And best of all, all the friendly folks smile and wave at every turn. If you’re still on the lookout for your new home-town, keep reading this list. You’ll be sure to find your spot soon enough.
Leavenworth becomes one big tourist trap during Christmastime. Tucked deep in the mountainous forests of central Washington, the town fully exaggerates its alpine aesthetics, with a Nutcracker museum, and live reindeer.
But if you come any other time of year, you’re in for a true mountain paradise, one that’s often overshadowed, especially in warmer months, by Washington’s glimmering coasts. The holidays try their hardest to manufacture magic. But once the crowds have dissipated, that same magic comes naturally in this Bavarian Brigadoon.
New Jersey: Sea Bright
Suppose you want to experience the Jersey Shore without barrels of industrial sludge. In that case, Sea Bright is a veritable 1.2-square-mile oasis of bars you want to visit, beaches where you can find a nook to yourself, and everything else you love about summer, including ice cream.
Sea Bright is surrounded by the mighty Navesink River on the west and the even mightier Atlantic on the east. Sea Bright isn’t overwhelmed by kitschy tourist traps and saltwater taffy stands.
Lucas has been called the “Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas,” the tiny town smack dab in the middle of the state is home to art both compelling and different. From the downtown’s storied public restroom in Bowl Plaza; sculpture and rock gardens; the five-room, a traveling roadshow dedicated to putting mega roadside attractions in miniature.
There are, of course, more traditional small towns all over Kansas. But for a certain set of people, this is paradise. And for the rest of us, it’s an essential stopping point on a cross-country trip.
Wisconsin: Chippewa Falls
More enchanting and less busy than its neighbor, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls feels like a village with a few extra city amenities. Lovers of the outdoors will appreciate 40 public boat landings in the county, the Hickory Ridge mountain biking trail, and about a hundred nearby lakes for fishing.
On the south end of Lake Wissota lies County Highway X, lined with taverns, restaurants, and supper clubs with stunning lake views.
With a population of 2,494, this former silver-mining town sits near a dead-end valley, with mountains sporting gorgeous waterfalls: Telluride's Bridal Veil. With peaks great for mountain biking, skiing, or hiking. Telluride may be the most walker-friendly ski town in North America.
This town has blossomed into one of the nation's best festival sites, with renowned events like the Bluegrass Festival and Telluride Film Festival.
Missouri, Sainte Genevieve
As this town's name suggests, Sainte Genevieve was originally a French Canadian town, and history is one of its major draws. Laying claim as the oldest town in Missouri, it lauds an impressive historical museum and buildings dating back 200 years.
Some of the Sainte Genevieve homes are superbly preserved, while others lay abandoned and ramshackle, providing an eerie atmosphere that's equally compelling.
Cape Cod comprises dozens of small towns with wood-shingled houses that turn gray with the salt air, but none are as popular as Chatham. With a population of 6,125, this charming little town has two beautiful resorts with water views, and fine dining caters to the area.
The high-end stores lining its "downtown" are mere steps from the ocean, where on any given day, you will see the herd of seals that call this area home.
The "Best Little Town" in the state has a population of 400 who enjoy incredible views of Devils Tower, which is America's first National Monument. However, that populations balloons to over 100,000, with bikers en route to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
Whether you decide to explore the area on a motorcycle or horseback, you'll want to make time on your schedule for a meal at the Ponderosa Cafe, a place that fits the town's Old West vibe.
Oregon: Hood River
Hood River is a peaceful gateway into some of the state’s best nature, chock-full of scenic hiking and mountain biking trails, craft breweries, wineries, and farm-to-table bounty.
With a population of 7,688, this town is overlooked by the Columbia River Gorge, meaning you can engage in several outdoor activities that include hiking, skiing, paddle boarding, and mountain biking. The 1886 E.L. Smith Building is the oldest in the city.
The town of Middleburg was established in 1787, soon after the Revolutionary War, and still sustains its small-town and close-knit community vibe. Middleburg is known as the "Horse and Hunt" capital, but it also packs a lot of luxury in one little town.
Set in the rolling countryside at the pier of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, residents have their pick of top-rated establishments and high-end boutiques. The famed Salamander Resort & Spa offers an incredible escape in an exquisite setting.
This county town has long attracted shoppers and visitors who want to take in the year-round-gorgeous scenery and shop the area's charming small businesses.
Its homey feel embraces visitors while maintaining its local character, with plenty of events where you can meet neighbors or even make new friends. The second annual Lobster on the Green is sure to attract a crowd.
Midway's stunning landscape and chalet-style architecture attract tourists all-year-round, with thousands coming for the annual Swiss Days, a multi-day celebration of the town's Swiss founders in the summer, and the prime skiing in the winter.
Midway is located in the Heber Valley, approximately 28 miles southeast of Salt Lake City and 3 miles west of Heber City, on the opposite side of the Wasatch Mountains. No matter when you visit, a must-see is the Homestead Caldera, a geothermal hot pool that's a hot 90 degrees all year.
