Thanks to everyone who voted--the results are in, and the Coolest Small Town of 2013 is Lititz, PA!

Bay St. Louis, MS

(Population: 9,260)
Hurricane Katrina made landfall near this Mississippi Gulf hamlet in 2005, but the storm didn't crush its spirit. The 300-year-old Historic Old Town hosts a Second Saturday Artwalk, while a $21.1 million harbor project will help rebuild with a 1,100-ft pier and a recreational beach due for completion in 2014.

Camden, ME

(Population: 3,570)
Why choose between the mountains and the beach? This former ship-building town on Penobscot Bay is one of only two places on the Atlantic seaboard where the mountains meet the sea, which means you can follow up a harbor schooner cruise with a hike up 800-foot Mt. Battie.

Elkhart Lake, WI

(Population: 967)
You might say Elkhart Lake runs on two speeds—fast and slow. Thrill-seekers can find Road America, an off-road race circuit where drivers have been known to pass the 200 mph mark, but at the three lakeside Victorian-era resorts, mellow activities such as pontoon boating and summer bonfires will appeal to those looking to relive their summer camp memories.

Flagler Beach, FL

(Population: 4,484)
It's located just 20 miles north of Daytona Beach on A1A, but Flagler Beach couldn't be more different from its party-hearty neighbor to the south. Its six miles of pristine white sand are only interrupted by one fishing pier, and the area attracts more sea turtles and migrating whales than spring breakers.

Glenwood Springs, CO

(Population: 9,614)
For a Rocky Mountain town, Glenwood Springs is surprisingly focused on water. Sitting at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers, 40 miles north of Aspen, the town is home to the largest natural hot springs pool in the world.

Greenville, KY

(Population: 4,312)
Founded in 1799 and settled by Revolutionary War veterans, this former coal-mining town now buzzes with the twang of folk music guitars and harmonicas.

Gulf Shores, AL

(Population: 9,741)
Every October since 1971, this Gulf of Mexico beach town has hosted the National Shrimp Festival. Though Gulf Shores was hit hard by the 2010 BP oil spill, the powdery white beaches got an unexpected PR boost from the disaster and subsequent successful cleanup: For many Americans, it was the first time they learned Alabama even had beaches!

Le Claire, IA

(Population: 3,765)
Once home to 19th-century river pilots, this Iowa town is all about the Mighty Mississippi. In fact, the river plays a starring role in the town's coolest annual celebration: Tugfest, an across-the-river game of tug-of-war with Port Byron, Ill.

Lititz, PA

(Population: 9,369)
Founded in 1756 as a Moravian community, this town takes its 250-year history as seriously as it embraces its vibrant present. Visitors can quaff handcrafted ales at the Appalachian Brewing Company, savor homemade ice cream at Greco's, or shop for furniture made by noted Lancaster County craftsmen.

Mount Carroll, IL

(Population: 1,717)
Despite its pastoral, all-American setting, this town in the northwestern corner of Illinois revels in its quirkiness, being home to a Mad Hatter-themed antiques shop, and a year-round haunted house.

Put-in-Bay, OH

(Population: 138)
Put-in-Bay has always been utterly defined by its location, on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. Today, island life means coming and going via ferry or plane and fighting the summer crowds for the freshest seafood.

Quincy, CA

(Population: 1,728)
For those who like to spend their days in the wild, this gold rush town on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains boasts the mother lode of attractions: The nearby Bucks Lake Recreation Area offers world-class fishing, water-skiing, hikiing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing.

Shepherdstown, WV

(Population: 1,734)
Though this Revolutionary War-era town ranks as West Virginia's oldest, it's by no means a living museum: Surprisingly cool signs of life include a sophisticated bistro, a bluegrass bar singled out by Esquire, and the renowned Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University.

Travelers Rest, SC

(Population: 4,576)
Ironically, in Travelers Rest, resting is likely to be the last thing on the agenda. At the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the town is nestled among state parks full of hiking trails, and the popular Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 13.5 bike path that draws avid cyclists as well as families.

