ST. MARYS — The list of recent accolades is growing for St. Marys.
The city known as the gateway to Cumberland Island has been named to Southern Living Magazine’s “The South’s Best Small Towns 2020” list.
St. Marys, ranked No. 19, is one of three Georgia cities on the list. Isle of Hope is No. 15 and Thomasville is ranked No. 8. The overall winner was Williamsburg, Va.
Earning accolades as a top tourist destination or desirable location to live has been helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic where people are seeking places to visit without the crowds and health concerns that come with them.
Earlier in July, St. Marys was named to USA Today’s Top 10 “Best Coastal Small Town” list, and to Ideal Living Magazine’s fifth-annual “Best of the Best Top 100 Planned Communities” for the Cumberland Harbour community.
Angela Wigger, director of the St. Marys Convention & Visitors Bureau, said there are many outdoor activities locally and within driving distance that are attracting visitors. Cumberland Island National Seashore is open, Crooked River State Park is minutes away and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a 45-minute drive from downtown St. Marys.
It also is within easy driving distance of Jekyll Island’s beaches and Millionaire’s Village, Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island and Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation in Brunswick.
Despite the reluctance of many to travel during the pandemic, Wigger said the city is attracting leisure van travelers with the recent national and regional recognitions.
“Leisure van travelers tend to wander the roads less traveled to smaller destinations and really take the time to explore the areas they visit,” Wigger said. “Travel blogger stories and small town list placements are marketing boosts for our area any time of the year but are especially important and encouraging in a time when travelers are looking for smaller places to visit due to COVID-19.”