USA Today announced on Friday that Bay St. Louis had earned the number 5 spot in the publication’s annual America's Best Small Coastal Towns competition — Gulf Shores came in ninth.
The winners were announced on USA Today’s 10Best.com on Friday.
“Bay St. Louis plays an extremely important role in tourism in Coastal Mississippi,” Milton Segarra, CEO of Coastal Mississippi, said in a press release Friday. “Their ‘all are welcome’ message, sense of community, art scene, unique dining opportunities, local downtown shops, beautiful sprawling beaches, and stunning bay views all make for a highly desirable destination, which is reflected in the voters’ decision to rank Bay St. Louis so high on this list of extraordinary coastal towns found across the nation. This is a phenomenal opportunity to showcase everything that Bay St. Louis has to offer, which will in turn benefit all of Coastal Mississippi as a destination.”
USA opened the contest in early June as part of its “10 Best” Readers’ Choice 2020 awards.
“The quaint seaside town of Bay St. Louis calls itself ‘a place apart,’” according to USA Today’s online poll, “and it’s easy to see why. The friendly community has everything you’d want from a small town seaside escape – a store-lined Main Street, restaurants serving fresh Gulf seafood, museums and an 8.5-mile canoe and kayak trail.”
Each of the towns up for “Best Small Coastal Town,” had fewer than 25,000 residents at the last census.
Other Coastal towns on the list included Bayfield, Wis.; Chincoteague, Va.; Venice, Fla.; St. Mary’s, Ga.; Georgetown, S.C.; Rockport, Texas; Gulf Shores, Ala.; Grand Marais, Minn.; Sandusky, Ohio; Cambria, Calif.; Beach Haven, N.J.; Rockport, Maine; Southport, N.C.; Cannon Beach, Ore.; Mystic, Conn.; Apalachicola, Fla.; Wailea, Hawaii; Friday Harbor, Wash.; and Los Osos, Calif.
The final rankings were:
1. Chincoteague, Va.
2. Bayfield, Wis.
3. Venice, Fla.
4. Rockport, Tex.
5. Bay St. Louis
6. Southport, N.C.
7. Georgetown, S.C.
8. St. Mary’s, Ga.
9. Gulf Shores, Ala.
10. Sandusky, Ohio