The Top Charming Small Towns to Visit in Each State

Trista - October 1, 2019

Finding the right destination for a road trip can be a daunting task, and many trips worth taking are well off the beaten path. Small towns and cities throughout the United States have their own sense of community and charm. Many places are worth visiting, from the local business community and historical monuments to gorgeous downtown areas and annual festivals, even if they are not famous landmarks on a map.

If you are looking for a way to get away from it all that is far from the usual tourist fanfare, look no further than this list of charming towns in each state. Who knows, maybe you will eventually move to your favorite charming town — and live where people vacation! Check out this epic list of the top charming small towns to visit across America.

Orange Beach, Alabama, is a fantastic beach location for a family vacation. Shutterstock

50. Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach can be the beach vacation that many people dream of. This small community is located on the Gulf of Mexico, and it has soft white sugar-like sand and turquoise colored waves. Orange Beach includes ample opportunities to view the different kinds of wildlife that call this small area home. Seabirds and songbirds take their migratory flight to Orange Beach, dolphins swim in the waters, and sea turtles are known to hatch in the fall.


Furthermore, other vacation opportunities include visiting the various recreational centers, golf course condo communities, beach houses, and many other venues. Families can also enjoy Adventure Island, where they can ride go-karts, bumper boats, and play laser tag. There is also a five-story volcano that comes alive with fire and sound. Orange Beach, Alabama, will offer incredible dining experiences, dolphin-sighting cruises, and fishing charters. At nighttime, numerous options range from family entertainment to adult activities. You can choose from a play, free concert, dancing, or listening to different music at local hot spots.

Skagway’s history and breathtaking natural setting create unmatched sightseeing. Shutterstock

49. Skagway, Alaska

This community is located in Alaska’s Inside Passage region, and its rich history dates back to the late 19th century and the Klondike gold rush. However, Skagway is known for its wooden sidewalks and false-front shops and restaurants, and quite a few of them are historic structures from that time. You will love the incredible dining options, lots of shopping, and exceptional entertainment. There is a variety of recreational activities, including two parks, bowling, and museums. There is sure to be something for your entire family.


The White Pass and Yukon Railroad run vintage locomotives past a trail so tourists can see the sweeping mountain views of the Canadian countryside. Hikers may enjoy an extensive trail system that begins close to the downtown area and will take the travelers along alpine lakes and waterfalls. If you are more interested in outdoor entertainment, you can pursue fishing, boating, skiing, or snowmobiling. That would be an excellent opportunity to try a new outdoor activity.

Bisbee, Arizona is located just 90 miles southeast of Tucson. Shutterstock

48. Bisbee, Arizona

The small town of Bisbee, Arizona, can be found smack dab in the middle of the Mule Mountains. It was built in 1888 for miners of the copper and precious metals found in the area. There are even underground tours through the Queen mine. Bisbee offers a variety of options for entertainment. You can choose from birdwatching or gallery-gazing. When you are hungry, decide to grab something to eat from a pub or fine dining.


Nevertheless, Bisbee is undoubtedly a sight to see. The 19th-century architecture has been preserved, and together with the red mountains makes the town look like it came straight from a painting. Even at over a mile high elevation and in the hottest summers, the temperatures never exceed three-digit temperatures. Bisbee is known for its unique and quirky events. There is a thriving art and music scene, including an annual blues festival that occurs the second week of every September.

Eureka Springs is a peaceful town with streets lined with Victorian homes. Shutterstock

47. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Located in the Ozark Mountains in northwest Arkansas, Eureka Springs is a Victorian village destination that can offer rest and relaxation for tourists. There are more than 100 unique shops and galleries to peruse through and a 500-acre wildlife refuge. The endless blocks have one of a kind shops, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. You can also take a two-hour zipline tour through a forest, ride on a steam train, visit a museum, or explore an area cavern.


The entire downtown area in Eureka Springs is on the National Register of Historic Places. Another tourist hotspot is the Crescent Hotel and Spa, which dates back to 1886. It has 72 rooms and four suites. Moreover, it also distinguishes being the “most haunted hotel in America,” and ghost tours are offered throughout the year. There are a lot of outdoor activities, including fishing and canoeing. The entire area is famous for mountain biking and hiking.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a unique experience that offers some exquisite scenery, historic sites, and boutique shops. Shutterstock

46. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, is famous for its beautiful scenery and storybook cottages. The seaside town is more than 100 miles south of San Francisco. There are several picturesque walking and biking paths, including The Scenic Bluff Path, which begins at the surf spot Carmel Beach and continues to Carmel River State Beach, an entry point for scuba diving. Many annual events range from performing arts, cultural events, and art events. You can also stop by the retreats to recharge your mind and body.


La Playa Carmel is a mansion built in 1905 by an artist as a gift to his wife, and the newly restored hotel is just steps away from the beach. Also, Tor House is a former home of poet Robinson Jeffers, and it includes a hand-built stone tower with gorgeous views of the ocean. Special events include Poodle Day, the annual Sandcastle Contest, and the Taste of Carmel Festival. The city also has several odd laws still on the books, including a ban on wearing high heels without a permit.

Nestled at the end of a canyon and surrounded by some of Colorado’s most beautiful mountains is Telluride’s town. Shutterstock

45. Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado, was named the number one Best Small Town To Visit in the USA by US News & World Report, and it is easy to see why. It is an old West Town built during the Gold Rush in Colorado, and it has a canyon that surrounds the city with nearly 360 degrees of mountains. The largest free-falling waterfall in the view of the town. The town of Telluride is just eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long.


Although it is a popular ski resort destination, there are plenty of outdoor activities in the warmer months, including several hiking trails that lead right from the town. The town’s historic landmarks include the Sheridan Opera House, built in 1913, and the Telluride Historical Museum, which is housed in a converted hospital that dates back to 1896. The colorful Victorian-era homes, boutiques, and gourmet restaurants are a delight to explore. You’ll get to enjoy the big town activities in a small-town lifestyle.

