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25 Best Towns for Trick-Or-Treating

25 Best Towns for Trick-Or-Treating


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These towns know how to get into the true spirit of Halloween!

25 Best Towns for Trick-Or-Treating

We began our search for America’s top 25 spots by looking at the country’s most family-friendly towns. After identifying at least one such town in every state, we narrowed the list according to relative safety, calculated according to crime rates and number of registered sex offenders in each municipality. Next, we looked at each town’s scheduled community events around Halloween, from fall festivals to community parties. Finally, we looked at each town’s Zillow “walkability rating” to determine which would be the easiest for little trick-or-treaters to navigate. Our top towns were those with the best longstanding Halloween traditions, as well as the highest safety and walkability ratings.

Our list differs from last year’s in several ways. First, when going through the most family-friendly towns in America, we looked at the top 80 towns this year, compared to just 50 last year. This broadened the scope of the cities we considered, making for a more comprehensive list. Secondly, last year’s list did not evaluate each town’s walkability rating. Adding this factor allowed us to truly determine which towns, among the safest and most festive, are most accommodating to trick-or-treaters.

#25 Raleigh, North Carolina

This year, we kick off our list of the top 25 trick or treating towns with the city of Raleigh. The city celebrates Halloween with its Peg-Legged Ghost Haunted House and Tour. Ghostly guides take guests on a winding tour through downtown Raleigh, telling creepy tales of the spirits that haunt various landmarks. The guided portion ends at the Holman house, an eighteenth-century home, where those who dare to enter can make their way through the spine-chilling haunted house. Afterwards, trick-or-treaters can indulge in candy and warm up with hot chocolate or spiced cider.

#24 New Boston, New Hampshire

Families in New Boston kick off their Halloween festivities at the community Trunk or Treat and costume party. Residents and business owners park their cars in the town hall lot and hand out candy and prizes to the costumed trick-or-treaters. Afterwards, little ones can collect even more candy inside the Old Engine House. Plus, for just $3 kids can enjoy a light dinner from the “Creepy Café” so they don’t overdo it on their candy romp around the neighborhood.

#23 Elmhurst, Illinois

On the second Saturday in October, families in Elmhurst, Illinois head downtown for the city’s annual Fall Fest. In addition to pumpkin carving and painting, activities include storytelling, pony rides, a petting zoo, and a moon jump. Everyone is welcome to come out and show off their cutest and creepiest costumes. The event ends with trick-or-treating at local businesses and a discussion about staying safe on Halloween night. Kids roam the festively decorated neighborhood for treats from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Halloween.

#22 Williston, Vermont

For 35 years, Williston has hosted the Haunted Forest, which combines ghostly outdoor theater, stunning special effects, and the magic of a moonlit forest. Mysterious guides lead guests through the forest’s paths, which are lit by over 1,000 glowing jack-o’-lanterns. Guests encounter fascinating characters and witness humorous and horrifying Halloween-themed performances. Children under eight years old are encouraged to attend a less spooky but equally thrilling matinée show the Saturday before Halloween.

#21 Cedarburg, Wisconsin

Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / Freekee / CC0

Though this town fell from #5 on our list last year, Halloween remains a community event for the folks of Cedarburg. On Halloween night, residents take their skillfully carved jack-o’-lanterns for a stroll to the city’s main street and line them up along Washington Avenue for a spooky lighted Pumpkin Walk. Local businesses open their doors to trick-or-treaters at 5 p.m., and kids are free to roam the neighborhoods until 8 p.m.

#20 Canton, Connecticut

For over 20 years, the Halloween parade in Canton's Collinsville section has kicked off from the Canton “Hysterical” Museum’s porch. This small Connecticut town’s resident ghost, Boosolini, leads the procession. The haunting sound of a pipe organ, various forms of ghoulish entertainment, and a cannon shooting off flying ghosts and treats add to the spooky ambiance. The evening ends with the Collinsville Judges’ search for the crowd’s scariest, most original, and funniest costumes. Canton may no longer hold our #2 spot, but it certainly continues to provide festive fun for its residents and visitors.

#19 Worcester, Massachusetts

Every October, the Boo Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester, Massachusetts transforms into a magical, haunted forest. Trick-or-treaters wander the Halloween-themed trails lined with softly glowing lights while learning about the woodland creatures of New England. Families can also visit the Great Pumpkin Fest to see more than a thousand glowing jack-o’-lanterns and enjoy trick-or-treating, science programs, and a costume contest. Finally, Clark University hosts “Not Quite Human” for scary story enthusiasts interested in monsters, demons, and the supernatural.

#18 Centerville, Utah

Every year, Centerville’s bravest residents visit the Whitaker Cemetery for a tour and tales about Centerville’s “permanent” residents. For those too spooked to walk through a cemetery, the Whitaker also hosts a “haunting.” This family-friendly event features a bonfire and Halloween stories told by award-winning professional storytellers. Finally, families looking to counteract the results of their candy binges can sign up for the Zombie Family Fun Run, where participants dress up and try to outrun the zombies lurking around the next bend.

#17 Grand Rapids, Michigan

In Grand Rapids trick-or-treaters kick off the season with a costume swap to help parents save money and to get kids super excited for Halloween night. Later in the month, the John Ball Zoological Garden hosts the Zoo Goes Boo event, featuring over 20 activity booths, opportunities to interact with the animals, and over-the-top decorations. The excitement doesn’t stop there. The Michigan Farm Garden is home to giant pumpkins, weighing in at hundreds of pounds. Families can pick up pumpkins of their own, as well as receive tips on how to cook fall’s most popular gourd.

#16 Boulder City, Nevada

If you’re looking for Halloween fun on the run, Boulder City, Nevada (just 20 minutes from Las Vegas) offers a haunted train ride. The weekend before Halloween, kids can board the Southern Nevada Railway for a Halloween party on the go. The train is decorated and costumed kids can ride for free! As for Halloween night, feel safe trick-or-treating with the family in this charming town with decorations lining the streets.

#15 St. John, Indiana

Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / JoeyBLS / CC0

With a very low crime rate and easy to navigate neighborhoods, St. John is the quintessential trick-or-treating town. Those looking for a little fright in their night can visit the Lake Hills Haunted House, which was rated the eighth scariest haunted house in Northwest Indiana and Northeast Illinois. The weekend before Halloween, the house offers child-friendly hours where the zombies and witches are replaced with fun and familiar cartoon characters.

#14 Walnut, California

In this small California city, Halloween is a weekend-long event. Walnut's ranking may have dipped slightly from last year when it came in at #12, but there's no doubt that this town is still in high Halloween spirits. On Halloween night, in addition to trick-or-treating, families can get lost in the Haunted Maze for a screaming good time. There is also a “Mostly Ghostly” event for families looking to party and show off their costumes for a chance to win the local costume contest. The fun even continues the next day with an “After Halloween Lot Party” for food and music.

#13 Mandeville, Louisiana

Located on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, just 45 minutes from New Orleans, Mandeville offers several Halloween events for those hoping to escape the city crowds. The Shadowlands Haunted House opened in 2009 and has quickly made a name for itself. It is not recommended for young kids as it leans towards terrifying rather than spooky. The Bayou Jam Halloween Bash is a more family-friendly north shore attraction; all are encouraged to come in costume and kids can enjoy safe trick-or-treating in the parking lot after the concert.

#12 Lake Mary, Florida

Not only are the streets of Lake Mary safe and welcoming to trick-or-treaters, they are also the site of a chillingly fun Halloween event. Every October, tour guides from the Lake Mary Museum conduct ghost walks through the historic town. Participants visit local spirits and encounter eerie storytellers scattered throughout downtown Lake Mary. Everyone is encouraged to stop by the museum’s vintage costume exhibit afterwards, which displays antique Halloween garb and decorations all month long.

#11 Apex, North Carolina

All aboard! The quaint town of Apex is our second city with a haunted train ride — a Halloween event that will keep you on track, literally. The New Hope Valley Railway hosts its annual Track or Treat event the last two Saturdays of October. Costumed kids board the spookily decorated Triangle Train for an interactive train ride featuring live Halloween-themed scenes. After encountering a wicked witch, a headless brakeman, and a palm reader, passengers head back to the rail yard for more festive fun.

#10 Saline, Michigan

Moving up to #10 from #13 last year, the town of Saline is a trick or treating favorite. On November 1, you might be suffering from both a sugar hangover and the knowledge that the best holiday of the year is over. Saline knows how to remedy your post-Halloween blues! Every year, they stage the “Great Pumpkin Roll,” where families can race their old pumpkins against their neighbor’s jack-o’-lanterns down the hill. This family-friendly event is free and includes hot cider and doughnuts to keep everyone in the spirit!

#9 Carmel, Indiana

Families flock to the Haunted Trails Halloween event at the Cool Creek Park and Nature Center in Carmel. The haunted trick-or-treat trail is not recommended for kids under 12, as ghouls and goblins lurk at every turn. However, there are plenty of activities for young visitors, including a not-so-scary nature trail, a monster mash dance, marshmallows and a campfire, and free hayrides.

#8 Cornwall, New York

Cornwall was number one on our list last year. Although it didn't measure up to some of the safer and more festive towns on this year's list, it's still a top pick for many trick or treaters. Everyone in this Hudson Valley town knows to include the Corn House of Horrors in their trick-or-treating route. Local legend tells of Thaddeus Corn, a notorious smuggler who returns to Cornwall every Halloween, seeking revenge upon those who wronged him years ago. Those who are brave enough to enter can visit the haunted house, erected annually, to try to catch a glimpse of the Corn family and the mansion’s other creepy inhabitants.

#7 Geneva, Illinois

Halloween in Geneva, Illinois is a spooktacular good time! Families flock to the Halloween Weekend Carnival for rides, games, and refreshments. Those who visit the carnival during designated hours can take advantage of unlimited rides. Back in downtown Geneva, local businesses host trick-or-treating for costumed kids the Thursday before Halloween.

#6 Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania

Trick-or-treaters in Cranberry Township start celebrating Halloween early with the Great Pumpkin Festival on October 16th. At this event, kids can pick their perfect pumpkin, enjoy tasty Halloween treats, and participate in spirited games and crafts. Later in the month, the town hosts its annual Zombie 5K and 1 Mile Candy Corn Walk. Families gather at North Boundary Park to run or walk in their most creative costumes.

#5 West Linn, Oregon

Each year, residents of West Linn, Oregon are treated to a Halloween Scavenger Hunt and Monster Mash at the local public library. Kids are encouraged to come in costume for an age-appropriate Halloween story time, festive tunes, and tasty treats. The weekend before Halloween, families can visit West Linn’s Mary S. Young Park for a romp through their festive walking trails. Storybook enthusiasts can choose the “Enchanted” route, while those looking for a fright can take the “Haunted” ghost and ghoul’s trail.

#4 Paolo Alto, California

Palo Alto had the highest walk score of the twenty five cities, bringing it to #4 on our list. This California city boasts several easy to navigate neighborhoods that make trick-or-treating a safe and fun event for the whole community. Certain homes are known for their over-the-top decorations, attracting trick-or-treaters from out of town. To get in the Halloween spirit, families can visit Gamble Garden the weekend before for pumpkin picking, a costume contest, and a magic show by Rav the Wizard.

#3 Chester, New Jersey

Halloween is a month-long affair in this small New Jersey town. Alstede Farms Family Fun Days, held every weekend in October, feature pony rides, a moon bounce, and a giant hay pyramid. Young kids can work their way through the “A, B, C, and D’s for Dinosaurs” maze, counting the number of dinosaurs along the way. Older kids play the role of detectives to figure out who kidnapped Farmer Joe in the larger “FSI: Farm Scene Investigation” maze. After 6 p.m., guests can hop on the Harvest Moon Hayride or sip hot apple cider by the campfire at the Night Time Corn Maze Event.

#2 Royal Oak, Michigan

For those trick-or-treaters who prefer merry over scary, the Detroit Zoo, located in Royal Oak, hosts “Zoo Boo” every weekend in October. Kids can trick-or-treat along a festively decorated trail throughout the zoo, as well as enjoy live entertainment, games, and crafts. The day before Halloween, costumed kids and pets alike attend the Downtown Royal Oak “Spooktacular” for trick-or-treating at over 50 businesses. After filling up on candy, families can join magician Baffling Bill and his assistant Gus the Bunny to welcome in the magic of the fall season at the Royal Oak Public Library.

#1 Colorado Springs, Colorado

With all the fun and fright happening in Colorado Springs, it isn't hard to see why this is our top trick or treating town! The Western Museum of Mining’s Haunted Mines Haunted House is the perfect venue for the brave at heart. Combining historically based scenes and Halloween horror, the event has visitors crawling through old mine shafts and outrunning zombies. Those looking for some light-hearted festive fun can attend North Cheyenne Cañon Park’s free Halloween Costume Carnival. Located in the heart of the park’s majestic forest, the carnival features a costume contest, cookie decorating, prizes, and a journey along a haunted trail.


50 of the Most Charming Small Towns in America

Explore the hidden gems of each state: towns with quaint shops and restaurants, fascinating histories, fun experiences and natural beauty.

Related To:

Fairhope, Alabama

Pretty Fairhope, Alabama, is home to Southern authors Rick Bragg and Fannie Flagg. (Look for their signed books at one of the state's best bookstores, Page & Palette). This Mobile Bay town also boasts its own French Quarter, and the luxurious Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, named the state&rsquos top hotel and top spa, is just minutes away in Point Clear. Its two golf courses repeatedly make the list of Best Golf Resorts in America.

Unalaska, Alaska

With a population of around 4,524, the small town of Unalaska, Alaska, is the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. It's starting to attract more visitors, however, as Viking, Windstar and other major cruise lines add it as a destination. Remote and beautiful, Unalaska is accessible only by plane or boat. Its attractions include whale watching, hiking and exploring World War II history at the Aleutian WWII Visitor Center and the Museum of the Aleutians.

Winslow, Arizona

This is it: the Winslow, Arizona, you heard about in the Eagles' song Take It Easy. Once a railroad stop on the "Mother Road," Route 66, Winslow is a popular stop with drivers and motorcyclists. La Posada Hotel, designed for the Santa Fe Railroad, still books guests into elegant rooms furnished with Zapotec rugs and Mexican tiles. Outdoor adventurers head north of town, to Homolovi State Park, to hike the trails and look for archaeological sites and Hopi petroglyphs.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Named one of a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a secluded, peaceful town in the heart of the Ozarks. Magnificent Victorian homes built on cliffsides line its winding streets, while its historic downtown area offers more than 100 shops and art galleries to explore.

Carmel, California

Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel is a world-renowned, one-square-mile village on California's central coast. It's beloved for its fairytale-like cottages, as well as its upscale boutiques, art galleries, historic Carmel Mission Basilica, wineries and other attractions. Carmel Beach has been ranked as one of America's top beach towns.

Mancos, Colorado

The spirit of the West is alive and well in Mancos, Colorado, where ranching is still a way of life. This community of about 1,600 sits just east of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, so it's a great base for nature lovers and adventurers who like to ride horses, bike and hike. More than 150 artists and other creatives live in the area their galleries line historic Main Street in the creative district. Book lovers, take note: This area was home to the late Western author, Louis L'Amour.

Essex, Connecticut

Often called a "storybook village," Essex, Connecticut, is a little-known treasure on the Connecticut River. This historic seaport town has a quaint Main Street filled with the restored homes of sea captains, galleries and boutique shops. Don&rsquot miss the Connecticut River Museum, housed in an 1878 steamboat warehouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it&rsquos the only one of its kind still on the river. Train enthusiasts can catch the only steam-train-to-riverboat ride in the U.S. here.

New Castle, Delaware

The cobblestone streets in New Castle, Delaware, are a reminder of the town&rsquos colonial past. Visitors come to see fine townhomes and mansions like the Read House & Gardens or stroll beside the Delaware River in lovely Battery Park. Other popular attractions are tours of period homes and churches like Dutch House, Amstel House and Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. The downtown courthouse, shown here, is part of the First State National Historical Park.

Crystal River, Florida

Located on Florida's Nature Coast, Crystal River draws visitors who enjoy boating, diving, fishing and eco-touring. It's also the only place in the United States where people are allowed to swim with manatees when accompanied by trained guides. Visitors may also see these beloved "sea cows" when they kayak or paddleboard or walk the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk in Crystal River. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a short drive away.

Cartersville, Georgia

Discover dinosaurs and fine Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, located about 50 minutes from Atlanta. Its world-class Tellus Science Museum houses permanent galleries of minerals, fossils, transportation technology and much more, while the Booth Western Art Museum is the world&rsquos largest permanent exhibition space for Western art. After browsing the museums, visit Cartersville&rsquos historic downtown and make a selfie in front of the first painted wall ad for Coca-Cola.

Hilo, Hawaii

Visitors come to the charming town of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, for its world-famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and the Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Downtown Hilo offers a fun mix of shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries to explore. Many of its old, wooden storefronts are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wallace, Idaho

History buffs, take note: The entire town of Wallace, Idaho, is on the National Historic Register. This 1884 mining town, nicknamed "the center of the universe," offers historical sites, museums and outdoor adventures that include the Rails to Trails Hall of Fame Route of the Hiawatha bike trail (shown here), the Trail of the Coeur d&rsquoAlenes and the Pulaski Tunnel Trail.

Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis, is located where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This quaint river town is known for its limestone bluffs, which make it one of the best spots in the U.S. to see bald eagles. Every January and February, the town kicks off the eagle-watching season with the Alton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival. Alton is reportedly one of the most haunted small towns in America at least 10 spirits are said to inhabit the McPike Mansion.

Warsaw, Indiana

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.

Decorah, Iowa

Explore your Norwegian heritage in Decorah, Iowa, population 8,127 and home to an annual Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Even if you're not of Nordic descent, you'll want to ride the popular Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the community, or visit Decorah to fish for trout, shop for fresh produce at the local farmers' market, and buy heirloom seeds at the famous Seed Savers Exchange.

Lindsborg, Kansas

The small town of Lindsborg, often called "Little Sweden USA," is located off Highway I-135 in Kansas. Stop downtown to explore the fine art galleries and unique shops, or stay for a weekend and see how many colorful dala (Swedish folk-art figures of horses) you can find. Plan to visit during a festival to enjoy live Swedish folk dancing.

Paducah, Kentucky

In 2019, Paducah, Kentucky, celebrates its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City it&rsquos one of only nine in the U.S. This riverside town has a blossoming culinary scene (five new eateries in repurposed historic buildings have opened), and its many studios, workshops, galleries and cultural events attract quilters, fiber artists and other creatives.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Every spring, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, celebrates its delicious berry crop with a Strawberry Festival held in beautiful, historic Memorial Park. The town is known as America's Antique City, thanks to the many restored shops in the downtown area where you can purchase antiques, handcrafted items and artwork. Wondering about the town's name? It comes from a Choctaw Indian word meaning "hair to hang," which refers to the Spanish moss that hangs from the local trees.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Once a shipbuilding center, Kennebunkport, Maine, became a summer retreat by the late 1800s affluent vacationers flocked to the grand hotels and mansions along its coastline. Visitors still come each summer to relax on the beaches and stroll around the town. Don't miss Dock Square, a popular shopping area in a village setting, and drive along Ocean Avenue for spectacular coastal views.

Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland, was known as the "Gateway to the West" for its vital roads, rails and canals. Today, it draws bikers who connect through the town to two legendary bike trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. History buffs and nature lovers come to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and drive the Historic National Road scenic byway. Cumberland is also a shopping destination for great local, regional and national works of art.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lies just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.

Houghton, Michigan

Picturesque Houghton, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, is surrounded by inland lakes and streams. Its 233 miles of snowmobile trails and world-class biking opportunities attract adventurers, and history buffs come to explore its colorful mining past. The sunsets on Lake Superior are stunning, and in the winter, McLain State Park, shown here, invites visitors to hike, enjoy its spectacular ice formations, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Park Rapids, Minnesota

Go ahead. Park in the middle of Main Avenue in Park Rapids, Minnesota. (It's okay to park on the sides, too. The shops and restaurants here are so popular, the town built extra-wide streets.) Vacationers come to enjoy the lake and stay at nearby resorts or campgrounds Park Rapids is a gateway to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. Pick up some buttery caramels at Aunt Belle's Confectionary, browse the craft and quilt stores, or shop for cabin decor and other items.

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2019. Author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in this Mississippi River town as a boy. In his honor, it offers a variety of shops, museums, riverboat rides and other experiences, many based on his characters. A week-long Tom Sawyer Days Festival is held each year. A new Big River Steampunk Festival has been drawing visitors, too, many of whom dress in Victorian-era costumes.

Whitefish, Montana

National Geographic once named Whitefish, Montana, one of the "Top 25 Ski Towns in the World," but this small town on the shores of Whitefish Lake offers even more to do and see. Visitors come to snowboard, hike, boat, bike and enjoy live, professional theater and fine dining. For nature lovers, Glacier National Park is a short drive away.

Nebraska City, Nebraska

Home to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center, and a former station on the Underground Railroad, Nebraska City, Nebraska, is especially lovely in the fall. The changing colors of the trees, u-pick apple orchards and cozy lodgings draw visitors. Don't miss Arbor Day Farm, where you can take a ride through the trees, and stop to pick apples at Kimmel Orchard to eat fresh or turn into pies.

Carson City, Nevada

Carson City, Nevada, dates back to the 1850s, when the discovery of silver in nearby Comstock Lode made it a boom town. Today, Victorian-era homes still stand in the historic downtown area and along the popular Kit Carson Trail. History buffs will find plenty to explore here, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum is scheduled to open in spring 2019.

Littleton, New Hampshire

Some 5,937 people reside in Littleton, nestled in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. This lovely, walkable town, settled in 1770, draws visitors with old-fashioned shops like Chutters, home to the world&rsquos longest candy counter. (It offers 112 feet of jellybeans, chocolates and other popular and nostalgic treats.) Littleton also boasts America&rsquos oldest ski shop, Lahout&rsquos, and elegant, historic lodgings like Thayers Inn.

Lambertville, New Jersey

"The Antiques Capital of New Jersey," Lambertville is home to a variety of talented artists and crafters whose shops and galleries sit alongside the scenic Delaware River. This town of 4,000 residents, founded in 1705, also boasts federal townhouses and Victorian homes, a restored 19th-century train depot, Zagat-rated restaurants and award-winning hotels and B&Bs. Shoppers can find treasures at The People&rsquos Store Antiques and Design Center and other shops on Bridge, Main and Union Streets.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a small gem of a town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its historic adobe architecture and Taos Pueblo, a village continuously inhabited for more than a thousand years, it's rich in Hispanic and Native American history. Look for regional artwork in the town's many galleries and museums.

Skaneateles, New York

Celebrities and former presidents discovered charming Skaneateles, New York, years ago. Like other visitors, they&rsquove come for live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake, the farm-to-table restaurants, tour boat cruises and racetrack, and to admire the beautiful waterfalls and restored buildings dating back to 1796. This four-season destination hosts festivals, art shows and other events throughout the year.