South Dakota: Deadwood
Early settlers named deadwood after the dead trees found in its gulch. Nowadays, Deadwood may be a popular destination for casino gambling, but it offers much, much more.
The famed Black Hills area surrounds the town, where one can find secluded forests, snowmobile trails, and ski resorts. Deadweird, a celebration of all things odd that takes place around Halloween, is a favorite new tradition.
Pennsylvania: New Hope
New Hope is a classic town with deep roots in the arts. It's long attracted artists who loved the scenery along the Delaware River. The Bucks County Playhouse has been the stage for performers ranging from Grace Kelly to Audra McDonald and is still an excellent spot to watch a show.
Though many residents are originally from New York City, they find no reason to leave the town searching for a great night of entertainment.
Portland may get all the attention, but Oregon has many charming small towns. Another favorite is Jacksonville, a historic Gold Rush town in the heart of the state's wine country.
Jacksonville is now known for a thriving cultural and epicurean scene, combined with the quality of life and moderate climate combined with the small-town appeal. Walk-ability makes this a highly desirable place for people who can choose where to live.
North Carolina: Ocracoke Island
This tiny island in North Carolina's Outer Banks is home to just under 1,000 people and can only be reached by boat or plane. Much of the island is still undeveloped, so you can find wild ponies roaming.
Many choose to explore the island by bike, on foot, or on horseback, then head back for a meal at a laid-back restaurant on the waterfront. The Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum is set in an early 1900s house, tracing the island's history.
New York: Cold Spring
The small town in New York called Cold Spring has long been a favorite of day-trippers that radiates charm and an abundance of things to see and to do for one weekend or many. We can guess that many might have decided to relocate after a particularly picturesque glimpse of the darling downtown in Cold Spring.
This place seems like the recipe for a peaceful afternoon while strolling through Main Street and then sitting by the waterfront to watch the Hudson River.
Minden isn't exactly the kind of place you think of when you hear "Nevada small town." Its residential neighborhoods boast comparatively leafy tree-lined streets due to its position bordering the forest and the desert.
This being Nevada, you can go have a bit of a gamble at the Carson Valley Inn — or take in the beauty of the Topaz Lake State Park.
In the 19th century, Philipsburg was a thriving mining town, but now the historic town has a lot to offer visitors; it's where you can find the antique variety's treasures. If all that searching has you parched, there's no better way to quench your thirst than at the Philipsburg Brewing Company, housed in the historic Sayers building.
Although Philipsburg is home to less than 1,000 residents, it doesn't stop them from celebrating a wide variety of festivals and annual events.
Although Saugatuck sits in what's known to be the state's Bible belt, the town is an artsy, waterfront resort town in West Michigan. This charming little beach town and famed art colony have been a favorite for many as their summer destination for years.
The main attraction is the lovely Oval Beach, of course, but there are loads to do in town, like sampling local wines at Fenn Valley Tasting Room.
About 130 miles west of Boston sits Stockbridge, neatly tucked into the Berkshire hills; this little town represents to many the very best of small-town New England. What began as a small village prospered to a resort town with the most famous Main Street in America thanks to a memorable Norman Rockwell painting.
Stockbridge has often been described as quintessential small-town America. This beautiful western town in Massachusetts inspired Norman Rockwell's artwork ... and perhaps hundreds of more families to settle down here. The town is magical during the holiday season, with old-fashioned decor trimming the streets.
They say Berlin in Worcester County and is one of the best places to live in Maryland. Living in Berlin offers residents a sparse suburban feel. Don't let the historic architecture make you think that Berlin is a sleepy old town; it was once named the "Coolest Small Town in America."
Main Street's shopping district has over 50 retail shops, with plenty more bakeries, restaurants, and plenty of antique stores. Plus, how could life ever be dull with Ocean City a mere 10 miles away?
If you like the architecture of Miami but fancy a less-crowded atmosphere, head up to Surfside, known as the city's "uptown beach town." Surfside has a laidback vibe with walking distance to the beach, making it ideal for young families with children.
Residents enjoy such perks as yoga on the beach and fun events like a monthly communal picnic on the beach. There are many hotels on the beachfront, making it a nice stroll along the seashore past them.
This traditional village is the slightly less-crowded alternative to Mystic. Tree-lined streets and marina views give this small town a quaint feel, especially if you make a shopping trip in the many small shops.
This village holds a dense community of historic homes and local businesses that sit on a small, steep peninsula at the Mystic River entrance with a long tradition of fishing, lobstering, and boat-building.
Life's a little more relaxed in Ouray, perhaps due to the hot springs and the scenic beauty of the surrounding mountains that might inspire a new perspective on life. Ouray is known as the "Switzerland of America" because of the San Juan mountain range's surrounding peaks on three and a half sides of town.