Essex offers visitors a perfect blend of history, art, shops, and restaurants. Shutterstock

44. Essex, Connecticut

Known as a “storybook village,” the town of Essex, Connecticut, is a historic seaport town with various attractions. The Main Street is lined with the restored homes of former sea captains and several galleries and boutique shops. The Connecticut River Museum is located in an 1878 steamboat warehouse, and it is the only one of its kind that is still on the river. You can also take a steam-train-to-riverboat ride.


However, the best way to discover this small town is on foot. History enthusiasts may also be interested to know that Essex is one of the few American cities to be attacked by a foreign power during the War of 1812. A parade is held each year during the second Saturday of each May to commemorate the “Burning of the Ships” with ancient rife and drum corps and a steamboat ceremony. By tradition, the event is unpublicized.

The cobblestone streets and townhomes of this riverside city invite visitors to stroll and shop. Shutterstock

43. New Castle, Delaware

Delaware’s riverside town has a self-described charm titled “Colonial chic,” with cobblestone streets and small shops and restaurants. It serves as a reminder of days gone by, and there are several exceptional townhomes and mansions, like the Read House & Gardens, the Dutch House, and Amstel House. New Castle is the oldest continuously occupied town in the Delaware Valley. It is known for its thriving historic downtown, outdoor open spaces, and recreation, including nature and trails.


New Castle is the place where William Penn landed when he came to the New World, and it is also the place where the state of Delaware voted to be independent of Pennsylvania. The New Castle Court House Museum is part of the First State National Park. New Castle is the perfect quiet location that is central to many attractions and services. Also, you can visit Battery Park, one of the most popular natural green spaces in New Castle.

Located about an hour and a half north of Tampa, Crystal River is the perfect laid-back town. Shutterstock

42. Crystal River, Florida

With so many attractions located in Florida, it can be nice to spend some time outside the more obvious tourist attractions. Crystal River is located on the Nature Coast, and this place is perfect for those who enjoy getting outside and exploring. In addition to boating, diving, and fishing areas, it is the only place where you can swim with manatees while being accompanied by trained guides. The surrounding waters are dotted with natural springs that remain a perfect 72 degrees year-round.


Other attractions include the Three Sisters Spring Wildlife Refuge, with boardwalks that allow you to view manatees in their natural habitat, as well as a trio of natural springs. You can walk the board above the springs, paddle into the springs with a kayak or paddleboard, or swim into the springs. You can also visit the springs by boat or paddle craft. Enjoy the stunningly clear water. The Crystal River Archaeological State Park features the remains of an early Native American settlement.

Helen is a cultural shopping district that is complete with cobblestone streets. Shutterstock

41. Helen, Georgia

When you step into Helen, Georgia, you will feel like you have entered a European Alpine village, with its cobblestone streets and Bavarian architecture. The colorful buildings are outlined in gingerbread trim, and there are several German-inspired eateries, shops, and boutiques. The Hardman Farm State Historic Site includes a homestead from 1870. The Chattahoochee River gently flows through Helen. The local history is linked to the Cherokee Indians and early settlers who came to mine for gold and worked in the lumber industry.


The mountain town has several special events each year, including a grand Oktoberfest each fall and a Christkindlmarkt each holiday season. Other festivals include an annual hot-air balloon race and stateside Volkswagen and Audi event that pays tribute to the Worthersee Tour in Austria. There is so much to do for entertainment and activities. Enjoy fly-fishing, golfing, horseback riding, and tubing. A popular getaway is Unicoi State Park that includes trails for hiking and biking and swimming and boating.

Hilo offers visitors breathtaking natural beauty with all of the amenities of a vibrant town. Shutterstock

40. Hilo, Hawaii

Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii is famous for its Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, which was created when the lava flowed toward the ocean and cooled. Downtown Hilo has a mix of old, wooden storefronts with different shops, restaurants, museums, and art galleries. The Wailuku River State Park features Waianuenue, or Rainbow Falls, which has been known to give off colorful mist effects. It is also home to Hilo International Airport and is a quick stop on your way to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.


Hilo is home to its annual Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long Hawaiian cultural event, and hula competition dedicated to King David Kalakaua. It is held each year starting on Easter Sunday, and it typically brings in a large crowd to the small city. Hilo also has plenty of natural beauty. The Liliuokalani Gardens is a peaceful spot that features Japanese-style fishponds and rock gardens on its 30 acres. The only rainforest zoo, Panaewa Rainforest Zoo, is home to a plethora of exotic plants and animals.

Wallace is the wealthiest mining town still in existence. Shutterstock

39. Wallace, Idaho

Another former mining town, Wallace, Idaho, is surrounded by mountains, and it was nicknamed the “center of the universe,” with the entire city being named on the National Historic Register. However, for those who enjoy the great outdoors, the Rail Trail Hall of Fame Route of Hiawatha bike path and two ski areas are nearby, just a few miles away. You can enjoy more than 1,000 miles of mining, logging, and service roads.


The town has many entertainment options, including craft breweries, restaurants, hotels, and bed and breakfasts that line the town streets. Special events are held year-round, celebrating music, western history, and Idaho’s favorite fruit, the huckleberry. There are two world-class paths, the Route of the Hiawatha and the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, appealing to mountain bikers, walkers, and rollerbladers. Take part in the town’s underground mine tours and be stunned at the history this town holds.

