Last Updated on December 15, 2022 by Helen E. White
Best Small Towns in America: Big cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles may grab all the attention as some of the most popular destinations in the country, but America’s best small cities offer travelers their own set of unique and memorable experiences.
From quaint downtown areas to stunning natural scenery, these cities offer something for every traveler and are perfect for weekend getaways and relaxing getaways. We’ve rounded up some of the best small towns in the US with populations under 15,000 so you can plan your next vacation.
The 11 Best Small Towns in America
1. Telluride, Coloradoc
This former mining town in the Colorado Rockies is a year-round destination, perfect for active travelers and history buffs alike. The downtown area is a National Historic District with Victorian-era buildings, and these days, guests can shop at boutiques and galleries or dine at local restaurants for a small-town vibe. The area is also known for incredible skiing. Telluride Ski Resort, but there is plenty to do after the ski season is over – biking, hiking, fly fishing, golf, river sports and more are popular warm-weather choices.
2. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
This coastal California destination combines a picturesque downtown with breathtaking scenery, making it the perfect destination for a romantic getaway or weekend trip to the West Coast. This quaint village has a variety of local restaurants, wine bars, fabulous cottages, secret passageways and gardens that create a uniquely charming city feel. After a day of shopping and wine tasting, visitors will want to head to Carmel Beach to take in the scenery and watch the sunset.
3. Sedona, Arizona
This beautiful desert town is located about two hours from Grand Canyon National Park and less than an hour from Flagstaff, making it the perfect stopover on the road. southwestern journey. Surrounded by incredible red rock formations, Sedona is a popular destination for outdoor hikers looking for scenic hikes and wellness enthusiasts looking for a unique experience. The city is filled with galleries, boutiques, restaurants and more – check out the Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village for local handicrafts and restaurants.
4. Hudson, New York
Located just over two hours by train from New York. Hudson, New York is the perfect small-town getaway from the big city. It has everything you could wish for in a small town: a walkable center, great shopping and dining options, and fun experiences in a laid-back environment. Once a whaling port from the 1700s, the city now has a range of historic architectural styles and it has dozens of antique shops – just head to Warren Street to start shopping.
5. Beaufort, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island and Charleston may earn a lot of acclaims when it comes to destinations in South Carolina, but the state has plenty of small towns worth visiting. Stroll downtown Beaufort (sweet tea in hand), stroll along the beach at nearby Hunting Island State Park, and sample fresh seafood at a local restaurant. Learn about the area’s history and Gull culture by visiting the newly created Reconstruction Era National Historical Park and Penn Center.
6. St. Augustine, Florida
Established hundreds of years ago, St. Augustine is one of the country’s most historic cities, but it’s more than just famous sites and museums (although many, like the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, are well worth a visit). Shop for local arts and crafts on Aviles Street, which claims to be the oldest street in the country, and sample spirits from the area. St. Augustine Distillery (one of the country’s finest distilleries ) or take a stroll along the sandy shores of nearby St. Augustine Beach.
7. Kennebunkport, Maine
This city in southern Maine calls itself “the place to be all year round” and offers a wide range of activities available at any time of the year. Sure, Kennebunkport is most popular in the summer when you can hit the beaches, and boat and eat lobster rolls under the sun, but the city also goes all out for the holidays with an annual Christmas prelude.
8. Grand Marais, Minnesota
This small, artsy town on Minnesota’s North Shore has fewer than 1,500 residents, but visitors love the relaxed little village vibe. Summer is the best time to visit if you want to go hiking, biking, canoeing, sailing or playing golf nearby. However, northern lights enthusiasts will want to plan their trip during the winter months to maximize their chances of spotting the phenomenon – Cook County (where Grande Marais is located) is one of the few. places in the USA where you will have the opportunity to see the Northern Lights (under the right conditions).
9. Mackinac Island, Michigan
If you’re looking for a change of pace, Mackinac Island in Michigan certainly has you covered. This small island town is best explored on foot, by bike or in a horse-drawn carriage – no cars are allowed here (with the exception of emergency vehicles, of course). Tour historic sites such as Fort Mackinac (which was founded during the American Revolution), play golf at one of the island’s two unique courses and sample some of the famous Mackinac Island fudge during your visit.
10. Sig, Montana
Located in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, Seagull is an adventurer’s paradise. The small town is located close to Glacier National Park, making it the perfect home base for those looking to explore the park’s glaciers, lakes, grasslands, and mountains. The Whitefish Mountain Resort offers 3,000 acres of skiing terrain, and during the summer, visitors can hike, bike, zipline, and ski down the mountain on an alpine slide.
11. Stowe, Vermont
Located in northern Vermont, Stowe is another mountain town worth visiting all year round. During the spring and summer, visitors can engage in outdoor activities such as hiking and biking, while skiing at Stowe Ski Resort becomes popular during the winter. Fall is a particularly great time to visit this charming town as the leaves take on vibrant hues of red, orange and gold, making it one of the best places in the United States to see fall foliage.