The quaint town was named after Chief Ouray of the Ute Indians, a local tribe. This Victorian-era mining town is as authentic as it gets, so you'll only find locally-owned restaurants and boutiques.
Bisbee is a historic mining town with a small population of 6,000 people in south-central Arizona, close to the Mexican border. Suppose you are looking for an interesting, off-beat place; this town might be the place for you as it happily embraces the arts and has a generally free-spirited atmosphere.
Bisbee maybe three hours away from Phoenix, but this former copper mining town is now known for its walkability, eclectic art galleries, unique architecture, and a melting pot of residents.
Though it's right in the middle of California's Santa Ynez wine country, Solvang will make you feel as if you've been transported to a European village. Solvang is located just a short 45-minute drive from Santa Barbara, making this charming town of 5,909 a worthwhile day trip.
Once you've visited, you'll probably want to move there full time. With so many things to see and so many restaurants to try, Solvang is one of our favorite Southern California destinations.
Unalaska is just a speck far away in the middle of strong seas on the map. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere and only accessible by plane or boat, this secluded small town of Unalaska offers many activities for nature lovers and history buffs.
You can choose to explore the many beautiful hiking trails or go whale watching, or you can visit the Museum of the Aleutians. The land has a fierce beauty, luring all levels of hikers and experienced and even hard-core gliders, kayakers, and surfers.
It's been called a real-life living museum, with history reigning supreme in this postcard-size town. It doesn't get much smaller than Mooresville, with a population of about 50. This town has white picket fences that frame tree-shaded pavements.
Visiting this town is like traveling back into a time of gracious plenty, where city noise is the rustling of oaks and congestion is the growth of moss on clapboard cottage. As we would expect, everyone knows each other here.
It seems that California has a small town for every taste: and there’s something just magical about this little town called Healdsburg. Nestled into Sonoma County’s wine country, this small settlement looks like somebody took the best version of every small-town and placed it in the middle of the forest.
It’s idyllic and pristine, set amid the highly walkable tree-lined streets, you’ll find local boutiques and cafes aplenty, wine cellars, markets, old-school guest houses, and one of California’s most iconic breweries.
Delaware: New Castle
Located less than seven miles outside of Wilmington, and sitting on the Delaware River, is a small town called New Castle, with a population of just over 5,280. Cobblestone streets and brick buildings remind visitors of the town’s colonial history.
Be sure to check out the Amstel House, which was built in the 1700’s by the town’s wealthiest resident, on your way to the First State National Historic Park. There are many more hotels to choose from just six miles away, but if you’re looking for a great place to stay in New Castle, there’s always the Terry House Bed and Breakfast.
Whitefish is known for being one of the best ski towns in Montana. And how could it not be? Full of 3,000 acres of rolling hills, and 105 trails in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, it attracts visitors from all over the country, especially those who enjoy outdoor activities.
Taking a break from hitting the slopes? Pop into the Bonsai Brewing Project for a quick bite and some brews to warm you up. Not a fan of beer? Head to Folklore instead for a hot cup of coffee with a pastry.
Washington: Friday Harbor
The coastal scenes at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island aren’t what most people picture when they think about the landscape in Washington. But this small waterfront town has it all – a charming downtown area with great shops and eateries, happy and welcoming residents, and plenty of healing negative ions from the seaside air.
One of the best things about visiting this town is that you can get everywhere on foot in a matter of minutes, so there’s no need to drive around. Check out the Island Inn at 123 West for beautiful views of the harbor from your room. Plus, they pride themselves on being green.
West Virginia: Berkeley Springs
Nestled into the heart of the Appalachians, in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, lies a town that some like to refer to as “almost heaven.” Berkeley Springs is full of natural beauty and hot springs, which makes it the perfect area to unwind in.
First, head to Cacapon Resort State Park for hiking, biking, golfing, horseback riding, and other kinds of play on 6,000 acres. Then, move over to Berkeley Springs to relax in the mineral spa or Roman Bath House. Finally, check out the vintage Star Movie Theatre, where you can catch a flick for just $3.75.
Arkansas: Eureka Springs
If you’re looking for a quaint, beautiful mountainside town to visit in Arkansas, Eureka Springs is it. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the town boasts a lovely array of cottages and cabins that are nestled right into the Ozarks. With the White River running through the heart of downtown, those who enjoy fishing – or eating fish – will have a blast.
The town is full of antique shops and art galleries, and often hosts art and jazz festivals and other events. Stay at the historic 1886 Crescent Hotel for mountaintop spa services and nightly ghost tours for the kids. Make sure to visit the Promised Land Animal Park, which is home to hundreds of different endangered and rare species from around the globe.
This small ski town in Idaho is where the world’s first chairlift was created. It constantly makes lists of the best ski towns in Idaho, both for visitors and residents. In 2016, it made Movoto’s list of the “Five Small Towns in Idaho to Put Down Roots In.”