Galena offers visitors tastes from around the world, including farm-to-table hotspots that feature local flavors. Shutterstock

38. Galena, Illinois

Galena has the unique distinction of being home to nine Civil War generals, including Ulysses S. Grant. This small town in northwest Illinois now caters to growing tourism with several bed and breakfasts, golf courses, wineries, and the only ski resort. Set along the Mississippi River, Galena has several galleries, antique stores, and boutiques in restored 19th-century structures. There is something to do for everyone. You can take an outdoor adventure or browse endless boutiques and shops.


The mining town’s six-block Main Street also has the Old Market House, the U.S. Grant Museum, and the Historical Society and Museum as must-see attractions. Also, Galena hosts Civil War reenactments each year at the nearby Apple River Fort State Historic Site. You can also partake in the arts and culture of Galena. Experience the culture by creating handcrafted cards, painting a canvas, or learn to cook a new meal or pastry. Learning something new is a great bonding activity.

The community of Warsaw is known for its history and natural beauty. Shutterstock

37. Warsaw, Indiana

Warsaw, Indiana, is located on the beautiful Winona Lake. The historic village dates back to the 19th-century when early traders, trappers, and merchants supplied manufactured goods to area farmers. The entire town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now Warsaw is a shopping destination in northern Indiana with several options throughout the downtown. It is a place for enrichment and exploration. Many artists have chosen to make Warsaw their home due to its natural beauty and history.


Special events include First Fridays, where the downtown area is transformed into a giant block party. Spend a day relaxing by beautiful Winona Lake in Warsaw, Indiana, and leave time to wander through the beautiful, historic Village at Winona. Once a summer retreat, this Northern Indiana destination is now a shopping mecca and a venue for concerts, performances, and festivals. The village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Warsaw is known for its vibrant downtown combined with lakes and beautiful parks.

Decorah is a decorated town full of attractions, including festivals, live entertainment, and museums. Shutterstock

36. Decorah, Iowa

The country of Northeast Iowa is remarkable in many ways. Decorah is located in the northeastern part of Iowa at an elevation of 900 feet above sea level. There are a wealth of things to do, see, and experience. The community includes an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the city. There are even a 200-foot-tall waterfall and trout streams that are nearby. The short hiking trails will take you to the breathtaking Dunning’s Springs and Malanaphy Falls.


Other charming elements include a bustling farmers’ market and Toppling Goliath Brewery. The Seed Savers Exchange has heirloom gardens, historic orchards, and livestock breeds, among others. You can pick up gardening tips, seeds, or gifts while roaming the 890-acre heritage farm. There is an annual Nordic Fest held each summer to pay homage to the area’s Norwegian heritage. From apple picking to eagle watching to fishing and hiking, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Lindsborg is a small town that is known for its association with Swedish heritage. Shutterstock

35. Lindsborg, Kansas

Dubbed “Little Sweden USA,” the small town of Lindsborg exudes a certain charm from the moment you get off the highway. The downtown area has many fine art galleries and unique shops to explore. There is also a little game tourists can play where they can try to see how many colorful dala, or Swedish folk-art figurines of horses, they can find. More than 30 public art sculptures are modeled after the shape of the Swedish Dala horse. The scavenger hunt begins by picking up a map at the Lindsborg Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Several festivals celebrate the Swedish heritage in the area, such as the Messiah Festival of the Arts, the Midsummer’s Festival, and the famous Svensk Hyllningsfest, held every two years. Local “Maker Nights” encourage hands-on art activities with a new theme chosen each month. Also, a few miles out of town is the Coronado Heights Park that is essentially a castle named for explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who was rumored to have come to Kansas looking for gold.

The town of Paducah is a perfect mixture of historic downtown architecture and walkable artisan shops. Shutterstock

34. Paducah, Kentucky

The waterfront downtown in Paducah, Kentucky, is lined with trees, brick streets, and 19th-century architecture. One visit, and you can see how the city is bustling with life and culture — thanks to its art galleries, antique stores, performance spaces, and local cafes. It is home to the National Quilt Museum with a 320-piece collection of contemporary quilts. The museum showcases the work of today’s quilters and advances the art of quilting by bringing it to audiences that hadn’t previously experienced the art form.


Paducah celebrated its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, and it is one of only nine in the US with that distinction. Many of its historic buildings have been repurposed as eateries and studios for its vibrant arts community. While visiting, take a shopping day in the LowerTown to the historic downtown district to discover more unique boutiques. At the same time, you will run into plenty of 19th-century architecture and locally-owned shops and restaurants.

Thibodaux is located slightly southwest of New Orleans and is full of entertainment and activities. Shutterstock

33. Thibodaux, Louisiana

Thibodaux is Lafourche Parish’s parish seat, and it is known as “Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou.” It has the Acadian Cultural Center, which is also part of the Jean Lafitte National Park. There are walking tours throughout the historic downtown area along with boat tours along Bayou Lafourche. This unique area is considered the city’s “Main Street,” and it is 100 miles long. Thibodaux is a pure cajun country full of restaurants and fresh markets that reflect the local culture and cuisine.


There is a life-sized reliquary of Saint Valerie that was brought to Thibodaux in 1868, and it is displayed in the shrine of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral. The saint is often invoked to protect the city from hurricanes. Thibodaux also has the Bayou Country Children’s Museum, which brings together Cajun history, education, and fun. Kids can play on a full-size sugar harvester, toss beads from a Mardi Gras float, and climb aboard a shrimp boat. It is the perfect place to spend a day with the family.

Kennebunkport is a year-round vacation destination with lots for visitors to do in every season. Shutterstock

32. Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport, Maine, used to be a shipbuilding center, but it has since evolved into a summer retreat for many tourists. Since the late 1800s, many vacationers have frequented the grand hotels and mansions along the coastline. Dock Square is a popular shopping area within the village setting. It consists of a unique district of souvenir shops, art galleries, seafood restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and other places to visit. There is something in Kennebunkport for every member of the family.