Oxford, Mississippi

Book lovers know Oxford, Mississippi, as the home of world-famous author William Faulkner. It was also once the home of contemporary author John Grisham. Nicknamed the "Cultural Mecca of the South," Oxford attracts artists, musicians and prominent chefs like James Beard Award winner John Currence. The town square, with its decades-old bookstore, boutiques, vinyl record shop and more, is a don't-miss.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Residents of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, like to say their town is the "cure for the common beach." The beach is accessible by ferry and sits beside Silver Lake, a scenic harbor. It's popular for its shops and restaurants, historic British cemetery, and its light station, the oldest still operating in the state. Like a good scare? Take a ghost walk with a descendant of Blackbeard's quartermaster, or catch a short boat ride to Portsmouth Island's so-called ghost village.

Medora, North Dakota

Find your inner cowboy in Medora, located in North Dakota's Badlands. This historic city offers lots of Old West charm, thanks to its proximity to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the non-motorized Maah Daah Hey Trail System, 144 miles of breathtakingly scenic trails. Buy tickets for the Medora Musical, a western-style show dedicated to Roosevelt's legacy, and gaze up at the dark sky at night visitors sometimes see the Northern Lights.

Marietta, Ohio

Every year, the riverboat community of Marietta, Ohio, which sits along the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, celebrates with a Sternwheel Festival. From its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, Marietta has become a thriving town, and its revitalized, historic downtown boasts art galleries, a music hall, museums and unique shops.

Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park feels almost hidden in the Wichita Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. But that&rsquos part of its charm, along with its many shops and restaurants built in old cobblestone structures made from locally quarried granite. In fair weather, visitors congregate at Bath Lake, a restored "swimming hole," mountain bike on the Lawtonka trail system, paddle board or just relax in comfortable rental cabins.

Jacksonville, Oregon

Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, is in Southern Oregon's wine country and a gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Come in the summer to enjoy the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts event, or explore the town's independently owned shops, restaurants and hiking and biking trails year-round. Jacksonville has been called one of America's 10 "coolest small towns."

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Recently listed in Smithsonian Magazine as one of "The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018," Latrobe, Pennsylvania, honors its native son, TV pioneer Fred Rogers, with the new Fred Rogers Trail. Tourists can stop at the Latrobe Brewery (the original home of Rolling Rock beer) and Saint Vincent College (home of the summer training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers), or just head to a local ice cream shop to celebrate Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split.

Bristol, Rhode Island

One of Rhode Island&rsquos most picturesque towns, Bristol is still largely unknown to many travelers. They&rsquore missing its fine cuisine, fascinating history and architecture, and the many different waterfront activities offered along its miles of coastline. Visitors can explore a historic saltwater farm and oceanfront wildlife refuge, tour the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America&rsquos Cup Hall of Fame, enjoy Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum (called one of New England's top five public gardens by Yankee Magazine), or stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

Newberry, South Carolina

Newberry, South Carolina, is a college town with lots of extras: lovely architecture, a historic Opera House, a winery where rocking chairs beckon from a big porch and world-class dining and drinking experiences. Nicknamed the "City of Friendly Folks," it's been called one of the 100 best small towns in America.

Yankton, South Dakota

Settlers moving West often stopped along the Missouri River at what is now Yankton, South Dakota, and riverboat captains once built their large Victorian homes there. Today, the town draws history buffs and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can kayak, sail, fish or canoe on the Missouri National Recreational River, which runs along Yankton's historic waterfront, or on Lake Yankton or Lewis and Clark Lake. Landlubbers can enjoy beautiful Riverside Park and Meridian Bridge, a converted railroad bridge that leads into Nebraska.

Paris, Tennessee

Home to a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Tennessee, draws visitors to its historic district and winery. It's also known for hosting the World's Biggest Fish Fry, where the town serves more than five tons of catfish every year. Reel in your own catch at Paris Landing State Park, shown here, or golf, swim and camp. An annual Christmas festival, Heritage Center and dozens of seasonal events are other big draws.

Gruene, Texas

The original buildings in Gruene, Texas, built circa 1800 to 1900s, almost fell to developers until an architecture student from the University of Texas at Austin saved the day. His efforts helped land the town on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, residents and visitors shop at local boutiques and Old Gruene Market Days, tube the Comal River and dance at Gruene Hall, built in 1878. The town is about a 45-minute drive from Austin and an hour from San Antonio.

Kanab, Utah

Home to the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S., Kanab, Utah, combines the spectacular geography of the Rocky Mountains with the Desert Southwest. It's also the gateway to the south entrance of Zion National Park and a short drive away from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Lake Powell and other don't-miss stops. Dozens of Westerns have been filmed in or near the town, earning its nickname, "Little Hollywood."

Montpelier, Vermont

It's the smallest state capital in the U.S., but Montpelier, Vermont, has a thriving arts and music scene, and it's rich in history and natural beauty. It's also home to the New England Culinary Institute, so visitors come for its diverse cuisine and fine restaurants. Wintertime brings snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice climbing, skiing and other outdoor sports to enjoy.

Bristol, Virginia

One side of the main street in downtown Bristol lies in Virginia the other is in Tennesee. This lovely Appalachian Mountains town is a destination for music lovers and history buffs. Check out the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and hear live music nightly at venues or events around town. Bristol also boasts art galleries, great local dining spots and live dance and theatrical performances. It's a designated Arts & Entertainment District.

La Conner, Washington

Visitors often come to La Conner, Washington, a small town on the waterfront, for some "retail therapy" at its galleries, needlecraft and quilt stores, gift shops and wine bars. It&rsquos also known for its delicious eateries and, for travelers, its easy access to Interstate 5 and the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Each spring, La Conner hosts its popular Daffodil Festival, where thousands of cheerful daffs open against the backdrop of Mt. Baker. More tulips, iris and daffodil bulbs are produced in La Conner than any other county in the U.S.

Thomas, West Virginia

Wear your comfortable shoes for a self-guided walking tour around Thomas, West Virginia, where you'll find more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register. Along the way, stop for a cuppa at a coffee shop or browse the town's unique art galleries and antique shops. The Purple Fiddle and Fiddler's Roost Guesthouse are located on historic Front Street in this lovely mountain town, overlooking the North Fork on the Blackwater River.

Fish Creek, Wisconsin

Arts and outdoor adventures meet in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, in the northern Door County Peninsula. This walkable town offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails and shoreline. In warm weather, visit the local apple and cherry orchards and wineries, bike or hike in Peninsula State Park, play on the beaches or enjoy live entertainment. In the winter, book a cozy cabin, visit the charming shops and play in the snow.

Sheridan, Wyoming

Think "New West" when you visit Sheridan, Wyoming. Neon signs line its historic Main Street, where legendary outlaws once roamed. Town highlights include the Sheridan Inn (once the home of Buffalo Bill), the Brinton Museum (dedicated to 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art) and the Mint Bar, the oldest bar in town. Ride into the foothills to explore local ranches and enjoy the stunning beauty, or hike the canyons of the Bighorn Mountains.


50 of the Most Charming Small Towns in America

Explore the hidden gems of each state: towns with quaint shops and restaurants, fascinating histories, fun experiences and natural beauty.

Related To:

Fairhope, Alabama

Pretty Fairhope, Alabama, is home to Southern authors Rick Bragg and Fannie Flagg. (Look for their signed books at one of the state's best bookstores, Page & Palette). This Mobile Bay town also boasts its own French Quarter, and the luxurious Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, named the state&rsquos top hotel and top spa, is just minutes away in Point Clear. Its two golf courses repeatedly make the list of Best Golf Resorts in America.

Unalaska, Alaska

With a population of around 4,524, the small town of Unalaska, Alaska, is the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. It's starting to attract more visitors, however, as Viking, Windstar and other major cruise lines add it as a destination. Remote and beautiful, Unalaska is accessible only by plane or boat. Its attractions include whale watching, hiking and exploring World War II history at the Aleutian WWII Visitor Center and the Museum of the Aleutians.

Winslow, Arizona

This is it: the Winslow, Arizona, you heard about in the Eagles' song Take It Easy. Once a railroad stop on the "Mother Road," Route 66, Winslow is a popular stop with drivers and motorcyclists. La Posada Hotel, designed for the Santa Fe Railroad, still books guests into elegant rooms furnished with Zapotec rugs and Mexican tiles. Outdoor adventurers head north of town, to Homolovi State Park, to hike the trails and look for archaeological sites and Hopi petroglyphs.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Named one of a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a secluded, peaceful town in the heart of the Ozarks. Magnificent Victorian homes built on cliffsides line its winding streets, while its historic downtown area offers more than 100 shops and art galleries to explore.

Carmel, California

Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel is a world-renowned, one-square-mile village on California's central coast. It's beloved for its fairytale-like cottages, as well as its upscale boutiques, art galleries, historic Carmel Mission Basilica, wineries and other attractions. Carmel Beach has been ranked as one of America's top beach towns.

Mancos, Colorado

The spirit of the West is alive and well in Mancos, Colorado, where ranching is still a way of life. This community of about 1,600 sits just east of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, so it's a great base for nature lovers and adventurers who like to ride horses, bike and hike. More than 150 artists and other creatives live in the area their galleries line historic Main Street in the creative district. Book lovers, take note: This area was home to the late Western author, Louis L'Amour.

Essex, Connecticut

Often called a "storybook village," Essex, Connecticut, is a little-known treasure on the Connecticut River. This historic seaport town has a quaint Main Street filled with the restored homes of sea captains, galleries and boutique shops. Don&rsquot miss the Connecticut River Museum, housed in an 1878 steamboat warehouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it&rsquos the only one of its kind still on the river. Train enthusiasts can catch the only steam-train-to-riverboat ride in the U.S. here.

New Castle, Delaware

The cobblestone streets in New Castle, Delaware, are a reminder of the town&rsquos colonial past. Visitors come to see fine townhomes and mansions like the Read House & Gardens or stroll beside the Delaware River in lovely Battery Park. Other popular attractions are tours of period homes and churches like Dutch House, Amstel House and Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. The downtown courthouse, shown here, is part of the First State National Historical Park.

Crystal River, Florida

Located on Florida's Nature Coast, Crystal River draws visitors who enjoy boating, diving, fishing and eco-touring. It's also the only place in the United States where people are allowed to swim with manatees when accompanied by trained guides. Visitors may also see these beloved "sea cows" when they kayak or paddleboard or walk the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk in Crystal River. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a short drive away.

Cartersville, Georgia

Discover dinosaurs and fine Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, located about 50 minutes from Atlanta. Its world-class Tellus Science Museum houses permanent galleries of minerals, fossils, transportation technology and much more, while the Booth Western Art Museum is the world&rsquos largest permanent exhibition space for Western art. After browsing the museums, visit Cartersville&rsquos historic downtown and make a selfie in front of the first painted wall ad for Coca-Cola.

Hilo, Hawaii

Visitors come to the charming town of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, for its world-famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and the Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Downtown Hilo offers a fun mix of shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries to explore. Many of its old, wooden storefronts are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wallace, Idaho

History buffs, take note: The entire town of Wallace, Idaho, is on the National Historic Register. This 1884 mining town, nicknamed "the center of the universe," offers historical sites, museums and outdoor adventures that include the Rails to Trails Hall of Fame Route of the Hiawatha bike trail (shown here), the Trail of the Coeur d&rsquoAlenes and the Pulaski Tunnel Trail.

Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis, is located where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This quaint river town is known for its limestone bluffs, which make it one of the best spots in the U.S. to see bald eagles. Every January and February, the town kicks off the eagle-watching season with the Alton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival. Alton is reportedly one of the most haunted small towns in America at least 10 spirits are said to inhabit the McPike Mansion.

Warsaw, Indiana

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.

Decorah, Iowa

Explore your Norwegian heritage in Decorah, Iowa, population 8,127 and home to an annual Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Even if you're not of Nordic descent, you'll want to ride the popular Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the community, or visit Decorah to fish for trout, shop for fresh produce at the local farmers' market, and buy heirloom seeds at the famous Seed Savers Exchange.

Lindsborg, Kansas

The small town of Lindsborg, often called "Little Sweden USA," is located off Highway I-135 in Kansas. Stop downtown to explore the fine art galleries and unique shops, or stay for a weekend and see how many colorful dala (Swedish folk-art figures of horses) you can find. Plan to visit during a festival to enjoy live Swedish folk dancing.

Paducah, Kentucky

In 2019, Paducah, Kentucky, celebrates its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City it&rsquos one of only nine in the U.S. This riverside town has a blossoming culinary scene (five new eateries in repurposed historic buildings have opened), and its many studios, workshops, galleries and cultural events attract quilters, fiber artists and other creatives.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Every spring, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, celebrates its delicious berry crop with a Strawberry Festival held in beautiful, historic Memorial Park. The town is known as America's Antique City, thanks to the many restored shops in the downtown area where you can purchase antiques, handcrafted items and artwork. Wondering about the town's name? It comes from a Choctaw Indian word meaning "hair to hang," which refers to the Spanish moss that hangs from the local trees.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Once a shipbuilding center, Kennebunkport, Maine, became a summer retreat by the late 1800s affluent vacationers flocked to the grand hotels and mansions along its coastline. Visitors still come each summer to relax on the beaches and stroll around the town. Don't miss Dock Square, a popular shopping area in a village setting, and drive along Ocean Avenue for spectacular coastal views.

Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland, was known as the "Gateway to the West" for its vital roads, rails and canals. Today, it draws bikers who connect through the town to two legendary bike trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. History buffs and nature lovers come to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and drive the Historic National Road scenic byway. Cumberland is also a shopping destination for great local, regional and national works of art.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lies just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.

Houghton, Michigan

Picturesque Houghton, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, is surrounded by inland lakes and streams. Its 233 miles of snowmobile trails and world-class biking opportunities attract adventurers, and history buffs come to explore its colorful mining past. The sunsets on Lake Superior are stunning, and in the winter, McLain State Park, shown here, invites visitors to hike, enjoy its spectacular ice formations, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Park Rapids, Minnesota

Go ahead. Park in the middle of Main Avenue in Park Rapids, Minnesota. (It's okay to park on the sides, too. The shops and restaurants here are so popular, the town built extra-wide streets.) Vacationers come to enjoy the lake and stay at nearby resorts or campgrounds Park Rapids is a gateway to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. Pick up some buttery caramels at Aunt Belle's Confectionary, browse the craft and quilt stores, or shop for cabin decor and other items.

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2019. Author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in this Mississippi River town as a boy. In his honor, it offers a variety of shops, museums, riverboat rides and other experiences, many based on his characters. A week-long Tom Sawyer Days Festival is held each year. A new Big River Steampunk Festival has been drawing visitors, too, many of whom dress in Victorian-era costumes.

Whitefish, Montana

National Geographic once named Whitefish, Montana, one of the "Top 25 Ski Towns in the World," but this small town on the shores of Whitefish Lake offers even more to do and see. Visitors come to snowboard, hike, boat, bike and enjoy live, professional theater and fine dining. For nature lovers, Glacier National Park is a short drive away.

Nebraska City, Nebraska

Home to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center, and a former station on the Underground Railroad, Nebraska City, Nebraska, is especially lovely in the fall. The changing colors of the trees, u-pick apple orchards and cozy lodgings draw visitors. Don't miss Arbor Day Farm, where you can take a ride through the trees, and stop to pick apples at Kimmel Orchard to eat fresh or turn into pies.

Carson City, Nevada

Carson City, Nevada, dates back to the 1850s, when the discovery of silver in nearby Comstock Lode made it a boom town. Today, Victorian-era homes still stand in the historic downtown area and along the popular Kit Carson Trail. History buffs will find plenty to explore here, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum is scheduled to open in spring 2019.

Littleton, New Hampshire

Some 5,937 people reside in Littleton, nestled in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. This lovely, walkable town, settled in 1770, draws visitors with old-fashioned shops like Chutters, home to the world&rsquos longest candy counter. (It offers 112 feet of jellybeans, chocolates and other popular and nostalgic treats.) Littleton also boasts America&rsquos oldest ski shop, Lahout&rsquos, and elegant, historic lodgings like Thayers Inn.

Lambertville, New Jersey

"The Antiques Capital of New Jersey," Lambertville is home to a variety of talented artists and crafters whose shops and galleries sit alongside the scenic Delaware River. This town of 4,000 residents, founded in 1705, also boasts federal townhouses and Victorian homes, a restored 19th-century train depot, Zagat-rated restaurants and award-winning hotels and B&Bs. Shoppers can find treasures at The People&rsquos Store Antiques and Design Center and other shops on Bridge, Main and Union Streets.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a small gem of a town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its historic adobe architecture and Taos Pueblo, a village continuously inhabited for more than a thousand years, it's rich in Hispanic and Native American history. Look for regional artwork in the town's many galleries and museums.

Skaneateles, New York

Celebrities and former presidents discovered charming Skaneateles, New York, years ago. Like other visitors, they&rsquove come for live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake, the farm-to-table restaurants, tour boat cruises and racetrack, and to admire the beautiful waterfalls and restored buildings dating back to 1796. This four-season destination hosts festivals, art shows and other events throughout the year.

Oxford, Mississippi

Book lovers know Oxford, Mississippi, as the home of world-famous author William Faulkner. It was also once the home of contemporary author John Grisham. Nicknamed the "Cultural Mecca of the South," Oxford attracts artists, musicians and prominent chefs like James Beard Award winner John Currence. The town square, with its decades-old bookstore, boutiques, vinyl record shop and more, is a don't-miss.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Residents of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, like to say their town is the "cure for the common beach." The beach is accessible by ferry and sits beside Silver Lake, a scenic harbor. It's popular for its shops and restaurants, historic British cemetery, and its light station, the oldest still operating in the state. Like a good scare? Take a ghost walk with a descendant of Blackbeard's quartermaster, or catch a short boat ride to Portsmouth Island's so-called ghost village.

Medora, North Dakota

Find your inner cowboy in Medora, located in North Dakota's Badlands. This historic city offers lots of Old West charm, thanks to its proximity to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the non-motorized Maah Daah Hey Trail System, 144 miles of breathtakingly scenic trails. Buy tickets for the Medora Musical, a western-style show dedicated to Roosevelt's legacy, and gaze up at the dark sky at night visitors sometimes see the Northern Lights.

Marietta, Ohio

Every year, the riverboat community of Marietta, Ohio, which sits along the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, celebrates with a Sternwheel Festival. From its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, Marietta has become a thriving town, and its revitalized, historic downtown boasts art galleries, a music hall, museums and unique shops.

Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park feels almost hidden in the Wichita Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. But that&rsquos part of its charm, along with its many shops and restaurants built in old cobblestone structures made from locally quarried granite. In fair weather, visitors congregate at Bath Lake, a restored "swimming hole," mountain bike on the Lawtonka trail system, paddle board or just relax in comfortable rental cabins.

Jacksonville, Oregon

Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, is in Southern Oregon's wine country and a gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Come in the summer to enjoy the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts event, or explore the town's independently owned shops, restaurants and hiking and biking trails year-round. Jacksonville has been called one of America's 10 "coolest small towns."

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Recently listed in Smithsonian Magazine as one of "The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018," Latrobe, Pennsylvania, honors its native son, TV pioneer Fred Rogers, with the new Fred Rogers Trail. Tourists can stop at the Latrobe Brewery (the original home of Rolling Rock beer) and Saint Vincent College (home of the summer training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers), or just head to a local ice cream shop to celebrate Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split.

Bristol, Rhode Island

One of Rhode Island&rsquos most picturesque towns, Bristol is still largely unknown to many travelers. They&rsquore missing its fine cuisine, fascinating history and architecture, and the many different waterfront activities offered along its miles of coastline. Visitors can explore a historic saltwater farm and oceanfront wildlife refuge, tour the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America&rsquos Cup Hall of Fame, enjoy Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum (called one of New England's top five public gardens by Yankee Magazine), or stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

Newberry, South Carolina

Newberry, South Carolina, is a college town with lots of extras: lovely architecture, a historic Opera House, a winery where rocking chairs beckon from a big porch and world-class dining and drinking experiences. Nicknamed the "City of Friendly Folks," it's been called one of the 100 best small towns in America.

Yankton, South Dakota

Settlers moving West often stopped along the Missouri River at what is now Yankton, South Dakota, and riverboat captains once built their large Victorian homes there. Today, the town draws history buffs and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can kayak, sail, fish or canoe on the Missouri National Recreational River, which runs along Yankton's historic waterfront, or on Lake Yankton or Lewis and Clark Lake. Landlubbers can enjoy beautiful Riverside Park and Meridian Bridge, a converted railroad bridge that leads into Nebraska.

Paris, Tennessee

Home to a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Tennessee, draws visitors to its historic district and winery. It's also known for hosting the World's Biggest Fish Fry, where the town serves more than five tons of catfish every year. Reel in your own catch at Paris Landing State Park, shown here, or golf, swim and camp. An annual Christmas festival, Heritage Center and dozens of seasonal events are other big draws.

Gruene, Texas

The original buildings in Gruene, Texas, built circa 1800 to 1900s, almost fell to developers until an architecture student from the University of Texas at Austin saved the day. His efforts helped land the town on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, residents and visitors shop at local boutiques and Old Gruene Market Days, tube the Comal River and dance at Gruene Hall, built in 1878. The town is about a 45-minute drive from Austin and an hour from San Antonio.

Kanab, Utah

Home to the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S., Kanab, Utah, combines the spectacular geography of the Rocky Mountains with the Desert Southwest. It's also the gateway to the south entrance of Zion National Park and a short drive away from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Lake Powell and other don't-miss stops. Dozens of Westerns have been filmed in or near the town, earning its nickname, "Little Hollywood."

Montpelier, Vermont

It's the smallest state capital in the U.S., but Montpelier, Vermont, has a thriving arts and music scene, and it's rich in history and natural beauty. It's also home to the New England Culinary Institute, so visitors come for its diverse cuisine and fine restaurants. Wintertime brings snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice climbing, skiing and other outdoor sports to enjoy.

Bristol, Virginia

One side of the main street in downtown Bristol lies in Virginia the other is in Tennesee. This lovely Appalachian Mountains town is a destination for music lovers and history buffs. Check out the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and hear live music nightly at venues or events around town. Bristol also boasts art galleries, great local dining spots and live dance and theatrical performances. It's a designated Arts & Entertainment District.

La Conner, Washington

Visitors often come to La Conner, Washington, a small town on the waterfront, for some "retail therapy" at its galleries, needlecraft and quilt stores, gift shops and wine bars. It&rsquos also known for its delicious eateries and, for travelers, its easy access to Interstate 5 and the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Each spring, La Conner hosts its popular Daffodil Festival, where thousands of cheerful daffs open against the backdrop of Mt. Baker. More tulips, iris and daffodil bulbs are produced in La Conner than any other county in the U.S.

