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April 11, 2016

Ocean City beats California shore town for best beach honors

South Jersey beach wins Coastal Living magazine's online tournament

How do you like them apples (or should we say, salt water taffy), California?

Ocean City has been named the best beach in America in an online poll conducted by Coastal Living magazine, according to the results of the bracket posted Monday. The Jersey Shore favorite garnered more than 100,000 votes.

The South Jersey town beat out Huntington Beach, California, in a head-to-head matchup for the title. The tournament included 32 beaches from across the country.

The winning beach will be featured in the June 2016 issue of Coastal Living and in a special online package.

“The contest included a lot of beautiful beaches, but the voters knew that Ocean City is much more than that,” Mayor Jay Gillian said in a statement. “It’s a tradition and a part of life for generations of residents and guests. Days on the beach and boardwalk nights in Ocean City are the fabric of many fond memories for people across the country. We all feel blessed to live in such a wonderful place and proud that so many visitors share our passion.”

"People take a lot of pride in Ocean City," added town spokesman Doug Bergen. "It's loyal; it's their beach." 

Bergen said winning the contest would certainly help attract those unaware of what Ocean City has to offer as a vacation destination, but added the town wasn't necessarily in dire need of the free advertising provided by the victory. 

"It's a big boost and it's a matter of pride, but we have a rock-solid visitorship," he said.

Ocean City, which calls itself "America's Greatest Family Resort, offers miles of guarded beaches, a 2.5-mile boardwalk and a downtown shopping and dining district. The town has about 12,000 year-round residents, but swells to 10 times that during the summer. Nearly 1 million people visit Ocean City every year.

The Huntington Beach City Beach, known as "Surf City," has 3.5 miles of shoreline. Home to a famous municipal pier, eight million annual visitors and many surfers.

The winner of the bracket was supposed to be announced earlier this month, but voting was temporarily suspended by the magazine due to "unusual voting activity."

What was so odd? Votes for Huntington Beach were coming in from places like France, Germany and Ukraine.

As a sign of good sportsmanship, the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce will send representatives of Huntington Beach a gift basket full of local treats.