The Best Small Town in Every State

ALASKA: Sitka

fishing boats in front of mountains in skita alaska

 

Sitka, Alaska.

Education Images/Getty Images

Population: 8,493

Sitka is on Baranof Island, making it only accessible by plane or boat. It’s nestled between mountains and the Pacific Ocean, giving residents magnificent views and even more incredible wildlife.

Sitka is a lively and charming small town with restaurants, shops, and art galleries. From whale watching to incredible hikes, Sitka has everything an adventure traveler needs within a small-town setting.

ARIZONA: Bisbee

A street lined with cars and shops in Bisbee, arizona with mountains in the background

 

Bisbee is located in the Mule Mountains.

D. J. Wednesday/Shutterstock

Population: 5,225

Bisbee sits about 90 miles southeast of Tucson in the Mule Mountains. Situated in the valley of mountains, this artistic community exudes a free spirit and relaxed vibes. The artsy community also has a historic downtown that is a monument to the 20th century. Bisbee draws tourists who are interested in history, music, museums, antiques, and especially art.

CALIFORNIA: Los Alamos

a brown building in los almos

 

A house in Los Alamos.

George Rose/Getty Images

Population: 1,890

Los Alamos was founded in 1876, and you still feel that Old West vibe while walking down its streets. While everything looks and feels vintage, Los Alamos has a lively culture, including food, wine, antiques, and arts. At the Los Alamos Third Saturday Stroll in September, the town combines its culture and history by celebrating with a BBQ, car show, and parade. But perhaps the most memorable part of Los Alamos is the Union Hotel, which was built in 1880.

COLORADO: Crested Butte

a mountain behind the small town of crested butte

 

A street in Crested Butte, Colorado.

RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Population: 1,681

Crested Butte, situated in the Rocky Mountains, is known for its flowers. In fact, the town is dubbed the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado.” One of the town’s most popular seasons is July, when it hosts the Wildflower Festival, which includes hikes, garden tours, and classes. The warmer months also offer 750 miles of biking trails and camping in the Gunnison National Forest. In the winter, Crested Butte becomes a popular skiing destination.

DELAWARE: Rehoboth Beach

a small street in rehonoth beach lined with shops and string lights

 

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

John Greim/Getty Images

Population: 1,520

Rehoboth Beach sits on the coast of Delaware, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. A boardwalk runs along the coast, which is lined with charming restaurants, shops, and hotels. The town comes to life in the summer, with free concerts and hikes through Cape Henlopen State Park in the north.

FLORIDA: DeFuniak Springs

little big store in DeFuniak Springs

 

The Little Big Store in DeFuniak Springs.

Lisa C./ Yelp

Population: 6,968

DeFuniak Springs is in Florida’s panhandle and has an interesting history. The town was founded in the 19th century as a resort for railroad travelers. The town welcomed presidents, poets, writers, and musicians to the charming community as a vacation destination.

Today DeFuniak Springs still has its Victorian charm and still welcomes travelers interested in Florida’s rich history and culture. The Walton County Library — the oldest library in the state — is also in town. The Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood is also there, originally a 4,000-seat auditorium in the 19th century. The town is also home to Lake DeFuniak, one of the few naturally occurring lakes that are almost perfectly circular.

GEORGIA: Helen

german-looking stores line a brick street in Helen, Georgia

 

Helen looks like Bavaria, Germany.

NiglayNik/Shutterstock

Population: 550

Helen brings the charm of Germany to Georgia. Situated by the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northeast part of the state, Helen is best known for turning itself into a Bavarian alpine town. Although sometimes regarded as a tourist trap, Helen also has great attractions outside of town, including the Chattahoochee River, Chattahoochee National Forest, and Smithgall Woods State Park.

HAWAII: Haleiwa

the town of Haleiwa, Hawaii overlooking the waters

 

Haleiwa, Hawaii.

Kelly Headrick/Shutterstock

Population: 3,970

Haleiwa is a small town that sits on the island of Oahu. It’s best known as the surfing capital of the world. From October to April, spectators flock to the beach to watch surfers brave the waves that regularly crash onto the sand. Here, the waves can reach 40 feet high.

The town is also known for its Matsumoto Shave Ice competition, which brings more people to the charming area. For those who aren’t into competitions, Haleiwa’s main street has a plethora of restaurants, galleries, and shops.

IDAHO: Ketchum

Sheep herder's carriage rolls down the highway in Ketchum, Idaho, USA

 

Ketchum, Idaho.