Thomas, West Virginia

Wear your comfortable shoes for a self-guided walking tour around Thomas, West Virginia, where you'll find more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register. Along the way, stop for a cuppa at a coffee shop or browse the town's unique art galleries and antique shops. The Purple Fiddle and Fiddler's Roost Guesthouse are located on historic Front Street in this lovely mountain town, overlooking the North Fork on the Blackwater River.

Fish Creek, Wisconsin

Arts and outdoor adventures meet in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, in the northern Door County Peninsula. This walkable town offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails and shoreline. In warm weather, visit the local apple and cherry orchards and wineries, bike or hike in Peninsula State Park, play on the beaches or enjoy live entertainment. In the winter, book a cozy cabin, visit the charming shops and play in the snow.

Sheridan, Wyoming

Think "New West" when you visit Sheridan, Wyoming. Neon signs line its historic Main Street, where legendary outlaws once roamed. Town highlights include the Sheridan Inn (once the home of Buffalo Bill), the Brinton Museum (dedicated to 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art) and the Mint Bar, the oldest bar in town. Ride into the foothills to explore local ranches and enjoy the stunning beauty, or hike the canyons of the Bighorn Mountains.


50 of the Most Charming Small Towns in America

Explore the hidden gems of each state: towns with quaint shops and restaurants, fascinating histories, fun experiences and natural beauty.

Related To:

Fairhope, Alabama

Pretty Fairhope, Alabama, is home to Southern authors Rick Bragg and Fannie Flagg. (Look for their signed books at one of the state's best bookstores, Page & Palette). This Mobile Bay town also boasts its own French Quarter, and the luxurious Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, named the state&rsquos top hotel and top spa, is just minutes away in Point Clear. Its two golf courses repeatedly make the list of Best Golf Resorts in America.

Unalaska, Alaska

With a population of around 4,524, the small town of Unalaska, Alaska, is the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. It's starting to attract more visitors, however, as Viking, Windstar and other major cruise lines add it as a destination. Remote and beautiful, Unalaska is accessible only by plane or boat. Its attractions include whale watching, hiking and exploring World War II history at the Aleutian WWII Visitor Center and the Museum of the Aleutians.

Winslow, Arizona

This is it: the Winslow, Arizona, you heard about in the Eagles' song Take It Easy. Once a railroad stop on the "Mother Road," Route 66, Winslow is a popular stop with drivers and motorcyclists. La Posada Hotel, designed for the Santa Fe Railroad, still books guests into elegant rooms furnished with Zapotec rugs and Mexican tiles. Outdoor adventurers head north of town, to Homolovi State Park, to hike the trails and look for archaeological sites and Hopi petroglyphs.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Named one of a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a secluded, peaceful town in the heart of the Ozarks. Magnificent Victorian homes built on cliffsides line its winding streets, while its historic downtown area offers more than 100 shops and art galleries to explore.

Carmel, California

Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel is a world-renowned, one-square-mile village on California's central coast. It's beloved for its fairytale-like cottages, as well as its upscale boutiques, art galleries, historic Carmel Mission Basilica, wineries and other attractions. Carmel Beach has been ranked as one of America's top beach towns.

Mancos, Colorado

The spirit of the West is alive and well in Mancos, Colorado, where ranching is still a way of life. This community of about 1,600 sits just east of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, so it's a great base for nature lovers and adventurers who like to ride horses, bike and hike. More than 150 artists and other creatives live in the area their galleries line historic Main Street in the creative district. Book lovers, take note: This area was home to the late Western author, Louis L'Amour.

Essex, Connecticut

Often called a "storybook village," Essex, Connecticut, is a little-known treasure on the Connecticut River. This historic seaport town has a quaint Main Street filled with the restored homes of sea captains, galleries and boutique shops. Don&rsquot miss the Connecticut River Museum, housed in an 1878 steamboat warehouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it&rsquos the only one of its kind still on the river. Train enthusiasts can catch the only steam-train-to-riverboat ride in the U.S. here.

New Castle, Delaware

The cobblestone streets in New Castle, Delaware, are a reminder of the town&rsquos colonial past. Visitors come to see fine townhomes and mansions like the Read House & Gardens or stroll beside the Delaware River in lovely Battery Park. Other popular attractions are tours of period homes and churches like Dutch House, Amstel House and Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. The downtown courthouse, shown here, is part of the First State National Historical Park.

Crystal River, Florida

Located on Florida's Nature Coast, Crystal River draws visitors who enjoy boating, diving, fishing and eco-touring. It's also the only place in the United States where people are allowed to swim with manatees when accompanied by trained guides. Visitors may also see these beloved "sea cows" when they kayak or paddleboard or walk the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk in Crystal River. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a short drive away.

Cartersville, Georgia

Discover dinosaurs and fine Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, located about 50 minutes from Atlanta. Its world-class Tellus Science Museum houses permanent galleries of minerals, fossils, transportation technology and much more, while the Booth Western Art Museum is the world&rsquos largest permanent exhibition space for Western art. After browsing the museums, visit Cartersville&rsquos historic downtown and make a selfie in front of the first painted wall ad for Coca-Cola.

Hilo, Hawaii

Visitors come to the charming town of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, for its world-famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and the Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Downtown Hilo offers a fun mix of shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries to explore. Many of its old, wooden storefronts are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wallace, Idaho

History buffs, take note: The entire town of Wallace, Idaho, is on the National Historic Register. This 1884 mining town, nicknamed "the center of the universe," offers historical sites, museums and outdoor adventures that include the Rails to Trails Hall of Fame Route of the Hiawatha bike trail (shown here), the Trail of the Coeur d&rsquoAlenes and the Pulaski Tunnel Trail.

Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis, is located where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This quaint river town is known for its limestone bluffs, which make it one of the best spots in the U.S. to see bald eagles. Every January and February, the town kicks off the eagle-watching season with the Alton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival. Alton is reportedly one of the most haunted small towns in America at least 10 spirits are said to inhabit the McPike Mansion.

Warsaw, Indiana

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.

Decorah, Iowa

Explore your Norwegian heritage in Decorah, Iowa, population 8,127 and home to an annual Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Even if you're not of Nordic descent, you'll want to ride the popular Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the community, or visit Decorah to fish for trout, shop for fresh produce at the local farmers' market, and buy heirloom seeds at the famous Seed Savers Exchange.

Lindsborg, Kansas

The small town of Lindsborg, often called "Little Sweden USA," is located off Highway I-135 in Kansas. Stop downtown to explore the fine art galleries and unique shops, or stay for a weekend and see how many colorful dala (Swedish folk-art figures of horses) you can find. Plan to visit during a festival to enjoy live Swedish folk dancing.

Paducah, Kentucky

In 2019, Paducah, Kentucky, celebrates its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City it&rsquos one of only nine in the U.S. This riverside town has a blossoming culinary scene (five new eateries in repurposed historic buildings have opened), and its many studios, workshops, galleries and cultural events attract quilters, fiber artists and other creatives.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Every spring, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, celebrates its delicious berry crop with a Strawberry Festival held in beautiful, historic Memorial Park. The town is known as America's Antique City, thanks to the many restored shops in the downtown area where you can purchase antiques, handcrafted items and artwork. Wondering about the town's name? It comes from a Choctaw Indian word meaning "hair to hang," which refers to the Spanish moss that hangs from the local trees.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Once a shipbuilding center, Kennebunkport, Maine, became a summer retreat by the late 1800s affluent vacationers flocked to the grand hotels and mansions along its coastline. Visitors still come each summer to relax on the beaches and stroll around the town. Don't miss Dock Square, a popular shopping area in a village setting, and drive along Ocean Avenue for spectacular coastal views.

Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland, was known as the "Gateway to the West" for its vital roads, rails and canals. Today, it draws bikers who connect through the town to two legendary bike trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. History buffs and nature lovers come to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and drive the Historic National Road scenic byway. Cumberland is also a shopping destination for great local, regional and national works of art.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lies just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.

Houghton, Michigan

Picturesque Houghton, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, is surrounded by inland lakes and streams. Its 233 miles of snowmobile trails and world-class biking opportunities attract adventurers, and history buffs come to explore its colorful mining past. The sunsets on Lake Superior are stunning, and in the winter, McLain State Park, shown here, invites visitors to hike, enjoy its spectacular ice formations, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Park Rapids, Minnesota

Go ahead. Park in the middle of Main Avenue in Park Rapids, Minnesota. (It's okay to park on the sides, too. The shops and restaurants here are so popular, the town built extra-wide streets.) Vacationers come to enjoy the lake and stay at nearby resorts or campgrounds Park Rapids is a gateway to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. Pick up some buttery caramels at Aunt Belle's Confectionary, browse the craft and quilt stores, or shop for cabin decor and other items.

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2019. Author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in this Mississippi River town as a boy. In his honor, it offers a variety of shops, museums, riverboat rides and other experiences, many based on his characters. A week-long Tom Sawyer Days Festival is held each year. A new Big River Steampunk Festival has been drawing visitors, too, many of whom dress in Victorian-era costumes.

Whitefish, Montana

National Geographic once named Whitefish, Montana, one of the "Top 25 Ski Towns in the World," but this small town on the shores of Whitefish Lake offers even more to do and see. Visitors come to snowboard, hike, boat, bike and enjoy live, professional theater and fine dining. For nature lovers, Glacier National Park is a short drive away.

Nebraska City, Nebraska

Home to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center, and a former station on the Underground Railroad, Nebraska City, Nebraska, is especially lovely in the fall. The changing colors of the trees, u-pick apple orchards and cozy lodgings draw visitors. Don't miss Arbor Day Farm, where you can take a ride through the trees, and stop to pick apples at Kimmel Orchard to eat fresh or turn into pies.

Carson City, Nevada

Carson City, Nevada, dates back to the 1850s, when the discovery of silver in nearby Comstock Lode made it a boom town. Today, Victorian-era homes still stand in the historic downtown area and along the popular Kit Carson Trail. History buffs will find plenty to explore here, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum is scheduled to open in spring 2019.

Littleton, New Hampshire

Some 5,937 people reside in Littleton, nestled in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. This lovely, walkable town, settled in 1770, draws visitors with old-fashioned shops like Chutters, home to the world&rsquos longest candy counter. (It offers 112 feet of jellybeans, chocolates and other popular and nostalgic treats.) Littleton also boasts America&rsquos oldest ski shop, Lahout&rsquos, and elegant, historic lodgings like Thayers Inn.

Lambertville, New Jersey

"The Antiques Capital of New Jersey," Lambertville is home to a variety of talented artists and crafters whose shops and galleries sit alongside the scenic Delaware River. This town of 4,000 residents, founded in 1705, also boasts federal townhouses and Victorian homes, a restored 19th-century train depot, Zagat-rated restaurants and award-winning hotels and B&Bs. Shoppers can find treasures at The People&rsquos Store Antiques and Design Center and other shops on Bridge, Main and Union Streets.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a small gem of a town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its historic adobe architecture and Taos Pueblo, a village continuously inhabited for more than a thousand years, it's rich in Hispanic and Native American history. Look for regional artwork in the town's many galleries and museums.

Skaneateles, New York

Celebrities and former presidents discovered charming Skaneateles, New York, years ago. Like other visitors, they&rsquove come for live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake, the farm-to-table restaurants, tour boat cruises and racetrack, and to admire the beautiful waterfalls and restored buildings dating back to 1796. This four-season destination hosts festivals, art shows and other events throughout the year.

Oxford, Mississippi

Book lovers know Oxford, Mississippi, as the home of world-famous author William Faulkner. It was also once the home of contemporary author John Grisham. Nicknamed the "Cultural Mecca of the South," Oxford attracts artists, musicians and prominent chefs like James Beard Award winner John Currence. The town square, with its decades-old bookstore, boutiques, vinyl record shop and more, is a don't-miss.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Residents of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, like to say their town is the "cure for the common beach." The beach is accessible by ferry and sits beside Silver Lake, a scenic harbor. It's popular for its shops and restaurants, historic British cemetery, and its light station, the oldest still operating in the state. Like a good scare? Take a ghost walk with a descendant of Blackbeard's quartermaster, or catch a short boat ride to Portsmouth Island's so-called ghost village.

Medora, North Dakota

Find your inner cowboy in Medora, located in North Dakota's Badlands. This historic city offers lots of Old West charm, thanks to its proximity to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the non-motorized Maah Daah Hey Trail System, 144 miles of breathtakingly scenic trails. Buy tickets for the Medora Musical, a western-style show dedicated to Roosevelt's legacy, and gaze up at the dark sky at night visitors sometimes see the Northern Lights.

Marietta, Ohio

Every year, the riverboat community of Marietta, Ohio, which sits along the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, celebrates with a Sternwheel Festival. From its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, Marietta has become a thriving town, and its revitalized, historic downtown boasts art galleries, a music hall, museums and unique shops.

Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park feels almost hidden in the Wichita Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. But that&rsquos part of its charm, along with its many shops and restaurants built in old cobblestone structures made from locally quarried granite. In fair weather, visitors congregate at Bath Lake, a restored "swimming hole," mountain bike on the Lawtonka trail system, paddle board or just relax in comfortable rental cabins.

Jacksonville, Oregon

Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, is in Southern Oregon's wine country and a gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Come in the summer to enjoy the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts event, or explore the town's independently owned shops, restaurants and hiking and biking trails year-round. Jacksonville has been called one of America's 10 "coolest small towns."

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Recently listed in Smithsonian Magazine as one of "The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018," Latrobe, Pennsylvania, honors its native son, TV pioneer Fred Rogers, with the new Fred Rogers Trail. Tourists can stop at the Latrobe Brewery (the original home of Rolling Rock beer) and Saint Vincent College (home of the summer training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers), or just head to a local ice cream shop to celebrate Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split.

Bristol, Rhode Island

One of Rhode Island&rsquos most picturesque towns, Bristol is still largely unknown to many travelers. They&rsquore missing its fine cuisine, fascinating history and architecture, and the many different waterfront activities offered along its miles of coastline. Visitors can explore a historic saltwater farm and oceanfront wildlife refuge, tour the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America&rsquos Cup Hall of Fame, enjoy Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum (called one of New England's top five public gardens by Yankee Magazine), or stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

Newberry, South Carolina

Newberry, South Carolina, is a college town with lots of extras: lovely architecture, a historic Opera House, a winery where rocking chairs beckon from a big porch and world-class dining and drinking experiences. Nicknamed the "City of Friendly Folks," it's been called one of the 100 best small towns in America.

Yankton, South Dakota

Settlers moving West often stopped along the Missouri River at what is now Yankton, South Dakota, and riverboat captains once built their large Victorian homes there. Today, the town draws history buffs and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can kayak, sail, fish or canoe on the Missouri National Recreational River, which runs along Yankton's historic waterfront, or on Lake Yankton or Lewis and Clark Lake. Landlubbers can enjoy beautiful Riverside Park and Meridian Bridge, a converted railroad bridge that leads into Nebraska.

Paris, Tennessee

Home to a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Tennessee, draws visitors to its historic district and winery. It's also known for hosting the World's Biggest Fish Fry, where the town serves more than five tons of catfish every year. Reel in your own catch at Paris Landing State Park, shown here, or golf, swim and camp. An annual Christmas festival, Heritage Center and dozens of seasonal events are other big draws.

Gruene, Texas

The original buildings in Gruene, Texas, built circa 1800 to 1900s, almost fell to developers until an architecture student from the University of Texas at Austin saved the day. His efforts helped land the town on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, residents and visitors shop at local boutiques and Old Gruene Market Days, tube the Comal River and dance at Gruene Hall, built in 1878. The town is about a 45-minute drive from Austin and an hour from San Antonio.

Kanab, Utah

Home to the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S., Kanab, Utah, combines the spectacular geography of the Rocky Mountains with the Desert Southwest. It's also the gateway to the south entrance of Zion National Park and a short drive away from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Lake Powell and other don't-miss stops. Dozens of Westerns have been filmed in or near the town, earning its nickname, "Little Hollywood."

Montpelier, Vermont

It's the smallest state capital in the U.S., but Montpelier, Vermont, has a thriving arts and music scene, and it's rich in history and natural beauty. It's also home to the New England Culinary Institute, so visitors come for its diverse cuisine and fine restaurants. Wintertime brings snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice climbing, skiing and other outdoor sports to enjoy.

Bristol, Virginia

One side of the main street in downtown Bristol lies in Virginia the other is in Tennesee. This lovely Appalachian Mountains town is a destination for music lovers and history buffs. Check out the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and hear live music nightly at venues or events around town. Bristol also boasts art galleries, great local dining spots and live dance and theatrical performances. It's a designated Arts & Entertainment District.

La Conner, Washington

Visitors often come to La Conner, Washington, a small town on the waterfront, for some "retail therapy" at its galleries, needlecraft and quilt stores, gift shops and wine bars. It&rsquos also known for its delicious eateries and, for travelers, its easy access to Interstate 5 and the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Each spring, La Conner hosts its popular Daffodil Festival, where thousands of cheerful daffs open against the backdrop of Mt. Baker. More tulips, iris and daffodil bulbs are produced in La Conner than any other county in the U.S.

Thomas, West Virginia

Wear your comfortable shoes for a self-guided walking tour around Thomas, West Virginia, where you'll find more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register. Along the way, stop for a cuppa at a coffee shop or browse the town's unique art galleries and antique shops. The Purple Fiddle and Fiddler's Roost Guesthouse are located on historic Front Street in this lovely mountain town, overlooking the North Fork on the Blackwater River.

Fish Creek, Wisconsin

Arts and outdoor adventures meet in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, in the northern Door County Peninsula. This walkable town offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails and shoreline. In warm weather, visit the local apple and cherry orchards and wineries, bike or hike in Peninsula State Park, play on the beaches or enjoy live entertainment. In the winter, book a cozy cabin, visit the charming shops and play in the snow.

Sheridan, Wyoming

Think "New West" when you visit Sheridan, Wyoming. Neon signs line its historic Main Street, where legendary outlaws once roamed. Town highlights include the Sheridan Inn (once the home of Buffalo Bill), the Brinton Museum (dedicated to 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art) and the Mint Bar, the oldest bar in town. Ride into the foothills to explore local ranches and enjoy the stunning beauty, or hike the canyons of the Bighorn Mountains.


50 of the Most Charming Small Towns in America

Explore the hidden gems of each state: towns with quaint shops and restaurants, fascinating histories, fun experiences and natural beauty.

Related To:

Fairhope, Alabama

Pretty Fairhope, Alabama, is home to Southern authors Rick Bragg and Fannie Flagg. (Look for their signed books at one of the state's best bookstores, Page & Palette). This Mobile Bay town also boasts its own French Quarter, and the luxurious Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, named the state&rsquos top hotel and top spa, is just minutes away in Point Clear. Its two golf courses repeatedly make the list of Best Golf Resorts in America.

Unalaska, Alaska

With a population of around 4,524, the small town of Unalaska, Alaska, is the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. It's starting to attract more visitors, however, as Viking, Windstar and other major cruise lines add it as a destination. Remote and beautiful, Unalaska is accessible only by plane or boat. Its attractions include whale watching, hiking and exploring World War II history at the Aleutian WWII Visitor Center and the Museum of the Aleutians.

Winslow, Arizona

This is it: the Winslow, Arizona, you heard about in the Eagles' song Take It Easy. Once a railroad stop on the "Mother Road," Route 66, Winslow is a popular stop with drivers and motorcyclists. La Posada Hotel, designed for the Santa Fe Railroad, still books guests into elegant rooms furnished with Zapotec rugs and Mexican tiles. Outdoor adventurers head north of town, to Homolovi State Park, to hike the trails and look for archaeological sites and Hopi petroglyphs.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Named one of a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a secluded, peaceful town in the heart of the Ozarks. Magnificent Victorian homes built on cliffsides line its winding streets, while its historic downtown area offers more than 100 shops and art galleries to explore.

Carmel, California

Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel is a world-renowned, one-square-mile village on California's central coast. It's beloved for its fairytale-like cottages, as well as its upscale boutiques, art galleries, historic Carmel Mission Basilica, wineries and other attractions. Carmel Beach has been ranked as one of America's top beach towns.

Mancos, Colorado

The spirit of the West is alive and well in Mancos, Colorado, where ranching is still a way of life. This community of about 1,600 sits just east of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, so it's a great base for nature lovers and adventurers who like to ride horses, bike and hike. More than 150 artists and other creatives live in the area their galleries line historic Main Street in the creative district. Book lovers, take note: This area was home to the late Western author, Louis L'Amour.

Essex, Connecticut

Often called a "storybook village," Essex, Connecticut, is a little-known treasure on the Connecticut River. This historic seaport town has a quaint Main Street filled with the restored homes of sea captains, galleries and boutique shops. Don&rsquot miss the Connecticut River Museum, housed in an 1878 steamboat warehouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it&rsquos the only one of its kind still on the river. Train enthusiasts can catch the only steam-train-to-riverboat ride in the U.S. here.

New Castle, Delaware

The cobblestone streets in New Castle, Delaware, are a reminder of the town&rsquos colonial past. Visitors come to see fine townhomes and mansions like the Read House & Gardens or stroll beside the Delaware River in lovely Battery Park. Other popular attractions are tours of period homes and churches like Dutch House, Amstel House and Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. The downtown courthouse, shown here, is part of the First State National Historical Park.

Crystal River, Florida

Located on Florida's Nature Coast, Crystal River draws visitors who enjoy boating, diving, fishing and eco-touring. It's also the only place in the United States where people are allowed to swim with manatees when accompanied by trained guides. Visitors may also see these beloved "sea cows" when they kayak or paddleboard or walk the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk in Crystal River. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a short drive away.

Cartersville, Georgia

Discover dinosaurs and fine Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, located about 50 minutes from Atlanta. Its world-class Tellus Science Museum houses permanent galleries of minerals, fossils, transportation technology and much more, while the Booth Western Art Museum is the world&rsquos largest permanent exhibition space for Western art. After browsing the museums, visit Cartersville&rsquos historic downtown and make a selfie in front of the first painted wall ad for Coca-Cola.

Hilo, Hawaii

Visitors come to the charming town of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, for its world-famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and the Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Downtown Hilo offers a fun mix of shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries to explore. Many of its old, wooden storefronts are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wallace, Idaho

History buffs, take note: The entire town of Wallace, Idaho, is on the National Historic Register. This 1884 mining town, nicknamed "the center of the universe," offers historical sites, museums and outdoor adventures that include the Rails to Trails Hall of Fame Route of the Hiawatha bike trail (shown here), the Trail of the Coeur d&rsquoAlenes and the Pulaski Tunnel Trail.

Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis, is located where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This quaint river town is known for its limestone bluffs, which make it one of the best spots in the U.S. to see bald eagles. Every January and February, the town kicks off the eagle-watching season with the Alton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival. Alton is reportedly one of the most haunted small towns in America at least 10 spirits are said to inhabit the McPike Mansion.

Warsaw, Indiana

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.

