NEW YORK - Lahaina was ranked 10th on Coastal Living's 15 "Happiest Seaside Towns."
The survey is a first for the magazine that covers life along the coast and is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Beach communities from California to South Carolina were ranked as the "best places to live along the coasts of the United States."
In an announcement of the ranking, the magazine called Lahaina, "the charming gateway to Maui's world-famous Kaanapali and Kapalua beach resorts to the north."
"Its banyan trees add a courtly air to the downtown, and its brightly colored Front Street, busy with shops and galleries, keeps things lively," the announcement said. "Lahaina has nearly perfect air quality, and when you add its dry, sunny climate in a tropical paradise, that makes life pretty ideal."
There were no other Hawaii seaside towns listed in the survey. The No. 1 "Happiest Seaside Town" was Kiawah Island in South Carolina, followed by Naples, Fla.; and Sausalito, Calif.
"By ranking the top 15 happiest seaside communities, we draw attention to places where life is good and the beach is close by," said Coastal Living Editor-in-Chief Antonia van der Meer. "These towns boast a blend of such criteria as sunny days, walkable neighborhoods, easy commute times, healthy beaches and more - plus that indescribable coastal vibe."
The magazine chose the top 15 from "dream towns" lauded in the magazine for the past 15 years and accepted nominations from users of its social media channels. Additional factors included ranking on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, percentage of sunny and clear days, healthiness of beaches, average commute times, walkability, school and crime ratings, education and financial security of the locals, geographic diversity and "coastal vibe."
"It's wonderful news," said Lynn Donovan, executive director of LahainaTown Action Committee, an organization that helps promote the west-side town. "Our reaction is that we are thrilled that this is happening and that we are lucky that we live Lahaina."
She noted that the honor comes on the heels of being ranked 21 out of 25 island destinations listed in a TripAdvisor survey and Front Street being named one of the "Great Streets of America."
The Coastal Living ranking appears in the June issue, which hits newsstands Friday.