50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America (Best in each State)

Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by Nikki Jain

America’s small towns are the heartbeat and lifeblood of the country. The news media, Hollywood, and sports always center around the glitz and glamour of big-city life. But it's rare to see the best small towns in America and everything they have to offer. 

Small Town USA is what many people call “flyover country,” those tiny little specks of civilization seen through an airplane window.

It's life in a sea of wilderness—communities of people going about their daily lives, oblivious to the hyper-energy world of the big cities. 

You won't find any neon or well-placed lighting in these towns. They're quiet, and at 9 pm, everyone is generally in bed.

The center of the community is typically the small coffee shop or bookstore on the corner and the church down the street. So what are these towns really like, and what are the best ones to visit throughout the year?

We’ve chosen our favorite little towns in America that are guaranteed to get your mind off the clock.

The Best Small Towns in America

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1: Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, Alabama, as you might imagine, is all about beach life.

It's nestled right up against Perdido Key, Florida, and Gulf Shores, Alabama, two popular areas in their own rights.

Since Orange Beach is so close to the Florida panhandle, the actual beach (not the town) shares some of the features of the beaches along the Panhandle.

Namely, the sugar white sand that makes Florida beaches, along with Orange Beach, so incredibly popular.

Orange Beach is also loaded with things to do.

The FloraBama is a regional bar and club straddling the line between Orange Beach, Alabama, and Perdido Key, Florida.

You also have every beach store you can imagine, at your disposal, along with a ton of beach activities, such as parasailing, skiing, dolphin tours, jet ski rentals, and more.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Alabama

2: Sitka, Alaska

Sitka, Alaska
Dreamstime/Ramunas Bruzas

Located just outside the state capital, Juneau, Sitka was once a Russian territory (at least until 1867).

Now, it's a small town in one of the least populous states.

As an island, you can only reach it by flight or boat, and it's primarily a fishing community. If you love fishing, you'll find much to love about Sitka.

What makes it one of the best small towns in America is how well it integrates fishing, the local community, and the tourism trade.

Visitors will find a lot to love about this quaint little town.

Sitka is the premier Alaskan experience. It's the kind of town that is completely one with the surrounding natural environment.

It's not at all uncommon to see wild animals, including moose and bears, inside town limits.

It's also an adventurer's dream, offering hiking, kayaking, fishing, and more opportunities to get out and see the world.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Alaska

3: Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona
Dreamstime/John Sirlin

There’s no better and more accommodating wilderness for mountain bikers than the surrounding countryside of Sedona, Arizona.

This small town largely depends on the tourism industry, and it helps that the town is encapsulated by a gorgeous environment.

Known as "Red Rock Country," the astonishing mesas and red, orange, yellow, and tan-brown color palettes of the countryside are stunning to look at.

Standing in the Verde Valley, it's as if giants carved the surrounding environment with huge fingers.

Sedona has much to offer for a small town, including the aforementioned Verde Valley, The Wilde Resort and Spa, Sedona Secret 7, Sedona Shuttle services, and all of the hiking, mountain biking, and exploring you can handle in a weekend.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Arizona

4: Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

While Florida may have the most springs (since it sits on one of the world’s largest aquifers), Arkansas can get in on the spring action as well, namely Eureka Springs.

The local community is used to the large number of tourists flocking to the springs each year and has modeled their local economy around it.

Eureka Springs is located in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.

Most non-Arkansas residents don't even realize that Arkansas has mountains, yet several small communities are built around them in the northwest region.

Eureka Springs is considered one of the top destinations for artists as well.

What makes it one of the best small towns in America is the natural healing rumored to be found in the springs, along with festivals, music, and parades.

There is plenty to do for the outdoor enthusiast, including guided tours, hiking, and kayaking the rivers and the spring.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Arkansas

5: Carmel-By-The-Sea, California

Carmel-By-The-Sea, California

Carmel By The Sea is a beachside community that takes a page out of Pensacola Beach’s playbook.

Like Pensacola, Carmel By The Sea beaches feature sugar white sands that beg you to take your flip-flops off and go for a stroll in your bare feet.

Year-round warm temperatures certainly help, and the lodging and transportation offered to turn this small town into a top destination.

The local town is wholly immersed in the small-town, beachside lifestyle.

There is plenty of walking, bicycling, and surfing to do in and out of the town line.

If you love the small shop vibe, there’s plenty of that to go around as well, including boutiques, trendy shops, antique shops, and galleries.

Carmel By The Sea is one of the best small towns in America because it has the best of the larger cities with beaches, condensed into a quaint, small-town lifestyle.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in California

6: Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge, Colorado

Like most places in Colorado, Breckenridge is at elevation, so you immediately feel the cleaner, thinner air as you head up and into two.

It's also one of the most well-kept towns you are liable to run into.