If you’re looking for gorgeous views to wake up to in the morning, check out the Limelight Hotel on Main Street. Then, head to Kneadery for a homecooked lunch and a Peach Bellini.
Nebraska: Nebraska City
In the heart of the Midwestern United States lies a hidden gem – Nebraska City. The founder of Arbor Day, J. Sterling Morton, grew up here, and his home is now open to the public as a part of the Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and Arboretum. The mansion is open for self-guided tours throughout the winter and is available for private events year-round.
There’s really only one place that’s a must-stay when you’re in town, and that’s the Lied Lodge, located on the Arbor Day Farm. For the past six years, it’s been named as the best place to stay in the middle of the U.S by Meetings MidAmerica.
North Carolina: Beaufort
North Carolina is full of beautiful coastal towns. But the Outer Banks area is particularly special. Beaufort is located in Carteret County, and has received several mentions in different publications. Travel + Leisure called the area “America’s Favorite Town,” – and for good reason.
The town boasts gorgeous beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. Check into the Langdon House Bed and Breakfast for spectacular Southern hospitality. And, don’t forget to cruise down the Crystal Coast during your time in North Carolina. Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach are both just a few miles away and make wonderful places to spend the day with the family, or just collecting shells and taking a breather to get away from it all.
Hawaii: Pa’ia, Maui
Pa’ia is a must-see when you’re in the Maui region of Hawaii. Full of a rich, plantation past, the town boasts an array of surf and sweets shops, alongside plenty of art galleries, restaurants, and clothing boutiques. Simmer Hawaii is said to be one of the best shops in the area for both men and women.
Looking for an energy boost before you hit the waves? Stop by Paia Bay Coffee on Hana Highway for an iced latte. If you’re on the prowl for something a bit more substantial, check out Mama’s Fish House for some delicious local seafood.
This small city in western Illinois may be tiny, but it’s got a whole lot of flavor. Lying eight miles south of Wisconsin, and about 15 miles east of Iowa, Galena is known as “The City That Time Forgot,” due to its historic feel and aesthetics.
The oldest home in the town, Belvedere, is open to the public for tours. There are 22 rooms in the mansion, which is more than 5,000 square feet large. If you enjoy root beer, make sure you don’t miss the amazing selection at Root Beer Revelry. Then, pop into Fritz and Frites for some delicious French and German cuisine.
While a lot of the places on our list are coastal areas, Moab offers a different kind of beauty in its natural landscape. The red rock canyons make for a stunning sight at sunrise and sunset, which is the perfect reason (or at least, one of them) to take an early morning hike through Arches National Park. In fact, the park is arguably the best part of this small Western town. If you’re not the early morning type, the views will still be pretty amazing any time of day.
Aside from adventuring through all of the nearby parks, the area also offers an array of boutiques, restaurants, and bars. But if you’re in the mood for something faster on your way to the next hike, grab a bite to eat at the Quesadilla Mobilla food truck on Main Street for some delicious Mexican fare.
Breckenridge is located at the base of the Tenmile Mountains, and, like many towns in Colorado, is known for its excellent skiing and snowboarding trails. Definitely a town worth visiting, it’s full of luxurious ski resorts and shops. During summer, hiking, rafting, and biking are popular throughout the gorgeous area, as well.
If you find yourself in Breckenridge, stay at The Bivvi for beautiful views and homecooked breakfasts, along with fireplaces in your room. If you’re looking for delicious Colorado cuisine, head to Twist for some Rocky Mountain Trout.
Marietta was settled in the 1780’s and has become a favorite vacation spot for locals and their Midwestern neighbors. Full of rich history, the town offers a “Hidden Marietta” tour which shows visitors the spots where the brothels and bars of the past were located.
Once you’ve parked your car where you plan to spend the duration of your trip, you likely won’t need it again until you’re ready to check out! Walk along the river and throughout the historic downtown area and choose from all kinds of cozy restaurants, bars, and shops.
Oregon: Cannon Beach
When you picture Oregon, what is it that you think of? Whatever it is, it’s probably not beautiful coastlines – but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Cannon Beach. Haystack Rock is the world’s third largest monolith (a large single stone monument,) and attracts visitors from all over the United States.
Aside from incredible views and coastal walks, you’ll also find some of the nation’s best art galleries throughout the area. Plus, it’s only a short distance away from another one of Oregon’s best cities: Seaside!
Wisconsin: Mineral Point
Mineral Point is a town with a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. The area operated as mining town and is still home to several of the original buildings, including the cabins at Pendarvis. The Railroad Museum houses quite a few pieces of the town’s past, too, and is definitely worth a visit.
There are several other historical sites also worth visiting if you’re in Mineral Point, as well, including the Merry Christmas Mine Hill and Orchard Lawn. Take your pick from the area’s wonderful hotels, all of which average 4.5-5 stars on most review sites. Some will tell you that the best in the area is a toss-up between the Walker House and Mineral Point Hotel and Suites.
