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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Sunny St. Petersburg was recognized as one of the “Happiest Towns in America,” according to active lifestyle enthusiast magazine Outside.

What constitutes a happy town? That was the question magazine editors faced after deciding to apply their ‘happiest countries in the world’ lens to their ‘Best Towns’ in the U.S. list.

“It comes down to things like ample outdoor access, affordability, a safe environment, diversity, and freedom for residents to be who they are,” the outlet said.

To no surprise, that set of criteria resulted in a preliminary list of 300 contenders. But with an “obsessive amount of research,” Outside whittled that down to 15 winners.

“The list includes small towns like Hood River, Oregon, where life revolves around outdoor pursuits like windsurfing and mountain biking, as well as surprises like New Orleans, Louisiana, where “only a special magic could bind people to a place so vulnerable to rising seas,” Outside said.

America’s Happiest Towns Finalists:

  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Frederick, Maryland
  • Glenwood Springs, Colorado
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Hood River, Oregon
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Plano, Texas
  • Reno, Nevada
  • St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Tacoma, Washington
  • Wilmington, Delaware

Regardless if your town made the list or not, Outside said, “You’ll find towns in every region of the country that all share one thing in common: very happy residents.”