Watkins Glen, NY

(Population: 1,859)
In addition to awe-inspiring gorges, waterfalls and a NASCAR racetrack, this lakeside town is serious about its wine: The 50 local wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail are known for their light, crisp Rieslings.

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Finalists Details

Bay St. Louis, MS

(Population: 9,260)
You might call Bay St. Louis the little town that could. Hurricane Katrina made final landfall near this Mississippi Gulf hamlet in 2005, lifting homes off foundations, crumbling bridges, leveling businesses, and killing 12 people in its wake. But the storm didn't crush the spirit of Bay St. Louis. This year, the town received the highest number of votes, close to 10,000, of all 924 Coolest Small Town nominees. It's that sort of love that's helped them rebuild, literally from the ground up. Evidence of renewal can be found at every turn, like at the Mockingbird Cafe. First opened to serve Katrina volunteers and locals, it's now a neighborhood mainstay in Historic Old Town, serving up both frothy lattes and their belly-filling signature Mockingburger. Also calling the 300-year-old neighborhood home: a quirky mix of restaurants, galleries and Creole cottages and inns. Once a month, the district opens its doors for Second Saturday Artwalk, a day filled with art shows, live music and regional food specialties. Beach Boulevard's restored 19th-century waterfront homes are just a few blocks away, and the historic Bay Town Inn bed and breakfast is being rebuilt. Also underway: a $21.1 million harbor project that includes a 1,100-ft pier and a recreational beach, due for completion in 2014.

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Camden, ME

(Population: 3,570)
We've all been faced with the classic vacation dilemma: the mountains or the beach? But there's no need to settle, Camden's got them both covered. This mid-coastal town located on Penobscot Bay is one of only two places on the Atlantic seaboard where the mountains meet the sea. Those gorgeous vistas have been attracting vacationers to this former ship-building town since the 1800s, when wealthy families snatched up properties to build summer homes. Today, many of those mansions and estates have been converted to inns and bed and breakfasts, most within walking distance of the harbor. Go ahead, it's not cliché to dine on Maine lobster paired with a local wine at Fresh, a waterfront restaurant on Bay View Landing. Afterwards, browse the galleries, antique shops and general stores on Main Street for one-of-a-kind crafts, clothing and jewelry. When the ocean is calling, take sail from Camden Harbor on a tall-masted schooner cruise that explores the Maine coast, lighthouses, islands, and coves. Left your sea legs back at the B&B? No problem. Camden Hills State Park offers 30 miles of hiking trails in 5,700 acres of wooden hills including Mt Battie, an 800-foot summit with stunning views of the bay.

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Elkhart Lake, WI

(Population: 967)
You might say Elkhart Lake runs on two speeds: adrenaline-pumping fast and good-ol'-days calm. Just outside of town, in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, speedsters can find Road America, a four-mile off-road race circuit built in the 1950s where racers have been known to pass the 200 mph mark. But back around the lake—crystal blue, spring-fed, cedar-lined, and 120-feet deep—the pace is decidedly more relaxed. At the three lakeside Victorian-era resorts, activities such as pontoon boating, wakeboarding, and summer bonfires will call to mind those long-lost memories of summer camp. 

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Flagler Beach, FL

(Population: 4,484)
Twenty miles north of Daytona Beach on A1A, Flagler Beach couldn't be more different from its party-hardy neighbor to the south. In fact, the area seems to attract more sea turtles and right whales than spring breakers. And it's not hard to see why: This thin strip of a beach town, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, has remained significantly less developed than its neighbors. The six miles of pristine sand—which boast an orange hue thanks to crushed coquina shells—are only interrupted by one fishing pier. In town, the vibe is laid back and retro, thanks to spots like Grampa's Uke Joint, which sells ukuleles, and High Tides at Snack Jack, a 1950s fish shack that attracts surfers with funky dishes like tuna reubens, ahi club sandwiches, and sake Bloody Marys.  

