14 Best Small Towns in America
These are the most visitor-friendly places in the US.
Wouldn't you like to get away? If binge-watching vintage comfort sitcoms like Cheers and the like isn't doing it for you anymore, a small-town escape of some length might be in order. Travel & Leisure recently named the best small towns in America according to visitor-friendly attributes like beaches, natural surroundings, food and culture, wine and spirits, and wellness. Solitude-seeking travelers are advised to book a trip before they're swarmed.
This town on Gasparilla Island in Florida rates as the country's best small beach town, according to Travel & Leisure's editors. They call it serene and "just the right amount of sleepy," a welcome antidote to the tourist masses who crush many other areas in Florida year-round.
The runner-up for the country's best small beach town is situated on a North Padre barrier island 40 miles from Corpus Christi. Like Boca Grande, it's chill and quirky but offers a bunch of amenities, such as beachfront resorts, golf courses, a new science museum, and even belt-sander races (yes, you read that right).
Located slightly two hours from Atlanta, Highlands, North Carolina, has been crowned the country's best small mountain town. It's a "summer retreat for those looking to escape the humidity and a year-round haven for hiking, waterfall-spotting, art and music," in addition to first-rate dining, Travel & Leisure says.
The runner-up for America's best small mountain town is this mile-high community, which leads to "Yellowstone's underrated northeast entrance." Kevin Costner fans take note.
Voted America's best small lake town, it's also Minnesota's artsiest town, offering world-class art galleries and small-batch dining, along with "an increasingly rare vintage seaside vibe."
The oldest summer resort in the U.S. was a getaway destination before the Declaration of Independence was signed. It offers charming boutique hotels and a tip-top dining scene, making it one of America's best small lake towns.
Kanab, Utah, takes the crown as America's best small desert town. Three major national parks (Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon) are just an hour or two away by car, and they host The Wave, a red-rock formation that looks like a cresting sea.
The country's second-best small desert town is "an oasis of quirk, history, and art," says Travel & Leisure. Museums, galleries, and excellent restaurants are on offer in this booming artists' community.
If you primarily travel for food and culture, you can't do better than Los Olivos for the small-town experience, the travel magazine says. Excellent new restaurants and 27 wineries make this a prime destination for aesthetically-minded foodies.
This small prairie town earns the title for the second-best food and culture town in the country, boasting a James Beard Award-winning bakery, and an enviable art and music scene.
America's best spa and wellness small town is home to the zenlike hilltop retreat Aurora Resort & Spa, recently voted one of the best resorts in the entire state.
The runner-up for America's best spa and wellness small town boasts the 50,000-square-foot forested open-air Alyeska Nordic Spa, right next door to a European-style ski hotel.
If you're looking for a wine and spirits-related getaway, Dahlonega, Georgia, should make your list before anywhere in California. The best small wine, beer, and spirits town offers eight wineries, several craft breweries, and a lovely view of the North Georgia mountains.
The country's second-best small wine, beer, and spirits town is in New York but the opposite direction from the Finger Lakes. This seaside town on Long Island offers "historic architecture, hip restaurants, and a thriving wine, beer and spirits scene," the editors say. More than 60 vineyards and a bunch of craft breweries will give you plenty to do before you wind your way back to one of the area's many cool boutique hotels.