Decorah, Iowa

Explore your Norwegian heritage in Decorah, Iowa, population 8,127 and home to an annual Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Even if you're not of Nordic descent, you'll want to ride the popular Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the community, or visit Decorah to fish for trout, shop for fresh produce at the local farmers' market, and buy heirloom seeds at the famous Seed Savers Exchange.

Lindsborg, Kansas

The small town of Lindsborg, often called "Little Sweden USA," is located off Highway I-135 in Kansas. Stop downtown to explore the fine art galleries and unique shops, or stay for a weekend and see how many colorful dala (Swedish folk-art figures of horses) you can find. Plan to visit during a festival to enjoy live Swedish folk dancing.

Paducah, Kentucky

In 2019, Paducah, Kentucky, celebrates its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City it&rsquos one of only nine in the U.S. This riverside town has a blossoming culinary scene (five new eateries in repurposed historic buildings have opened), and its many studios, workshops, galleries and cultural events attract quilters, fiber artists and other creatives.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Every spring, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, celebrates its delicious berry crop with a Strawberry Festival held in beautiful, historic Memorial Park. The town is known as America's Antique City, thanks to the many restored shops in the downtown area where you can purchase antiques, handcrafted items and artwork. Wondering about the town's name? It comes from a Choctaw Indian word meaning "hair to hang," which refers to the Spanish moss that hangs from the local trees.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Once a shipbuilding center, Kennebunkport, Maine, became a summer retreat by the late 1800s affluent vacationers flocked to the grand hotels and mansions along its coastline. Visitors still come each summer to relax on the beaches and stroll around the town. Don't miss Dock Square, a popular shopping area in a village setting, and drive along Ocean Avenue for spectacular coastal views.

Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland, was known as the "Gateway to the West" for its vital roads, rails and canals. Today, it draws bikers who connect through the town to two legendary bike trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. History buffs and nature lovers come to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and drive the Historic National Road scenic byway. Cumberland is also a shopping destination for great local, regional and national works of art.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lies just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.

Houghton, Michigan

Picturesque Houghton, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, is surrounded by inland lakes and streams. Its 233 miles of snowmobile trails and world-class biking opportunities attract adventurers, and history buffs come to explore its colorful mining past. The sunsets on Lake Superior are stunning, and in the winter, McLain State Park, shown here, invites visitors to hike, enjoy its spectacular ice formations, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Park Rapids, Minnesota

Go ahead. Park in the middle of Main Avenue in Park Rapids, Minnesota. (It's okay to park on the sides, too. The shops and restaurants here are so popular, the town built extra-wide streets.) Vacationers come to enjoy the lake and stay at nearby resorts or campgrounds Park Rapids is a gateway to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. Pick up some buttery caramels at Aunt Belle's Confectionary, browse the craft and quilt stores, or shop for cabin decor and other items.

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2019. Author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in this Mississippi River town as a boy. In his honor, it offers a variety of shops, museums, riverboat rides and other experiences, many based on his characters. A week-long Tom Sawyer Days Festival is held each year. A new Big River Steampunk Festival has been drawing visitors, too, many of whom dress in Victorian-era costumes.

Whitefish, Montana

National Geographic once named Whitefish, Montana, one of the "Top 25 Ski Towns in the World," but this small town on the shores of Whitefish Lake offers even more to do and see. Visitors come to snowboard, hike, boat, bike and enjoy live, professional theater and fine dining. For nature lovers, Glacier National Park is a short drive away.

Nebraska City, Nebraska

Home to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center, and a former station on the Underground Railroad, Nebraska City, Nebraska, is especially lovely in the fall. The changing colors of the trees, u-pick apple orchards and cozy lodgings draw visitors. Don't miss Arbor Day Farm, where you can take a ride through the trees, and stop to pick apples at Kimmel Orchard to eat fresh or turn into pies.

Carson City, Nevada

Carson City, Nevada, dates back to the 1850s, when the discovery of silver in nearby Comstock Lode made it a boom town. Today, Victorian-era homes still stand in the historic downtown area and along the popular Kit Carson Trail. History buffs will find plenty to explore here, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum is scheduled to open in spring 2019.

Littleton, New Hampshire

Some 5,937 people reside in Littleton, nestled in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. This lovely, walkable town, settled in 1770, draws visitors with old-fashioned shops like Chutters, home to the world&rsquos longest candy counter. (It offers 112 feet of jellybeans, chocolates and other popular and nostalgic treats.) Littleton also boasts America&rsquos oldest ski shop, Lahout&rsquos, and elegant, historic lodgings like Thayers Inn.

Lambertville, New Jersey

"The Antiques Capital of New Jersey," Lambertville is home to a variety of talented artists and crafters whose shops and galleries sit alongside the scenic Delaware River. This town of 4,000 residents, founded in 1705, also boasts federal townhouses and Victorian homes, a restored 19th-century train depot, Zagat-rated restaurants and award-winning hotels and B&Bs. Shoppers can find treasures at The People&rsquos Store Antiques and Design Center and other shops on Bridge, Main and Union Streets.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a small gem of a town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its historic adobe architecture and Taos Pueblo, a village continuously inhabited for more than a thousand years, it's rich in Hispanic and Native American history. Look for regional artwork in the town's many galleries and museums.

Skaneateles, New York

Celebrities and former presidents discovered charming Skaneateles, New York, years ago. Like other visitors, they&rsquove come for live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake, the farm-to-table restaurants, tour boat cruises and racetrack, and to admire the beautiful waterfalls and restored buildings dating back to 1796. This four-season destination hosts festivals, art shows and other events throughout the year.

Oxford, Mississippi

Book lovers know Oxford, Mississippi, as the home of world-famous author William Faulkner. It was also once the home of contemporary author John Grisham. Nicknamed the "Cultural Mecca of the South," Oxford attracts artists, musicians and prominent chefs like James Beard Award winner John Currence. The town square, with its decades-old bookstore, boutiques, vinyl record shop and more, is a don't-miss.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Residents of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, like to say their town is the "cure for the common beach." The beach is accessible by ferry and sits beside Silver Lake, a scenic harbor. It's popular for its shops and restaurants, historic British cemetery, and its light station, the oldest still operating in the state. Like a good scare? Take a ghost walk with a descendant of Blackbeard's quartermaster, or catch a short boat ride to Portsmouth Island's so-called ghost village.

Medora, North Dakota

Find your inner cowboy in Medora, located in North Dakota's Badlands. This historic city offers lots of Old West charm, thanks to its proximity to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the non-motorized Maah Daah Hey Trail System, 144 miles of breathtakingly scenic trails. Buy tickets for the Medora Musical, a western-style show dedicated to Roosevelt's legacy, and gaze up at the dark sky at night visitors sometimes see the Northern Lights.

Marietta, Ohio

Every year, the riverboat community of Marietta, Ohio, which sits along the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, celebrates with a Sternwheel Festival. From its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, Marietta has become a thriving town, and its revitalized, historic downtown boasts art galleries, a music hall, museums and unique shops.

Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park feels almost hidden in the Wichita Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. But that&rsquos part of its charm, along with its many shops and restaurants built in old cobblestone structures made from locally quarried granite. In fair weather, visitors congregate at Bath Lake, a restored "swimming hole," mountain bike on the Lawtonka trail system, paddle board or just relax in comfortable rental cabins.

Jacksonville, Oregon

Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, is in Southern Oregon's wine country and a gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Come in the summer to enjoy the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts event, or explore the town's independently owned shops, restaurants and hiking and biking trails year-round. Jacksonville has been called one of America's 10 "coolest small towns."

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Recently listed in Smithsonian Magazine as one of "The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018," Latrobe, Pennsylvania, honors its native son, TV pioneer Fred Rogers, with the new Fred Rogers Trail. Tourists can stop at the Latrobe Brewery (the original home of Rolling Rock beer) and Saint Vincent College (home of the summer training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers), or just head to a local ice cream shop to celebrate Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split.

Bristol, Rhode Island

One of Rhode Island&rsquos most picturesque towns, Bristol is still largely unknown to many travelers. They&rsquore missing its fine cuisine, fascinating history and architecture, and the many different waterfront activities offered along its miles of coastline. Visitors can explore a historic saltwater farm and oceanfront wildlife refuge, tour the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America&rsquos Cup Hall of Fame, enjoy Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum (called one of New England's top five public gardens by Yankee Magazine), or stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

Newberry, South Carolina

Newberry, South Carolina, is a college town with lots of extras: lovely architecture, a historic Opera House, a winery where rocking chairs beckon from a big porch and world-class dining and drinking experiences. Nicknamed the "City of Friendly Folks," it's been called one of the 100 best small towns in America.

Yankton, South Dakota

Settlers moving West often stopped along the Missouri River at what is now Yankton, South Dakota, and riverboat captains once built their large Victorian homes there. Today, the town draws history buffs and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can kayak, sail, fish or canoe on the Missouri National Recreational River, which runs along Yankton's historic waterfront, or on Lake Yankton or Lewis and Clark Lake. Landlubbers can enjoy beautiful Riverside Park and Meridian Bridge, a converted railroad bridge that leads into Nebraska.

Paris, Tennessee

Home to a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Tennessee, draws visitors to its historic district and winery. It's also known for hosting the World's Biggest Fish Fry, where the town serves more than five tons of catfish every year. Reel in your own catch at Paris Landing State Park, shown here, or golf, swim and camp. An annual Christmas festival, Heritage Center and dozens of seasonal events are other big draws.

Gruene, Texas

The original buildings in Gruene, Texas, built circa 1800 to 1900s, almost fell to developers until an architecture student from the University of Texas at Austin saved the day. His efforts helped land the town on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, residents and visitors shop at local boutiques and Old Gruene Market Days, tube the Comal River and dance at Gruene Hall, built in 1878. The town is about a 45-minute drive from Austin and an hour from San Antonio.

Kanab, Utah

Home to the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S., Kanab, Utah, combines the spectacular geography of the Rocky Mountains with the Desert Southwest. It's also the gateway to the south entrance of Zion National Park and a short drive away from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Lake Powell and other don't-miss stops. Dozens of Westerns have been filmed in or near the town, earning its nickname, "Little Hollywood."

Montpelier, Vermont

It's the smallest state capital in the U.S., but Montpelier, Vermont, has a thriving arts and music scene, and it's rich in history and natural beauty. It's also home to the New England Culinary Institute, so visitors come for its diverse cuisine and fine restaurants. Wintertime brings snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice climbing, skiing and other outdoor sports to enjoy.

Bristol, Virginia

One side of the main street in downtown Bristol lies in Virginia the other is in Tennesee. This lovely Appalachian Mountains town is a destination for music lovers and history buffs. Check out the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and hear live music nightly at venues or events around town. Bristol also boasts art galleries, great local dining spots and live dance and theatrical performances. It's a designated Arts & Entertainment District.

La Conner, Washington

Visitors often come to La Conner, Washington, a small town on the waterfront, for some "retail therapy" at its galleries, needlecraft and quilt stores, gift shops and wine bars. It&rsquos also known for its delicious eateries and, for travelers, its easy access to Interstate 5 and the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Each spring, La Conner hosts its popular Daffodil Festival, where thousands of cheerful daffs open against the backdrop of Mt. Baker. More tulips, iris and daffodil bulbs are produced in La Conner than any other county in the U.S.

Thomas, West Virginia

Wear your comfortable shoes for a self-guided walking tour around Thomas, West Virginia, where you'll find more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register. Along the way, stop for a cuppa at a coffee shop or browse the town's unique art galleries and antique shops. The Purple Fiddle and Fiddler's Roost Guesthouse are located on historic Front Street in this lovely mountain town, overlooking the North Fork on the Blackwater River.

Fish Creek, Wisconsin

Arts and outdoor adventures meet in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, in the northern Door County Peninsula. This walkable town offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails and shoreline. In warm weather, visit the local apple and cherry orchards and wineries, bike or hike in Peninsula State Park, play on the beaches or enjoy live entertainment. In the winter, book a cozy cabin, visit the charming shops and play in the snow.

Sheridan, Wyoming

Think "New West" when you visit Sheridan, Wyoming. Neon signs line its historic Main Street, where legendary outlaws once roamed. Town highlights include the Sheridan Inn (once the home of Buffalo Bill), the Brinton Museum (dedicated to 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art) and the Mint Bar, the oldest bar in town. Ride into the foothills to explore local ranches and enjoy the stunning beauty, or hike the canyons of the Bighorn Mountains.


50 of the Most Charming Small Towns in America

Explore the hidden gems of each state: towns with quaint shops and restaurants, fascinating histories, fun experiences and natural beauty.

Related To:

Fairhope, Alabama

Pretty Fairhope, Alabama, is home to Southern authors Rick Bragg and Fannie Flagg. (Look for their signed books at one of the state's best bookstores, Page & Palette). This Mobile Bay town also boasts its own French Quarter, and the luxurious Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, named the state&rsquos top hotel and top spa, is just minutes away in Point Clear. Its two golf courses repeatedly make the list of Best Golf Resorts in America.

Unalaska, Alaska

With a population of around 4,524, the small town of Unalaska, Alaska, is the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. It's starting to attract more visitors, however, as Viking, Windstar and other major cruise lines add it as a destination. Remote and beautiful, Unalaska is accessible only by plane or boat. Its attractions include whale watching, hiking and exploring World War II history at the Aleutian WWII Visitor Center and the Museum of the Aleutians.

Winslow, Arizona

This is it: the Winslow, Arizona, you heard about in the Eagles' song Take It Easy. Once a railroad stop on the "Mother Road," Route 66, Winslow is a popular stop with drivers and motorcyclists. La Posada Hotel, designed for the Santa Fe Railroad, still books guests into elegant rooms furnished with Zapotec rugs and Mexican tiles. Outdoor adventurers head north of town, to Homolovi State Park, to hike the trails and look for archaeological sites and Hopi petroglyphs.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Named one of a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a secluded, peaceful town in the heart of the Ozarks. Magnificent Victorian homes built on cliffsides line its winding streets, while its historic downtown area offers more than 100 shops and art galleries to explore.

Carmel, California

Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel is a world-renowned, one-square-mile village on California's central coast. It's beloved for its fairytale-like cottages, as well as its upscale boutiques, art galleries, historic Carmel Mission Basilica, wineries and other attractions. Carmel Beach has been ranked as one of America's top beach towns.

Mancos, Colorado

The spirit of the West is alive and well in Mancos, Colorado, where ranching is still a way of life. This community of about 1,600 sits just east of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, so it's a great base for nature lovers and adventurers who like to ride horses, bike and hike. More than 150 artists and other creatives live in the area their galleries line historic Main Street in the creative district. Book lovers, take note: This area was home to the late Western author, Louis L'Amour.

Essex, Connecticut

Often called a "storybook village," Essex, Connecticut, is a little-known treasure on the Connecticut River. This historic seaport town has a quaint Main Street filled with the restored homes of sea captains, galleries and boutique shops. Don&rsquot miss the Connecticut River Museum, housed in an 1878 steamboat warehouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it&rsquos the only one of its kind still on the river. Train enthusiasts can catch the only steam-train-to-riverboat ride in the U.S. here.

New Castle, Delaware

The cobblestone streets in New Castle, Delaware, are a reminder of the town&rsquos colonial past. Visitors come to see fine townhomes and mansions like the Read House & Gardens or stroll beside the Delaware River in lovely Battery Park. Other popular attractions are tours of period homes and churches like Dutch House, Amstel House and Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. The downtown courthouse, shown here, is part of the First State National Historical Park.

Crystal River, Florida

Located on Florida's Nature Coast, Crystal River draws visitors who enjoy boating, diving, fishing and eco-touring. It's also the only place in the United States where people are allowed to swim with manatees when accompanied by trained guides. Visitors may also see these beloved "sea cows" when they kayak or paddleboard or walk the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk in Crystal River. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a short drive away.

Cartersville, Georgia

Discover dinosaurs and fine Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, located about 50 minutes from Atlanta. Its world-class Tellus Science Museum houses permanent galleries of minerals, fossils, transportation technology and much more, while the Booth Western Art Museum is the world&rsquos largest permanent exhibition space for Western art. After browsing the museums, visit Cartersville&rsquos historic downtown and make a selfie in front of the first painted wall ad for Coca-Cola.

Hilo, Hawaii

Visitors come to the charming town of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, for its world-famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and the Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Downtown Hilo offers a fun mix of shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries to explore. Many of its old, wooden storefronts are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wallace, Idaho

History buffs, take note: The entire town of Wallace, Idaho, is on the National Historic Register. This 1884 mining town, nicknamed "the center of the universe," offers historical sites, museums and outdoor adventures that include the Rails to Trails Hall of Fame Route of the Hiawatha bike trail (shown here), the Trail of the Coeur d&rsquoAlenes and the Pulaski Tunnel Trail.

Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis, is located where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This quaint river town is known for its limestone bluffs, which make it one of the best spots in the U.S. to see bald eagles. Every January and February, the town kicks off the eagle-watching season with the Alton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival. Alton is reportedly one of the most haunted small towns in America at least 10 spirits are said to inhabit the McPike Mansion.

Warsaw, Indiana

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.

Decorah, Iowa

Explore your Norwegian heritage in Decorah, Iowa, population 8,127 and home to an annual Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Even if you're not of Nordic descent, you'll want to ride the popular Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the community, or visit Decorah to fish for trout, shop for fresh produce at the local farmers' market, and buy heirloom seeds at the famous Seed Savers Exchange.

Lindsborg, Kansas

The small town of Lindsborg, often called "Little Sweden USA," is located off Highway I-135 in Kansas. Stop downtown to explore the fine art galleries and unique shops, or stay for a weekend and see how many colorful dala (Swedish folk-art figures of horses) you can find. Plan to visit during a festival to enjoy live Swedish folk dancing.

Paducah, Kentucky

In 2019, Paducah, Kentucky, celebrates its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City it&rsquos one of only nine in the U.S. This riverside town has a blossoming culinary scene (five new eateries in repurposed historic buildings have opened), and its many studios, workshops, galleries and cultural events attract quilters, fiber artists and other creatives.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Every spring, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, celebrates its delicious berry crop with a Strawberry Festival held in beautiful, historic Memorial Park. The town is known as America's Antique City, thanks to the many restored shops in the downtown area where you can purchase antiques, handcrafted items and artwork. Wondering about the town's name? It comes from a Choctaw Indian word meaning "hair to hang," which refers to the Spanish moss that hangs from the local trees.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Once a shipbuilding center, Kennebunkport, Maine, became a summer retreat by the late 1800s affluent vacationers flocked to the grand hotels and mansions along its coastline. Visitors still come each summer to relax on the beaches and stroll around the town. Don't miss Dock Square, a popular shopping area in a village setting, and drive along Ocean Avenue for spectacular coastal views.

Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland, was known as the "Gateway to the West" for its vital roads, rails and canals. Today, it draws bikers who connect through the town to two legendary bike trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. History buffs and nature lovers come to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and drive the Historic National Road scenic byway. Cumberland is also a shopping destination for great local, regional and national works of art.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lies just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.

Houghton, Michigan

Picturesque Houghton, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, is surrounded by inland lakes and streams. Its 233 miles of snowmobile trails and world-class biking opportunities attract adventurers, and history buffs come to explore its colorful mining past. The sunsets on Lake Superior are stunning, and in the winter, McLain State Park, shown here, invites visitors to hike, enjoy its spectacular ice formations, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Park Rapids, Minnesota

Go ahead. Park in the middle of Main Avenue in Park Rapids, Minnesota. (It's okay to park on the sides, too. The shops and restaurants here are so popular, the town built extra-wide streets.) Vacationers come to enjoy the lake and stay at nearby resorts or campgrounds Park Rapids is a gateway to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. Pick up some buttery caramels at Aunt Belle's Confectionary, browse the craft and quilt stores, or shop for cabin decor and other items.

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2019. Author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in this Mississippi River town as a boy. In his honor, it offers a variety of shops, museums, riverboat rides and other experiences, many based on his characters. A week-long Tom Sawyer Days Festival is held each year. A new Big River Steampunk Festival has been drawing visitors, too, many of whom dress in Victorian-era costumes.

Whitefish, Montana

National Geographic once named Whitefish, Montana, one of the "Top 25 Ski Towns in the World," but this small town on the shores of Whitefish Lake offers even more to do and see. Visitors come to snowboard, hike, boat, bike and enjoy live, professional theater and fine dining. For nature lovers, Glacier National Park is a short drive away.

Nebraska City, Nebraska

Home to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center, and a former station on the Underground Railroad, Nebraska City, Nebraska, is especially lovely in the fall. The changing colors of the trees, u-pick apple orchards and cozy lodgings draw visitors. Don't miss Arbor Day Farm, where you can take a ride through the trees, and stop to pick apples at Kimmel Orchard to eat fresh or turn into pies.

Carson City, Nevada

Carson City, Nevada, dates back to the 1850s, when the discovery of silver in nearby Comstock Lode made it a boom town. Today, Victorian-era homes still stand in the historic downtown area and along the popular Kit Carson Trail. History buffs will find plenty to explore here, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum is scheduled to open in spring 2019.

Littleton, New Hampshire

Some 5,937 people reside in Littleton, nestled in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. This lovely, walkable town, settled in 1770, draws visitors with old-fashioned shops like Chutters, home to the world&rsquos longest candy counter. (It offers 112 feet of jellybeans, chocolates and other popular and nostalgic treats.) Littleton also boasts America&rsquos oldest ski shop, Lahout&rsquos, and elegant, historic lodgings like Thayers Inn.

Lambertville, New Jersey

"The Antiques Capital of New Jersey," Lambertville is home to a variety of talented artists and crafters whose shops and galleries sit alongside the scenic Delaware River. This town of 4,000 residents, founded in 1705, also boasts federal townhouses and Victorian homes, a restored 19th-century train depot, Zagat-rated restaurants and award-winning hotels and B&Bs. Shoppers can find treasures at The People&rsquos Store Antiques and Design Center and other shops on Bridge, Main and Union Streets.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a small gem of a town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its historic adobe architecture and Taos Pueblo, a village continuously inhabited for more than a thousand years, it's rich in Hispanic and Native American history. Look for regional artwork in the town's many galleries and museums.

Skaneateles, New York

Celebrities and former presidents discovered charming Skaneateles, New York, years ago. Like other visitors, they&rsquove come for live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake, the farm-to-table restaurants, tour boat cruises and racetrack, and to admire the beautiful waterfalls and restored buildings dating back to 1796. This four-season destination hosts festivals, art shows and other events throughout the year.

Oxford, Mississippi

Book lovers know Oxford, Mississippi, as the home of world-famous author William Faulkner. It was also once the home of contemporary author John Grisham. Nicknamed the "Cultural Mecca of the South," Oxford attracts artists, musicians and prominent chefs like James Beard Award winner John Currence. The town square, with its decades-old bookstore, boutiques, vinyl record shop and more, is a don't-miss.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Residents of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, like to say their town is the "cure for the common beach." The beach is accessible by ferry and sits beside Silver Lake, a scenic harbor. It's popular for its shops and restaurants, historic British cemetery, and its light station, the oldest still operating in the state. Like a good scare? Take a ghost walk with a descendant of Blackbeard's quartermaster, or catch a short boat ride to Portsmouth Island's so-called ghost village.