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Glenwood Springs, CO

(Population: 9,614)
For a Rocky Mountain town, Glenwood Springs is surprisingly focused on water. Sitting at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers, 40 miles north of Aspen, the town is home to the largest natural hot springs pool in the world, which has attracted the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Doc Holliday, and Al Capone since the opening of a lodge in 1890. In addition to soaking in the steamy springs—even when there are feet of powder on the ground—you can try water-centric activities from whitewater rafting to fly-fishing to kayaking. As you can probably tell from the waters bubbling up under Glenwood Springs, there's as much going on underground as there is above it. Below the town are miles of caverns, filled with creatively named formations like cave popcorn, moonmilk, soda straws, and cave bacon. 

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Greenville, KY

(Population: 4,312)
That particularly Southern combination of down-home charm and old-fashioned grandeur is old hat in Greenville. Founded in 1799 and settled by Revolutionary War veterans, it grew over the next century into the seat of one of the South's most profitable coal-mining regions. That history is reflected in the enduring elegance of city landmarks such as the 105-year-old Beaux Arts courthouse and 111-year-old Palace Theater. On Main Street, laid-back locals and mom-and-pop establishments evoke the guitar and harmonica twangs of folk songs. You might even hear John Prine's "Paradise" as you stroll the streets—the renowned singer-songwriter penned some of his most famous lyrics about the coal-mining history of Greenville and the surrounding area. The town's musical legacy lives on at Rockford's Place Café: part eatery, part jam session venue, it adds a little funk to the Greenville scene.

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Gulf Shores, AL

(Population: 9,741)
Folks in this Gulf of Mexico beach town must get tired of hearing tourists do their best Bubba impersonations. But comparisons to Forrest Gump’s shrimp-loving sidekick are only logical: Each October since 1971, the town hosts the National Shrimp Festival, often attracting over 250,000 people with shrimp cook-offs, concerts, and sandcastle contests. If you don’t make it here during the three-day festivities, don’t fret. Shrimp shows up on menus all around town, including the dockside Lulu’s at Homeport Marina, which is owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister Lucy. Like much of the Gulf of Mexico, the area was hit hard by the 2010 BP oil spill. But, ironically, the area’s powdery white beaches got an unexpected PR boost from the disaster and subsequent successful cleanup): For many Americans, it was the first time they learned Alabama even has beaches!

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Le Claire, IA

(Population: 3,765)
Le Claire, IA, has always had a close relationship with the Mississippi River. In the 19th century, the town was home to the river pilots who navigated through the dangerous Upper Rapids. Nowadays, the pilots are commemorated by the Mississippi River Distilling Company, which crafts concoctions, such as River Baron Artisan Spirit and Cody Road Bourbon, named for the city's most famous native son, William "Buffalo Bill" Cody. You can best explore the waterway with an overnight cruise on the elegant Riverboat Twilight. While onboard, make sure to keep an eye out for the river's most celebrated residents, bald eagles and white pelicans. The Mighty Mississippi even plays a starring role in the town's coolest annual celebration: Tugfest, a cross-river tug-of-war with Port Byron, IL. 

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Lititz, PA

(Population: 9,369)
Founded in 1756 as a Moravian community, Lititz takes its 250-year history seriously even as it embraces its vibrant present. This Lancaster County town's Lititz Springs Park has been a center of town life since the 18th century, when it was the site of public concerts, and houses a welcome center in a replica of a 19th-century Reading & Columbia Railroad depot. The Lititz Historical Foundation offers costumed guided tours and a museum that includes Native American artifacts, a replica of a Moravian home, and a heritage garden. But, of course, the past is only the beginning in Lititz, where visitors can quaff handcrafted ales at the Appalachian Brewing Company of Lititz, savor homemade ice cream at Greco's, or shop for furniture made by noted Lancaster County craftsmen. 

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Mount Carroll, IL

(Population: 1,717)
Don't be fooled by the elegant brick courthouse and the pastoral farmland settings: Though this town in Illinois's northwestern corner looks like classic Main Street, U.S.A., there's something gleefully, well, off about the place. And the residents wouldn't have it any other way. Need proof? The local antiques store and tea room has a Victorian Mad Hatter theme. Weirdest of all—by a country mile—is Mount Carroll's year-round haunted house, the Raven's Grin Inn. The 19th-century mansion has been converted into a spooky art piece with a homemade pterodactyl skeleton, a giant metal skull, four cars sticking out of the facade, and a series of slides and trapdoors. 