The Seashore Trolley Museum is another unique attraction with a vast collection of streetcars on display. Kennebunkport is also close to the 1833 Goat Island Lighthouse, which sits in Cape Porpoise’s harbor. There are many opportunities for boating adventures that are located directly in town. Whale watching tours are increasingly popular attractions in Kennebunkport for those that hope to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures. Other boat tours take guests on one to two-hour fishing and lobster excursions.

Easton has been referred to as the cultural capital of the Eastern Shore. Shutterstock

31. Easton, Maryland

The town of Easton, Maryland, received recognition as one of America’s top coolest cities by Forbes magazine in 2018. It is located on the eastern shore, about 90 minutes from Baltimore and Washington, DC. It has made a name for its historic architecture, performing arts scene, and culinary community. Today it is known for its excellent restaurants, outstanding lodging, an assortment of upscale boutiques, studios, and galleries. The city is home to the nation’s oldest Quaker meeting house.


Some of the popular events held in the town are the Chesapeake Film Festival, Waterfowl Festival, and First Friday Gallery Walks. Other attractions include the Academy Art Museum, Avalon Theatre, and Third Haven Meeting House. A new park has been dedicated to abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who was born in the town more than 200 years ago. Pickering Creek Audubon Center is a spacious 400-acre working farm with over a mile of tidal creek shoreline that visitors can explore.

Nantucket is a charming, historic island located just over 30 miles from the shores of Cape Cod. Shutterstock

30. Nantucket, Massachusetts

Nantucket is not only a town but a county and an island as well. The seaport is less than 30 miles south of Cape Code, and visitors stroll over its cobblestone streets, which were laid on Main Street in 1838. Known for its architecture, shops, and other boutiques, the entire 50-square-foot-mile Massachusetts island is a National Historic Landmark. Filled with charming inns, museums, and shops, this historic island showcases its history. Visitors can take advantage of an endless supply of beaches and shoreline.


Sailors had once called it the “Little Grey Lady of the Sea,” and National Geographic had ranked it as the world’s best island. Nantucket’s charming elements include the Whaling Museum, which recounts the town’s days as a 19th-century whaling hub. The newly expanded exhibit space allows for real-life size displays. The museum also offers interactive exhibits to keep the children entertained. You and your family can visit the Great Point Lighthouse, which offers breathtaking views along 16 miles of trails. It is a highly sought after spot for fishing from the shore.

Charlevoix’s small-town charm has something for everyone. Shutterstock

29. Charlevoix, Michigan

Charlevoix, Michigan, has several attractive options to visit. Castle Farms was constructed in 1918 by Albert Loeb, and the gorgeous structure is available for weddings and special events. There is also the South Pier Lighthouse, which became owned by the historical society in 2008. You can shop the boutiques in downtown Charlevoix, purchase a great book, specialty food items, or take home some Charlevoix memorabilia. If you want to do something more adventurous, try the Wildwood Rush, a family-friendly zip lining experience.


Charlevoix is also home to one of the largest Lavender Hill Farms, which has 25 varieties to choose from. Special events include the Thursday before Memorial Day, when hundreds of residents gather to plant more than 60,000 petunias up and down Main Street. There is also an average Apple Fest and art and craft show. Charlevoix is all about its freshwater. Hit up the lakes with a kayak, sailboat, or paddleboard. If you prefer something more relaxing, try a guided raft tour.

Nisswa is a northern Minnesota town with much historic charm. Shutterstock

28. Nisswa, Minnesota

Located in the Brainerd Lakes area, Nisswa is home to many places that make it a popular summer vacation spot. With a gorgeous outdoor setting, it is the place to be! There are more than 50 shops and restaurants in its quaint downtown district. The Grand View Lodge is spread over hundreds of acres with private and luxurious lodging options along Gull Lake. When you visit Nisswa, you can see the old railroad stop and even an old rail car.


Other attractions include the Paul Bunyan Nisswa Family Fun Center and the Ye Old Pickle Factory, which features pig races on the weekends. There are many gorgeous lakes within minutes of Nisswa. The most popular is Gull Lake, which is complete with a bar. Lower Cullen Lake is less traveled but still has a resort and plenty of boat rentals. On the lakes, you can rent paddleboats, pontoons, speed boats, canoes, and paddleboards. There is an outdoor activity for every member of the family.

Natchez’s little town in Mississippi was once the most important port on the Mississippi River during the cotton trade. Shutterstock

27. Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi, is a picturesque Southern town with 30-mile views to the north and the south. It was named after its original Natchez Indian residents who settled in 1716. The Grand Village of Natchez is a reconstructed home and three ceremonial mounds on site. Natchez’s pedestrian-friendly historic downtown is fun to explore on foot and is home to the town’s best shopping and places to stay. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from that range from casual home-cooked restaurants to find-dining experiences.


There are several antebellum homes, like the unfinished octagonal property Longwood, and the town is known as the “Biscuit Capital of the World.” Other attractions include the Auburn Museum and Historic Home, Magnolia Hall, Rosalie Mansion, and the William Johnson Home. Stanton Hall is one of the largest and most lavish mansions in the United States. Visitors can tour the finely restored interior, which is filled with original and antique furnishings. It has also long been said that Stanton Hall is haunted.

This historic river town has so many exciting things to do. Shutterstock

26. Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, was celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2019. The city is located on the Mississippi River, and it is home to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, where the American writer grew up. There are several artifacts on display, including his typewriter and a writing desk. You can enjoy a dinner cruise aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat or enjoy a theater performance at the Mark Twain Theater. With so many attractions in Hannibal, you will enjoy an unforgettable vacation.