Medora, North Dakota

Find your inner cowboy in Medora, located in North Dakota's Badlands. This historic city offers lots of Old West charm, thanks to its proximity to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the non-motorized Maah Daah Hey Trail System, 144 miles of breathtakingly scenic trails. Buy tickets for the Medora Musical, a western-style show dedicated to Roosevelt's legacy, and gaze up at the dark sky at night visitors sometimes see the Northern Lights.

Marietta, Ohio

Every year, the riverboat community of Marietta, Ohio, which sits along the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, celebrates with a Sternwheel Festival. From its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, Marietta has become a thriving town, and its revitalized, historic downtown boasts art galleries, a music hall, museums and unique shops.

Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park feels almost hidden in the Wichita Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. But that&rsquos part of its charm, along with its many shops and restaurants built in old cobblestone structures made from locally quarried granite. In fair weather, visitors congregate at Bath Lake, a restored "swimming hole," mountain bike on the Lawtonka trail system, paddle board or just relax in comfortable rental cabins.

Jacksonville, Oregon

Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, is in Southern Oregon's wine country and a gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Come in the summer to enjoy the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts event, or explore the town's independently owned shops, restaurants and hiking and biking trails year-round. Jacksonville has been called one of America's 10 "coolest small towns."

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Recently listed in Smithsonian Magazine as one of "The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018," Latrobe, Pennsylvania, honors its native son, TV pioneer Fred Rogers, with the new Fred Rogers Trail. Tourists can stop at the Latrobe Brewery (the original home of Rolling Rock beer) and Saint Vincent College (home of the summer training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers), or just head to a local ice cream shop to celebrate Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split.

Bristol, Rhode Island

One of Rhode Island&rsquos most picturesque towns, Bristol is still largely unknown to many travelers. They&rsquore missing its fine cuisine, fascinating history and architecture, and the many different waterfront activities offered along its miles of coastline. Visitors can explore a historic saltwater farm and oceanfront wildlife refuge, tour the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America&rsquos Cup Hall of Fame, enjoy Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum (called one of New England's top five public gardens by Yankee Magazine), or stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

Newberry, South Carolina

Newberry, South Carolina, is a college town with lots of extras: lovely architecture, a historic Opera House, a winery where rocking chairs beckon from a big porch and world-class dining and drinking experiences. Nicknamed the "City of Friendly Folks," it's been called one of the 100 best small towns in America.

Yankton, South Dakota

Settlers moving West often stopped along the Missouri River at what is now Yankton, South Dakota, and riverboat captains once built their large Victorian homes there. Today, the town draws history buffs and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can kayak, sail, fish or canoe on the Missouri National Recreational River, which runs along Yankton's historic waterfront, or on Lake Yankton or Lewis and Clark Lake. Landlubbers can enjoy beautiful Riverside Park and Meridian Bridge, a converted railroad bridge that leads into Nebraska.

Paris, Tennessee

Home to a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Tennessee, draws visitors to its historic district and winery. It's also known for hosting the World's Biggest Fish Fry, where the town serves more than five tons of catfish every year. Reel in your own catch at Paris Landing State Park, shown here, or golf, swim and camp. An annual Christmas festival, Heritage Center and dozens of seasonal events are other big draws.

Gruene, Texas

The original buildings in Gruene, Texas, built circa 1800 to 1900s, almost fell to developers until an architecture student from the University of Texas at Austin saved the day. His efforts helped land the town on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, residents and visitors shop at local boutiques and Old Gruene Market Days, tube the Comal River and dance at Gruene Hall, built in 1878. The town is about a 45-minute drive from Austin and an hour from San Antonio.

Kanab, Utah

Home to the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S., Kanab, Utah, combines the spectacular geography of the Rocky Mountains with the Desert Southwest. It's also the gateway to the south entrance of Zion National Park and a short drive away from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Lake Powell and other don't-miss stops. Dozens of Westerns have been filmed in or near the town, earning its nickname, "Little Hollywood."

Montpelier, Vermont

It's the smallest state capital in the U.S., but Montpelier, Vermont, has a thriving arts and music scene, and it's rich in history and natural beauty. It's also home to the New England Culinary Institute, so visitors come for its diverse cuisine and fine restaurants. Wintertime brings snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice climbing, skiing and other outdoor sports to enjoy.

Bristol, Virginia

One side of the main street in downtown Bristol lies in Virginia the other is in Tennesee. This lovely Appalachian Mountains town is a destination for music lovers and history buffs. Check out the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and hear live music nightly at venues or events around town. Bristol also boasts art galleries, great local dining spots and live dance and theatrical performances. It's a designated Arts & Entertainment District.

La Conner, Washington

Visitors often come to La Conner, Washington, a small town on the waterfront, for some "retail therapy" at its galleries, needlecraft and quilt stores, gift shops and wine bars. It&rsquos also known for its delicious eateries and, for travelers, its easy access to Interstate 5 and the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Each spring, La Conner hosts its popular Daffodil Festival, where thousands of cheerful daffs open against the backdrop of Mt. Baker. More tulips, iris and daffodil bulbs are produced in La Conner than any other county in the U.S.

Thomas, West Virginia

Wear your comfortable shoes for a self-guided walking tour around Thomas, West Virginia, where you'll find more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register. Along the way, stop for a cuppa at a coffee shop or browse the town's unique art galleries and antique shops. The Purple Fiddle and Fiddler's Roost Guesthouse are located on historic Front Street in this lovely mountain town, overlooking the North Fork on the Blackwater River.

Fish Creek, Wisconsin

Arts and outdoor adventures meet in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, in the northern Door County Peninsula. This walkable town offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails and shoreline. In warm weather, visit the local apple and cherry orchards and wineries, bike or hike in Peninsula State Park, play on the beaches or enjoy live entertainment. In the winter, book a cozy cabin, visit the charming shops and play in the snow.

Sheridan, Wyoming

Think "New West" when you visit Sheridan, Wyoming. Neon signs line its historic Main Street, where legendary outlaws once roamed. Town highlights include the Sheridan Inn (once the home of Buffalo Bill), the Brinton Museum (dedicated to 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art) and the Mint Bar, the oldest bar in town. Ride into the foothills to explore local ranches and enjoy the stunning beauty, or hike the canyons of the Bighorn Mountains.


50 of the Most Charming Small Towns in America

Explore the hidden gems of each state: towns with quaint shops and restaurants, fascinating histories, fun experiences and natural beauty.

Related To:

Fairhope, Alabama

Pretty Fairhope, Alabama, is home to Southern authors Rick Bragg and Fannie Flagg. (Look for their signed books at one of the state's best bookstores, Page & Palette). This Mobile Bay town also boasts its own French Quarter, and the luxurious Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, named the state&rsquos top hotel and top spa, is just minutes away in Point Clear. Its two golf courses repeatedly make the list of Best Golf Resorts in America.

Unalaska, Alaska

With a population of around 4,524, the small town of Unalaska, Alaska, is the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. It's starting to attract more visitors, however, as Viking, Windstar and other major cruise lines add it as a destination. Remote and beautiful, Unalaska is accessible only by plane or boat. Its attractions include whale watching, hiking and exploring World War II history at the Aleutian WWII Visitor Center and the Museum of the Aleutians.

Winslow, Arizona

This is it: the Winslow, Arizona, you heard about in the Eagles' song Take It Easy. Once a railroad stop on the "Mother Road," Route 66, Winslow is a popular stop with drivers and motorcyclists. La Posada Hotel, designed for the Santa Fe Railroad, still books guests into elegant rooms furnished with Zapotec rugs and Mexican tiles. Outdoor adventurers head north of town, to Homolovi State Park, to hike the trails and look for archaeological sites and Hopi petroglyphs.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Named one of a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a secluded, peaceful town in the heart of the Ozarks. Magnificent Victorian homes built on cliffsides line its winding streets, while its historic downtown area offers more than 100 shops and art galleries to explore.

Carmel, California

Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel is a world-renowned, one-square-mile village on California's central coast. It's beloved for its fairytale-like cottages, as well as its upscale boutiques, art galleries, historic Carmel Mission Basilica, wineries and other attractions. Carmel Beach has been ranked as one of America's top beach towns.

Mancos, Colorado

The spirit of the West is alive and well in Mancos, Colorado, where ranching is still a way of life. This community of about 1,600 sits just east of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, so it's a great base for nature lovers and adventurers who like to ride horses, bike and hike. More than 150 artists and other creatives live in the area their galleries line historic Main Street in the creative district. Book lovers, take note: This area was home to the late Western author, Louis L'Amour.

Essex, Connecticut

Often called a "storybook village," Essex, Connecticut, is a little-known treasure on the Connecticut River. This historic seaport town has a quaint Main Street filled with the restored homes of sea captains, galleries and boutique shops. Don&rsquot miss the Connecticut River Museum, housed in an 1878 steamboat warehouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it&rsquos the only one of its kind still on the river. Train enthusiasts can catch the only steam-train-to-riverboat ride in the U.S. here.

New Castle, Delaware

The cobblestone streets in New Castle, Delaware, are a reminder of the town&rsquos colonial past. Visitors come to see fine townhomes and mansions like the Read House & Gardens or stroll beside the Delaware River in lovely Battery Park. Other popular attractions are tours of period homes and churches like Dutch House, Amstel House and Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. The downtown courthouse, shown here, is part of the First State National Historical Park.

Crystal River, Florida

Located on Florida's Nature Coast, Crystal River draws visitors who enjoy boating, diving, fishing and eco-touring. It's also the only place in the United States where people are allowed to swim with manatees when accompanied by trained guides. Visitors may also see these beloved "sea cows" when they kayak or paddleboard or walk the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk in Crystal River. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a short drive away.

Cartersville, Georgia

Discover dinosaurs and fine Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, located about 50 minutes from Atlanta. Its world-class Tellus Science Museum houses permanent galleries of minerals, fossils, transportation technology and much more, while the Booth Western Art Museum is the world&rsquos largest permanent exhibition space for Western art. After browsing the museums, visit Cartersville&rsquos historic downtown and make a selfie in front of the first painted wall ad for Coca-Cola.

Hilo, Hawaii

Visitors come to the charming town of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, for its world-famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and the Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Downtown Hilo offers a fun mix of shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries to explore. Many of its old, wooden storefronts are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wallace, Idaho

History buffs, take note: The entire town of Wallace, Idaho, is on the National Historic Register. This 1884 mining town, nicknamed "the center of the universe," offers historical sites, museums and outdoor adventures that include the Rails to Trails Hall of Fame Route of the Hiawatha bike trail (shown here), the Trail of the Coeur d&rsquoAlenes and the Pulaski Tunnel Trail.

Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis, is located where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This quaint river town is known for its limestone bluffs, which make it one of the best spots in the U.S. to see bald eagles. Every January and February, the town kicks off the eagle-watching season with the Alton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival. Alton is reportedly one of the most haunted small towns in America at least 10 spirits are said to inhabit the McPike Mansion.

Warsaw, Indiana

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.

Decorah, Iowa

Explore your Norwegian heritage in Decorah, Iowa, population 8,127 and home to an annual Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Even if you're not of Nordic descent, you'll want to ride the popular Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the community, or visit Decorah to fish for trout, shop for fresh produce at the local farmers' market, and buy heirloom seeds at the famous Seed Savers Exchange.

Lindsborg, Kansas

The small town of Lindsborg, often called "Little Sweden USA," is located off Highway I-135 in Kansas. Stop downtown to explore the fine art galleries and unique shops, or stay for a weekend and see how many colorful dala (Swedish folk-art figures of horses) you can find. Plan to visit during a festival to enjoy live Swedish folk dancing.

Paducah, Kentucky

In 2019, Paducah, Kentucky, celebrates its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City it&rsquos one of only nine in the U.S. This riverside town has a blossoming culinary scene (five new eateries in repurposed historic buildings have opened), and its many studios, workshops, galleries and cultural events attract quilters, fiber artists and other creatives.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Every spring, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, celebrates its delicious berry crop with a Strawberry Festival held in beautiful, historic Memorial Park. The town is known as America's Antique City, thanks to the many restored shops in the downtown area where you can purchase antiques, handcrafted items and artwork. Wondering about the town's name? It comes from a Choctaw Indian word meaning "hair to hang," which refers to the Spanish moss that hangs from the local trees.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Once a shipbuilding center, Kennebunkport, Maine, became a summer retreat by the late 1800s affluent vacationers flocked to the grand hotels and mansions along its coastline. Visitors still come each summer to relax on the beaches and stroll around the town. Don't miss Dock Square, a popular shopping area in a village setting, and drive along Ocean Avenue for spectacular coastal views.

Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland, was known as the "Gateway to the West" for its vital roads, rails and canals. Today, it draws bikers who connect through the town to two legendary bike trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. History buffs and nature lovers come to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and drive the Historic National Road scenic byway. Cumberland is also a shopping destination for great local, regional and national works of art.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lies just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.

Houghton, Michigan

Picturesque Houghton, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, is surrounded by inland lakes and streams. Its 233 miles of snowmobile trails and world-class biking opportunities attract adventurers, and history buffs come to explore its colorful mining past. The sunsets on Lake Superior are stunning, and in the winter, McLain State Park, shown here, invites visitors to hike, enjoy its spectacular ice formations, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Park Rapids, Minnesota

Go ahead. Park in the middle of Main Avenue in Park Rapids, Minnesota. (It's okay to park on the sides, too. The shops and restaurants here are so popular, the town built extra-wide streets.) Vacationers come to enjoy the lake and stay at nearby resorts or campgrounds Park Rapids is a gateway to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. Pick up some buttery caramels at Aunt Belle's Confectionary, browse the craft and quilt stores, or shop for cabin decor and other items.

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2019. Author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in this Mississippi River town as a boy. In his honor, it offers a variety of shops, museums, riverboat rides and other experiences, many based on his characters. A week-long Tom Sawyer Days Festival is held each year. A new Big River Steampunk Festival has been drawing visitors, too, many of whom dress in Victorian-era costumes.

Whitefish, Montana

National Geographic once named Whitefish, Montana, one of the "Top 25 Ski Towns in the World," but this small town on the shores of Whitefish Lake offers even more to do and see. Visitors come to snowboard, hike, boat, bike and enjoy live, professional theater and fine dining. For nature lovers, Glacier National Park is a short drive away.

Nebraska City, Nebraska

Home to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center, and a former station on the Underground Railroad, Nebraska City, Nebraska, is especially lovely in the fall. The changing colors of the trees, u-pick apple orchards and cozy lodgings draw visitors. Don't miss Arbor Day Farm, where you can take a ride through the trees, and stop to pick apples at Kimmel Orchard to eat fresh or turn into pies.

Carson City, Nevada

Carson City, Nevada, dates back to the 1850s, when the discovery of silver in nearby Comstock Lode made it a boom town. Today, Victorian-era homes still stand in the historic downtown area and along the popular Kit Carson Trail. History buffs will find plenty to explore here, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum is scheduled to open in spring 2019.

Littleton, New Hampshire

Some 5,937 people reside in Littleton, nestled in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. This lovely, walkable town, settled in 1770, draws visitors with old-fashioned shops like Chutters, home to the world&rsquos longest candy counter. (It offers 112 feet of jellybeans, chocolates and other popular and nostalgic treats.) Littleton also boasts America&rsquos oldest ski shop, Lahout&rsquos, and elegant, historic lodgings like Thayers Inn.

Lambertville, New Jersey

"The Antiques Capital of New Jersey," Lambertville is home to a variety of talented artists and crafters whose shops and galleries sit alongside the scenic Delaware River. This town of 4,000 residents, founded in 1705, also boasts federal townhouses and Victorian homes, a restored 19th-century train depot, Zagat-rated restaurants and award-winning hotels and B&Bs. Shoppers can find treasures at The People&rsquos Store Antiques and Design Center and other shops on Bridge, Main and Union Streets.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a small gem of a town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its historic adobe architecture and Taos Pueblo, a village continuously inhabited for more than a thousand years, it's rich in Hispanic and Native American history. Look for regional artwork in the town's many galleries and museums.

Skaneateles, New York

Celebrities and former presidents discovered charming Skaneateles, New York, years ago. Like other visitors, they&rsquove come for live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake, the farm-to-table restaurants, tour boat cruises and racetrack, and to admire the beautiful waterfalls and restored buildings dating back to 1796. This four-season destination hosts festivals, art shows and other events throughout the year.

Oxford, Mississippi

Book lovers know Oxford, Mississippi, as the home of world-famous author William Faulkner. It was also once the home of contemporary author John Grisham. Nicknamed the "Cultural Mecca of the South," Oxford attracts artists, musicians and prominent chefs like James Beard Award winner John Currence. The town square, with its decades-old bookstore, boutiques, vinyl record shop and more, is a don't-miss.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Residents of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, like to say their town is the "cure for the common beach." The beach is accessible by ferry and sits beside Silver Lake, a scenic harbor. It's popular for its shops and restaurants, historic British cemetery, and its light station, the oldest still operating in the state. Like a good scare? Take a ghost walk with a descendant of Blackbeard's quartermaster, or catch a short boat ride to Portsmouth Island's so-called ghost village.

Medora, North Dakota

Find your inner cowboy in Medora, located in North Dakota's Badlands. This historic city offers lots of Old West charm, thanks to its proximity to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the non-motorized Maah Daah Hey Trail System, 144 miles of breathtakingly scenic trails. Buy tickets for the Medora Musical, a western-style show dedicated to Roosevelt's legacy, and gaze up at the dark sky at night visitors sometimes see the Northern Lights.

Marietta, Ohio

Every year, the riverboat community of Marietta, Ohio, which sits along the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, celebrates with a Sternwheel Festival. From its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, Marietta has become a thriving town, and its revitalized, historic downtown boasts art galleries, a music hall, museums and unique shops.

Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park feels almost hidden in the Wichita Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. But that&rsquos part of its charm, along with its many shops and restaurants built in old cobblestone structures made from locally quarried granite. In fair weather, visitors congregate at Bath Lake, a restored "swimming hole," mountain bike on the Lawtonka trail system, paddle board or just relax in comfortable rental cabins.

Jacksonville, Oregon

Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, is in Southern Oregon's wine country and a gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Come in the summer to enjoy the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts event, or explore the town's independently owned shops, restaurants and hiking and biking trails year-round. Jacksonville has been called one of America's 10 "coolest small towns."

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Recently listed in Smithsonian Magazine as one of "The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018," Latrobe, Pennsylvania, honors its native son, TV pioneer Fred Rogers, with the new Fred Rogers Trail. Tourists can stop at the Latrobe Brewery (the original home of Rolling Rock beer) and Saint Vincent College (home of the summer training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers), or just head to a local ice cream shop to celebrate Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split.

Bristol, Rhode Island

One of Rhode Island&rsquos most picturesque towns, Bristol is still largely unknown to many travelers. They&rsquore missing its fine cuisine, fascinating history and architecture, and the many different waterfront activities offered along its miles of coastline. Visitors can explore a historic saltwater farm and oceanfront wildlife refuge, tour the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America&rsquos Cup Hall of Fame, enjoy Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum (called one of New England's top five public gardens by Yankee Magazine), or stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

Newberry, South Carolina

Newberry, South Carolina, is a college town with lots of extras: lovely architecture, a historic Opera House, a winery where rocking chairs beckon from a big porch and world-class dining and drinking experiences. Nicknamed the "City of Friendly Folks," it's been called one of the 100 best small towns in America.

Yankton, South Dakota

Settlers moving West often stopped along the Missouri River at what is now Yankton, South Dakota, and riverboat captains once built their large Victorian homes there. Today, the town draws history buffs and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can kayak, sail, fish or canoe on the Missouri National Recreational River, which runs along Yankton's historic waterfront, or on Lake Yankton or Lewis and Clark Lake. Landlubbers can enjoy beautiful Riverside Park and Meridian Bridge, a converted railroad bridge that leads into Nebraska.

Paris, Tennessee

Home to a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Tennessee, draws visitors to its historic district and winery. It's also known for hosting the World's Biggest Fish Fry, where the town serves more than five tons of catfish every year. Reel in your own catch at Paris Landing State Park, shown here, or golf, swim and camp. An annual Christmas festival, Heritage Center and dozens of seasonal events are other big draws.

Gruene, Texas

The original buildings in Gruene, Texas, built circa 1800 to 1900s, almost fell to developers until an architecture student from the University of Texas at Austin saved the day. His efforts helped land the town on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, residents and visitors shop at local boutiques and Old Gruene Market Days, tube the Comal River and dance at Gruene Hall, built in 1878. The town is about a 45-minute drive from Austin and an hour from San Antonio.

Kanab, Utah

Home to the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S., Kanab, Utah, combines the spectacular geography of the Rocky Mountains with the Desert Southwest. It's also the gateway to the south entrance of Zion National Park and a short drive away from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Lake Powell and other don't-miss stops. Dozens of Westerns have been filmed in or near the town, earning its nickname, "Little Hollywood."

Montpelier, Vermont

It's the smallest state capital in the U.S., but Montpelier, Vermont, has a thriving arts and music scene, and it's rich in history and natural beauty. It's also home to the New England Culinary Institute, so visitors come for its diverse cuisine and fine restaurants. Wintertime brings snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice climbing, skiing and other outdoor sports to enjoy.

Bristol, Virginia

One side of the main street in downtown Bristol lies in Virginia the other is in Tennesee. This lovely Appalachian Mountains town is a destination for music lovers and history buffs. Check out the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and hear live music nightly at venues or events around town. Bristol also boasts art galleries, great local dining spots and live dance and theatrical performances. It's a designated Arts & Entertainment District.

La Conner, Washington

Visitors often come to La Conner, Washington, a small town on the waterfront, for some "retail therapy" at its galleries, needlecraft and quilt stores, gift shops and wine bars. It&rsquos also known for its delicious eateries and, for travelers, its easy access to Interstate 5 and the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Each spring, La Conner hosts its popular Daffodil Festival, where thousands of cheerful daffs open against the backdrop of Mt. Baker. More tulips, iris and daffodil bulbs are produced in La Conner than any other county in the U.S.

Thomas, West Virginia

Wear your comfortable shoes for a self-guided walking tour around Thomas, West Virginia, where you'll find more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register. Along the way, stop for a cuppa at a coffee shop or browse the town's unique art galleries and antique shops. The Purple Fiddle and Fiddler's Roost Guesthouse are located on historic Front Street in this lovely mountain town, overlooking the North Fork on the Blackwater River.

Fish Creek, Wisconsin

Arts and outdoor adventures meet in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, in the northern Door County Peninsula. This walkable town offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails and shoreline. In warm weather, visit the local apple and cherry orchards and wineries, bike or hike in Peninsula State Park, play on the beaches or enjoy live entertainment. In the winter, book a cozy cabin, visit the charming shops and play in the snow.