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Population: 2,827

There’s a reason Ernest Hemingway settled in Ketchum, Idaho, and made it his final home. With the Bald Mountains of Sun Valley towering over the small town and wilderness wrapping itself around the rest, the town has become an idyllic destination for all types of travelers. Once a mining town, Ketchum has become a popular ski destination. The entire town seems like an idyllic ski cabin, perfect for the winter getaways. But residents are also able to hike, hunt, and trail ride during the warmer months.

ILLINOIS: Galena

main street with shops in Galena Illinois

 

Galena, Illinois.

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Population: 3,183

Although Galena is a small town, it is one of the most visited places in Illinois — and for good reason. Travelers flock to this scenic town for its preserved 19th-century buildings and peaceful charm. Galena was also home to former president Ulysses S. Grant, and his former residence is now a museum. Meanwhile, the Galena River allows residents and tourists to boat, kayak, and canoe. The Apple River Canyon State Park nearby offers great hiking options as well.

INDIANA: Santa Claus

santa claus indiana

 

A post office in Santa Claus, Indiana.

Chicago Tribune/Getty Images

Population: 2,410

In Santa Claus, Indiana, it’s Christmas all year long. The Santa Claus Museum & Village has a castle and a 22-foot statue of Saint Nick himself. Everything in this small town is holiday themed, including the post office, boutiques, and candy shops. The town is also very popular even outside of the Christmas season, especially with its drive-in theater. It is also home to the world’s first themed amusement park, Holiday World, which includes a water park.

IOWA: Pella

pella iowa main street windmill

 

Storefronts in Pella, Iowa.

Laurens Hoddenbagh/Shutterstock

Population: 10,237

Pella, Iowa, was founded by the Netherlands, and its Dutch origins are still evident today. The 100,000-square-foot Molengracht Canal is one great attraction because it’s modeled after an authentic Dutch canal. Around the canal, residents can shop at local boutiques, bakeries, and even meat markets. There is even a movie theater and fine dining options nearby. Another authentic Dutch attraction in Pella is the Vermeer Mill, which has been turned into a museum. The old world Dutch influence can also be seen in the town’s quaint architecture.

KENTUCKY: Bardstown

Federal Hill building with people walking in front of it in Bardstown, Kentucky.

 

Federal Hill in Bardstown, Kentucky.

James Kirkikis/Shutterstock

Population: 13,253

Bardstown, Kentucky, has been named America’s most beautiful small town. Travel + Leisure also says you’ll find “America’s Most Beautiful Town Square” in Bardstown.

But the town has so much more to offer than just its picturesque scenery. Bardstown is known for its bourbon and is considered the bourbon capital of the world with six distilleries in the area. Some of these distilleries date back as far as 1776.

MAINE: Bar Harbor

a quaint street with shops in Bar Harbor, Maine

 

Bar Harbor, Maine.

Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Population: 5,559

Bar Harbor is perched atop Mount Desert Island and acts as a gateway to the Acadia National Park. The views in this town are jaw-dropping. Cadillac Mountain offers an even more gorgeous landscape as it towers over the small town. The idyllic streets are lined with Victorian homes and cozy porches. Bar Harbor isn’t just known for its scenery, though. Residents enjoy hiking, kayaking, and golfing in the small town.

MARYLAND: St. Michaels

a small shop with chairs outside in St Michaels, Maryland

 

St. Michaels, Maryland.

Albert Pego/Shutterstock

Population: 1,026

Situated on Maryland’s east shore, St. Michaels is a harbor town that residents enjoy year-round. In fact, USA Today named it one of the top 10 small coastal towns in America.

Not only does the town have great boutique shopping, but it also has delicious restaurants and bistros for every craving, and it specializes in its local seafood. Another thing St. Michaels does well is its water adventures, which include sailing, kayaking, and skipjacking. If you’re a visitor, the town offers some of the best Victorian bed and breakfasts on the East Coast as well.

MASSACHUSETTS: Provincetown

people biking and walking through a small street in Provincetown

 

Provincetown, Massachusetts.

James Kirkikis/Shutterstock

Population: 2,994

Provincetown is the northernmost tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts and the spot where the Mayflower landed back in 1620. Today the seaside town is home to artists, and it is known for its LGBTQ-friendly environment. While the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum celebrate the town’s history, P-town is celebrated for its lively Commercial Street, which is filled with shops, galleries, and restaurants. Along the main street, visitors and residents are also treated to nightclubs, bars, and cabarets.

MISSISSIPPI: Corinth

A statue of a soldier in Corinth, Mississippi

 

A sculpture in Corinth, Mississippi.