Other attractions include the Cave Hollow West Winery and Haunted Hannibal ghost tour. Special events are the Tom Sawyer Days Festival and the Big River Steampunk Festival, which encourages visitors to dress up in Victorian-era costumes. Hannibal is also home to over 30 parks and outdoor activities. Whether your passion is hiking, biking, or photography, there is something to suit your active lifestyle. Hannibal is also rich in local art culture. You can explore unique jewelry and paintings at a variety of studios.

Whitefish is a stunning mountain town with shimmering lakes, high peaks, and many hiking trails. Shutterstock

25. Whitefish, Montana

The small town of Whitefish, Montana, is a resort town located in the Rocky Mountains. National Geographic may consider it one of the top ski towns, but there is plenty to do. Visitors can come to snowboard, hike, bike, and boat, and the sandy City Beach and Whitefish Lake State Park provide boat launches and picnic areas. Hiking is the most highly featured activity to most of the park’s visitors. You will have over 700 miles of trails to choose which hike is best for you.


You can also experience Glacier National Park on horseback to get an authentic western experience if you prefer. Tourists can also enjoy a live professional theater and dining experience in the downtown area. Central Avenue is lined with shops and eateries. After spending all day outdoors, you can visit Logan’s Bar and Grill to grab a bite to eat. The restaurant offers full-service upscale cuisine that is served in a friendly, classic and welcoming Montana atmosphere.

McCook is full of history, outdoor adventure, and family-owned restaurants. Shutterstock

24. McCook, Nebraska

Nestled in the rolling hills of southwest Nebraska, McCook grew into a railway boomtown in 1882. It is now a bustling community with all the comforts of urban living and the small-town charm. The downtown area has eateries, specialty shops, and cultural venues. The 10-block site features many architectural gems and provides a ton of local history. You can also explore the Museum of the High Plains. After investigating, choose from a handful of locally-owned restaurants, including a brick-oven pizzeria to a lakefront marina and grill.


The Harvey P. Sutton House is a private residence designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the only one known to have been built in Nebraska. There is a stunning example of his early Prairie School designs. McCook also hosts a Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival every summer. If you’re seeking more outdoor adventures, you can stop at the Red Willow Reservoir State Recreation Area for some entertainment. Choose from fishing, hunting, hiking, and biking or a combination of multiple activities.

Virginia City is just 20 miles southeast of Reno in Nevada. Shutterstock

23. Virginia City, Nevada

Virginia City was a boomtown in 1859 with the discovery of the first major silver deposits in the US. Today, this city has several Old West saloons, shops, museums, and restaurants that pay homage to its history, including wooden sidewalks. You can also ride a steam engine or take a haunted ghost tour. Virginia City has been self-proclaimed one of the most haunted towns in America. The Silver Queen Hotel has been reported to have paranormal activity over the years.


Other attractions include the historic Piper’s Opera House, one of the most famous performance venues in the nation. It was built in 1885, and it has hosted President Grant, Buffalo Bill, and Mark Twain over the years. The Fourth Ward School is also another popular piece of history. It now serves as a museum to commemorate the American West. There is an 1870’s classroom, a historical overview of the Comstock, and other memorabilia. With more than 15 museums throughout this town, you may have to visit multiple times to see them all.

The small town of Littleton is a mixture of business, shopping, and an outdoor escape. Shutterstock

22. Littleton, New Hampshire

Littleton’s small town was first settled in 1770, and it continues to draw visitors who are attracted to its old-fashioned shops like Chutters, the world’s most extended candy counter. Chutters has 112 feet of jellybeans, chocolates, and other sweet treats. The community also has its oldest ski shop, Lahout’s, and several elegant and historic lodges like Thayer’s Inn. The town has an ideal location in the shadow of the mountains and along the river.


The downtown area of Littleton, New Hampshire, has won significant accolades with several unique boutiques and shops. Littleton prides itself on being a walkable community, both around town and on a 22-mile network of hand-built trails. Other attractions include a statue of Pollyanna, a covered bridge over the Ammonoosuc, and the Littleton Opera House’s octagonal clock tower. You can also explore Littleton’s arts scene by visiting the gallery that features mixed media from local artists.

Lambertville is a gathering of antique shops, galleries, and coffee shops. Shutterstock

21. Lambertville, New Jersey

Considered “The Antiques Capital of New Jersey,” Lambertville is a hub for talented artists and crafters with shops and galleries along the Delaware River. The town was founded in 1705, and it has several federal townhouses and Victorian homes. A restored 19th-century train depot houses the Lambertville Station, a popular waterside restaurant and inn. The 1816 James Wilson Marshall House Museum is the headquarters for the Historical Society of Lambertville.


The Golden Nugget Antiques Market offers both an indoor and outdoor space for shoppers. The People’s Store has more than 40 dealers on its three floors. There are many vintage warehouses and more shops on Bridge, Main, and Union streets. You can also visit The Gallery of Fine Art for incredible service, fair pricing, and lovely artwork. Stop by the historic bars and world-class spas and salons. There is so much to explore in this tiny town.

Madrid is a quirky town situated on the historic Turquoise Trail. Shutterstock

20. Madrid, New Mexico

Madrid is a tiny town with 204 people, according to the 2010 census. It is located along a scenic route known as the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway. The roadway is a 50-mile drive that links the metropolitan areas of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. You can also get a sense of the local history by stopping by the Mineshaft Tavern and the Coal Mine Museum. Madrid makes an excellent day trip and has plenty of options to choose from when it comes to food, shopping, and activities.


The former ghost town is filled with galleries and local restaurants, all within walking distance from each other. Much of the town’s original architecture is still standing and has since been repurposed into galleries and shops. Madrid welcomes art enthusiasts and artists that are inspired by the beauty of the New Mexico landscape. It is also famed for its fabulous Christmas light displays, which visitors can view in December on the weekend leading up to Christmas. The town is a great place to walk around, grab a bite to eat, and take in the scenery.