Louisiana: St. Francisville
A part of the Baton Rouge Metro area, St. Francisville has a population of less than 1,700, and has been referred to as the “town two miles long and two yards wide.” Nature and bird lovers flock to the area for some “serious” bird watching – according to the St. Francisville website, which also includes the town’s phrase, “soothing for the soul.”
Looking for an interesting type of museum to visit? Head over to the Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum and see how the state’s prison system functioned in the past. Don’t head out of town without first grabbing some barbecue at The Francis Smokehouse.
This little town in New England is located on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. It’s known for being one of the most beautiful communities in the state, and area in general. Full of beautiful beaches and vacation homes, it’s frequented by high-profile figures, including the late Princess Diana, former president Barack Obama and his family, and comedian/talk show host, David Letterman.
Take the Edgartown tour and hit all of the lighthouses for some spectacular views. If you happen to be in town in June, be sure to stop in for the Taste of the Vineyard festival, where you can enjoy all of the culinary delights (and wine) that the town has to offer.
Charlevoix is a gorgeous resort town right on the lake in Northern Michigan. Anyone who’s been, knows that driving over the hill into town makes you feel as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, and you’re driving into paradise. There’s something to do any time of year. During the summer, walking along the waterfront or boating through the harbor. During the winter, the area boasts some great skiing.
If you’re on the hunt for luxury lodging with amazing views, check into the Inn at Bay Harbor for amazing sunset viewing right from your balcony. Make sure to head to Smoke on the Water for breakfast or brunch one morning, too. If you like eggs benedict, they’re very highly recommended.
Winterset, which is located in Madison County, Iowa, is known for its covered bridges. It’s been used as a shooting location for several films, including The Bridges of Madison County, in 1995, and The Crazies in 2010. The town even hosts a Covered Bridge Festival each year during the second week of October.
Aside from visiting the bridges, try heading to the house where John Wayne was born, which has been converted into a museum. And, of course, if you’re looking for a place to stay, the Covered Bridge Inn may have a room for you!
Maine has quite a few small towns worth visiting, many of which offer gorgeous views of the Atlantic, and some of the best lobster you’ve ever eaten in your life. One town, however, stands out among the others. Kennebunkport, which likes to refer to itself as “the place to be all year,” is a resort town full of beautiful beaches and fun things to do.
The town is also home to the Bush family summer home, Walker’s Point Estate, where the former president and his family spend a lot of time on vacations. The gates to the estate are guarded by secret service, though you can catch a glimpse if you happen to rent a boat and cruise by.
This charming resort town is known for its natural beauty and great ski trails. During the warmer seasons, visitors can hike, bike, and climb their way through areas like Moss Glen Falls or Sunset Rock Trail. If you hike the trails at Smuggler’s Notch State Park, you’ll be able to see the Bingham Falls swimming hole. It gets pretty crowded during the summer weekends, so make sure to plan ahead!
There are plenty of great places to stay in and near Stowe, but if you’re in town for the skiing, you’ll definitely want to check into the Topnotch Resort and Spa for incredible mountain views and cozy accommodations. No matter what time of year you go, you’re in for a real treat!
This little town is aptly named, since it definitely brings the magic. Mystic boasts a rich history. It was settled in the 1650’s as a safe harbor for ships during storms. Now, it’s full of quaint little shops, restaurants, art galleries, hotels, and more.
The Mermaid Inn is an adorable bed and breakfast that offers views of the river and is a short walk away from all of the shops and eateries downtown has to offer. Be sure to take one of the Mystic Revealed Guided Tours to learn all about the magic behind the town!
If you’re looking for the perfect place to get away, Stillwater, Minnesota, can take your mind off of the external world and introduce you to the magic of small town, New England. Take a gondola ride or cruise through the river during the summer, and stop into all of the quaint, authentic shops to do things like olive oil tastings. During the winter, Stillwater offers excellent skiing and cozy vacation cottages and hotels.
The food is something that’s consistently amazing all year long, too. Stop at the Dock Café, which sits right on the edge of the St. Croix river, for some fresh, local seafood and a glass of wine.
South Dakota: Spearfish
In the rolling Black Hills of South Dakota lies a beautiful small town known as Spearfish, with a population of just over 10,000. The area sees visitors from all over the region, who travel to Spearfish to enjoy an array of outdoor activities, including ATV rides, hiking, kayaking, and biking.
And of course, no visit to Spearfish is complete without a trip to the world-famous Mount Rushmore National Memorial. After you’ve hiked through the Badlands and visited the attractions, the town also has plenty of worthwhile shops, including the Badlands Trading Post and The Prairie Mermaid Boutique.
Kentucky: Grand Rivers
As of the 2010 census, this small town in Kentucky had a population of less than 400 people. The town, which is known as “The Village Between the Lakes,” offers beautiful views, delicious local seafood, and excellent hiking, biking, and boating. If you’re not the outdoorsy type, you can relax in one of the many spas or shops while your friends do all of the upper arm work that’s involved with kayaking.