There are gorgeous flower displays along the streets, and the building aesthetics are nearly as beautiful as the surrounding countryside.

Biking, horseback riding, white river rafting, golfing, fly fishing, kayaking, and guided tours are all on the menu in Breckenridge.

They even have plenty to do in the winter, even as the cold and heavy snows make it difficult to enjoy the surrounding country.

The little stores, coffee shops, and small business venues are all friendly, and the town festivals are delightful.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Colorado

7: Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic, Connecticut
Dreamstime/Erik Lattwein

Mystic, Connecticut, already sounds like one of the best small towns in America by virtue of its name alone.

It helps that the film, Mystic Pizza, centered around the town, shining a spotlight on small-town life and culture.

The Mystic Seaport Museum is one of the more popular attractions in the area, featuring a lot of fun and interesting activities, along with an up-close view of marine wildlife.

Downtown Mystic, Connecticut, is a fantastic array of quaint little shops, all of which seem to have something to offer anyone.

Mason’s Island, local boat charters, fishing, hiking, and kayaking along the shoreline all provide plenty for the adventurous spirit to enjoy.

Local dining is fantastic, especially if you love seafood, and the local lodging offerings are also exceptional.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Connecticut

8: Lewes, Delaware

Lewes, Delaware

Another small community set against the backdrop of the sea, Lewes, Delaware, has been in place since 1631.

Historic heritage is the primary focus of the local community, and outside visitors will get a healthy dose of just that.

Set against the backdrop of Delaware Bay, right where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, Lewes is a beautiful little town that mostly keeps to itself.

Cape Henlopen State Park is a fantastic location that is highly popular in the tourism trade.

Nature trails and bird sanctuaries are scattered throughout the area, and you can spend an entire day just walking the length of the beach and exploring all it has to offer.

If you're looking for a quiet, beautiful vacation, Lewes is one of the best small towns in America.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Delaware

9: Anna Maria Island, Florida

Anna Maria Island, Florida
Dreamstime/Bonandbon Dw

There's not much to Anna Maria Island, Florida, from a geographical standpoint.

The island is only seven miles long and located close to mainland Tampa.

Like the islands in the Florida Keys, Anna Maria Island is essentially a giant strip of sugar white sand, offering stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.

The outdoor adventures, as you might imagine, are numerous and fantastic.

Anna Maria Island offers guided fishing charters, charter boats, eco-tours, bike rentals, beach rentals, horseback riding, kayak rentals, and boat rentals.

You won't lack things to do while you're in town.

Of course, the dining is incredible, especially if you prefer menus rife with seafood dishes.

As small towns in America go, Anna Maria Island is one of the smallest. Yet, even the smallest towns have a ton to offer.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Florida

10: Helen, Georgia

Helen, Georgia
Dreamstime/Sean Pavone

Otherwise known as “Georgia’s official outdoor destination,” Helen, Georgia, is a phenomenal little town nestled among the low-lying Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chattahoochee River.

There are honestly too many activities and recreational things to do here to list, but we'll catch the big stuff.

The town itself is known as an "Alpine Village," and it certainly looks the part, with tall, townhouse-like business buildings loaded with quaint little shops full of everything from local, fresh food to antiques or memorabilia.

Small towns in America don't often look this incredible.

You'll love the German Bavaria aesthetic almost as much as you love the food and activities at hand.

Helen, Georgia, is so popular with tourists that they offer online tour guides and free travel guides on-site.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Georgia

11: Haleiwa, Hawaii

Haleiwa, Hawaii

Located on the North Shore of Hawaii, Haleiwa is often thought of as the artistic nucleus for the rest of the island.

Though Waikiki is probably more well-known, Haleiwa is only about an hour outside of it and certainly qualifies as one of the best small towns in the USA.

Being that it's Hawaii, you already know the kind of beach, surf, snorkel, kayak, and swim recreations they have to offer.

But there's a lot more to this little town than just recreational activities.

For one, the food is incredible, especially if you really like shrimp.

Haleiwa is like the quiet sister to Waikiki, with plenty of stuff to do, along with socializing and immersing yourself in the local histories and customs of the state.

There are plenty of beaches to walk to, and the local stores have lots of memorabilia and locally-made products for sale.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Hawaii

12: Stanley, Idaho

Stanley, Idaho

If someone told you (before reading this article) that a place called Stanley, way up in Idaho, is one of the best small towns in the USA, you might laugh.

However, it's absolutely true.

Stanley is a neat conglomeration of a mountain retreat and rural farming, with all the fun stuff in between.

The number one thing to do in Stanley is hiking. The sights are simply astonishing and too good to pass up.

If you don't have a good pair of hiking boots, get some before you head that way.

There are three lakes to explore, whether you prefer strolling along the bank or bringing along a kayak.

Bench Lake, Alice Lake, and Sawtooth Lake are fantastic yet peaceful retreats.