Sheridan, Wyoming

Think "New West" when you visit Sheridan, Wyoming. Neon signs line its historic Main Street, where legendary outlaws once roamed. Town highlights include the Sheridan Inn (once the home of Buffalo Bill), the Brinton Museum (dedicated to 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art) and the Mint Bar, the oldest bar in town. Ride into the foothills to explore local ranches and enjoy the stunning beauty, or hike the canyons of the Bighorn Mountains.


50 of the Most Charming Small Towns in America

Explore the hidden gems of each state: towns with quaint shops and restaurants, fascinating histories, fun experiences and natural beauty.

Related To:

Fairhope, Alabama

Pretty Fairhope, Alabama, is home to Southern authors Rick Bragg and Fannie Flagg. (Look for their signed books at one of the state's best bookstores, Page & Palette). This Mobile Bay town also boasts its own French Quarter, and the luxurious Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, named the state&rsquos top hotel and top spa, is just minutes away in Point Clear. Its two golf courses repeatedly make the list of Best Golf Resorts in America.

Unalaska, Alaska

With a population of around 4,524, the small town of Unalaska, Alaska, is the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. It's starting to attract more visitors, however, as Viking, Windstar and other major cruise lines add it as a destination. Remote and beautiful, Unalaska is accessible only by plane or boat. Its attractions include whale watching, hiking and exploring World War II history at the Aleutian WWII Visitor Center and the Museum of the Aleutians.

Winslow, Arizona

This is it: the Winslow, Arizona, you heard about in the Eagles' song Take It Easy. Once a railroad stop on the "Mother Road," Route 66, Winslow is a popular stop with drivers and motorcyclists. La Posada Hotel, designed for the Santa Fe Railroad, still books guests into elegant rooms furnished with Zapotec rugs and Mexican tiles. Outdoor adventurers head north of town, to Homolovi State Park, to hike the trails and look for archaeological sites and Hopi petroglyphs.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Named one of a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a secluded, peaceful town in the heart of the Ozarks. Magnificent Victorian homes built on cliffsides line its winding streets, while its historic downtown area offers more than 100 shops and art galleries to explore.

Carmel, California

Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel is a world-renowned, one-square-mile village on California's central coast. It's beloved for its fairytale-like cottages, as well as its upscale boutiques, art galleries, historic Carmel Mission Basilica, wineries and other attractions. Carmel Beach has been ranked as one of America's top beach towns.

Mancos, Colorado

The spirit of the West is alive and well in Mancos, Colorado, where ranching is still a way of life. This community of about 1,600 sits just east of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, so it's a great base for nature lovers and adventurers who like to ride horses, bike and hike. More than 150 artists and other creatives live in the area their galleries line historic Main Street in the creative district. Book lovers, take note: This area was home to the late Western author, Louis L'Amour.

Essex, Connecticut

Often called a "storybook village," Essex, Connecticut, is a little-known treasure on the Connecticut River. This historic seaport town has a quaint Main Street filled with the restored homes of sea captains, galleries and boutique shops. Don&rsquot miss the Connecticut River Museum, housed in an 1878 steamboat warehouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it&rsquos the only one of its kind still on the river. Train enthusiasts can catch the only steam-train-to-riverboat ride in the U.S. here.

New Castle, Delaware

The cobblestone streets in New Castle, Delaware, are a reminder of the town&rsquos colonial past. Visitors come to see fine townhomes and mansions like the Read House & Gardens or stroll beside the Delaware River in lovely Battery Park. Other popular attractions are tours of period homes and churches like Dutch House, Amstel House and Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. The downtown courthouse, shown here, is part of the First State National Historical Park.

Crystal River, Florida

Located on Florida's Nature Coast, Crystal River draws visitors who enjoy boating, diving, fishing and eco-touring. It's also the only place in the United States where people are allowed to swim with manatees when accompanied by trained guides. Visitors may also see these beloved "sea cows" when they kayak or paddleboard or walk the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk in Crystal River. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a short drive away.

Cartersville, Georgia

Discover dinosaurs and fine Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, located about 50 minutes from Atlanta. Its world-class Tellus Science Museum houses permanent galleries of minerals, fossils, transportation technology and much more, while the Booth Western Art Museum is the world&rsquos largest permanent exhibition space for Western art. After browsing the museums, visit Cartersville&rsquos historic downtown and make a selfie in front of the first painted wall ad for Coca-Cola.

Hilo, Hawaii

Visitors come to the charming town of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, for its world-famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and the Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Downtown Hilo offers a fun mix of shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries to explore. Many of its old, wooden storefronts are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wallace, Idaho

History buffs, take note: The entire town of Wallace, Idaho, is on the National Historic Register. This 1884 mining town, nicknamed "the center of the universe," offers historical sites, museums and outdoor adventures that include the Rails to Trails Hall of Fame Route of the Hiawatha bike trail (shown here), the Trail of the Coeur d&rsquoAlenes and the Pulaski Tunnel Trail.

Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis, is located where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This quaint river town is known for its limestone bluffs, which make it one of the best spots in the U.S. to see bald eagles. Every January and February, the town kicks off the eagle-watching season with the Alton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival. Alton is reportedly one of the most haunted small towns in America at least 10 spirits are said to inhabit the McPike Mansion.

Warsaw, Indiana

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.

Decorah, Iowa

Explore your Norwegian heritage in Decorah, Iowa, population 8,127 and home to an annual Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Even if you're not of Nordic descent, you'll want to ride the popular Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the community, or visit Decorah to fish for trout, shop for fresh produce at the local farmers' market, and buy heirloom seeds at the famous Seed Savers Exchange.

Lindsborg, Kansas

The small town of Lindsborg, often called "Little Sweden USA," is located off Highway I-135 in Kansas. Stop downtown to explore the fine art galleries and unique shops, or stay for a weekend and see how many colorful dala (Swedish folk-art figures of horses) you can find. Plan to visit during a festival to enjoy live Swedish folk dancing.

Paducah, Kentucky

In 2019, Paducah, Kentucky, celebrates its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City it&rsquos one of only nine in the U.S. This riverside town has a blossoming culinary scene (five new eateries in repurposed historic buildings have opened), and its many studios, workshops, galleries and cultural events attract quilters, fiber artists and other creatives.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Every spring, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, celebrates its delicious berry crop with a Strawberry Festival held in beautiful, historic Memorial Park. The town is known as America's Antique City, thanks to the many restored shops in the downtown area where you can purchase antiques, handcrafted items and artwork. Wondering about the town's name? It comes from a Choctaw Indian word meaning "hair to hang," which refers to the Spanish moss that hangs from the local trees.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Once a shipbuilding center, Kennebunkport, Maine, became a summer retreat by the late 1800s affluent vacationers flocked to the grand hotels and mansions along its coastline. Visitors still come each summer to relax on the beaches and stroll around the town. Don't miss Dock Square, a popular shopping area in a village setting, and drive along Ocean Avenue for spectacular coastal views.

Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland, was known as the "Gateway to the West" for its vital roads, rails and canals. Today, it draws bikers who connect through the town to two legendary bike trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. History buffs and nature lovers come to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and drive the Historic National Road scenic byway. Cumberland is also a shopping destination for great local, regional and national works of art.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lies just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.

Houghton, Michigan

Picturesque Houghton, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, is surrounded by inland lakes and streams. Its 233 miles of snowmobile trails and world-class biking opportunities attract adventurers, and history buffs come to explore its colorful mining past. The sunsets on Lake Superior are stunning, and in the winter, McLain State Park, shown here, invites visitors to hike, enjoy its spectacular ice formations, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Park Rapids, Minnesota

Go ahead. Park in the middle of Main Avenue in Park Rapids, Minnesota. (It's okay to park on the sides, too. The shops and restaurants here are so popular, the town built extra-wide streets.) Vacationers come to enjoy the lake and stay at nearby resorts or campgrounds Park Rapids is a gateway to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. Pick up some buttery caramels at Aunt Belle's Confectionary, browse the craft and quilt stores, or shop for cabin decor and other items.

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2019. Author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in this Mississippi River town as a boy. In his honor, it offers a variety of shops, museums, riverboat rides and other experiences, many based on his characters. A week-long Tom Sawyer Days Festival is held each year. A new Big River Steampunk Festival has been drawing visitors, too, many of whom dress in Victorian-era costumes.

Whitefish, Montana

National Geographic once named Whitefish, Montana, one of the "Top 25 Ski Towns in the World," but this small town on the shores of Whitefish Lake offers even more to do and see. Visitors come to snowboard, hike, boat, bike and enjoy live, professional theater and fine dining. For nature lovers, Glacier National Park is a short drive away.

Nebraska City, Nebraska

Home to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center, and a former station on the Underground Railroad, Nebraska City, Nebraska, is especially lovely in the fall. The changing colors of the trees, u-pick apple orchards and cozy lodgings draw visitors. Don't miss Arbor Day Farm, where you can take a ride through the trees, and stop to pick apples at Kimmel Orchard to eat fresh or turn into pies.

Carson City, Nevada

Carson City, Nevada, dates back to the 1850s, when the discovery of silver in nearby Comstock Lode made it a boom town. Today, Victorian-era homes still stand in the historic downtown area and along the popular Kit Carson Trail. History buffs will find plenty to explore here, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum is scheduled to open in spring 2019.

Littleton, New Hampshire

Some 5,937 people reside in Littleton, nestled in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. This lovely, walkable town, settled in 1770, draws visitors with old-fashioned shops like Chutters, home to the world&rsquos longest candy counter. (It offers 112 feet of jellybeans, chocolates and other popular and nostalgic treats.) Littleton also boasts America&rsquos oldest ski shop, Lahout&rsquos, and elegant, historic lodgings like Thayers Inn.

Lambertville, New Jersey

"The Antiques Capital of New Jersey," Lambertville is home to a variety of talented artists and crafters whose shops and galleries sit alongside the scenic Delaware River. This town of 4,000 residents, founded in 1705, also boasts federal townhouses and Victorian homes, a restored 19th-century train depot, Zagat-rated restaurants and award-winning hotels and B&Bs. Shoppers can find treasures at The People&rsquos Store Antiques and Design Center and other shops on Bridge, Main and Union Streets.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a small gem of a town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its historic adobe architecture and Taos Pueblo, a village continuously inhabited for more than a thousand years, it's rich in Hispanic and Native American history. Look for regional artwork in the town's many galleries and museums.

Skaneateles, New York

Celebrities and former presidents discovered charming Skaneateles, New York, years ago. Like other visitors, they&rsquove come for live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake, the farm-to-table restaurants, tour boat cruises and racetrack, and to admire the beautiful waterfalls and restored buildings dating back to 1796. This four-season destination hosts festivals, art shows and other events throughout the year.

Oxford, Mississippi

Book lovers know Oxford, Mississippi, as the home of world-famous author William Faulkner. It was also once the home of contemporary author John Grisham. Nicknamed the "Cultural Mecca of the South," Oxford attracts artists, musicians and prominent chefs like James Beard Award winner John Currence. The town square, with its decades-old bookstore, boutiques, vinyl record shop and more, is a don't-miss.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Residents of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, like to say their town is the "cure for the common beach." The beach is accessible by ferry and sits beside Silver Lake, a scenic harbor. It's popular for its shops and restaurants, historic British cemetery, and its light station, the oldest still operating in the state. Like a good scare? Take a ghost walk with a descendant of Blackbeard's quartermaster, or catch a short boat ride to Portsmouth Island's so-called ghost village.

Medora, North Dakota

Find your inner cowboy in Medora, located in North Dakota's Badlands. This historic city offers lots of Old West charm, thanks to its proximity to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the non-motorized Maah Daah Hey Trail System, 144 miles of breathtakingly scenic trails. Buy tickets for the Medora Musical, a western-style show dedicated to Roosevelt's legacy, and gaze up at the dark sky at night visitors sometimes see the Northern Lights.

Marietta, Ohio

Every year, the riverboat community of Marietta, Ohio, which sits along the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, celebrates with a Sternwheel Festival. From its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, Marietta has become a thriving town, and its revitalized, historic downtown boasts art galleries, a music hall, museums and unique shops.

Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park feels almost hidden in the Wichita Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. But that&rsquos part of its charm, along with its many shops and restaurants built in old cobblestone structures made from locally quarried granite. In fair weather, visitors congregate at Bath Lake, a restored "swimming hole," mountain bike on the Lawtonka trail system, paddle board or just relax in comfortable rental cabins.

Jacksonville, Oregon

Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, is in Southern Oregon's wine country and a gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Come in the summer to enjoy the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts event, or explore the town's independently owned shops, restaurants and hiking and biking trails year-round. Jacksonville has been called one of America's 10 "coolest small towns."

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Recently listed in Smithsonian Magazine as one of "The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018," Latrobe, Pennsylvania, honors its native son, TV pioneer Fred Rogers, with the new Fred Rogers Trail. Tourists can stop at the Latrobe Brewery (the original home of Rolling Rock beer) and Saint Vincent College (home of the summer training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers), or just head to a local ice cream shop to celebrate Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split.

Bristol, Rhode Island

One of Rhode Island&rsquos most picturesque towns, Bristol is still largely unknown to many travelers. They&rsquore missing its fine cuisine, fascinating history and architecture, and the many different waterfront activities offered along its miles of coastline. Visitors can explore a historic saltwater farm and oceanfront wildlife refuge, tour the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America&rsquos Cup Hall of Fame, enjoy Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum (called one of New England's top five public gardens by Yankee Magazine), or stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

Newberry, South Carolina

Newberry, South Carolina, is a college town with lots of extras: lovely architecture, a historic Opera House, a winery where rocking chairs beckon from a big porch and world-class dining and drinking experiences. Nicknamed the "City of Friendly Folks," it's been called one of the 100 best small towns in America.

Yankton, South Dakota

Settlers moving West often stopped along the Missouri River at what is now Yankton, South Dakota, and riverboat captains once built their large Victorian homes there. Today, the town draws history buffs and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can kayak, sail, fish or canoe on the Missouri National Recreational River, which runs along Yankton's historic waterfront, or on Lake Yankton or Lewis and Clark Lake. Landlubbers can enjoy beautiful Riverside Park and Meridian Bridge, a converted railroad bridge that leads into Nebraska.

Paris, Tennessee

Home to a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Tennessee, draws visitors to its historic district and winery. It's also known for hosting the World's Biggest Fish Fry, where the town serves more than five tons of catfish every year. Reel in your own catch at Paris Landing State Park, shown here, or golf, swim and camp. An annual Christmas festival, Heritage Center and dozens of seasonal events are other big draws.

Gruene, Texas

The original buildings in Gruene, Texas, built circa 1800 to 1900s, almost fell to developers until an architecture student from the University of Texas at Austin saved the day. His efforts helped land the town on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, residents and visitors shop at local boutiques and Old Gruene Market Days, tube the Comal River and dance at Gruene Hall, built in 1878. The town is about a 45-minute drive from Austin and an hour from San Antonio.

Kanab, Utah

Home to the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S., Kanab, Utah, combines the spectacular geography of the Rocky Mountains with the Desert Southwest. It's also the gateway to the south entrance of Zion National Park and a short drive away from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Lake Powell and other don't-miss stops. Dozens of Westerns have been filmed in or near the town, earning its nickname, "Little Hollywood."

Montpelier, Vermont

It's the smallest state capital in the U.S., but Montpelier, Vermont, has a thriving arts and music scene, and it's rich in history and natural beauty. It's also home to the New England Culinary Institute, so visitors come for its diverse cuisine and fine restaurants. Wintertime brings snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice climbing, skiing and other outdoor sports to enjoy.

Bristol, Virginia

One side of the main street in downtown Bristol lies in Virginia the other is in Tennesee. This lovely Appalachian Mountains town is a destination for music lovers and history buffs. Check out the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and hear live music nightly at venues or events around town. Bristol also boasts art galleries, great local dining spots and live dance and theatrical performances. It's a designated Arts & Entertainment District.

La Conner, Washington

Visitors often come to La Conner, Washington, a small town on the waterfront, for some "retail therapy" at its galleries, needlecraft and quilt stores, gift shops and wine bars. It&rsquos also known for its delicious eateries and, for travelers, its easy access to Interstate 5 and the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Each spring, La Conner hosts its popular Daffodil Festival, where thousands of cheerful daffs open against the backdrop of Mt. Baker. More tulips, iris and daffodil bulbs are produced in La Conner than any other county in the U.S.

Thomas, West Virginia

Wear your comfortable shoes for a self-guided walking tour around Thomas, West Virginia, where you'll find more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register. Along the way, stop for a cuppa at a coffee shop or browse the town's unique art galleries and antique shops. The Purple Fiddle and Fiddler's Roost Guesthouse are located on historic Front Street in this lovely mountain town, overlooking the North Fork on the Blackwater River.

Fish Creek, Wisconsin

Arts and outdoor adventures meet in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, in the northern Door County Peninsula. This walkable town offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails and shoreline. In warm weather, visit the local apple and cherry orchards and wineries, bike or hike in Peninsula State Park, play on the beaches or enjoy live entertainment. In the winter, book a cozy cabin, visit the charming shops and play in the snow.

Sheridan, Wyoming

Think "New West" when you visit Sheridan, Wyoming. Neon signs line its historic Main Street, where legendary outlaws once roamed. Town highlights include the Sheridan Inn (once the home of Buffalo Bill), the Brinton Museum (dedicated to 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art) and the Mint Bar, the oldest bar in town. Ride into the foothills to explore local ranches and enjoy the stunning beauty, or hike the canyons of the Bighorn Mountains.


50 of the Most Charming Small Towns in America

Explore the hidden gems of each state: towns with quaint shops and restaurants, fascinating histories, fun experiences and natural beauty.

Related To:

Fairhope, Alabama

Pretty Fairhope, Alabama, is home to Southern authors Rick Bragg and Fannie Flagg. (Look for their signed books at one of the state's best bookstores, Page & Palette). This Mobile Bay town also boasts its own French Quarter, and the luxurious Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, named the state&rsquos top hotel and top spa, is just minutes away in Point Clear. Its two golf courses repeatedly make the list of Best Golf Resorts in America.

Unalaska, Alaska

With a population of around 4,524, the small town of Unalaska, Alaska, is the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. It's starting to attract more visitors, however, as Viking, Windstar and other major cruise lines add it as a destination. Remote and beautiful, Unalaska is accessible only by plane or boat. Its attractions include whale watching, hiking and exploring World War II history at the Aleutian WWII Visitor Center and the Museum of the Aleutians.

Winslow, Arizona

This is it: the Winslow, Arizona, you heard about in the Eagles' song Take It Easy. Once a railroad stop on the "Mother Road," Route 66, Winslow is a popular stop with drivers and motorcyclists. La Posada Hotel, designed for the Santa Fe Railroad, still books guests into elegant rooms furnished with Zapotec rugs and Mexican tiles. Outdoor adventurers head north of town, to Homolovi State Park, to hike the trails and look for archaeological sites and Hopi petroglyphs.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Named one of a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a secluded, peaceful town in the heart of the Ozarks. Magnificent Victorian homes built on cliffsides line its winding streets, while its historic downtown area offers more than 100 shops and art galleries to explore.

Carmel, California

Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel is a world-renowned, one-square-mile village on California's central coast. It's beloved for its fairytale-like cottages, as well as its upscale boutiques, art galleries, historic Carmel Mission Basilica, wineries and other attractions. Carmel Beach has been ranked as one of America's top beach towns.

Mancos, Colorado

The spirit of the West is alive and well in Mancos, Colorado, where ranching is still a way of life. This community of about 1,600 sits just east of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, so it's a great base for nature lovers and adventurers who like to ride horses, bike and hike. More than 150 artists and other creatives live in the area their galleries line historic Main Street in the creative district. Book lovers, take note: This area was home to the late Western author, Louis L'Amour.

Essex, Connecticut

Often called a "storybook village," Essex, Connecticut, is a little-known treasure on the Connecticut River. This historic seaport town has a quaint Main Street filled with the restored homes of sea captains, galleries and boutique shops. Don&rsquot miss the Connecticut River Museum, housed in an 1878 steamboat warehouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it&rsquos the only one of its kind still on the river. Train enthusiasts can catch the only steam-train-to-riverboat ride in the U.S. here.

New Castle, Delaware

The cobblestone streets in New Castle, Delaware, are a reminder of the town&rsquos colonial past. Visitors come to see fine townhomes and mansions like the Read House & Gardens or stroll beside the Delaware River in lovely Battery Park. Other popular attractions are tours of period homes and churches like Dutch House, Amstel House and Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. The downtown courthouse, shown here, is part of the First State National Historical Park.

Crystal River, Florida

Located on Florida's Nature Coast, Crystal River draws visitors who enjoy boating, diving, fishing and eco-touring. It's also the only place in the United States where people are allowed to swim with manatees when accompanied by trained guides. Visitors may also see these beloved "sea cows" when they kayak or paddleboard or walk the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk in Crystal River. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a short drive away.

Cartersville, Georgia

Discover dinosaurs and fine Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, located about 50 minutes from Atlanta. Its world-class Tellus Science Museum houses permanent galleries of minerals, fossils, transportation technology and much more, while the Booth Western Art Museum is the world&rsquos largest permanent exhibition space for Western art. After browsing the museums, visit Cartersville&rsquos historic downtown and make a selfie in front of the first painted wall ad for Coca-Cola.

Hilo, Hawaii

Visitors come to the charming town of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, for its world-famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and the Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Downtown Hilo offers a fun mix of shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries to explore. Many of its old, wooden storefronts are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wallace, Idaho

History buffs, take note: The entire town of Wallace, Idaho, is on the National Historic Register. This 1884 mining town, nicknamed "the center of the universe," offers historical sites, museums and outdoor adventures that include the Rails to Trails Hall of Fame Route of the Hiawatha bike trail (shown here), the Trail of the Coeur d&rsquoAlenes and the Pulaski Tunnel Trail.

Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis, is located where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This quaint river town is known for its limestone bluffs, which make it one of the best spots in the U.S. to see bald eagles. Every January and February, the town kicks off the eagle-watching season with the Alton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival. Alton is reportedly one of the most haunted small towns in America at least 10 spirits are said to inhabit the McPike Mansion.

Warsaw, Indiana

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.

Decorah, Iowa

Explore your Norwegian heritage in Decorah, Iowa, population 8,127 and home to an annual Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Even if you're not of Nordic descent, you'll want to ride the popular Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the community, or visit Decorah to fish for trout, shop for fresh produce at the local farmers' market, and buy heirloom seeds at the famous Seed Savers Exchange.

Lindsborg, Kansas

The small town of Lindsborg, often called "Little Sweden USA," is located off Highway I-135 in Kansas. Stop downtown to explore the fine art galleries and unique shops, or stay for a weekend and see how many colorful dala (Swedish folk-art figures of horses) you can find. Plan to visit during a festival to enjoy live Swedish folk dancing.

