from USA TODAY 10Best

America's 10 best coastal small towns

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We asked 10Best readers to vote for their favorite coastal small towns (with populations of less than 25,000 people) in the U.S. These are the 10 winners.

10. Sandusky, Ohio

Sandusky is one of Ohio’s best lakeside escapes, with a revitalized downtown district, plenty of shopping and dining options, recreation on Lake Erie, wine tasting, and roller coasters at Cedar Point.

9. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Visitors to Gulf Shores on the Gulf Coast will be met with sugary-white sand beaches, Southern-style fresh seafood, championship golf courses and nearly any water sport you can imagine.

Photo courtesy of St. Marys Convention & Visitors Bureau/Ashley Alexander

8. St. Marys, Georgia

The historic small town of St. Marys serves as the gateway to Cumberland Island and the Georgia coast. There’s a bit of something for everyone, from excellent museums to recreation on the water.

7. Georgetown, South Carolina

The small community of Georgetown on the Carolina coast is what Charleston used to be: 200-year-old homes, scenic spaces, lots of Southern charm and none of the crowds.

6. Southport, North Carolina

This historic maritime town has been a pitstop of seafarers – everyone from pirates to fishermen – since the 1500s. Today the historic streets are lined with boutique shops and seafood restaurants.

5. Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

This quaint seaside town calls itself "a place apart." The friendly community has a store-lined Main Street, restaurants serving fresh Gulf seafood, museums and an 8.5-mile canoe and kayak trail.

4. Rockport, Texas

This small town claims to have the highest percentage of artists in Texas. Protected coastal wetlands make this section of the Texas Gulf Coast one of the loveliest.

3. Venice, Florida

Venice is a designated Florida Main Street City for its charming downtown, known for its Italian-style architecture.

Photo courtesy of / Matt Goudreau

2. Bayfield, Wisconsin

This historic coastal town on the shores of Lake Superior in far northern Wisconsin is particularly charming come autumn, when the foliage is at peak color and the apple harvest is in full swing.

Photo courtesy of Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce

1. Chincoteague, Virginia

Uncrowded beaches stretch for miles just outside of town, and wonderful Assateague Island with its famous herd of wild ponies lies just across the water.

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