Rand McNally –the Map people- and USA Today –the newspaper people- teamed up for a contest to find the Best towns out on the road.  Teams traveled for three weeks, covering 25-thousand miles and discovered a couple of gems here in the Northwest.

 Walla Walla was determined to be the friendliest small city in America.  The report cites “This southeastern Washington community may be famous for its sweet onions and growing wine industry, but those aren't the only things …..You can ride your bike around the entire city in the morning, see kids at the BMX park in the afternoon and see a musical under the stars in the evening…It seemed everyone was involved and loved their city, from wine growers and politicians to cleanup crews. This is a happy town which made for friendly people."

 That’s a pretty sweet endorsement for the sweet onion capital.  Visitors also suggested going for a hot-air balloon ride and obviously paying a visit to one of the area's more than 100 wineries .

 Runner up cities were Lake Havasu City, Ariz., - Mount Airy, N.C., Nacogdoches, - Texas, Valdosta,  - Ga. & Woodward, Okla.

 From heart warming friendliness to breath taking beauty, the travel teams selected another North West community as Most Beautiful.  Sandpoint, Idaho located on Lake Pend Oreille about an hour and a half east of Spokane is a show and trip stopper.  Travelers report “the quaint downtown shops and restaurants welcomed us in, and its landscape kept us in awe” …adding "from a chairlift ride to the top of the local ski area, Schweitzer Mountain, you can stand in Idaho and see Canada, Montana and Washington. At 6,400 feet, the expansive view kept us so mesmerized we missed our lunch date — and we had a snowball fight in July."

 Runner up cities were •Baker City, Ore  - Franklin, Tenn. – Marco Island, Fla., Pacifica, Cal.  & Coral Gables, Fla.


Winners the other categories were Lafayette, Louisiana with Best Food, Glenwood Springs, Colorado as Most Fun & Rapid City, South Dakota as Most Patriotic.


More From News Talk KIT