The Top Charming Small Towns to Visit in Each State

Trista - October 1, 2019
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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

 

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