Travel site names Grand Marais 'coolest' U.S. small town

Taking a dip in Superior
Grand Marais earned props for the town's "upbeat spirit" and much more. Here, logrolling competitors joined hands for a dip in Lake Superior at the 85th annual Fisherman's Picnic festival.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News 2014

Grand Marais, Minn., is the coolest small town in America — and it has nothing to do with the weather.

Readers of Budget Travel magazine and its BudgetTravel.com site named the Lake Superior town coolest for 2015. Grand Marais snagged 30 percent of more than 100,000 votes in the contest, Budget Travel said in a statement Thursday.

It beat out Chincoteague, Va., and 13 other small towns across the country, including one in Hawaii.

So what's "cool?" Budget Travel defines it as "an energetic vibe that often combines community spirit with a vibrant arts scene, great food, natural beauty, and unique history."

The magazine cited the town's "upbeat spirit," its closeness to the Boundary Waters ("one of the world's perfect paddling destinations") and the prospects for romantic getaways and good food among the reasons Grand Marais is, for this year at least, coolest in the nation.

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