7. Capitola, California: Backed by rugged cliffs and with peaceful Soquel Creek running through its beachfront village, Capitola is California’s oldest seaside resort town. Its streets are lined with colorful hotels and homes, and its wharf on Monterey Bay hums with activity. Coastalliving.com
America's Happiest Seaside Towns 2015: Delray Beach, Florida. Talk about a place that has its priorities in order: At the heart of this fun-loving city of 61,231 are two miles of gloriously white-sand public beach. Photo: Robbie Caponetto. Coastalliving.com
America's Happiest Seaside Towns 2015: Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Renowned for the mild, sweet oysters, this town of 3,100 is home to much more than its local culinary star. Halfway up the forearm of Cape Cod’s famous, curling shape, Wellfleet has a quaint town center dotted with classically white-clapboard New England–style homes, sophisticated galleries, excellent restaurants, and a drive-in theater that is all-American fun. Photo: John Greim/Getty Images. Coastalliving.com
Fairhope, Alabama: Located on what’s known as the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, this gracious Gulf town has long been a destination for artists, writers (including Fannie Flagg and Rick Bragg), and vacationers. The historic downtown blooms—not just with independent cafés, bars, and shopping, but also literally: Colorful blossoms line the sidewalks, decorate street crossings, hang in baskets suspended from light posts, and overflow from planters in front of shops.