Paducah, Kentucky

In 2019, Paducah, Kentucky, celebrates its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City it&rsquos one of only nine in the U.S. This riverside town has a blossoming culinary scene (five new eateries in repurposed historic buildings have opened), and its many studios, workshops, galleries and cultural events attract quilters, fiber artists and other creatives.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Every spring, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, celebrates its delicious berry crop with a Strawberry Festival held in beautiful, historic Memorial Park. The town is known as America's Antique City, thanks to the many restored shops in the downtown area where you can purchase antiques, handcrafted items and artwork. Wondering about the town's name? It comes from a Choctaw Indian word meaning "hair to hang," which refers to the Spanish moss that hangs from the local trees.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Once a shipbuilding center, Kennebunkport, Maine, became a summer retreat by the late 1800s affluent vacationers flocked to the grand hotels and mansions along its coastline. Visitors still come each summer to relax on the beaches and stroll around the town. Don't miss Dock Square, a popular shopping area in a village setting, and drive along Ocean Avenue for spectacular coastal views.

Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland, was known as the "Gateway to the West" for its vital roads, rails and canals. Today, it draws bikers who connect through the town to two legendary bike trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. History buffs and nature lovers come to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and drive the Historic National Road scenic byway. Cumberland is also a shopping destination for great local, regional and national works of art.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lies just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.

Houghton, Michigan

Picturesque Houghton, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, is surrounded by inland lakes and streams. Its 233 miles of snowmobile trails and world-class biking opportunities attract adventurers, and history buffs come to explore its colorful mining past. The sunsets on Lake Superior are stunning, and in the winter, McLain State Park, shown here, invites visitors to hike, enjoy its spectacular ice formations, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Park Rapids, Minnesota

Go ahead. Park in the middle of Main Avenue in Park Rapids, Minnesota. (It's okay to park on the sides, too. The shops and restaurants here are so popular, the town built extra-wide streets.) Vacationers come to enjoy the lake and stay at nearby resorts or campgrounds Park Rapids is a gateway to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. Pick up some buttery caramels at Aunt Belle's Confectionary, browse the craft and quilt stores, or shop for cabin decor and other items.

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2019. Author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in this Mississippi River town as a boy. In his honor, it offers a variety of shops, museums, riverboat rides and other experiences, many based on his characters. A week-long Tom Sawyer Days Festival is held each year. A new Big River Steampunk Festival has been drawing visitors, too, many of whom dress in Victorian-era costumes.

Whitefish, Montana

National Geographic once named Whitefish, Montana, one of the "Top 25 Ski Towns in the World," but this small town on the shores of Whitefish Lake offers even more to do and see. Visitors come to snowboard, hike, boat, bike and enjoy live, professional theater and fine dining. For nature lovers, Glacier National Park is a short drive away.

Nebraska City, Nebraska

Home to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center, and a former station on the Underground Railroad, Nebraska City, Nebraska, is especially lovely in the fall. The changing colors of the trees, u-pick apple orchards and cozy lodgings draw visitors. Don't miss Arbor Day Farm, where you can take a ride through the trees, and stop to pick apples at Kimmel Orchard to eat fresh or turn into pies.

Carson City, Nevada

Carson City, Nevada, dates back to the 1850s, when the discovery of silver in nearby Comstock Lode made it a boom town. Today, Victorian-era homes still stand in the historic downtown area and along the popular Kit Carson Trail. History buffs will find plenty to explore here, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum is scheduled to open in spring 2019.

Littleton, New Hampshire

Some 5,937 people reside in Littleton, nestled in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. This lovely, walkable town, settled in 1770, draws visitors with old-fashioned shops like Chutters, home to the world&rsquos longest candy counter. (It offers 112 feet of jellybeans, chocolates and other popular and nostalgic treats.) Littleton also boasts America&rsquos oldest ski shop, Lahout&rsquos, and elegant, historic lodgings like Thayers Inn.

Lambertville, New Jersey

"The Antiques Capital of New Jersey," Lambertville is home to a variety of talented artists and crafters whose shops and galleries sit alongside the scenic Delaware River. This town of 4,000 residents, founded in 1705, also boasts federal townhouses and Victorian homes, a restored 19th-century train depot, Zagat-rated restaurants and award-winning hotels and B&Bs. Shoppers can find treasures at The People&rsquos Store Antiques and Design Center and other shops on Bridge, Main and Union Streets.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a small gem of a town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its historic adobe architecture and Taos Pueblo, a village continuously inhabited for more than a thousand years, it's rich in Hispanic and Native American history. Look for regional artwork in the town's many galleries and museums.

Skaneateles, New York

Celebrities and former presidents discovered charming Skaneateles, New York, years ago. Like other visitors, they&rsquove come for live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake, the farm-to-table restaurants, tour boat cruises and racetrack, and to admire the beautiful waterfalls and restored buildings dating back to 1796. This four-season destination hosts festivals, art shows and other events throughout the year.

Oxford, Mississippi

Book lovers know Oxford, Mississippi, as the home of world-famous author William Faulkner. It was also once the home of contemporary author John Grisham. Nicknamed the "Cultural Mecca of the South," Oxford attracts artists, musicians and prominent chefs like James Beard Award winner John Currence. The town square, with its decades-old bookstore, boutiques, vinyl record shop and more, is a don't-miss.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Residents of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, like to say their town is the "cure for the common beach." The beach is accessible by ferry and sits beside Silver Lake, a scenic harbor. It's popular for its shops and restaurants, historic British cemetery, and its light station, the oldest still operating in the state. Like a good scare? Take a ghost walk with a descendant of Blackbeard's quartermaster, or catch a short boat ride to Portsmouth Island's so-called ghost village.

Medora, North Dakota

Find your inner cowboy in Medora, located in North Dakota's Badlands. This historic city offers lots of Old West charm, thanks to its proximity to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the non-motorized Maah Daah Hey Trail System, 144 miles of breathtakingly scenic trails. Buy tickets for the Medora Musical, a western-style show dedicated to Roosevelt's legacy, and gaze up at the dark sky at night visitors sometimes see the Northern Lights.

Marietta, Ohio

Every year, the riverboat community of Marietta, Ohio, which sits along the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, celebrates with a Sternwheel Festival. From its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, Marietta has become a thriving town, and its revitalized, historic downtown boasts art galleries, a music hall, museums and unique shops.

Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park feels almost hidden in the Wichita Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. But that&rsquos part of its charm, along with its many shops and restaurants built in old cobblestone structures made from locally quarried granite. In fair weather, visitors congregate at Bath Lake, a restored "swimming hole," mountain bike on the Lawtonka trail system, paddle board or just relax in comfortable rental cabins.

Jacksonville, Oregon

Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, is in Southern Oregon's wine country and a gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Come in the summer to enjoy the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts event, or explore the town's independently owned shops, restaurants and hiking and biking trails year-round. Jacksonville has been called one of America's 10 "coolest small towns."

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Recently listed in Smithsonian Magazine as one of "The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018," Latrobe, Pennsylvania, honors its native son, TV pioneer Fred Rogers, with the new Fred Rogers Trail. Tourists can stop at the Latrobe Brewery (the original home of Rolling Rock beer) and Saint Vincent College (home of the summer training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers), or just head to a local ice cream shop to celebrate Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split.

Bristol, Rhode Island

One of Rhode Island&rsquos most picturesque towns, Bristol is still largely unknown to many travelers. They&rsquore missing its fine cuisine, fascinating history and architecture, and the many different waterfront activities offered along its miles of coastline. Visitors can explore a historic saltwater farm and oceanfront wildlife refuge, tour the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America&rsquos Cup Hall of Fame, enjoy Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum (called one of New England's top five public gardens by Yankee Magazine), or stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

Newberry, South Carolina

Newberry, South Carolina, is a college town with lots of extras: lovely architecture, a historic Opera House, a winery where rocking chairs beckon from a big porch and world-class dining and drinking experiences. Nicknamed the "City of Friendly Folks," it's been called one of the 100 best small towns in America.

Yankton, South Dakota

Settlers moving West often stopped along the Missouri River at what is now Yankton, South Dakota, and riverboat captains once built their large Victorian homes there. Today, the town draws history buffs and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can kayak, sail, fish or canoe on the Missouri National Recreational River, which runs along Yankton's historic waterfront, or on Lake Yankton or Lewis and Clark Lake. Landlubbers can enjoy beautiful Riverside Park and Meridian Bridge, a converted railroad bridge that leads into Nebraska.

Paris, Tennessee

Home to a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Tennessee, draws visitors to its historic district and winery. It's also known for hosting the World's Biggest Fish Fry, where the town serves more than five tons of catfish every year. Reel in your own catch at Paris Landing State Park, shown here, or golf, swim and camp. An annual Christmas festival, Heritage Center and dozens of seasonal events are other big draws.

Gruene, Texas

The original buildings in Gruene, Texas, built circa 1800 to 1900s, almost fell to developers until an architecture student from the University of Texas at Austin saved the day. His efforts helped land the town on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, residents and visitors shop at local boutiques and Old Gruene Market Days, tube the Comal River and dance at Gruene Hall, built in 1878. The town is about a 45-minute drive from Austin and an hour from San Antonio.

Kanab, Utah

Home to the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S., Kanab, Utah, combines the spectacular geography of the Rocky Mountains with the Desert Southwest. It's also the gateway to the south entrance of Zion National Park and a short drive away from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Lake Powell and other don't-miss stops. Dozens of Westerns have been filmed in or near the town, earning its nickname, "Little Hollywood."

Montpelier, Vermont

It's the smallest state capital in the U.S., but Montpelier, Vermont, has a thriving arts and music scene, and it's rich in history and natural beauty. It's also home to the New England Culinary Institute, so visitors come for its diverse cuisine and fine restaurants. Wintertime brings snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice climbing, skiing and other outdoor sports to enjoy.

Bristol, Virginia

One side of the main street in downtown Bristol lies in Virginia the other is in Tennesee. This lovely Appalachian Mountains town is a destination for music lovers and history buffs. Check out the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and hear live music nightly at venues or events around town. Bristol also boasts art galleries, great local dining spots and live dance and theatrical performances. It's a designated Arts & Entertainment District.

La Conner, Washington

Visitors often come to La Conner, Washington, a small town on the waterfront, for some "retail therapy" at its galleries, needlecraft and quilt stores, gift shops and wine bars. It&rsquos also known for its delicious eateries and, for travelers, its easy access to Interstate 5 and the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Each spring, La Conner hosts its popular Daffodil Festival, where thousands of cheerful daffs open against the backdrop of Mt. Baker. More tulips, iris and daffodil bulbs are produced in La Conner than any other county in the U.S.

Thomas, West Virginia

Wear your comfortable shoes for a self-guided walking tour around Thomas, West Virginia, where you'll find more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register. Along the way, stop for a cuppa at a coffee shop or browse the town's unique art galleries and antique shops. The Purple Fiddle and Fiddler's Roost Guesthouse are located on historic Front Street in this lovely mountain town, overlooking the North Fork on the Blackwater River.

Fish Creek, Wisconsin

Arts and outdoor adventures meet in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, in the northern Door County Peninsula. This walkable town offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails and shoreline. In warm weather, visit the local apple and cherry orchards and wineries, bike or hike in Peninsula State Park, play on the beaches or enjoy live entertainment. In the winter, book a cozy cabin, visit the charming shops and play in the snow.

Sheridan, Wyoming

Think "New West" when you visit Sheridan, Wyoming. Neon signs line its historic Main Street, where legendary outlaws once roamed. Town highlights include the Sheridan Inn (once the home of Buffalo Bill), the Brinton Museum (dedicated to 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art) and the Mint Bar, the oldest bar in town. Ride into the foothills to explore local ranches and enjoy the stunning beauty, or hike the canyons of the Bighorn Mountains.


50 of the Most Charming Small Towns in America

Explore the hidden gems of each state: towns with quaint shops and restaurants, fascinating histories, fun experiences and natural beauty.

Related To:

Fairhope, Alabama

Pretty Fairhope, Alabama, is home to Southern authors Rick Bragg and Fannie Flagg. (Look for their signed books at one of the state's best bookstores, Page & Palette). This Mobile Bay town also boasts its own French Quarter, and the luxurious Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, named the state&rsquos top hotel and top spa, is just minutes away in Point Clear. Its two golf courses repeatedly make the list of Best Golf Resorts in America.

Unalaska, Alaska

With a population of around 4,524, the small town of Unalaska, Alaska, is the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. It's starting to attract more visitors, however, as Viking, Windstar and other major cruise lines add it as a destination. Remote and beautiful, Unalaska is accessible only by plane or boat. Its attractions include whale watching, hiking and exploring World War II history at the Aleutian WWII Visitor Center and the Museum of the Aleutians.

Winslow, Arizona

This is it: the Winslow, Arizona, you heard about in the Eagles' song Take It Easy. Once a railroad stop on the "Mother Road," Route 66, Winslow is a popular stop with drivers and motorcyclists. La Posada Hotel, designed for the Santa Fe Railroad, still books guests into elegant rooms furnished with Zapotec rugs and Mexican tiles. Outdoor adventurers head north of town, to Homolovi State Park, to hike the trails and look for archaeological sites and Hopi petroglyphs.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Named one of a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a secluded, peaceful town in the heart of the Ozarks. Magnificent Victorian homes built on cliffsides line its winding streets, while its historic downtown area offers more than 100 shops and art galleries to explore.

Carmel, California

Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel is a world-renowned, one-square-mile village on California's central coast. It's beloved for its fairytale-like cottages, as well as its upscale boutiques, art galleries, historic Carmel Mission Basilica, wineries and other attractions. Carmel Beach has been ranked as one of America's top beach towns.

Mancos, Colorado

The spirit of the West is alive and well in Mancos, Colorado, where ranching is still a way of life. This community of about 1,600 sits just east of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, so it's a great base for nature lovers and adventurers who like to ride horses, bike and hike. More than 150 artists and other creatives live in the area their galleries line historic Main Street in the creative district. Book lovers, take note: This area was home to the late Western author, Louis L'Amour.

Essex, Connecticut

Often called a "storybook village," Essex, Connecticut, is a little-known treasure on the Connecticut River. This historic seaport town has a quaint Main Street filled with the restored homes of sea captains, galleries and boutique shops. Don&rsquot miss the Connecticut River Museum, housed in an 1878 steamboat warehouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it&rsquos the only one of its kind still on the river. Train enthusiasts can catch the only steam-train-to-riverboat ride in the U.S. here.

New Castle, Delaware

The cobblestone streets in New Castle, Delaware, are a reminder of the town&rsquos colonial past. Visitors come to see fine townhomes and mansions like the Read House & Gardens or stroll beside the Delaware River in lovely Battery Park. Other popular attractions are tours of period homes and churches like Dutch House, Amstel House and Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. The downtown courthouse, shown here, is part of the First State National Historical Park.

Crystal River, Florida

Located on Florida's Nature Coast, Crystal River draws visitors who enjoy boating, diving, fishing and eco-touring. It's also the only place in the United States where people are allowed to swim with manatees when accompanied by trained guides. Visitors may also see these beloved "sea cows" when they kayak or paddleboard or walk the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk in Crystal River. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a short drive away.

Cartersville, Georgia

Discover dinosaurs and fine Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, located about 50 minutes from Atlanta. Its world-class Tellus Science Museum houses permanent galleries of minerals, fossils, transportation technology and much more, while the Booth Western Art Museum is the world&rsquos largest permanent exhibition space for Western art. After browsing the museums, visit Cartersville&rsquos historic downtown and make a selfie in front of the first painted wall ad for Coca-Cola.

Hilo, Hawaii

Visitors come to the charming town of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, for its world-famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and the Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Downtown Hilo offers a fun mix of shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries to explore. Many of its old, wooden storefronts are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wallace, Idaho

History buffs, take note: The entire town of Wallace, Idaho, is on the National Historic Register. This 1884 mining town, nicknamed "the center of the universe," offers historical sites, museums and outdoor adventures that include the Rails to Trails Hall of Fame Route of the Hiawatha bike trail (shown here), the Trail of the Coeur d&rsquoAlenes and the Pulaski Tunnel Trail.

Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis, is located where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This quaint river town is known for its limestone bluffs, which make it one of the best spots in the U.S. to see bald eagles. Every January and February, the town kicks off the eagle-watching season with the Alton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival. Alton is reportedly one of the most haunted small towns in America at least 10 spirits are said to inhabit the McPike Mansion.

Warsaw, Indiana

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.

Decorah, Iowa

Explore your Norwegian heritage in Decorah, Iowa, population 8,127 and home to an annual Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Even if you're not of Nordic descent, you'll want to ride the popular Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the community, or visit Decorah to fish for trout, shop for fresh produce at the local farmers' market, and buy heirloom seeds at the famous Seed Savers Exchange.

Lindsborg, Kansas

The small town of Lindsborg, often called "Little Sweden USA," is located off Highway I-135 in Kansas. Stop downtown to explore the fine art galleries and unique shops, or stay for a weekend and see how many colorful dala (Swedish folk-art figures of horses) you can find. Plan to visit during a festival to enjoy live Swedish folk dancing.

Paducah, Kentucky

In 2019, Paducah, Kentucky, celebrates its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City it&rsquos one of only nine in the U.S. This riverside town has a blossoming culinary scene (five new eateries in repurposed historic buildings have opened), and its many studios, workshops, galleries and cultural events attract quilters, fiber artists and other creatives.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Every spring, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, celebrates its delicious berry crop with a Strawberry Festival held in beautiful, historic Memorial Park. The town is known as America's Antique City, thanks to the many restored shops in the downtown area where you can purchase antiques, handcrafted items and artwork. Wondering about the town's name? It comes from a Choctaw Indian word meaning "hair to hang," which refers to the Spanish moss that hangs from the local trees.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Once a shipbuilding center, Kennebunkport, Maine, became a summer retreat by the late 1800s affluent vacationers flocked to the grand hotels and mansions along its coastline. Visitors still come each summer to relax on the beaches and stroll around the town. Don't miss Dock Square, a popular shopping area in a village setting, and drive along Ocean Avenue for spectacular coastal views.

Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland, was known as the "Gateway to the West" for its vital roads, rails and canals. Today, it draws bikers who connect through the town to two legendary bike trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. History buffs and nature lovers come to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and drive the Historic National Road scenic byway. Cumberland is also a shopping destination for great local, regional and national works of art.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lies just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.

Houghton, Michigan

Picturesque Houghton, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, is surrounded by inland lakes and streams. Its 233 miles of snowmobile trails and world-class biking opportunities attract adventurers, and history buffs come to explore its colorful mining past. The sunsets on Lake Superior are stunning, and in the winter, McLain State Park, shown here, invites visitors to hike, enjoy its spectacular ice formations, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Park Rapids, Minnesota

Go ahead. Park in the middle of Main Avenue in Park Rapids, Minnesota. (It's okay to park on the sides, too. The shops and restaurants here are so popular, the town built extra-wide streets.) Vacationers come to enjoy the lake and stay at nearby resorts or campgrounds Park Rapids is a gateway to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. Pick up some buttery caramels at Aunt Belle's Confectionary, browse the craft and quilt stores, or shop for cabin decor and other items.

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2019. Author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in this Mississippi River town as a boy. In his honor, it offers a variety of shops, museums, riverboat rides and other experiences, many based on his characters. A week-long Tom Sawyer Days Festival is held each year. A new Big River Steampunk Festival has been drawing visitors, too, many of whom dress in Victorian-era costumes.

Whitefish, Montana

National Geographic once named Whitefish, Montana, one of the "Top 25 Ski Towns in the World," but this small town on the shores of Whitefish Lake offers even more to do and see. Visitors come to snowboard, hike, boat, bike and enjoy live, professional theater and fine dining. For nature lovers, Glacier National Park is a short drive away.

Nebraska City, Nebraska

Home to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center, and a former station on the Underground Railroad, Nebraska City, Nebraska, is especially lovely in the fall. The changing colors of the trees, u-pick apple orchards and cozy lodgings draw visitors. Don't miss Arbor Day Farm, where you can take a ride through the trees, and stop to pick apples at Kimmel Orchard to eat fresh or turn into pies.

Carson City, Nevada

Carson City, Nevada, dates back to the 1850s, when the discovery of silver in nearby Comstock Lode made it a boom town. Today, Victorian-era homes still stand in the historic downtown area and along the popular Kit Carson Trail. History buffs will find plenty to explore here, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum is scheduled to open in spring 2019.

Littleton, New Hampshire

Some 5,937 people reside in Littleton, nestled in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. This lovely, walkable town, settled in 1770, draws visitors with old-fashioned shops like Chutters, home to the world&rsquos longest candy counter. (It offers 112 feet of jellybeans, chocolates and other popular and nostalgic treats.) Littleton also boasts America&rsquos oldest ski shop, Lahout&rsquos, and elegant, historic lodgings like Thayers Inn.

Lambertville, New Jersey

"The Antiques Capital of New Jersey," Lambertville is home to a variety of talented artists and crafters whose shops and galleries sit alongside the scenic Delaware River. This town of 4,000 residents, founded in 1705, also boasts federal townhouses and Victorian homes, a restored 19th-century train depot, Zagat-rated restaurants and award-winning hotels and B&Bs. Shoppers can find treasures at The People&rsquos Store Antiques and Design Center and other shops on Bridge, Main and Union Streets.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a small gem of a town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its historic adobe architecture and Taos Pueblo, a village continuously inhabited for more than a thousand years, it's rich in Hispanic and Native American history. Look for regional artwork in the town's many galleries and museums.

Skaneateles, New York

Celebrities and former presidents discovered charming Skaneateles, New York, years ago. Like other visitors, they&rsquove come for live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake, the farm-to-table restaurants, tour boat cruises and racetrack, and to admire the beautiful waterfalls and restored buildings dating back to 1796. This four-season destination hosts festivals, art shows and other events throughout the year.

Oxford, Mississippi

Book lovers know Oxford, Mississippi, as the home of world-famous author William Faulkner. It was also once the home of contemporary author John Grisham. Nicknamed the "Cultural Mecca of the South," Oxford attracts artists, musicians and prominent chefs like James Beard Award winner John Currence. The town square, with its decades-old bookstore, boutiques, vinyl record shop and more, is a don't-miss.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Residents of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, like to say their town is the "cure for the common beach." The beach is accessible by ferry and sits beside Silver Lake, a scenic harbor. It's popular for its shops and restaurants, historic British cemetery, and its light station, the oldest still operating in the state. Like a good scare? Take a ghost walk with a descendant of Blackbeard's quartermaster, or catch a short boat ride to Portsmouth Island's so-called ghost village.

Medora, North Dakota

Find your inner cowboy in Medora, located in North Dakota's Badlands. This historic city offers lots of Old West charm, thanks to its proximity to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the non-motorized Maah Daah Hey Trail System, 144 miles of breathtakingly scenic trails. Buy tickets for the Medora Musical, a western-style show dedicated to Roosevelt's legacy, and gaze up at the dark sky at night visitors sometimes see the Northern Lights.