Stop by Dockers for a breakfast or brunch of mouthwatering eggs Benedict or a full stack of fluffy pancakes drizzled in syrup. Looking for something more dinner-oriented? Try the juicy, two-inch thick porkchops at Patti’s 1880’s Settlement.
Maryland: Ocean City
Ocean City is a resort beach town that just so happens to be Maryland’s only beachfront community. Stroll along the famous three-mile long boardwalk and stop into the little shops on your way. Ready to stop for a lunch or dinner break? Head to Shenanigans Irish Pub for eats, brews, and live music. Afterwards, head to Scoops to grab an ice cream cone to enjoy on the rest of your walk.
If you don’t like the idea of being on camera, this resort town may not be for you. That’s because they’ve got over 50 webcams broadcasting live from the boardwalk and many of the establishments on it. If that doesn’t bother you, give them a wave on your way by and enjoy the trip!
Pennsylvania: Jim Thorpe
This gorgeous town on the Northeast coast constantly makes “best” lists all over the country. Known as the “Switzerland of America,” it boasts beautiful mountain scenery and a quaint, historic town full of culture.
Located just two hours away from New York City, it makes a great place to stop and get away from all of the New England hustle and bustle. The Harry Packer Mansion Inn offers an authentic lodging experience with a wood-paneled bar and murder mystery weekends. Don’t forget to stop by Tony Stella’s Encore for a juicy steak and drinks upstairs in the Speakeasy bar.
Jackson, Wyoming offers some of the most beautiful landscapes you’ve ever seen in your life. The backdrop of mountains against the water makes it the perfect area for outdoor activities. During the summer, horseback riding, kayaking, fishing, rafting, and hot-air balloon riding prevail. And, when it gets cold, it’s the perfect place for skiing or snowboarding. U.S News has called the area the nation’s second-best small town.
The Rusty Parrot Lodge is a must-stay, and if you’re looking for the best meal in town, head to Gun Barrel Steak & Game House for some mouthwatering prime rib or tenderloin medallions. Waking up in the morning to see the sun rise over the mountains is one of the best reasons to spend a day (or two) in Jackson.
Located about 25 minutes away from Lake Tahoe, Genoa is situated at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The city was established by Mormon traders in the 1850s and is known for its historic charm and beauty.
The area is highly sought-after by those who enjoy outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, biking, and flying. But, if none of those are your cup of tea, there’s also great antique shopping in town. Be sure to check out the Dancing Deer gift shop, which is highly rated on most travel sites.
In the heart of the Arbuckle Mountains in Southern Oklahoma, you’ll find a beautiful small town full of happiness and hospitality. The area is home to Turner Falls, the tallest waterfall in the state. The state park where the falls are located offer great hiking and biking, along with swimming, kayaking, and an abundance of other outdoor activities.
Grab a cabin at Turner Falls to stay close to all of the fun. Or, head to Echo Canyon Manor for more luxurious accommodations. And whatever you do, don’t forget to grab a fried pie from Arbuckle Mountain before you head out of town!
New Jersey: Cape May
Cape May offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and is known as one of the nation’s first vacation resort towns. Travel Channel named the area one of the top ten beaches in the country.
Looking for an all-in-one amazing dining and lodging experience? Check into the Peter Shields Inn, which offers fireplaces and ocean views, along with an award-winning restaurant which is headed up by Executive Chef Carl Messick. Here you’ll find luxury seafood favorites like seared scallops and Maine lobster.
While a lot of towns on our list may be on the larger side of small towns, averaging 10,000 people in their populations or so, Weston is a true, blue small town. A recent consensus determined the population was around 1,700.
One thing the town is well-known for is their Apple Festival, which they’ve been running for over three decades. The event takes place each year in early October and is full of different types of arts and crafts, plus all kinds of apple tasting, including butters and ciders. For those who are ready to move past the tasting into something more substantial, the food court offers things like pies, dumplings, and cookies. The entire experience is known for being one of the best in the state.
Deep in the heart of the Smoky Mountains sits Gatlinburg, a charming little town just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. The area is beautiful any time of year, but it’s particularly stunning during the fall when all of the leaves are changing colors. If you’re a fan of moonshine, you’ll find plenty of distilleries to explore, including Ole Smoky, which offers free tastings of all of their different flavors. Make sure you try the cinnamon if you happen to be out there when it’s chilly outside. If you’re not a big drinker, never fret, because there is a ton of excellent food in the area, too. The barbecue is known for being especially delicious.
Gatlinburg has plenty of family-friendly activities, as well. Throughout the Great Smoky National Park, you’ll find several things to do, including the SkyLift, which carries visitors straight through the mountains for some amazing views.
