SKOKIE, Ill., Sept. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Small town fans have nominated their favorites and the votes have been tallied! Today Rand McNally revealed the Best of the Road® Finalists in the hotly contested search for the 2013 Best Small Towns* in America. After two months of online voting at bestoftheroad.com, five towns were chosen as finalists in six categories - Most Beautiful, Most Fun, Most Patriotic, Friendliest, Best for Food, and Best for Geocaching – for a total of 30 finalist towns. The all-virtual 2013 contest has been more competitive than ever, breaking records across all metrics, including number of towns nominated, number of unique visitors, and number of votes placed.
"The Best of the Road program has been the most successful tourism campaign to discover Small Town America, and this year's record numbers are a testament to the program's ability to inspire pride in your hometown, and engage America in experiencing a new destination," said Rebecca Oistad, VP of Digital Strategy & Business Development, Rand McNally. "Our new digital product offerings for CVBs and DMOs, in addition to our partnerships with Good Sam and Geocaching.com, will help the winning destinations showcase the best their towns have to offer."
In 2013, Rand McNally's Best of the Road® contest increased participation by 45% vs. 2012, engaging over 97,000 individuals to date, who nominated nearly 1200 towns – a 40% increase, and generated more than 63,000 votes!
The five finalists in the six categories are:
Most Beautiful – Punta Gorda, Fla.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Quincy, Ill.; Arvada, Colo.; and Cloudcroft, N.M.
Most Fun – Jim Thorpe, Pa.; Lombard, Ill.; Corning, N.Y.; Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio; and Nocona, Texas
Most Patriotic – Mandan, N.D.; Gallup, N.M.; Enterprise, Ala.; Fairborn, Ohio; and Jonesborough, Tenn.
Friendliest – Kewanee, Ill.; Macon, Ga.; Bradenton, Fla.; Murray, Ky.; Koekuk, Iowa
Best for Food – San Mateo, Calif.; Walla Walla, Wash.; Roseville, Minn.; Galesburg, Ill.; and Charlottesville, Va.
Best for Geocaching, sponsored by Geocaching.com – West Bend, Wisc.; Peachtree City, Ga.; Helena, Mont.; Manhattan, Kan.; and Merritt Island, Fla.
Each Finalist is invited to submit a photo or video tour, and a written essay describing why it should be the winner of the contest in the selected category. The final judging will begin on September 27, and the selection will be based on a number of criteria including:
- the persuasiveness of the information contained in the Finalist Submission as to why the contestant town is the best Small Town in the U.S. in its Finalist Category;
- the originality and creativity of the Finalist Submission;
- the persuasiveness of the content of the online activity that addresses why the contestant town is the best Small Town in the U.S. in its Finalist Category;
- the volume of online activity about the contestant town between September 3, and September 27, 2013.
The winning town in each of the six categories will receive a FREE custom iPhone App and online travel guide developed by Rand McNally, coverage in the 2015 Road Atlas, billions of media impressions, thousands of new visitors and more!
From September 12, 2013 through September 27, 2013, the competition to be awarded the "Best" in each of the six categories – Most Beautiful, Most Fun, Most Patriotic, Friendliest, Best for Food, and Best for Geocaching will ensue. Winners will be announced on October 7, 2013.
For more information, read the Official Rules.
The winning town in each category will receive a FREE custom online travel guide and iPhone app – the perfect way to promote your town to travelers across America - developed by Rand McNally and powered by Best of the Road.
Finalists and winning towns will be featured in Good Sam Club's Road Trip Planner, a new online tool that helps road-trippers organize and plan their trips and the stops along the way.
Additionally, the winning Best for Geocaching town will receive a FREE GeoTour, courtesy of Geocaching.com. Geocachers from around the world will be able to use the Geocaching smartphone app to learn about the town's best places via strategically placed geocaches.
Follow and participate in Best of the Road today. Weigh in during the final judging period by using your social network to push your chosen finalist town to the top!
*Small towns for the Best of the Road program are defined using the 2010 U.S. Census definition of "Places" (Towns, Cities, Villages, CDPs, Municipalities, etc.) and having a population of under 150,000.
About Rand McNally – Rand McNally is the most trusted source for maps, directions, and travel content. Products and services include: Road travel review site bestoftheroad.com; America's #1 Road Atlas; RVND™ GPS for RVers; IntelliRoute® truck routing software and navigation devices; TPC 7600 and TND™ 760 mobile fleet management solutions for the transportation industry; and leading geography-based educational resources for the classroom. randmcnally.com
IntelliRoute, Best of the Road and Rand McNally are registered trademarks and TND and RVND are trademarks of RM Acquisition, LLC d/b/a Rand McNally.
SOURCE Rand McNally