Marietta, Ohio

Every year, the riverboat community of Marietta, Ohio, which sits along the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, celebrates with a Sternwheel Festival. From its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, Marietta has become a thriving town, and its revitalized, historic downtown boasts art galleries, a music hall, museums and unique shops.

Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park feels almost hidden in the Wichita Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. But that&rsquos part of its charm, along with its many shops and restaurants built in old cobblestone structures made from locally quarried granite. In fair weather, visitors congregate at Bath Lake, a restored "swimming hole," mountain bike on the Lawtonka trail system, paddle board or just relax in comfortable rental cabins.

Jacksonville, Oregon

Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, is in Southern Oregon's wine country and a gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Come in the summer to enjoy the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts event, or explore the town's independently owned shops, restaurants and hiking and biking trails year-round. Jacksonville has been called one of America's 10 "coolest small towns."

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Recently listed in Smithsonian Magazine as one of "The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018," Latrobe, Pennsylvania, honors its native son, TV pioneer Fred Rogers, with the new Fred Rogers Trail. Tourists can stop at the Latrobe Brewery (the original home of Rolling Rock beer) and Saint Vincent College (home of the summer training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers), or just head to a local ice cream shop to celebrate Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split.

Bristol, Rhode Island

One of Rhode Island&rsquos most picturesque towns, Bristol is still largely unknown to many travelers. They&rsquore missing its fine cuisine, fascinating history and architecture, and the many different waterfront activities offered along its miles of coastline. Visitors can explore a historic saltwater farm and oceanfront wildlife refuge, tour the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America&rsquos Cup Hall of Fame, enjoy Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum (called one of New England's top five public gardens by Yankee Magazine), or stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

Newberry, South Carolina

Newberry, South Carolina, is a college town with lots of extras: lovely architecture, a historic Opera House, a winery where rocking chairs beckon from a big porch and world-class dining and drinking experiences. Nicknamed the "City of Friendly Folks," it's been called one of the 100 best small towns in America.

Yankton, South Dakota

Settlers moving West often stopped along the Missouri River at what is now Yankton, South Dakota, and riverboat captains once built their large Victorian homes there. Today, the town draws history buffs and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can kayak, sail, fish or canoe on the Missouri National Recreational River, which runs along Yankton's historic waterfront, or on Lake Yankton or Lewis and Clark Lake. Landlubbers can enjoy beautiful Riverside Park and Meridian Bridge, a converted railroad bridge that leads into Nebraska.

Paris, Tennessee

Home to a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Tennessee, draws visitors to its historic district and winery. It's also known for hosting the World's Biggest Fish Fry, where the town serves more than five tons of catfish every year. Reel in your own catch at Paris Landing State Park, shown here, or golf, swim and camp. An annual Christmas festival, Heritage Center and dozens of seasonal events are other big draws.

Gruene, Texas

The original buildings in Gruene, Texas, built circa 1800 to 1900s, almost fell to developers until an architecture student from the University of Texas at Austin saved the day. His efforts helped land the town on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, residents and visitors shop at local boutiques and Old Gruene Market Days, tube the Comal River and dance at Gruene Hall, built in 1878. The town is about a 45-minute drive from Austin and an hour from San Antonio.

Kanab, Utah

Home to the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S., Kanab, Utah, combines the spectacular geography of the Rocky Mountains with the Desert Southwest. It's also the gateway to the south entrance of Zion National Park and a short drive away from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Lake Powell and other don't-miss stops. Dozens of Westerns have been filmed in or near the town, earning its nickname, "Little Hollywood."

Montpelier, Vermont

It's the smallest state capital in the U.S., but Montpelier, Vermont, has a thriving arts and music scene, and it's rich in history and natural beauty. It's also home to the New England Culinary Institute, so visitors come for its diverse cuisine and fine restaurants. Wintertime brings snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice climbing, skiing and other outdoor sports to enjoy.

Bristol, Virginia

One side of the main street in downtown Bristol lies in Virginia the other is in Tennesee. This lovely Appalachian Mountains town is a destination for music lovers and history buffs. Check out the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and hear live music nightly at venues or events around town. Bristol also boasts art galleries, great local dining spots and live dance and theatrical performances. It's a designated Arts & Entertainment District.

La Conner, Washington

Visitors often come to La Conner, Washington, a small town on the waterfront, for some "retail therapy" at its galleries, needlecraft and quilt stores, gift shops and wine bars. It&rsquos also known for its delicious eateries and, for travelers, its easy access to Interstate 5 and the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Each spring, La Conner hosts its popular Daffodil Festival, where thousands of cheerful daffs open against the backdrop of Mt. Baker. More tulips, iris and daffodil bulbs are produced in La Conner than any other county in the U.S.

Thomas, West Virginia

Wear your comfortable shoes for a self-guided walking tour around Thomas, West Virginia, where you'll find more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register. Along the way, stop for a cuppa at a coffee shop or browse the town's unique art galleries and antique shops. The Purple Fiddle and Fiddler's Roost Guesthouse are located on historic Front Street in this lovely mountain town, overlooking the North Fork on the Blackwater River.

Fish Creek, Wisconsin

Arts and outdoor adventures meet in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, in the northern Door County Peninsula. This walkable town offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails and shoreline. In warm weather, visit the local apple and cherry orchards and wineries, bike or hike in Peninsula State Park, play on the beaches or enjoy live entertainment. In the winter, book a cozy cabin, visit the charming shops and play in the snow.

Sheridan, Wyoming

Think "New West" when you visit Sheridan, Wyoming. Neon signs line its historic Main Street, where legendary outlaws once roamed. Town highlights include the Sheridan Inn (once the home of Buffalo Bill), the Brinton Museum (dedicated to 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art) and the Mint Bar, the oldest bar in town. Ride into the foothills to explore local ranches and enjoy the stunning beauty, or hike the canyons of the Bighorn Mountains.


50 of the Most Charming Small Towns in America

Explore the hidden gems of each state: towns with quaint shops and restaurants, fascinating histories, fun experiences and natural beauty.

Related To:

Fairhope, Alabama

Pretty Fairhope, Alabama, is home to Southern authors Rick Bragg and Fannie Flagg. (Look for their signed books at one of the state's best bookstores, Page & Palette). This Mobile Bay town also boasts its own French Quarter, and the luxurious Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, named the state&rsquos top hotel and top spa, is just minutes away in Point Clear. Its two golf courses repeatedly make the list of Best Golf Resorts in America.

Unalaska, Alaska

With a population of around 4,524, the small town of Unalaska, Alaska, is the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. It's starting to attract more visitors, however, as Viking, Windstar and other major cruise lines add it as a destination. Remote and beautiful, Unalaska is accessible only by plane or boat. Its attractions include whale watching, hiking and exploring World War II history at the Aleutian WWII Visitor Center and the Museum of the Aleutians.

Winslow, Arizona

This is it: the Winslow, Arizona, you heard about in the Eagles' song Take It Easy. Once a railroad stop on the "Mother Road," Route 66, Winslow is a popular stop with drivers and motorcyclists. La Posada Hotel, designed for the Santa Fe Railroad, still books guests into elegant rooms furnished with Zapotec rugs and Mexican tiles. Outdoor adventurers head north of town, to Homolovi State Park, to hike the trails and look for archaeological sites and Hopi petroglyphs.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Named one of a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a secluded, peaceful town in the heart of the Ozarks. Magnificent Victorian homes built on cliffsides line its winding streets, while its historic downtown area offers more than 100 shops and art galleries to explore.

Carmel, California

Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel is a world-renowned, one-square-mile village on California's central coast. It's beloved for its fairytale-like cottages, as well as its upscale boutiques, art galleries, historic Carmel Mission Basilica, wineries and other attractions. Carmel Beach has been ranked as one of America's top beach towns.

Mancos, Colorado

The spirit of the West is alive and well in Mancos, Colorado, where ranching is still a way of life. This community of about 1,600 sits just east of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, so it's a great base for nature lovers and adventurers who like to ride horses, bike and hike. More than 150 artists and other creatives live in the area their galleries line historic Main Street in the creative district. Book lovers, take note: This area was home to the late Western author, Louis L'Amour.

Essex, Connecticut

Often called a "storybook village," Essex, Connecticut, is a little-known treasure on the Connecticut River. This historic seaport town has a quaint Main Street filled with the restored homes of sea captains, galleries and boutique shops. Don&rsquot miss the Connecticut River Museum, housed in an 1878 steamboat warehouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it&rsquos the only one of its kind still on the river. Train enthusiasts can catch the only steam-train-to-riverboat ride in the U.S. here.

New Castle, Delaware

The cobblestone streets in New Castle, Delaware, are a reminder of the town&rsquos colonial past. Visitors come to see fine townhomes and mansions like the Read House & Gardens or stroll beside the Delaware River in lovely Battery Park. Other popular attractions are tours of period homes and churches like Dutch House, Amstel House and Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green. The downtown courthouse, shown here, is part of the First State National Historical Park.

Crystal River, Florida

Located on Florida's Nature Coast, Crystal River draws visitors who enjoy boating, diving, fishing and eco-touring. It's also the only place in the United States where people are allowed to swim with manatees when accompanied by trained guides. Visitors may also see these beloved "sea cows" when they kayak or paddleboard or walk the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk in Crystal River. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a short drive away.

Cartersville, Georgia

Discover dinosaurs and fine Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, located about 50 minutes from Atlanta. Its world-class Tellus Science Museum houses permanent galleries of minerals, fossils, transportation technology and much more, while the Booth Western Art Museum is the world&rsquos largest permanent exhibition space for Western art. After browsing the museums, visit Cartersville&rsquos historic downtown and make a selfie in front of the first painted wall ad for Coca-Cola.

Hilo, Hawaii

Visitors come to the charming town of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, for its world-famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and the Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Downtown Hilo offers a fun mix of shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries to explore. Many of its old, wooden storefronts are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wallace, Idaho

History buffs, take note: The entire town of Wallace, Idaho, is on the National Historic Register. This 1884 mining town, nicknamed "the center of the universe," offers historical sites, museums and outdoor adventures that include the Rails to Trails Hall of Fame Route of the Hiawatha bike trail (shown here), the Trail of the Coeur d&rsquoAlenes and the Pulaski Tunnel Trail.

Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis, is located where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This quaint river town is known for its limestone bluffs, which make it one of the best spots in the U.S. to see bald eagles. Every January and February, the town kicks off the eagle-watching season with the Alton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival. Alton is reportedly one of the most haunted small towns in America at least 10 spirits are said to inhabit the McPike Mansion.

Warsaw, Indiana

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.

Decorah, Iowa

Explore your Norwegian heritage in Decorah, Iowa, population 8,127 and home to an annual Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Even if you're not of Nordic descent, you'll want to ride the popular Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the community, or visit Decorah to fish for trout, shop for fresh produce at the local farmers' market, and buy heirloom seeds at the famous Seed Savers Exchange.

Lindsborg, Kansas

The small town of Lindsborg, often called "Little Sweden USA," is located off Highway I-135 in Kansas. Stop downtown to explore the fine art galleries and unique shops, or stay for a weekend and see how many colorful dala (Swedish folk-art figures of horses) you can find. Plan to visit during a festival to enjoy live Swedish folk dancing.

Paducah, Kentucky

In 2019, Paducah, Kentucky, celebrates its fifth anniversary as a UNESCO Creative City it&rsquos one of only nine in the U.S. This riverside town has a blossoming culinary scene (five new eateries in repurposed historic buildings have opened), and its many studios, workshops, galleries and cultural events attract quilters, fiber artists and other creatives.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Every spring, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, celebrates its delicious berry crop with a Strawberry Festival held in beautiful, historic Memorial Park. The town is known as America's Antique City, thanks to the many restored shops in the downtown area where you can purchase antiques, handcrafted items and artwork. Wondering about the town's name? It comes from a Choctaw Indian word meaning "hair to hang," which refers to the Spanish moss that hangs from the local trees.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Once a shipbuilding center, Kennebunkport, Maine, became a summer retreat by the late 1800s affluent vacationers flocked to the grand hotels and mansions along its coastline. Visitors still come each summer to relax on the beaches and stroll around the town. Don't miss Dock Square, a popular shopping area in a village setting, and drive along Ocean Avenue for spectacular coastal views.

Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland, was known as the "Gateway to the West" for its vital roads, rails and canals. Today, it draws bikers who connect through the town to two legendary bike trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. History buffs and nature lovers come to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and drive the Historic National Road scenic byway. Cumberland is also a shopping destination for great local, regional and national works of art.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lies just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.

Houghton, Michigan

Picturesque Houghton, in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, is surrounded by inland lakes and streams. Its 233 miles of snowmobile trails and world-class biking opportunities attract adventurers, and history buffs come to explore its colorful mining past. The sunsets on Lake Superior are stunning, and in the winter, McLain State Park, shown here, invites visitors to hike, enjoy its spectacular ice formations, cross-country ski and snowshoe.

Park Rapids, Minnesota

Go ahead. Park in the middle of Main Avenue in Park Rapids, Minnesota. (It's okay to park on the sides, too. The shops and restaurants here are so popular, the town built extra-wide streets.) Vacationers come to enjoy the lake and stay at nearby resorts or campgrounds Park Rapids is a gateway to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. Pick up some buttery caramels at Aunt Belle's Confectionary, browse the craft and quilt stores, or shop for cabin decor and other items.

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2019. Author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in this Mississippi River town as a boy. In his honor, it offers a variety of shops, museums, riverboat rides and other experiences, many based on his characters. A week-long Tom Sawyer Days Festival is held each year. A new Big River Steampunk Festival has been drawing visitors, too, many of whom dress in Victorian-era costumes.

Whitefish, Montana

National Geographic once named Whitefish, Montana, one of the "Top 25 Ski Towns in the World," but this small town on the shores of Whitefish Lake offers even more to do and see. Visitors come to snowboard, hike, boat, bike and enjoy live, professional theater and fine dining. For nature lovers, Glacier National Park is a short drive away.

Nebraska City, Nebraska

Home to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center, and a former station on the Underground Railroad, Nebraska City, Nebraska, is especially lovely in the fall. The changing colors of the trees, u-pick apple orchards and cozy lodgings draw visitors. Don't miss Arbor Day Farm, where you can take a ride through the trees, and stop to pick apples at Kimmel Orchard to eat fresh or turn into pies.

Carson City, Nevada

Carson City, Nevada, dates back to the 1850s, when the discovery of silver in nearby Comstock Lode made it a boom town. Today, Victorian-era homes still stand in the historic downtown area and along the popular Kit Carson Trail. History buffs will find plenty to explore here, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum is scheduled to open in spring 2019.

Littleton, New Hampshire

Some 5,937 people reside in Littleton, nestled in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. This lovely, walkable town, settled in 1770, draws visitors with old-fashioned shops like Chutters, home to the world&rsquos longest candy counter. (It offers 112 feet of jellybeans, chocolates and other popular and nostalgic treats.) Littleton also boasts America&rsquos oldest ski shop, Lahout&rsquos, and elegant, historic lodgings like Thayers Inn.

Lambertville, New Jersey

"The Antiques Capital of New Jersey," Lambertville is home to a variety of talented artists and crafters whose shops and galleries sit alongside the scenic Delaware River. This town of 4,000 residents, founded in 1705, also boasts federal townhouses and Victorian homes, a restored 19th-century train depot, Zagat-rated restaurants and award-winning hotels and B&Bs. Shoppers can find treasures at The People&rsquos Store Antiques and Design Center and other shops on Bridge, Main and Union Streets.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a small gem of a town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its historic adobe architecture and Taos Pueblo, a village continuously inhabited for more than a thousand years, it's rich in Hispanic and Native American history. Look for regional artwork in the town's many galleries and museums.

Skaneateles, New York

Celebrities and former presidents discovered charming Skaneateles, New York, years ago. Like other visitors, they&rsquove come for live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake, the farm-to-table restaurants, tour boat cruises and racetrack, and to admire the beautiful waterfalls and restored buildings dating back to 1796. This four-season destination hosts festivals, art shows and other events throughout the year.

Oxford, Mississippi

Book lovers know Oxford, Mississippi, as the home of world-famous author William Faulkner. It was also once the home of contemporary author John Grisham. Nicknamed the "Cultural Mecca of the South," Oxford attracts artists, musicians and prominent chefs like James Beard Award winner John Currence. The town square, with its decades-old bookstore, boutiques, vinyl record shop and more, is a don't-miss.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Residents of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, like to say their town is the "cure for the common beach." The beach is accessible by ferry and sits beside Silver Lake, a scenic harbor. It's popular for its shops and restaurants, historic British cemetery, and its light station, the oldest still operating in the state. Like a good scare? Take a ghost walk with a descendant of Blackbeard's quartermaster, or catch a short boat ride to Portsmouth Island's so-called ghost village.

Medora, North Dakota

Find your inner cowboy in Medora, located in North Dakota's Badlands. This historic city offers lots of Old West charm, thanks to its proximity to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the non-motorized Maah Daah Hey Trail System, 144 miles of breathtakingly scenic trails. Buy tickets for the Medora Musical, a western-style show dedicated to Roosevelt's legacy, and gaze up at the dark sky at night visitors sometimes see the Northern Lights.

Marietta, Ohio

Every year, the riverboat community of Marietta, Ohio, which sits along the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, celebrates with a Sternwheel Festival. From its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, Marietta has become a thriving town, and its revitalized, historic downtown boasts art galleries, a music hall, museums and unique shops.

Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park feels almost hidden in the Wichita Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. But that&rsquos part of its charm, along with its many shops and restaurants built in old cobblestone structures made from locally quarried granite. In fair weather, visitors congregate at Bath Lake, a restored "swimming hole," mountain bike on the Lawtonka trail system, paddle board or just relax in comfortable rental cabins.

Jacksonville, Oregon

Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, is in Southern Oregon's wine country and a gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Come in the summer to enjoy the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts event, or explore the town's independently owned shops, restaurants and hiking and biking trails year-round. Jacksonville has been called one of America's 10 "coolest small towns."

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Recently listed in Smithsonian Magazine as one of "The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018," Latrobe, Pennsylvania, honors its native son, TV pioneer Fred Rogers, with the new Fred Rogers Trail. Tourists can stop at the Latrobe Brewery (the original home of Rolling Rock beer) and Saint Vincent College (home of the summer training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers), or just head to a local ice cream shop to celebrate Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split.

Bristol, Rhode Island

One of Rhode Island&rsquos most picturesque towns, Bristol is still largely unknown to many travelers. They&rsquore missing its fine cuisine, fascinating history and architecture, and the many different waterfront activities offered along its miles of coastline. Visitors can explore a historic saltwater farm and oceanfront wildlife refuge, tour the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America&rsquos Cup Hall of Fame, enjoy Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum (called one of New England's top five public gardens by Yankee Magazine), or stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

Newberry, South Carolina

Newberry, South Carolina, is a college town with lots of extras: lovely architecture, a historic Opera House, a winery where rocking chairs beckon from a big porch and world-class dining and drinking experiences. Nicknamed the "City of Friendly Folks," it's been called one of the 100 best small towns in America.

Yankton, South Dakota

Settlers moving West often stopped along the Missouri River at what is now Yankton, South Dakota, and riverboat captains once built their large Victorian homes there. Today, the town draws history buffs and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can kayak, sail, fish or canoe on the Missouri National Recreational River, which runs along Yankton's historic waterfront, or on Lake Yankton or Lewis and Clark Lake. Landlubbers can enjoy beautiful Riverside Park and Meridian Bridge, a converted railroad bridge that leads into Nebraska.

Paris, Tennessee

Home to a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Tennessee, draws visitors to its historic district and winery. It's also known for hosting the World's Biggest Fish Fry, where the town serves more than five tons of catfish every year. Reel in your own catch at Paris Landing State Park, shown here, or golf, swim and camp. An annual Christmas festival, Heritage Center and dozens of seasonal events are other big draws.

Gruene, Texas

The original buildings in Gruene, Texas, built circa 1800 to 1900s, almost fell to developers until an architecture student from the University of Texas at Austin saved the day. His efforts helped land the town on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, residents and visitors shop at local boutiques and Old Gruene Market Days, tube the Comal River and dance at Gruene Hall, built in 1878. The town is about a 45-minute drive from Austin and an hour from San Antonio.

Kanab, Utah

Home to the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S., Kanab, Utah, combines the spectacular geography of the Rocky Mountains with the Desert Southwest. It's also the gateway to the south entrance of Zion National Park and a short drive away from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Lake Powell and other don't-miss stops. Dozens of Westerns have been filmed in or near the town, earning its nickname, "Little Hollywood."

Montpelier, Vermont

It's the smallest state capital in the U.S., but Montpelier, Vermont, has a thriving arts and music scene, and it's rich in history and natural beauty. It's also home to the New England Culinary Institute, so visitors come for its diverse cuisine and fine restaurants. Wintertime brings snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice climbing, skiing and other outdoor sports to enjoy.

Bristol, Virginia

One side of the main street in downtown Bristol lies in Virginia the other is in Tennesee. This lovely Appalachian Mountains town is a destination for music lovers and history buffs. Check out the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and hear live music nightly at venues or events around town. Bristol also boasts art galleries, great local dining spots and live dance and theatrical performances. It's a designated Arts & Entertainment District.

La Conner, Washington

Visitors often come to La Conner, Washington, a small town on the waterfront, for some "retail therapy" at its galleries, needlecraft and quilt stores, gift shops and wine bars. It&rsquos also known for its delicious eateries and, for travelers, its easy access to Interstate 5 and the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Each spring, La Conner hosts its popular Daffodil Festival, where thousands of cheerful daffs open against the backdrop of Mt. Baker. More tulips, iris and daffodil bulbs are produced in La Conner than any other county in the U.S.

Thomas, West Virginia

Wear your comfortable shoes for a self-guided walking tour around Thomas, West Virginia, where you'll find more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register. Along the way, stop for a cuppa at a coffee shop or browse the town's unique art galleries and antique shops. The Purple Fiddle and Fiddler's Roost Guesthouse are located on historic Front Street in this lovely mountain town, overlooking the North Fork on the Blackwater River.

Fish Creek, Wisconsin

Arts and outdoor adventures meet in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, in the northern Door County Peninsula. This walkable town offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails and shoreline. In warm weather, visit the local apple and cherry orchards and wineries, bike or hike in Peninsula State Park, play on the beaches or enjoy live entertainment. In the winter, book a cozy cabin, visit the charming shops and play in the snow.

Sheridan, Wyoming

Think "New West" when you visit Sheridan, Wyoming. Neon signs line its historic Main Street, where legendary outlaws once roamed. Town highlights include the Sheridan Inn (once the home of Buffalo Bill), the Brinton Museum (dedicated to 19th, 20th and 21st century Western and American Indian art) and the Mint Bar, the oldest bar in town. Ride into the foothills to explore local ranches and enjoy the stunning beauty, or hike the canyons of the Bighorn Mountains.


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