Stanley is also home to hot springs, so be sure to bring your swimsuit along for the ride.

The local breweries are a huge hit, and you can sample the Sawtooth Brewery and the Warfield Distillery and Brewery.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Idaho

13: Galena, Illinois

Galena, Illinois
Dreamstime/Anatolii Verezhak

Galena, Illinois, is the perfect little town that's just large enough to offer astonishing views, galleries, and some of the best wineries in the country.

One of the main in-town attractions is Amelia's Ghost Tour, which includes a tour of the local vineyard, the dinner theater, and the pub.

Casper Bluffs and Dowling House are huge, with the non-locals as well.

Blaum Brother’s Distilling Company is an excellent opportunity to try out the local brew.

It’s probably best to close out the day with that one.

You'll also find the Great American Popcorn Company here, so prepare yourself for every type of popcorn you could ever imagine.

The Long Hollow Canopy tours are a blast as well, especially since there is enough elevation in Galena to create some wicked-fun zip lines.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Illinois

14: Aurora, Indiana

Aurora, Indiana
Flickr/David Wilson

Aurora frequently pops up on Indiana's "best small towns in the USA" list for several excellent reasons.

First, it's the quintessential vision of small-town America, full of tightly packed streets lined with two-story buildings that feature a decidedly mid-20th-century aesthetic.

Those buildings are packed full of small businesses that sell everything from homemade ice cream to art and various memorabilia.

There are coffee shops, murals, and historic buildings to browse through.

If you have the kids along for the ride and its summer time, Aurora has a large splash pad and a marina for those who love to launch their kayaks in an exciting new area.

If there's one thing you have to love about small towns, it's the local festivals, and Aurora has their fair share.

It's always a good idea to catch them in the middle of one.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Indiana

15: Pella, Iowa

Pella, Iowa

Another small American town that doesn't sound like much when you first hear the name is Pella, Iowa.

However, Pella is rated as the #2 safest city in the state.

It's a beautiful little town that you can walk the length of in just a few minutes.

However, like all the best small towns on our lists, it's packed to the brim with things to do and see.

This town even features a homemade raft race that takes place every year.

There are community organizations galore, town festivals, and a host of events to take advantage of.

The small businesses that line the streets of downtown Pella are full of local produce, local foods, and local arts and crafts.

Like any good small town in America, plenty of antiques can be found here, including cast iron, old farm tools, furniture, and home appliances (really old school, like butter churns).

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Iowa

16: Abilene, Kansas

Abilene, Kansas
Dreamstime/Joe Sohm

For such a small American town, Abilene gets props for being the home of President Eisenhower and the current Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Speaking of the library, it's a fun place to visit if you want to get a bead on American history pre-21st century.

One of the biggest themes of Abilene is the old west, and you can see it in the town's aesthetic.

One of the more popular attractions is C.W. Parker Carousel, which is the oldest carousel in the world.

You can also visit the Abilene; Smoky Valley Railroad, Sellye Mansion (one of the "8 wonders" of Kansas), the Great Plains Theater, the Greyhound Hall of Fame Museum, and Old Abilene Town.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Kansas

17: Maysville, Kentucky

Maysville, Kentucky
Dreamstime/Sharon Minish

Another small American town with a tiny population, Maysville only has a shade of over 8,000 souls living in it—not including tourists and various visitors, of course.

Maysville is only about an hour from Cincinnati, Ohio and sits right up against the Ohio River.

Founded in 1787, Maysville is rife with small-town aesthetics, and no matter who you are, you have to love it for that, if nothing else.

Besides, there are many things to do in such a small place, including galleries, the Old Pogue Distillery, a historic theater, and the gorgeous Cummins Nature Preserve.

Magee’s Bakery is in Maysville, and it happens to be the bakery of choice of George Clooney if that kind of thing matters to you.

Maysville, Kentucky, is no stranger to fame, despite its size.

It was recently listed (by USA Today) as the number one small city in the United States.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Kentucky

18: Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Flickr/Phil Whitehouse

If there's one thing, Louisiana is known for its swamps and Spanish moss. Of course, the term "swamp" is kind of a misnomer.

Swamps are beautiful places, and there's nothing like taking an early morning kayak trip out into the swamps of Louisiana.

Breaux Bridge is a fascinating small town.

As small towns in the United States go, it's not up there with Maysville, but Breaux Bridge has much to offer.

The Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Trails are fantastic for hiking adventures. We mentioned kayaking, and there is plenty of that to be had.

One of the best times to travel to Breaux Bridge is during Mardi Gras. Louisiana is nothing if not famous for that particular holiday.

The food is some of the best in the world, too, especially if you like a spicy kick to go with it.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Louisiana

19: Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport, Maine
Dreamstime/Enrico Della Pietra

Maine doesn't get much attention, but apparently, Kennebunkport certainly does.

Another small American town only recognized because of its presidential history.

