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Survey: These are the best towns by the beach to live in this year

Summer is in full swing, and if you’re anything like me, you’re thinking about the best beaches to visit this season. New research from WalletHub actually ranks 2018’s best American towns by oceans and lakes to live in. Lahaina, HI was named the best one by an ocean, and Traverse City, MI was named best one by a lake.

WalletHub looked at 205 American cities in terms of “education & health,” “affordability,” “safety,” “quality of life,” “economy” and “weather.” Then, they further analyzed them in terms of 58 “metrics,” before giving them a score out of 100. Each location had between 10,000 and 150,000 residents, and “and at least one beach listed on TripAdvisor.” WalletHub also used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, among many other sources.

Top 10 towns by oceans

These are at the top of the heap.

1) Lahaina, HI (total score: 64.90)

2) Naples, FL (total score: 63.61)

3) Sarasota, FL (total score: 61.09)

4) Mill Valley, CA (total score: 60.74)

5) St. Augustine, FL (total score: 60.66)

6) Santa Monica, CA (total score: 60.26)

7) Boca Raton, FL (total score: 59.07)

8) Kihei, HI (total score: 59.02)

9) Westport, CT (total score: 58.99)

10) Key West, FL (total score: 58.31)

Shirley, NY came in last place (#161) with a total score of 37.43.

How the ocean towns stack up to each other

There are a bunch of factors.

Top 10 towns by lakes

These are the 10 best.

1) Traverse City, MI (total score: 67.92)

2) Eden Prairie, MN (total score: 61.31)

3) Folsom, CA (total score: 61.12)

4) Highland Park, IL (total score: 60.03)

5)  Mequon, WI (total score: 59.36)

6) Holland, MI (total score: 58.97)

7) Alpena, MI (total score: 58.58)

8) Bay Village, OH (total score: 58.40)

9) Mercer Island, WA (total score: 58.26)

10) Redmond, WA (total score: 57.93)

Morgan City, LA, came in last place (#44) with a total score of 27.98.

How the lake towns compare to each other

This comparison shows what it’s like living in certain lake towns.

What it’s like living in a beach town

Lawrence “Larry” Colorito, a member of the Board of Directors and Senior Managing Director at Valbridge Property Advisors, told WalletHub about living in a beach town where a lot of people reside all year, versus one where many people are only around during certain seasons.

“It depends on what you want. Towns like Va. Beach, that are part of large metro areas tend to offer more career opportunity. You don’t have to retire or rely on just tourism-related jobs. Also, those towns are still active off-season. If it’s a 2nd home or the goal is to retire that may not be as important.”

Whether you live in a beach town all year or not, we could all benefit from catching some waves and sun this summer.

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Jane Burnett

Jane Burnett is a reporter for Ladders. She is based in New York City and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.