MCT/Getty Images

Population: 14,472

Any history buff would fall in love with Corinth, Mississippi. The small town played a major role in the Civil War, including the siege of Corinth when the Union army occupied the town for a short time.

Among the historic places you can visit are Fort Williams, General Quarters Inn, and Veranda House, which was the former headquarters of the Confederate army. But Corinth is also as rich with culture as it is with history. In fact, you can enjoy old fashion pop at Borroum’s Drug Store and Soda Fountain.

NEBRASKA: Chadron

A storm rolls in over the plains of Chadron, Nebraska.

 

Just outside of Cadron, Nebraska.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty Images

Population: 5,421

It’s easy to understand why Chadron is often named one of the best places to live in Nebraska. The town sits on the edge of the Nebraska National Forest, offering adventurous residents the beauty and activities of the great outdoors. Within driving distance, the Oglala National Grasslands also offer residents more wildlife to take in.

The town itself has a village-like feel, making it a charming spot in Nebraska. It was founded in 1884 as a fur trading post, so history buffs can visit the town’s Museum of Fur Trade and the Fur Trade Days festival in town.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Hanover

A building at Dartmouth College in Hanover.

 

Dartmouth College is in Hanover.

Getty Images

Population: 8,508

Hanover is home to Dartmouth College, but it’s so much more than a college town. In fact, CNN once named it one of the top six best places to live in the country.

Situated on the Connecticut River, Hanover has some of the most picturesque landscapes a small town could offer. With the Appalachian Trail running right through the town, it’s impossible to miss the natural beauty of the area. Almost all of the town’s happenings are on Main Street where you can find small shops, restaurants, galleries, and farmers’ markets.

NORTH CAROLINA: Blowing Rock

An estate with people in front of it in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

 

An estate in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

Miami Herald/Getty Images

Population: 1,307

Blowing Rock, North Carolina, truly has something for everyone. From fly fishing and rafting to bouldering and rock climbing, Blowing Rock has every outdoor activity you can imagine. But the town’s real charm is its downtown, where you can find over 100 small shops and restaurants. With sweeping mountain views, this small town seems to be right out of a storybook.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Custer

sunset over a street in custer south dakota

 

Custer, South Dakota.

Education Images/Getty Images

Population: 8,972

Custer, South Dakota, is notable for its nature and wildlife, specifically its buffalo. Located in the breathtaking Black Hills National Forest, this mountain town is perfect for any nature lover. To catch a glimpse of free-roaming buffalo, residents and tourists head over to the majestic Custer State Park.

For those more interested in history, the historic downtown features restaurants, shops, and galleries. The 1881 Courthouse Museum is also located downtown and was built in 1881.

WASHINGTON: Port Townsend

boats floating in port townsend washington

 

Port Townsend, Washington.

Artazum/Shutterstock

Population: 9,831

Port Townsend was born out of a mistake. In the 19th century, people thought the town would boom as a shipping port, so they built the town up with Victorian mansions. But when the railroads connected to Seattle instead, Port Townsend was bypassed. Instead of taking defeat, the town has redefined itself as an art and culture hub in Washington state.

The historic buildings with large bay windows still stand in this quirky arts village. For the more adventurous people, there is Fort Worden State Park nearby, where you can find sandy beaches and kayaking.

WEST VIRGINIA: Lewisburg

Lost World Caverns in Lewisburg, West Virginia.

 

Lost World Caverns in Lewisburg, West Virginia.

Alexandar Iotzov/Shutterstock

Population: 3,831

Like many small towns, Lewisburg, West Virginia, has a rich history, and it takes great pride in celebrating its past. A historic walking tour will take you through downtown and highlight all of the small town’s most historically important buildings and architecture. The streets are also lined with shops, galleries, and restaurants.

But the best attraction in Lewisburg is the Lost World Caverns, which is an underground network of caverns registered as a National Natural Landmark. The ominous caves are worth the trip.

WISCONSIN: Stockholm

A woman sits in front of a barn in Stockholm, Wisconsin.

 

A barn in Stockholm, Wisconsin.

Star Tribune via Getty Images

Population: 66

Tucked away along the Mississippi River, Stockholm, Wisconsin, has remained relatively untouched over the years. With just over 60 residents, Stockholm has no chain stores or restaurants in town, proving it has been saved from urbanization. Its local businesses still attract travelers, though, especially its famous pie shop, Stockholm Pie and General Store. Along with its locality, the town was able to preserve its Swedish heritage, which can still be seen in the architecture throughout Stockholm.

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