President George H.W. Bush retired to Kennebunkport, but he's not the only reason it's worth visiting.

This town is definitely a “Maine” town, with its semi-colonial architecture and several art galleries.

Like most Maine towns with any degree of notoriety, Kennebunkport is a coastal town and, as such, is host to some fantastic seafood dining.

The area has plenty of restaurants, along with small boutiques, art galleries, and memorabilia shops.

The shopping center is nice, but it's not as popular as the one in nearby Kittery, where most of the locals flock when they're searching for deals.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Maine

20: Ellicott City, Maryland

Ellicott City, Maryland
Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

Also known as Old Ellicott City, the town is indeed old, though it sports a sort of early 1980s aesthetic throughout.

According to Ellicott officials, over 80 shops, galleries, salons, restaurants, and museums are in town.

Not bad for a small American town!

Danishes and coffee are the names of the game for the many diners in the area, and there are roughly 17 well-known dining facilities in the city.

Shopping is another big draw, with a ton of local art on offer, along with handcrafted products.

As with any small town, the best time to go is when the festivals hit their stride.

Throughout the year, there are a ton of music events, festivals, and community events.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Maryland

21: Provincetown, Massachusetts

Provincetown, Massachusetts
Dreamstime/Joe Sohm

Provincetown is considered to be the most popular destination for Cape Cod residents.

However, it's a popular destination for state visitors as well.

The best Massachusetts towns are located along the seashore, and Provincetown meets the definition.

Provincetown is one of those places where you can park your car on one side of the town and spend the rest of the day walking, with everything within easy walking distance.

The beaches are fantastic, and if you can get out to Race Point Beach, you should do so at some point.

There are also many family activities to attend in town, including Provincetown galleries, the local theater, Cabaret, and more.

There's no specific season to visit Provincetown, as there is always something going on, regardless of the season.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Massachusetts

22: Frankenmuth, Michigan

Frankenmuth, Michigan

It may sound like something out of a Mary Shelley book, but Frankenmuth, Michigan, is actually a popular and beautiful small-town destination.

One of the things that makes Frankenmuth so popular is its old-school sights and how the town goes about marketing them.

Most people wouldn’t want to go see a Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Heritage Farm.

But it's an inn…in a barn.

You can’t pass that up. Even though it's a barn, it's incredibly comfortable, and the hospitality is top-notch.

Frankenmuth managed to make the innocuous into something interesting.

The Visit and Welcome Center is very popular, along with the Frankenmuth Historic Museum, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, Grandpa’s Tiny Farm, and the Michigan Heroes Museum.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Michigan

23: Grand Marais, Minnesota

Grand Marais, Minnesota
Dreamstime/Jacob Boomsma

Grand Marais is a beautiful location on the northern coast of Lake Superior.

Before you even get into town, you get to go over one of the more famous byways in the entire state, the North Shore Scenic Drive.

If it has the term “scenic drive” in it, you know you’re in for some pretty sights.

However, the North Shore Scenic Drive is a breathtaking route over Lake Superior, where you can see the waves crash against the Sawtooth Mountains, along with the distant forest.

There's a ton of stuff to do in town, including the Superior Creamery, The Bryan Hansel Photography Workshop, Sven and Oles, and Gunflint Trail.

Hungry Hippie Tacos is a must-stop destination when you get hungry, along with the South of the Border Cafe.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Minnesota

24: Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Bay St. Louis is an excellent Gulf Coast destination, especially if you like the warmer, closer to tropical weather the Gulf Coast drums up throughout the year.

That's not to say it doesn't get cold in Bay St. Louis, only that the weather is generally welcoming.

Not only is Bay St. Louis a fantastic American small town, but it's also one of the prettiest towns in America.

The Coastal Living Magazine consistently lists Bay St. Louis as one of the top 10 small beach towns in America.

Bay St. Louis is a historic community and, seeing as it's located along the Gulf Coast, will shower you with seafood dining opportunities when you visit.

The Fields Steak, Oyster Bar, and Sycamore House are fantastic dining destinations.

Since it's on the water, prepare yourself for beach life, if only for a little while.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Mississippi

25: Hermann, Missouri

Hermann, Missouri
Dreamstime/Joe Sohm

If there's one thing you'll love about Hermann, it's the lodging. Second-story cabins are a huge attraction in the area, and they're more than worth the extra money to skip a standard hotel.

If you're looking for a place to stay during your trip, seek out Cottage Tree Houses.

Hermann is home to the Adam Puchta Winery, which is a fantastic winery that's been in business since the mid1800s. The Bias Winery is another excellent option.

If food is at the top of the list, you'll love Doxie Slush and Downtown Deli and Custard for mid-afternoon snacks.

Shopping is also a blast, with many small businesses throughout the area offering locally made and grown products.