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Put-in-Bay, OH

(Population: 138)
Put-in-Bay is utterly defined by its location, on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. The bay has been an essential part of lake navigation since Native Americans first plied the waters centuries ago. (The town's name likely comes from the boating term "put-in," meaning to enter the water.) The island was the site of a key naval battle in the War of 1812, and Perry's Cave, where Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's men obtained the clean drinking water to which their victory over the British is partly attributed, is a popular historical site. Today, island life means coming and going via ferry or plane (even some schoolkids commute via plane from neighboring islands), and patiently waiting out winters that see few visitors. But all that changes in summer, when the community welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists to popular resorts, restaurants specializing in—what else?—seafood (you must try the local favorite, lobster bisque), craft shops, and award-winning Heineman Winery.

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Quincy, CA

(Population: 1,728)
This gold rush town on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where prospectors flocked in the rush of 1849, remains a mother lode of attractions for those who like to spend their days in the wild but welcome some culture and pampering in the evening. Nearby Bucks Lake Recreation Area is the kind of place you can visit every weekend and never quite do the same thing twice, including world-class fishing, water-skiing, hiking in warm weather, and winter snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Back in town, the historic 1920s-era courthouse is just one of several architectural gems. Pick up a self-guided Heritage Walk tour pamphlet at the Plumas County Museum, behind the courthouse, and explore downtown's murals depicting scenes from the area's history. Then take your pick of excellent pub and café fare that, true to Northern California tradition, belies its small-town locale.

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Shepherdstown, WV

(Population: 1,734)
You might say all roads lead to West Virginia's oldest town, which celebrated its 250th birthday in 2012: The Potomac River, the C&O Canal, and the Appalachian Trail all pass through this Revolutionary War-era town in the lower Shenandoah Valley. But look behind those preserved 18th-century brick facades for surprisingly cool signs of life—this place is by no means a living museum. Housed in a Confederate hospital, the Mecklenburg Inn is known for its live bluegrass music and was named one of the best bars in America by Esquire. And the sophisticated Bistro 112 is housed in an 1830s brick building that once served as the town's haberdasher. The Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University stages productions from renowned playwrights like Neil LaBute, David Mamet, and Sam Shepard.       

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Travelers Rest, SC

(Population: 4,576)
It's ironic: in Travelers Rest—a town whose unusual name came from the inns and taverns that served as stopping points for pioneer-era settlers and cattle drovers trekking through the area—resting is likely to be the last thing on the agenda. At the foot of the Blue Ridge, the town is nestled among state parks, and its popular Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 13.5 bike path connecting TR (as it's known locally) with neighboring Greenville, SC. Built on a former railroad track, the flat trail draws avid cyclists as well as families, helping this small town thrive even through the economic downturn. A bustling downtown, the result of a dedicated revitalization effort, boasts antique shops, coffee houses, and excellent BBQ, chicken, and waffle joints.

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Watkins Glen, NY

(Population: 1,859)
Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about New York's Finger Lakes region isn't that it's home to stunningly beautiful and, yes, finger-shaped, bodies of water, but that there is so much else to see and do here. Award-winning wineries, awe-inspiring gorges and waterfalls, and a racetrack that draws visitors to auto-racing events are also front-and-center. If you want to spend a day (or two, or a week) in nature, Watkins Glen State Park offers a series of jaw-dropping waterfalls, and the Finger Lakes National Forest (the only national forest in New York State) is heaven for the trail-happy hiker. Watkins Glen International Racetrack draws crowds to NASCAR races and other auto events. To get a taste of the vineyards of Watkins Glen and its neighboring communities, set out on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, which includes 50 local wineries, many renowned for their light, crisp Rieslings.

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Coolest Small Town Contenders

Bay St. Louis, MS Camden, ME Elkhart Lake, WI Flagler Beach, FL Glenwood Springs, CO Greenville, KY Gulf Shores, AL Le Claire, IA Lititz, PA Mount Carroll, IL Put-in-Bay, OH Quincy, CA Shepherdstown, WV Travelers Rest, SC Watkins Glen, NY