When you think of the best beach towns in the U.S., you might think of places such as Miami Beach; Lahaina, Hawaii; or perhaps Santa Monica, Calif.
Or, if you work at the website WalletHub, you might think of the beautiful beaches of Olathe.
The personal finance website, in a study posted Wednesday, ranked Olathe among the best beach towns to live in across the country. Not only that, but the study ranks Olathe No. 20 out of more than 200 cities, despite the fact that Olathe is — obviously — located in northeast Kansas, hundreds of miles from the ocean.
According to WalletHub, the study included all U.S. cities with populations between 10,000 and 150,000 and at least one beach listed on the travel website TripAdvisor.
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Olathe does have at least one beach: most prominently at Lake Olathe.
But Olathe isn’t the Kansas City area’s only crown jewel beach town, according to WalletHub. Lee’s Summit comes in at No. 59 — possibly for the sandy expanses along Lake Jacomo.
If the ranking leaves some readers scratching their heads, city officials in Olathe were quick to seize on the good publicity, posting the WalletHub study on the city’s official Facebook page.
“Coming in ahead of Miami Beach, FL and Newport Beach, CA is OLATHE,” the post reads. “Named the 20th Best Beach Town to Live In the U.S.! WalletHub must be as excited as we are for the future of Lake Olathe!”
The post links to the city’s plans for future renovations at Lake Olathe, a small body of water in west Olathe, near Santa Fe Street and Lakeshore Drive. It is unclear if WalletHub factored into its study the city’s plans, which call for improvements to fishing and camping facilities in the park along the lake.
The methodology used in the study — which apparently led to cities in Alaska and Ohio also being named — includes measures of affordability, safety and education.
Lake Olathe is an artificial lake — created in the 1950s by damming Cedar Creek. Today, it is a 170-acre lake surrounded by a 208-acre community park.
The lake offers a boat ramp, two fishing docks and small patches of grass and sand along the side, but nothing near to a sunny coastline. There’s not much room to lay a beach towel down and catch a tan, but hey, there is disc golf in the surrounding park.
Perhaps the city’s planned addition of a new sand volleyball court will push Olathe higher up in WalletHub’s rankings next year.
Watch out, Duluth, Minn. Olathe is coming for you.