Kennebunkport in the running to be named America’s ‘Happiest Seaside Town’

Members of the Flynn family, wearing fresh-cut Christmas tree hats, jump for joy following Kennebunkport’s 2011 Hat Parade. (Photo by Robert F. Bukaty)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Get in your jokes about Kennebunkport’s proximity to Kennebunk Zumba classes… Done?

OK, moving on. Kennebunkport, famously known as summer home to the Bush family of presidents, is one of 10 finalists in Coastal Living magazine’s 2013 contest to name America’s “Happiest Seaside Town.” You can vote here every hour until Feb. 28, if you like, and the winner will be revealed in June.

Here’s how Coastal Living, whose sister publications include Cooking Light and Real Simple, describes how it came up with its 10 finalists:

We began with every place we’ve lauded as a Dream Town over the past 15 years, and took your nominations on Facebook. We polled our editors on each finalist to define that special “coastal vibe” and mixed it into the formula to create an all-star list from every coast.

Other communities in the running include Sanibel Island, Fla., Pa’ia Town, Hawaii, and two from California — Pescadero and La Jolla.

Laura Plaisted of Kennebunkport exhibits true seaside town happiness after being named the winner of the 2011 Real Maine Wedding of the Year contest. Laura and her fiancé Nolan, who was serving in Afghanistan at the time, won a wedding package in Freeport valued at up to $100,000. (Photo courtesy of Dan Cashman)

At this moment, Beaufort, S.C., is in the contest lead, followed by Sag Harbor, N.Y. Kennebunkport is currently neck-and-neck with Rowaytown, Conn., for 6th place of the 10.

Coastal Living’s brief write-up on what qualifies Kennebunkport for the title is the following:

One of the jewels of the Maine coast, this town of 1,200 offers sandy beaches and picturesque walking paths along the ocean, plus charming shops and restaurants in the port’s Dock Square.

Not mentioned, but worth mentioning as you consider your vote, are the town’s jovial Hat Parades (see the picture at the top of the page) and the occasional presence of the Bush family. In the summer of 2010, country music star Taylor Swift shot a music video for her song “Mine” in the town, and treated local fans to a surprise concert.

Sounds like a happy place, right? Remember, you can vote here.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.