As far as activities go, Hermann is a fantastic place to visit when festivals and community events are happening.

Be sure to mark your calendar for one of those.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Missouri

26: Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish, Montana
Dreamstime/Pierrette Guertin

It's hard to find a place in Montana that nature lovers and explorers won't like.

Whitefish really stands out, however, and the level of beauty you will find here is simply mind-numbing.

Once you're through allowing yourself to be bedazzled by the sights and sounds of nature, there is a lot to do as well.

Skiing, hiking, the Glacier National Park, mountaineering, mountain biking, camping, and snowboarding are all predominant activities in the area.

If you get tired of the scenery (you won't), you can retire indoors to the Montana Brewery and taste some of the finest beers and wines in the region.

You can go on cart rides pulled by gigantic Clydesdale horses or visit the Wild Coffee Company for a wake-me-up and a delicious breakfast.

There are art galleries, small theaters, and many in-town activities to participate in.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Montana

27: Brownville, Nebraska

Brownville, Nebraska
Dreamstime/Marek Uliasz

Brownville is one of those charming small towns you can easily drive through completely by accident.

However, if you stop and browse around for a while, there are wonders within Brownville, Nebraska, that you should certainly take the time to find.

There are several museums to visit, along with a ton of dining opportunities and wineries.

The semi-annual flea market is vast, and though you should plan your visit to coincide with it, prepare yourself for huge crowds and traffic.

The Brownville Village Theater offers excellent live entertainment, and the Brownville Concert Series runs a music show on one weekend every month, from March to December.

If you're a bit old school and love books, this is one place that still has a lot of small-town bookstores.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Nebraska

28: Virginia City, Nevada

Virginia City, Nevada
Dreamstime/Ron Mckenzie

Las Vegas is the city that always gets all the attention in Nevada, but it's definitely not the only city in Nevada.

Virginia City is about half an hour north of Carson City, the capital of Nevada, and is kind of a mixture of desert and low shrubbery landscape.

Nestled in a valley surrounded by low, rolling mountains, Virginia City is a quaint and fantastic little town to visit any time of the year.

This is especially true if you're old enough to have the partying days of Las Vegas well behind you.

Built on the ashes of mining history, Virginia City is rife with historical references, including museums, ghost hunts, mine tours, and various other walking tours that typically come with a sprinkle of haunted atmosphere.

The Museum Madness on the Comstock essentially sums up the entire experience.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Nevada

29: Meredith, New Hampshire

Meredith, New Hampshire

Meredith, New Hampshire, is one of the cutest towns in America but no less beautiful for that.

Nestled within a series of small lakes, Meredith has a cheery forest vibe to it, thanks to places like Mill Falls Marketplace.

If you decide to pay it a visit, there are plenty of families and solo opportunities to take advantage of.

Boating on Lake Winnisquam is one of the more popular and awe-inspiring activities, but you can also ride the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad or hang out at Weirs Beach.

If you've never been to a lakeside beach before, it's decidedly different and much quieter than beaches on the ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.

Twin Barns Brewing Company is a fantastic, leisurely place to kick back, and if beer isn't your thing, put on your hiking boots and head to Ahern State Park.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In New Hampshire

30: Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May, New Jersey
Dreamstime/Joe Sohm

Yet another small seaside town and resort, Cape May, New Jersey, is like a beautiful dream and the perfect place to go when you just need to escape reality, if only for a little while.

This small coastal town has been a tourist destination since the 1800s, and it's only growing more attractive as the years pass.

Beaches, fine dining, activities, leisure, and shopping are all on the menu here, and you'll find something to love about all of it.

The beach is absolutely stunning, and the seaside restaurants are divine.

Harry's Ocean Bar & Grille and Coastal Blue Oceanside Bar & Grill are one of the premier eating destinations.

If you're looking for activities, you won't be disappointed.

The Cape May Point Science Center is fantastic, and you can charter a boat to go out and whale watch for an hour or more.

While you're in town, don't forget to stop by the Harriet Tubman Museum to learn the rich history of Cape May and the role it played in the fight for freedom.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In New Jersey

31: Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico
Dreamstime/Josemaria Toscano

Taos, New Mexico, is one of those small towns loaded with history and lore, especially on the outskirts of town.

For such a small, out-of-the-way place, 1,000 years of historical architecture is pretty impressive!

Historic Taos Plaza is incredible, and it's lined with fantastic restaurants, historic shops, diners, art centers, and historic side streets.

Everywhere you walk in Taos probably carries some historic significance.

Rafting is a big thing in the local area, and Taos is dotted with a variety of rafting companies to support this extreme sport.

There isn't a high-end whitewater experience nearby, but you'll definitely have a blast either way.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In New Mexico

32: Ithaca, New York

Ithaca, New York
Dreamstime/Steven Cukrov

It's often difficult to imagine New York without seeing the mental images of skyscrapers lining the New York City landscape.

