter Festival is a sweet and tasty way to get to know the town, and the Hey Girlfriend weekend is a must for fans of “girl getaways.”

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Blanco, TX

(Population: 1,739)
You’re never far from fun in Blanco, the “Gateway to Central Texas Hill Country.” The town’s lovely state park, creative shops, and restaurants like Oak Creek, Hacienda El Charro, and Blanco Bowling Alley (an original nine-pin alley where the pins are set by hand) make it a burgh to remember. Located about 45 miles north of San Antonio and with a local history dating back to the 19th century, when the town was founded by pioneers and former Texas Rangers, Blanco is an awesome place to get started on your exploration of the gorgeous Texas Hill Country.

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Chincoteague, VA

(Population: 2,941)
This incredibly beautiful island town offers a mid-Atlantic summer getaway complete with perfect beaches with trails for cycling and walking, fresh seafood (and an annual seafood festival!), and its legendary wild ponies. But it’s also a year-round hot spot, especially during its holiday parades and house tours. The town is also a favorite spot for amazing boat tours and as an ideal locale for watching NASA rocket launches from the nearby Wallops Visitor Center.

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Crested Butte, CO

(Population: 1,487)
This town puts the “great” in the great outdoors, which could be why locals routinely use the word “heaven” to describe where they live. Check out the skiers and snowboarders sailing off a ski jump on Crested Butte’s main drag, Elk Ave., during the annual Big Air on Elk event! Powder is, of course, one of the main attractions here in winter, but mountain biking, fishing, and camping are perfect ways to spend your summer vacation in the Rockies. When you’re ready to refuel after all that fresh air, the town offers an international array of sushi, noodles, Mexican favorites, and much more. Vacation rentals are plentiful, but in summer you may prefer “glamping” under the stars.

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Delhi, NY

(Population: 3,087)
The western Catskills in Upstate New York make for a wonderful setting, with rolling hills and the Delaware River (yes, its western branch reaches all the way up here!) flowing through town. A thriving Main Street is ideal for browsing eclectic galleries, antique shops, and an artisan guild that features local talent. If you ever tire of exploring the hiking trails and enjoying water sports on the river, get ready for the Catskills Mountains Film Festival, the Delhi Covered Bridge Run, and the Taste of the Catskills food festival, among other crowd-pleasers in this popular town.

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Fort Myers Beach, FL

(Population: 6,277)
On Estero Island, on Florida's southwestern coast, Fort Myers Beach should not be confused with the nearby city of Fort Myers. Here, everybody knows everybody and you're never more than a mile or so from the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Think of this as your entry point for exploring this remarkable stretch of coastline, including perfect islands, Everglades National Park, and creatively prepared local seafood at restaurants such as the Beached Whale and Matanzas.

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Grand Marais, MN

(Population: 1,351)
Get your canoe on! Here on the north shore of Lake Superior, the Boundary Water Canoeing Area is one of the world's perfect paddling destinations, with miles of waterways to navigate. Whether you're craving a romantic getaway or a real adventure, Grand Marais has a little something for everyone, including cozy B&Bs, a vibrant arts community, an annual Fisherman's Picnic, Lake Superior National Forest, and restaurants whose names say it all: Angry Trout Café, Crooked Spoon, and Sven and Ole's pizza!

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Hillsborough, NC

(Population: 6,087)
Talk about local spirit! Hillsborough amassed the most nominations this year to make our list of semifinalists. The town has serious literary cred, with several bestselling authors not only making their home here but also participating in local events and the annual production of "A Christmas Carol." Enjoy the newly opened Riverwalk trail, Last Fridays Arts Walks, historical buildings dating back to the 18th century, and Occoneechee Mountain. Top-notch local restaurants offer live music, and you may even spot the mayor on a night out. (You'll know him by his signature bowler hat!)

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Huron, OH

(Population: 7,149)
Where the Huron River meets Lake Erie, one of the Midwest's hidden gems is waiting for you! Go hiking at Sheldon March State Nature Preserve, visit the Huron Pier for some great fishing, relax on Nickel Plate Beach, or hit the local golf course. You can enjoy this town just by taking a leisurely stroll along downtown's waterfront streets and visiting the scenic boat basin for photo ops or one of the town's many festivals. Craft beer and live music are both on tap downtown as well, and you can take your pick of lodgings, from a resort experience to a comfy B&B.

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Ka’anapali, HI

(Population: 1,045)
This town on the Hawaiian island of Maui sort of redefines "cool" for the rest of us: Relax or brave the water at beautiful Ka'anapali Beach. Take a whale watching cruise to see the humpback whales make their annual migration down from Alaska from December through April. Drive up the nearby dormant volcano, Haleakala, for unforgettable views and the surprisingly chilly breezes (hey, the volcano is more than 10,000 feet tall). And don't forget to experience an authentic luau, complete with plenty of traditional pork dishes and hula dancing.

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Old Orchard Beach, ME

(Population: 8,624)
There's more to this town than its namesake beach, though truth be told the seven-mile stretch of sand is awesome in its own right, with its legendary amusement park and nightlife that includes live bands and great seafood. But Old Orchard Beach is also a prime base for kayakers who want to explore area rivers, fishermen or day trippers who crave a cruise out on the Atlantic, and of course those of us who are content to contemplate beautiful lighthouses (like nearby Cape Elizabeth) and watch the tide roll in and out.

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Pismo Beach, CA

(Population: 7,655)
Visitors who discover Pismo Beach for the first time, often while trekking up or down the Pacific Coast Highway to or from Los Angeles or San Francisco, feel as if they've stumbled on the classic retro Cali beach town of their dreams. Good news: If you're here, you have! Stretch out on the beautiful beach, stroll along the pier, or indulge in one of the area's classic restaurants, like the Rock & Roll Diner (just down Highway 1), which will confirm your suspicion that you've stepped out of the 21st century and onto the set of American Graffiti!

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Snohomish, WA

(Population: 9,098)
With rolling farmland, Puget Sound, and the Cascade Mountains as a backdrop, this town is a Pacific Northwest paradise just a short drive from Seattle! Activities here are as big as all outdoors, with hot-air ballooning, sky-diving, and unique local festivals such as "Groundfrog" Day and the Easter Parade with its Sauerkraut Band. You can bike or walk the Centennial Trail, be one of the first to see the brand-new aquatic center, and enjoy downtown's excellent restaurants, justly famous antique shops, and in fall, this is the Pumpkin Capital of the Northwest!

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Washington, NC

(Population: 9,744)
Locals like to say that Washington has a small town feel but big town activities. The waterfront downtown is a major draw, with a renovated theater, wonderful shops, and a wine-tasting scene that surprises some visitors. The Pamlico River is popular with the sailing crowd 10 months of the year, and hunting and fishing are thriving activities in the area. Founded in 1776 and named for General George Washington years before he became our nation's first president, this town wears its history proudly but lightly, sometimes referring to itself as "Little Washington."

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Coolest Small Town Contenders

Allegan, MI Berkeley Springs, WV Blanco, TX Chincoteague, VA Crested Butte, CO Delhi, NY Fort Myers Beach, FL Grand Marais, MN Hillsborough, NC Huron, OH Ka’anapali, HI Old Orchard Beach, ME Pismo Beach, CA Snohomish, WA Washington, NC