10th Annual Competition Celebrates Small Town America


March 5, 2015, New York, NY—Budget Travel (BudgetTravel.com) announced today that Grand Marais, MN, has been voted this year’s “Coolest Small Town in America.” Chincoteague, VA, claimed the runner-up spot in the annual contest celebrating small town America.


Each year Budget Travel encourages its readers to discover travel beyond the big cities and experience something different: America’s Coolest Small Towns. During the contest, Budget Travel profiles small American towns that stand out from mainstream America. Equal parts hip and humble, these towns offer visitors a truly authentic small town experience.


“Budget Travel defines a ‘cool’ small town as one with an energetic vibe, often blending community spirit with a vibrant arts scene, unique local history, and gorgeous scenery,” says Editor in Chief Robert Firpo-Cappiello. “With a population of only 1,351, Grand Marais is a great example of that something extra small towns often have—in this case, a very happening outdoors scene right alongside music and contemporary art.”


Last fall, readers nominated 385 small towns across the country (each with a population under 10,000) for the America’s Coolest Small Town contest.  Budget Travel’s editorial team then narrowed the list to 15 great locales they believed embodied cool, small town America. At the end of January, the public began voting with options that stretched from Hawaii to Maine.  The online poll closed March 4 at 11:59 p.m. and tallied 103,961 votes in five weeks. This overwhelming online response is a testament to America’s small town pride.


Budget Travel’s Top 10 list of the Coolest Small Towns in America for 2015:


  1. Grand Marais, MN (Population: 1,351)
  2. Chincoteague, VA (Population: 2,941)
  3. Hillsborough, NC (Population: 6,087)
  4. Allegan, WI (Population: 4,998)
  5. Washington, NC (Population: 9,744)
  6. Delhi, NY (Population: 3,087)
  7. Fort Myers Beach, FL (Population: 6,277)
  8. Huron, OH (Population: 7,149)
  9. Snohomish, WA (Population: 9,098)

10. Old Orchard Beach, ME (Population: 8,624)


Grand Marais, America’s Coolest Small Town for 2015, is located on the north shore of Lake Superior and is home to the Boundary Water Canoeing Area, one of the world’s perfect paddling destinations, with miles of waterways to navigate. This Cook County gem is also ideal for a romantic getaway or a real adventure; they have a little something for everyone.  Visit the town and you’ll find cozy B&Bs, a vibrant arts community, an annual Fisherman’s Picnic, Lake Superior National Forest, and restaurants whose names say it all: Angry Trout Café, Crooked Spoon, and Sven and Ole’s Pizza!


“Grand Marais did a great job in getting out the vote by rallying the community,” said Firpo-Cappiello. “This is a town with great enthusiasm for outdoor sports, the rugged wilderness and a real appreciation and cultivation of the arts, like guitar-making and plein air painting. Grand Marais is truly a uniquely cool community, and we’re very excited to see them crowned ‘The Coolest’ for 2015.”


Grand Marais joins an exclusive list of towns that have topped Budget Travel’s contest over the years such as Berlin, MD; Lititz, PA; Hammondsport, NY, and Beaufort, NC (a tie in 2012); Lewisburg, WV; Ely, MN; and Owego, NY.


Budget Travel’s July/August 2015 tablet issue will feature a story about Grand Marais and highlight the top 10 finalists.


About Budget Travel

Budget Travel is an 18-year-old multi-platform travel media and services company that empowers consumers to travel the globe on any budget. Budget Travel-branded content reaches more than 5.5 million consumers monthly through the digital magazine/tablet edition, website (www.BudgetTravel.com), mobile apps, social media and newsletters. The Budget Travel brand provides consumers with the how-to advice they won’t find elsewhere: how to get out there—through the joy, the thrills, the laughs, and secret spots—that all work together to make dream trips come true.


Find Budget Travel online at www.BudgetTravel.com, on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and on Twitter.


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For more information on Budget Travel, America’s Coolest Small Town contest or to arrange an interview with a Budget Travel editor, please contact: Amy Mironov Janish Ten27 Communications, Inc. amy@ten27inc.com or 646-469-4450.

Grand Marais WINS Budget Travel Magazine’s 10th Annual America’s Coolest Small Town Contest


Grand Marais WINS Budget Travel Magazine’s 10th Annual America’s Coolest Small Town Contest

COOK COUNTY, Minn. – March 5, 2015 — After a five-week long battle for votes, Grand Marais, Minn., has won Budget Travel Magazine’s 10th Annual America’s Coolest Small Town Contest.  Fifteen cool small towns from across the United States competed for the title, with the stiffest competition coming from Chincoteague, Virginia. However, Grand Marais supporters met the challenge by garnering 30 percent of the vote.  Voting closed at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4.

“Supporters genuinely believe Grand Marais is America’s coolest small town,” says Linda Kratt, executive director of Visit Cook County.  “There isn’t any other small town in the Midwest that has mountains and views of Lake Superior, the Gunflint Trail/Boundary Waters Canoeing Area gateway, as well as great dining, shopping, arts and music.  Our visitors, generations of families and friends truly understand the unique character of our quaint harbor village.  We thank you for your sustained support.”

“Budget Travel loves the way Grand Marais residents and visitors have this amazing enthusiasm for outdoor sports and the rugged wilderness and also a real appreciation and cultivation of the arts, from guitar-making to plein air painting. It is truly a uniquely cool community!” says Robert Firpo-Cappiello, editor in chief of Budget Travel magazine (budgettravel.com).

Visit Cook County is planning a “Toast to the Town” party on Friday, March 6, from 4-6 p.m. at Voyageur Brewing (http://www.voyageurbrewing.com) in Grand Marais.

About Visit Cook County

Cook County, Minn. includes the communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage. Visit Cook County inspires guests to rekindle their sense of adventure by boldly escaping the ordinary, from Minnesota’s tallest mountains to its greatest lakeshore. Stay in touch via www.visitcookcounty.com, Twitter @CookCoVisitors or Facebook.




KJERSTI VICK | Visit Cook County 218.387.2788 ext. 103 kjersti@visitcookcounty.com