The reality is most of New York State is fairly rural, with a small scattering of little towns throughout.

Ithaca, New York, is one such town.

Ithaca is located near the Finger Lakes, so you have the advantage of both water and land-borne adventures.

Ithaca is a gorgeous little town situated on the banks of the lake, and it also has a vibrant and highly social community.

Cayuga Lake, the local farmer’s markets, the waterfalls, gorges, and wineries are all fantastic options if you’re in the area.

Whether you prefer to wine and dine or get out and have an adventure, Ithaca has something to offer.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In New York State

33: Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Located in western North Carolina, Blowing Rock is a town with astonishing views.

As a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, there’s nowhere you can go that doesn’t have phenomenal sights to look at and appreciate.

There’s also plenty to do, especially if you have a new or favorite pair of hiking shoes ready to go.

The town itself is a mountain village and a beautiful one at that.

There is plenty to do and see, including fine dining, tiny museums, and small shops with homemade products.

The Blue Ridge Craft Trail is a fantastic destination for artists and artisans, and Mystery Hill is always a good time.

Winterfest is one of the best times to visit the area, especially if you love small-town festivals.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in North Carolina

34: Medora, North Dakota

Medora, North Dakota
Dreamstime/Adam Wineke

Medora, North Dakota, is a small, quaint village nestled at the foot of giants.

The surrounding mountains and countryside are simply breathtaking. There's no other word that's fitting enough to describe it.

Small-town life is prevalent here, and big-city life is far from anyone's heart and mind.

Thousands of tourists flock to the area annually, and it's not hard to see why.

The Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one reason, not to mention the Medora Riding Stables, Bully Pulpit Golf Course, Pitchfork Fondue, hot air balloon rides, and more.

Many people who visit the area refer to it as one of the last true cowboy towns, and it's hard to argue with them.

Even the Medora Musical has a distinctly Western feel to it.

Though the mountainous region is rife with life and beauty, traveling herds and cowboys still keep them in place on the horizon.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In North Dakota

35: Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio

Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio

The second small town on our list, which includes dashes, Geneva-on-the-Lake, is known as an "Ohio vacation tradition."

The Strip is the most popular destination here, and it consists of a mile-long stretch of walkway that passes through the heart and soul of the town.

The Strip is the path to everything in this American small town, and along the way, you'll find some of the best eateries, entertainment, shops, and activities.

The businesses that line The Strip are essential to the area but entirely unique.

If you want an incredible overnight stay, visit the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake.

There are also theaters, art museums, hiking activities, the beach, bike riding, and kayaking off the shore.

No matter what your persuasion, you’ll find a little something for you.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Ohio

36: Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park, Oklahoma
Flickr/Jack Gray

Known as one of the prettiest towns in America, Medicine Park also qualifies as a small town and a quaint town at the same time.

Don’t let that fool you, however, as there are plenty of things to do for residents and non-residents alike.

The town is over a century old, and it's only grown more popular throughout the area since its founding.

It also maintains a touch of infamy, being a primary vacation spot for Al Capone, along with Bonnie and Clyde.

If you like lakes, Medicine Park is right up your alley, with fifteen lakes to explore in the area.

Hikers will especially appreciate all of the trails in and around Medicine Park.

There is plenty to love about the dining and small-town shops throughout the region.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Oklahoma

37: Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon
Dreamstime/Maria Luisa Lopez Estivill

Cannon Beach, Oregon, is one that's made a few of our lists at this point, and only for the best of reasons.

It's easily one of the coolest small towns in America, starting with its name.

The huge rocks jutting out of the water off the beach are incredible to look at, reminiscent of The Goonies, which was filmed in another Oregon town—Astoria.

Cannon Beach itself is an 80-mile stretch of beach, going well beyond the small town's borders.

The town is one of the most popular small-town destinations in the United States, and for excellent reasons.

The beach is one of them, and the main one as far as we're concerned, but there are plenty of other fantastic activities to indulge in.

You can have bonfires on the beach, visit Ecola State Park, experience incredible shopping downtown, and dine on some of the best seafood you’ll ever get your hands on.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns In Oregon and The Best West Coast Beaches You Must Visit

38: Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
Dreamstime/Zeytun Images

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, is an outdoor lover's dream destination.

There are numerous outdoor activities to participate in, including rafting, hiking, biking, off-roading, trail riding, and more.

The arts and culture the area has to offer are extraordinary.

Jim Thorpe features multiple area tours, including the town and surrounding areas.

There are more breweries and wineries here than anywhere else on the list, so you'll have an opportunity to taste-test everything under the sun.

Kemmerer Memorial Park is a fantastic outdoor destination that includes an exploration of the Harry Packer Mansion and the surrounding estate.