Skaneateles is a vibrant town full of shops and restaurants that lies along a clear blue lake. Shutterstock

19. Skaneateles, New York

Skaneateles, New York, is a charming community that many celebrities and former presidents have been frequenting for quite some time. There are live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake each summer, as well as plenty of farm-to-table restaurants, boat cruises, and a racetrack. The area’s natural beauty is on full display, with several beautiful waterfalls nearby. The town has many attractions, including taking a scenic boat ride on the lake and a hike to Carpenter Falls.


Several old buildings have been restored in the community, with some dating back to 1796. Many festivals are held throughout the year. Some of the famous faces to visit Skaneateles include President Teddy Roosevelt, President Bill Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden. The Lockwood Lavender Farm is the charming part of Skaneateles and spans 120 acres. Established in 1854, the farm is tucked in a hillside overlooking the breathtaking lake. You can also visit Anyela’s Vineyards and enjoy history and scenery.

Black Mountain is a quaint small town that is complete with a charming and walkable downtown. Shutterstock

18. Black Mountain, North Carolina

Black Mountain in western North Carolina is considered one of the prettiest small towns. It is a thriving arts and crafts scene. With the Blue Ridge Mountains in the backdrop, the area welcomes visitors to take a stroll through the Town Square, see its famous rocking chairs, and peruse through the natural region filled with hiking trails, camping grounds, and waterfalls. It is now a haven for artists, with several galleries showcasing the best Appalachian artworks.


Safewise named it as one of the 50 safest towns in North Carolina. At the same time, the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper considered it to be the Best Small Town In Western North Carolina. Attractions include Lake Tomahawk, Swannanoa Valley Museum, and the Point Lookout Trail, among others. The generally mild weather in Black Mountain offers year-round access to numerous hiking and biking trails throughout the area. You have your choice to stay at a beautifully renovated Victorian Inn, bed and breakfast, or modern hotels.

Watford City is an area that is full of history, culture, and scenic beauty. Shutterstock

17. Watford City, North Dakota

This small town sits in North Dakota’s Badlands, and it is home to several eclectic shops and local restaurants along its Main Street area. It is home to the most enormous petrified tree stump, which reportedly weighs more than 17,000 pounds. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is nearby and an excellent place for the family to visit. Watford City is booming with its new athletic facilities and concert venue. The downtown area features unique shopping and dining experiences.


Watford City was founded in 1914, and it saw a swift rise in population during the oil development, growing from 1,200 people to more than 15,000. It now has approximately 1,100 residents, according to the census. Attractions include the Long X Trading Post Visitor’s Center and the Lewis & Clark Golf Trail. After a day of exploring and adventure, Watford City has a variety of options available. There are dozens of restaurants, from fine dining to casual eateries and busy cocktail bars.

Put-in-Bay is a lively entertainment scene full of historical sites and breathtaking views. Shutterstock

16. Put-in-Bay, Ohio

The quaint island village of Put-in-Bay, Ohio, is a ferry ride away. The name refers to the bay itself, where schooners who sailed on Lake Erie would arrive to wait out bad weather. The village has a population of 135. Most guests visit the island for either a quick day trip or a casual overnight stay. There are so many activities to partake in around the island. You can take a golf cart, moped, or rent a bike to enjoy a stroll through town.


There is a massive column at Perrys’ Victory and International Peace Memorial that commemorates the 1812 Battle of Lake Erie. Other places to visit could be a stone beach at South Bass Island State Park, the Antique Car Museum, and Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, a limestone cave and butterfly house. Your visit to Put-in-Bay will leave you viewing stunning state parks and rocky lakeside beaches. Once it gets closer to dinner time, check out the local restaurants and bars.

Enjoy Guthrie’s one-of-a-kind stores with an afternoon of shopping. Shutterstock

15. Guthrie, Oklahoma

Guthrie, Oklahoma, has the most extensive Historic Preservation District in the US. It is a part of the Oklahoma City Metroplex and became an important railroad stop. Visitors can hop a trolley or take a horse-drawn carriage downtown to tour the many renovations, including boutiques and Victorian-era architecture. Spend some time at the Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library to learn about the city’s history. Guthrie is famous for its sizeable historic downtown district, home to more than 2,000 mostly Victorian buildings.


Here you will also find the smallest national park, which measures just 100 square feet. Want to experience a bit of the wild wild west? The town also hosts gunfight reenactments starting in June and continuing through September. The Guthrie Scottish Rite is one of the largest Masonic Temples in the world. The temple is historically and architecturally significant due to its large scale. It is by far the most elaborately designed and constructed Masonic Temples in the state.

There are a large variety of great places to eat in Jacksonville. You can choose from some German cuisine or a fast in and out lunch. Shutterstock

14. Jacksonville, Oregon

The historic city of Jacksonville, Oregon, is in the heart of Applegate Valley Wine Trail. It was founded after discovering gold deposits in 1851, and it was home to the first Chinatown in the state. More than 100 buildings were designated a National Historic District when much of the original commercial and residential structures remained intact from the mid-19th century. From scenic and hiking opportunities to winery and vineyard tours, there is something for everyone to enjoy.


Jacksonville is also home to the Britt Music & Arts Festival, a seasonal event in an open-air amphitheater. Named after Peter Britt, the concert attracts national pop, country, alternative and contemporary artists. Other popular events include Chinese New Year, Oktoberfest, and the Oregon Wine Experience. You could also go hiking on the trails or rent a boat and explore the area. There is always something going on in Jacksonville.

Latrobe is a great place to visit and is known for many things. Shutterstock

13. Latrobe, Pennsylvania

It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, home to TV pioneer Fred Rogers. It was listed as one of the 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018, and its newly constructed Fred Rogers pays tribute to the “Mister Rogers” legacy. Stops on the trail include the Fred Rogers exhibit at Saint Vincent College and his statue at James H. Rogers Park. Latrobe was also the home of golfer Arnold Palmer where his wife created a 50-acre nature reserve.