North Dakota: Garrison
Garrison may be a small town, but it packs a serious punch! A perfect place to spend your summers, it’s located right on Lake Sakakawea and offers great watersports and fishing. Even if playing in the lake isn’t your thing, perhaps the stunning views and delicious fried fish will sway you. In fact, the town is known as the “Walleye Capital of the World.” When in Rome, right?
Take an area tour on the Queen Elizabus to make note of what else you’d like to do while you’re in town. History buffs will enjoy a visit to the Custer Mine Interpretive Site to learn about Garrison’s coal mining past life.
Florida: Sanibel Island
Sanibel is both an island and city, located in the Cape Coral and Fort Meyers area of Florida. Sanibel Island has gorgeous beaches, perfect for collecting shells and strolling in the sun. Spend the day sipping on tropical drinks and eating delicious seafood on the water.
The Sanibel Fish House has won several awards and has some of the best local seafood you’ll find, offered up in a family-friendly environment. Or, check in to the Sanibel Harbour Marriot Resort and have dinner without having to step foot off of your luxurious oceanfront property!
Mississippi: New Albany
USA Today has dubbed New Albany “America’s Best Southern Small Town.” Perhaps that’s due to the amazing hiking through the Appalachian Mountains. Tanglefoot Trail attracts hikers and bikers from all over the world. Or, maybe it’s all of the lovely antique shops and cozy lodging options. Miss Sarah’s Inn and the Concord Inn Estate both offer guests a unique and charming experience.
Whatever you do while you’re in town, don’t leave before you stop by Sugaree’s Bakery for a slice of their cake which Food Network has called “famously moist, triple layer wonders.” They offer a variety of flavors including coconut, red velvet, and caramel, among several others.
New Mexico: Taos
Located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Taos offers year-round fun for tourists in the form of a world-class ski resort and hiking/biking trails. With beautiful views, delicious Mexican cooking, and a glimpse into Native American life via the Pueblo community. The community is still very much active, yet they welcome visitors every day from around 9-4. Although this is probably the number one reason to take a trip to Taos, it’s not the only one. There are several museums and other attractions in town as well.
No one offers more authentic cuisine in the area than the La Cueva Café, where you can find some of the best enchiladas and chimichangas in the region. There are also several great museums in Taos, including the Kit Carson, and the Millicent Rogers Museum.
Texas: Marble Falls
The scenes you get from this town may not be exactly what you imagine when you think of Texas, but they’re a must-see if you’re in the area. And it’s the picturesque scenery that makes this the best small town in Texas. Those who enjoy being outdoors would love hiking around and playing in the lake. And, for those who prefer to stay indoors, they also have some award-winning wineries.
Marble Falls also has some great shopping and restaurants. Main Street is full of different types of artsy boutiques and delicious treats. Plus, that’s where you’ll find Choccolatte’s, AKA, home to some of the best English toffee you’ll ever taste in your life.
Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a small town designed to give visitors (and residents) the experience of being in a small village in Germany. The entire town is composed of Bavarian-style architecture and cobblestone roads. It’s filled with delicious German restaurants, ice cream shops, and different types of boutiques.
If you happen to be in the area during the fall, you may just make it in time for Oktoberfest. If you’re going to be anywhere but Germany during this time of year, why not in a small town built to give you the German experience? During warmer months, the area boasts some beautiful hiking trails, tubing, rafting, and zip lines, for the adventurous.
Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “the proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene,” which the town proudly has displayed on their official website. There is now a presidential library and museum in the town named in his honor. It also happens to be located in his childhood home.
Another spot worth visiting if you’re in Abilene is the Seelye Mansion. The home was built in 1905, and features 25 rooms, with original Thomas Edison lighting fixtures installed! Those who take the tour have nothing but wonderful things to say about it. “It costs $10, but it’s worth every penny,” one reviewer said. Another followed up with, “absolutely wonderful experience!”
Rhode Island: Jamestown
25-miles south of Providence sits a quaint little seaside city called Jamestown. It’s located, for the most part, on Conanicut Island, and is known for beautiful coastal scenery. Take a boat or ferry ride past the famous three and a half story Clingstone “House on the Rocks,” and check out the Watson Farm for an extra dose of town history.
Chompist Charlie’s, along with several other restaurants in town, serves up delicious, New England seafood, including things like lobster rolls, crab cakes, and chowder. Newport is just a short distance away, as well, where you can spend the night as a lighthouse keeper at the Rose Island Lighthouse.
Carmel, California, is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the West Coast, and in the world in general. For those looking for an oceanfront wining and dining experience, Carmel has it all. Stroll barefoot down the white sands of Carmel Beach, and visit the many art galleries to see what the area’s artists have to offer. Point Lobos is a must-see, and offers views of some of the area’s wildlife, including sea otters that often pop up to play in front of visitors. The architecture, including the fairytale (Hansel and Gretel) cottages, are something else unique to the town.