Jim Thorpe also hosts various events throughout the year, so it's always a good idea to check the town calendar before you plan your trip.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Pennsylvania

39: Narragansett, Rhode Island

Narragansett, Rhode Island
Dreamstime/Jerry Coli

Narragansett, Rhode Island, is home to three state park beaches, all of which are fantastic destinations in their own right.

There is Scarborough State Beach, Roger Wheeler State Beach, and Salty Brine State Beach.

You can go to one, two, or all three if you so choose.

The Judith Point Light House is a fun destination and a unique historical landmark to study and learn about.

One of the best restaurants in the area is Aunt Carrie's, which has amazing clam cakes that you have to try.

You won't believe how incredible they taste unless you do.

In fact, Yankee lists Aunt Carrie’s as one of the top 12 lobster shacks in the nation.

Many visitors prefer to get a room out on the Break, where you’ll have immediate access to the beach and a breathtaking view of the sunset before you go to bed each night.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Rhode Island

40: Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina
Dreamstime/Carrie Hanrahan

Beaufort, South Carolina, is one of the most beautiful towns in America.

It's another port city, and it's located along a stretch of water that always seems calm and idyllic.

Beaufort is home to the Diamondback Rattlesnake Trail and Hunting Island State Park, both of which are perfect for the adventurous spirit.

Back in town, you have the Sweet Tea Float, where you can eat and experience true Southern sweet tea.

There’s also the Scout Southern Market, which is basically an open-air flea market that runs all year long.

The historic homes in the area are fun to look at, and the Old Point Trails will bring out the adventurer even in the most sedentary of souls.

The beach is beautiful and worth exploring, especially if you make it out to Hunting Island’s Lighthouse.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in South Carolina

41: Deadwood, South Dakota

Deadwood, South Dakota
Dreamstime/Thomas Carlson

Deadwood is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota and is home to the infamous HBO show of the same name.

This small town is every old Western lover’s dream because the historical roots of the wild west are pervasive in the town’s overall theme.

Nearly every attraction in the town of Deadwood is a Western entertainment piece, including the museums, the artifacts on display, the stores, the bars (saloons), and the streets.

As you might expect, breweries and wineries are a massive draw in the area.

There are also casinos, tours of the town and surrounding areas, a ton of shopping, and more modern recreational activities, such as a trip to the local spa.

Deadwood is one of the best small cities in America because it fully embraces its historical roots while entertaining and drawing in tourists in record numbers.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in South Dakota

42: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Dreamstime/Sean Pavone

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is comfortably situated at the perimeter of the Smoky Mountains, where the mountains are smaller.

However, the smoky look of fog still remains, mainly in the early morning hours.

It's also home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is a massive sightseeing extravaganza.

The views are simply stunning, and the hiking trails are some of the best in the country.

You'll find more than you can handle in terms of exploration, and that's before you even get into the town proper.

Gatlinburg has plenty of lodging accommodations, including the famous Park Vista or the Old Creek Lodge.

For a place to stay where you can enjoy the sights and sounds, try the Bearskin Lodge on the River.

Cades Cove and Newfound Gap are incredible stopping points as well.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Tennessee

43: Dripping Springs, Texas

Dripping Springs, Texas
Dreamstime/Gregory Browning

Dripping Springs, Texas, is home to a natural spring, in case the name didn't give it away.

It's a stunning place featuring a semi-cave that opens up to a small but gorgeous spring known as the Hamilton Pool.

Hamilton Pool is a 234-acre natural preserve and an incredible find in one of America's small, relatively unknown towns.

It's also conveniently located within half an hour of Austin, Texas.

Thanks to its close proximity to Austin, there are many things to do and see while you're in town.

The historic district offers an incredible shopping experience and the Deep Eddy Distillery is second to none in the region.

You can enjoy fantastic music at Hudson’s on Mercer and visit the Texas Hill Country Olive Company for some excellent olive oil.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Texas

44: Springdale, Utah

Springdale, Utah

Another small town with a Western aesthetic can be found in Springdale, Utah.

Surrounded by Sandstone vistas, the little town of Springdale features Zion National Park, one of the area's primary destinations.

Gooseberry Mesa Cycling is a popular activity in Springdale, along with a leisurely float down the Virgin River.

If you're into ghosts or October 31st is right around the corner, you might want to visit the Grafton Ghost Town.

However, most activities take place in Zion National Park, which is loaded with long hiking trails and sweeping views of sandstone mesas that will take your breath away.

If you like to mountain bike, there's no better place in the entire country to get some time in the seat and hit the trails.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Utah

45: Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont

Another small town, outdoorsy location on our list is Stowe, Vermont, a quaint little town with a huge heart and an even bigger tourism trade.

For the outdoor enthusiasts out there, looking for a big adventure, Stowe should be at the top of your list.

Mountain biking, hiking, skiing, and snowboarding are huge parts of the outdoor offerings you will find in Stowe.