Other attractions in Latrobe include the Saint Vincent Archabbey and the Latrobe Brewery, the original brewer of Rolling Rock beer. It is also home to the summer training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Lincoln Highway Experience is a museum that features 100 years long history. It is the largest museum in America dedicated to telling the story of the country’s first coast-to-coast highway. Visitors get to experience several interpretive exhibits. You will leave with a driving guide and a postcard.

Warren has a thriving downtown that offers local art and antique shops. Shutterstock

12. Warren, Rhode Island

The coastal town of Warren, Rhode Island, is rich in history, with several places dating back to the 18th century. The Maxwell House is the earliest surviving brick home, and it features a brickwork pattern, fieldstone foundation, and central chimney. The small town used to be a former whaling and shipbuilding port that boasts a working waterfront and is home to many outdoor recreation options. Likewise, many locally-owned shops, restaurants, antique dealers, and art galleries are all worth a visit.


Warren’s Main Street is brimming with things to do. There are several specialty shops along its downtown area, including a pet boutique and biscuit bar named Woof! Woof! and an old-school soda shop at Delekta Pharmacy, and it serves the official drink of Rhode Island known as a coffee cabinet, a flavored milkshake. The downtown dining options are also plentiful. You can enjoy a brick-oven pizza or visit Coney Island with their signature menu item layered with Coney sauce, meat sauce, and onions.

Beaufort is South Carolina’s second-oldest city. Shutterstock

11. Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort is like a miniature version of the bigger city of Charleston. Furthermore, the historic town is set along the Atlantic Ocean on one of the state’s coastal sea islands, and it has its own Waterfront Park. Founded in 1711, it is the second oldest city in South Carolina. Beaufort offers visitors picturesque views and a welcoming environment. It is the perfect escape to disconnect from the chaos. It’s calming views, and waters offer some serene and relaxing moments.


Beaufort is home to several Civil War-era homes and plantations. The John Mark Verdier House Museum is an early 1800s federal-style mansion with period furniture and several local history exhibits. You can stay in the award-winning Beaufort Historic Inn that offers a part boutique hotel, part bed, and breakfast atmosphere. For more than 100 years, guests have been welcomed inside the inn. The Victorian mansion sits among lush gardens and has double front porches.

Hill City has an eclectic blend of attractions and activities. Shutterstock

10. Hill City, South Dakota

Hill City is described as “the heart of the Black Hills,” and its downtown area depicts the best of small-town life. There are flower-filled baskets along Main Street as well as picturesque views of the various landscapes. It is the oldest existing city in Pennington County, South Dakota. Moreover, there are endless recreational possibilities. You will find seven lakes nearby, plenty of campgrounds, marinas, hiking, and horseback riding. Hill City offers adventures for both young and the young-at-heart to enjoy.


A former mining town, Hill City is now home to the only place in South Dakota where visitors can ride on an 1880 train or walk under real dinosaurs at The Museum at Black Hills Institute. Other attractions include Sculpture in the Hills and Hill City Wine, Brew & BBQ. There are also several arts and music festivals throughout the year. Hill City offers visitors incredible scenic beauty, a bit of culture, and a fascinating history. Downtown holds many art galleries, jewelry, clothing, and gift shops.

Paris is full of shopping and outdoor adventures. Shutterstock

9. Paris, Tennessee

Paris, Tennessee, is home to a 70-foot replica of the famous French structure — the Eiffel Tower. It also has a unique shopping area in its gorgeous downtown square. In the mid-1990s, significant renovations were conducted to bring the court back to its original 1920s style. There are now more than 40 merchants located there, with various shops and boutiques to choose from. You can choose from a feast of restaurants that range from country cooking to Asian and Italian.


However, Paris also has the World’s Biggest Fish Fry each April, with more than five tons of catfish served each year. There is also the Paris Landing State Park, where tourists can golf, go for a swim, camp overnight or find other ways to enjoy the great outdoors. You can soak up the western shore of the Kentucky Lake while boating, swimming, or skiing. You may run into the abundant wildlife in the park, including deer, turkey, as well as eagles in the winter months.

Gruene is a historic district that is located one hour from Austin, Texas. Shutterstock

8. Gruene, Texas

Many of the original buildings in Gruene, Texas, were built in the 19th century, and it was once a cotton-producing community. After World War II and the highway construction, Gruene dwindled in population and became a ghost town by 1950. Today, Gruene is known for its rustic Texas feel that attracts many visitors from around the state and national and international tourists. Gruene is a perfect place to plan your next day trip adventure.


The whole town almost fell victim to developers until a college student saved the day and helped land the city on the National Register of Historic Places. Some local boutiques and shops have become a mecca for the local economy. Furthermore, the Texas travel industry now considers Gruene to be a premier attraction for tourists and retail shopping. Gruene offers an antique store with over 6,500 square feet of antiques and collectibles for visitors to explore.

The little town of Kanab sits right in the southernmost part of Utah. Shutterstock

7. Kanab, Utah

Nicknamed “Little Hollywood,” Kanab has been the shooting location for dozens of western films throughout the years. This town is close to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, the south entrance to the Zion National Park and Kodachrome Basin State Parks. The sandstone landscape is rich in fascinating and adventurous things to do—these range from long or short hikes, scenic roads, and even a museum in a cave. Visiting Kanab will be an unforgettable adventure.


One visit, and you will see why Kanab, Utah, is the fastest-growing tourism destination in the state. It is also home to the largest animal sanctuary in the country. The Best Friends Animal Sanctuary has an adorable array of rescue dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, goats, and pigs. The animals come from shelters throughout the country that don’t have the resources to socialize, train, and heal them until they are ready for adoption. If you’re an animal lover, this is the perfect stop for you.

