We all know how cool Florence is as a place to live and to vacation, but now Flights.com lists us as one of the “8 Coolest Cities You Must Experience for Yourself.”

Flights.com touts itself as “the hip younger brother of Expedia,” the online travel agency that last year named Florence it’s most beautiful town in America.

Jennifer Cuellar, writer for Flights.com, posts on her national blog “There are experiences we hold onto long after we travel. When it comes it our happiness levels, we can buy stuff, but studies show that experiences make us happier. And there’s no better way to experience life than to travel to new places. So the question is: Where should you travel next?”

In her story Cuellar highlights the places that leave travelers surprised, intrigued, and marked by unexpected thrills. Her list included such famous—and out-of-the-way places—as Durham, North Carolina; Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Beach Haven, New Jersey; Holland, Michigan; Lake George, New York; Glendale, Arizona; and Mansfield, Massachusetts.

Here’s what she had to say about Florence: “Here’s something we bet you’ve never done before: sandboarding. Much like you would with snowboarding, you grab a board and cut down the side of a hill. Where should you try this new sport? Florence, Oregon, where you’ll find Sand Master Park, the first all-sandboarding park of its kind.

“This is just one of the reasons why Florence is one of the best American cities to visit. While you’re here:
Prefer some ocean to go with your sand? Then trek over to the famous Sea Lion Caves, which are the largest sea caves in America. While you’re on the shoreline, keep your eyes open for Heceta Head, one of the most photographed lighthouses on the West Coast. Feeling a need for speed? Up the ante with a dune buggy ride. Make your way to Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and sign up for a buggy tour that will take you through some wild terrain.”

Florence Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Bettina Hannigan is thrilled by the coverage.

“Tourism is our leading industry, the backbone of our economy and quality of life. It accounts for 1300 jobs and 127 million dollars flowing through our community,” says Hannigan. “To achieve yet another national recognition is a tremendous gain for Florence. Florence is most fortunate to have Sandmaster Park as a national destination and an active local partner in the community.”

Recently Florence has been named the second-best small town in the northwest by USA Today, America’s most beautiful town by Expedia, and as the best coastal getaway by readers of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com.