ST. MARYS — Longtime residents have nicknamed St. Marys as the “Mayberry by the Sea,” for its reputation as a small coastal town that has managed to preserve its identity over the years.

The city now has a new moniker to add: one of the nation’s top 10 small coastal towns in the nation.

St. Marys was ranked No. 8 on a USA TODAY poll in the publication’s Reader’s Choice travel awards.

Coastal towns across the nation were nominated by an expert panel and travel editors from for the poll. The cities selected were based on the number of online votes cast, said Angela Wigger, director of the St. Marys Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Looking at the winning cities, they are each uncrowded, casual and offer affordable fun and livability that you just can’t find in larger communities,” she said.

Making the national list shows the strong impression a visit to the city has on people, she said.

“It was great to see the support of the community and of our visitors as the digital voting was taking place and we are pleased to have made the list,” she said.

Staff is working on a plan to take advantage of the free publicity to attract more visitors to the city.

“People, when they look for places to visit or relocate, they check the lists of winners,” she said. “People don’t want the standard vacation destinations.”

Here is the list of the top 10 winners:

• Chincoteague, Va.

• Bayfield, Wisc.

• Venice, Fla.

• Rockport, Texas

• Bay Saint Louis, Miss.

• Southport, N.C.

• Georgetown, S.C.

• St. Marys

• Gulf Shores, Ala.

• Sandusky, Ohio

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