If you’re looking for nightlife, there are much better areas in California, although you’ll definitely be able to find a great martini and some live music. If you’re looking for the best boutique shopping and scenic walking, however, this may be the perfect small town for you!
New York: Cooperstown
If you’re a baseball fan, you definitely need to visit Cooperstown, New York. Located in Otsego, the town is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Outdoorsy types will love the area, too, especially during wintertime, when ice fishing and fat biking prevail. Stay along the water’s edge in one of the many hotels or cabins. Or, if you’re more adventurous and want the full experience, skip the hotel and opt for camping instead.
If you have zero interest in sports, there is still plenty to keep you busy in Cooperstown. The Fenimore Art Museum is worth a visit, as is the Farmer’s Museum. Staying at The Inn at Cooperstown gives you the full small-town experience if you’re planning to spend the night. No matter which part of the state you’re in, no trip to New York would be complete without at least one giant slice of extra greasy, foldable pizza. Bocca Osteria has plenty of it, along with other Italian favorites like spaghetti and calzones.
New Hampshire: Meredith
Another small lakeside vacation town, Meredith attracts visitors all year long with its beautiful scenery and attractions. The town’s air is full of negative ions, and makes for a very relaxing experience, thanks to its location on Lake Winnipesaukee. The lake constantly makes lists as being the best in the state and is the perfect area for enjoying the outdoors.
Church Landing at Mill Falls offers scenic lodging with private balconies facing the lake. And, if you’re looking for some homecooked comfort food, stop by Hart’s Turkey Farm for a warm turkey dinner, complete with stuffing and mashed potatoes, just like Thanksgiving.
Nashville, Indiana is located in the heart of Brown County, about 40 miles outside of Indianapolis. Those living in the area know it’s a beautiful spot to visit, especially during the fall when all of the leaves are changing colors. That’s because the Brown County State Park offers some terrific hiking and scenery.
On Van Buren Street sits the Out of the Ordinary restaurant, which offers cozy dining and delicious comfort food, like their famous wild game feast sandwich. There are also plenty of delicious fudge shops, along with other small boutiques. Make sure to stop by the Bear Wallow Distillery after your meal for some moonshine tasting.
Travel back in time to the beginning of life in the American colonies by visiting the place where it all started: Virginia. This is a must-see place for history buffs, and a place that the whole family can enjoy. Williamsburg has some spectacular coastlines and are home to some of the best beaches on the East coast. Jamestown Beach Park is most popular with families with kids, while College Creek is better for adults just looking to stroll and take in the scenery – and those are just two of the many great choices in the area.
Of course, the main attraction in the area is Colonial Williamsburg, where you can witness reenactments and a glimpse into the way things were in America in the 1700’s. But for those who are looking for something more modern, it’s also home to Busch Gardens amusement park.
Near Flagstaff lies a gorgeous area of red-rock buttes and canyons, known as Sedona, Arizona. Sedona is extremely popular with New Age and spiritual personalities. That’s largely in part due to the energy vortexes, which draw visitors from all over the world. In fact, Sedona itself is known as one large vortex, which is explained further on the area’s website, visitsedona.com.
Even if the vortexes don’t interest you, the stunning views and off-road Jeep tours might. There are also plenty of hiking trails and rock climbing, for those who prefer a bit more of a challenge. And, if you’re really looking for the best views in the area, try one of the helicopter tours for your own birds-eye.
South Carolina: Beaufort
Located just one state South from Beaufort, North Carolina is another town named Beaufort, known for its historic charm and beautiful beaches. South Carolina’s second-oldest city, downtown is full of antebellum mansions and other reminders of the area’s past.
Like so much of the rest of the coastal Carolinas, being in Beaufort seems to make the chaos of the outside world disappear. If you’re looking for the best hotel in the area, the five-star Anchorage 1770 is it. You’ll get a room in an 18th-century mansion which is just a short walk away from the famous Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
Alabama: Magnolia Springs
Although Alabama may not always have the best face in the media lately, there are plenty of beautiful aspects about the state that should be remembered, and that includes the town of Magnolia Springs. This is probably one of the smallest on our entire list, with a population of less than 800 people when the last consensus was taken. The residents even happen to have a river mail delivery service, for those whose mailboxes are on the water.
The area is full of beautiful beaches that offer terrific dolphin viewing, parasailing, and fishing. If you’re more the land-loving type, there’s always just taking a stroll in the sand. Make sure you check out the Wash House restaurant if you’re in town, if you’re a fan of succulent seafood and cold beer.
Sitka is a small city located just outside of the Alaskan capital, Juneau. It sits at the base of the mountains and facing the Pacific Ocean. The city boasts a rich history and gorgeous views.
Grab some delicious seafood chowder at family-owned Halibut Point and enjoy waking up to breathtaking views of Mt. Edgecumbe at the Longliner Lodge. If you choose to visit, keep in mind you’ll only be able to access Sitka by boat or plane, as there’s no way to drive in.