The Stowe Mountain Resort is where most skiers and snowboarders go during the winter season and the Trapp Family Lodge is as well.

For sightseers, Mount Mansfield, Stowe Recreation Path, Smugglers Notch State Park, Moss Glen Falls, and Stowe Pinnacle are fantastic places to get your adventurous spirit going.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Vermont

46: Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia
Dreamstime/Khairil Junos

Williamsburg, Virginia, is better known as a "living history" town.

Though small, it's a well-known place to go if you want to really dig into America's history, especially the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

For a long time, Williamsburg was the capital of Virginia.

Though there is some Civil War history to be found throughout the town, the primary focus is the Revolutionary War and Colonial Times.

The Capital Building is a perfect place to start, followed by the Duke of Gloucester Street, the Governor's Palace, and the George Wythe House.

Everything in town features a colonial aesthetic, even their finest restaurants, like the local, colonial taverns.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Virginia

47: Port Townsend, Washington

Port Townsend, Washington
Dreamstime/Always Wanderlust

Port Townsend, Washington, is one of the more temperate climates of all the small towns we've listed so far.

It's kind of hard to believe, considering its location in Washington State, but there you have it.

It also happens to be yet another gorgeous town on the water.

Port Townsend's locals love to picnic along the shoreline, though it's not really a beach so much as a park.

You will, too, if you love the water and the outdoors.

Chetzemoka Park is where most of the picnicking takes place.

If you enjoy camping, one of the best spots in the country, especially for primitive campers, is Fort Worden Park in Port Townsend.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Washington State

48: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

Harper's Ferry is steeped in Civil War lore and history. It's practically the scene of the very beginning of the Civil War.

As a historical town, it's one of the best places in the United States.

Harper's Ferry is a fantastic little village in West Virginia located where the Potomac River and the Shenandoah River come together.

Hamilton's Tavern 1840 offers one of the best dining experiences in the area, and it's the perfect respite after a day of shopping and recreation.

The Harper's Ferry National Historical Park is one of the primary destinations in West Virginia, steeped in Civil War history.

You can also visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Visitors Center to learn about the hiking trails and recreational spots in the region.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in West Virginia

49: Cedarburg, Wisconsin

Cedarburg, Wisconsin
Dreamstime/Alicia Hess

If you ever visit Cedarburg, Wisconsin, for the shopping experience, you will have an absolute blast.

Cedarburg has a ton of feisty and vibrant pubs, downtown restaurants, specialty boutiques, antique shops, and historically preserved inns to visit.

After a day spent in the downtown shopping district, you'll be exhausted.

One of the first places you should go is the Cedarburg Visitor's Center to get your bearings and discover all of the area's hottest spots.

After that, the Cedarburg History Museum is a popular place to go.

Another thing that Cedarburg is known for is its festivals.

The town has so many of them, and they're all a blast to attend, especially if you love local foods, arts, and entertainment.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Wisconsin

50: Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson, Wyoming

Last but not least, we arrive at number 50 on our list of the best small towns in America.

Jackson, Wyoming, is located near the Grand Teton National Park and is home to Jackson Hole, a 400 mile² valley.

One of the biggest draws to the area is skiing, so Jackson becomes quite popular throughout the winter months.

Other recreational activities include Horseback Riding at the A-OK Corral, Whitewater Rafting on the Snake River, and the National Elk Refuge.

The Antler Inn and the Lava Mountain Lodge are two of the out-of-town favorites in terms of places to stay while you’re in Jackson.

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in Wyoming

FAQs about America's best small towns

What is the most picturesque town in America?

Carmel-by-the-Sea is often regarded as one of the most picturesque towns in America. Located on the central coast of California, this small town boasts beautiful white sand beaches and unique buildings that are reminiscent of fairy tales in their whimsical designs.

What are the best small towns in America to live?

Nestled among the stunning peaks of the Green Mountains, Stowe is a true gem of a town. Other top pick for small towns in America is Taos, New Mexico and Whitefish, Montana. These towns offer residents all the benefits of small-town living while still having plenty of amenities and activities.

What are good small towns in America to visit in winter?

One of the best American small towns to visit during winter is Leavenworth, Washington. This town transforms into a magical Bavarian village with festive lights illuminating every street corner. Another great option is Woodstock, Vermont, where visitors can experience an authentic New England winter. The town offers picturesque views of snow-covered hills and cozy inns.

Rounding up the best small towns in America

Whew! Here's our list of 50 of the best small towns in America. They may be small, but the tourism industry surrounding them is huge, which says a lot about these little communities. Visiting any one of these towns exposes you to a vast array of cultures, foods, and artistic expressions.

Plus, the scenery is simply fantastic. No matter what town it is, prepare yourself for absolutely stunning views. These are the kinds of places you won't want to leave when the vacation is over. You'll leave a part of yourself behind when you finally drag yourself away.

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