A national online contest by the Coastal Living Magazine helped to determine how happy Anna Maria in comparison to 9 other seaside towns in the USA is. The ten finalists were from 9 different states with Anna Maria and Vero Beach being the 2 seaside destinations in the Sunshine State. Others nominees were Cape Charles, VA, Bluffton, SC, Cannon Beach, OR, Cambria, CA, Bellport, NY and Hampton, NH, Ocean City, NJ and Traverse City, MI.
The yearly contest had picked the top 10 communities via social media nomination and by judging several criteria. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, percentage of clear and sunny days, healthiness of beaches, commute times, walkability, crime ratings, standard of living and financial well-being of locals, geographic diversity and coastal vibe were taken into consideration.
The voting started in January 2018 with the final result being announced in June 2018. There was discussion among the Anna Maria City commissioners what level of participation to take in this tremendous opportunity of free advertising. As with other topics on the island concerns of overexposure need to be weighed against the positive economic impact created by visitors. The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce were promoting the online contest at their Facebook pages and other digital media platforms.