Shelburne is home to many popular tourist attractions and special events every year. Shutterstock

6. Shelburne, Vermont

Shelburne is located along the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont. It was established in 1763, and it is home to several tourist attractions, including the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and the Shelburne Museum. The museum is a vibrant resource for learning about American history, industry, culture, and art. There are authentic, decades-old buildings that experts relocated to the museum and filled with historical artifacts and art. The museum also exhibits famous Impressionist pieces by European artists.


Although it is a suburb of Burlington, the largest city in the state, the town is most famous for Shelburne Farms. Nevertheless, this destination features a series of barns where visitors can milk cows and watch cheesemakers create various cheddar. Shelburne Farms is well worth your time. The grounds feature miles of walking trails that offer incredible views of forests, fields, and mountains. The hands-on Children’s Farmyard, historic breeding barn, and the elegant Inn are all points of interest.

Downtown Bristol is nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. Shutterstock

5. Bristol, Virginia

The town of Bristol, Virginia, technically straddles two states. One side of the downtown main street lies in Virginia, while the other is located in Tennessee. Naturally, this Appalachian Mountains municipality has something for history buffs, music lovers, and artists. The Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum celebrates the musical roots with the 1927 Bristol Sessions. If you’re a first time visitor, you should start downtown at the state line on State Street. As a gateway to the region’s outdoors, Bristol is home to world-class fly fishing waters.


Bristol has several art galleries and has a designated Arts & Entertainment District. You can also visit the Bristol Train Station, which was built in 1902; the Paramount Center for the Arts (opened in 1931; and the historic Bristol Sign, which has been a part of State Street since 1915. The annual Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion are one of the premier music festivals in the southeastern US. Bristol is home to many locally owned and chain restaurants and has some of the best BBQ and burgers you can find.

La Conner is a small town that is half a square mile and has fewer than 1,000 occupants. Shutterstock

4. La Conner, Washington

La Conner, Washington, frequently gets listed as a top weekend getaway in the state, and it is no surprise why. It is a small town located on the waterfront, with several galleries, needlecraft and quilt stores, wine bars, and gift shops along the way. Shoppers can take the ferry to the nearby San Juan Islands. The Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum is a Victorian home that provides 4,500 square feet of display area and exhibits. The museum focuses on traditional and contemporary pieces.


This town produces more tulips, iris, and daffodil bulbs than any other county in the US, so it is no surprise that it hosts its famous Daffodil Festival each spring when thousands of flowers are open against the backdrop of Mt. Baker. Other attractions are the La Conner Rainbow Bridge & Textile Museum and the Museum of Northwest Art. The museum holds quarterly exhibitions and eight permanent collections that focus on artists from the northwest Pacific region.

This small town is a thriving cultural pocket on the outskirts of the Monongahela National Forest. Shutterstock

3. Thomas, West Virginia

Thomas is a beautiful place for walkers, as there is a self-guided walking tour around the West Virginia town that allows them to see more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register. This charming small town is located on the state park’s edge and has taken up the torch for being the stop for hikers and skiers. Furthermore, in this tiny town, you can wake up, grab a coffee, spend a full day hiking, and then return to town in time to grab some grub at a local brewery.


Once a coal town that dwindled after the industry left the area, Thomas is tiny. It may only have less than 600 people in its population, but its downtown remains busy. Take another gander at the bustling downtown business district with art galleries and antique shops. The town overlooks the North Fork on the Blackwater River. You can stay at The Purple Fiddle. The downstairs is a restaurant, bar, and music venue and is the most popular spot in town to hang out. Upstairs is a tiny hotel with a kitchen, pool table, and a giant patio.

Kohler is a picture-perfect destination and is located on the banks of the River Sheboygan. Shutterstock

2. Kohler, Wisconsin

The village of Kohler, Wisconsin, is named after the Kohler Company that developed there in 2012. It is located approximately 56 miles north of Milwaukee. It is also home to the American Club resort, a 100-year-old building that once served as the residence for immigrants who worked for the manufacturer of kitchen and bath appliances. There are two world-class golf courses in the small town of Kohler that you can enjoy during your visit. These include Whistling Straits Golf Course and Blackwolf Run.


Kohler has become a popular tourist hotspot with two major shopping areas — the Shops at Woodlake Kohler, north of the downtown, and Deer Trace on the village’s southeast side. If you’re looking to relax, spend some time at Kohler Waters Spa. It is an elegant sanctuary that offers a range of nourishing treatments, all-day immersion therapeutic water treatments, and facial and body services. The spa has water-based treatment rooms, inviting rest spaces, and a relaxation pool. There is also a covered rooftop deck with a lounge, whirlpool, and fireplace.

Cody offers visitors a plethora of outdoor adventures, including rock climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking. Shutterstock

1. Cody, Wyoming

The quirky town of Cody, Wyoming, was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody, one of the most well-known American Old West figures. There are rock formations throughout the city with fun descriptive names like “Laughing Pig Rock.” A group of authentic frontier buildings is also available to visit, including a cabin used by Butch Cassidy’s Hole-in-the-Wall gang. You can experience a variety of attractions, including nightly rodeos, gunfight reenactments, and cowboy music. The experience is sure to be one-of-a-kind.


Luckily, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West has five museums, with several wildlife exhibits. There is a recreated frontier town called Old Trail Town that has 1800s log cabins and a saloon. Thrill-seekers may want to board the Cody Trolley Tour, which will take passengers throughout the town and describe stories of unsolved murders. Three scenic byways offer opportunities to view wildlife and see some of the most beautiful landscapes anywhere. Downtown has fine restaurants, art galleries, and unique shopping.