We write about frequently traveled destinations weekly, so we thought it would be fun to dive into the culture of each state and discover the hidden gems of small towns. Here is the first article covering the most beautiful small towns that are found throughout the United States.
If history is your forte, we have found a treat for you! Deep in northern Alabama, visitors can find the small historical town of Mooresville. This town is the oldest incorporated town in Alabama boasting a population of 53 people. A visit here will have visitors feeling as if they taken a trip back in town with the majority of the buildings in their original housing from 1818. We suggest visiting the Brick Church and the oldest operating Post Office in the state. Take a guided tour with other visitors or explore the tree canopied streets at your own leisure. However, should you choose to visit this town, plan your vacation over Christmas so you can participate in the town’s Holiday Progressive Dinner.
Petersburg Borough, Alaska
Alaska is scattered with picture perfect small towns, each with it’s own unique culture, which made choosing just one difficult! However, offering a wide variety of different activities and opportunities, the town of Petersburg came out on top. The benefit of this town comes within it’s location, the coast! Visitors will have the chance to catch Halibut in world famous waters, set sail to view the LaConte Glacier and the icebergs that break off and fly into the air locally known as “shooters.”
The area is also known for the curious seals and pups that roam the water offshore! For those who want to stay on the land, there is no shortage of things to do! More commonly referred to as “Little Norway,” downtown boasts and array of culture and tradition. Take a day to hike one of the many trails the area is home to or tidepool at the Sandy Beach Park. Whatever activities you plan to engage in here, we guarantee there will never be a dull moment.
If an authentic wild west experience is what you’re looking for on your next adventure, Oatman is just the small town for you. The ghost town was originally founded in the late 1800’s and struck gold in the early 1900’s. The town continued to produce over 36 million dollars worth of gold from the two mines nearby until they were shut down in 1924.
However, Oatman was able to stay on the map as a result of the birth of Route 66. Today, the town remains one of the only authentic ghost towns in the United States. Visitors can shop in the markets that line the street of the town and interact with the wild burros that make this area their home. While this is no longer a residential area, visitors are more than welcome to come spend the day exploring the town and museum as well as the surrounding area. Be sure to plan ahead if you are driving the RV as parking is limited.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
At the base of the Ozark Mountains, visitors can find a small town that was originally founded as a spa town with over 60 natural springs and waters in the area. Legend says that the water of many of these mystical springs contained the ability to grant miracle cures. Visitors come from far and wide to this small town to experience the renewing springs. Other than the springs, the area offers beautiful back roads and trails that visitors frequent as well. The diversity of this town doesn’t stop at the nature. Take a day downtown and enjoy the artistic vibe that the city offers as well. Known as the heart of Arkansas Art Trail, the area is scattered with many galleries with aspiring artists. Visit one of the Second Saturday Art Strolls and support local artists. Create the perfect mixture of culture on your trip to this small town!
Nestled on the California coast between Santa Monica and Santa Barbara, the small town of Carpinteria offers a unique experience for visitors. To many in the area, the beach here is referred to as “the world’s safest beach” due to the absence of rip tides. Surfers and casual beachgoers alike are sure to appreciate all the pristine waters and sandy shores have to offer! Go looking for sea shells in the Tar Pits or wildlife in the Nature Preserve. After your day at the beach, take a stroll down main street and enjoy all the local cafes and shops that line the road. Visitors can also to choose to take a break from the beach and explore the many farms, nurseries, ranches and fields that line the mountainside.
Crested Butte, Colorado
Known as, ” The Gateway to the Elk Mountains,” the small Colorado town of Crested Butte that was once home to the Ute Indians was taken over to become a local center for coal mining. Now, the small mining town has transformed into the home of a well known ski resort. During winter, visitors can choose from an array of winter sports that include skiing and snowboarding. Locals refer to their home as the “last great Colorado ski town.” However, we think this town offers much more than that! During the summer months, the mountain biking trails open and the town hosts a variety of festivals. Visitors will also be able to enjoy the vast fields of wildflowers that line the streets and mountainsides.
Located on the Long Island Sound, this coastal Connecticut town ranges a total of 3.5 square miles and is part of the larger area known as East Lyme. Located in the middle of the drive from Boston to New York, this town is accessible and close to the big cities as well! Visitors to this town love the combination of the beach getaway feel with the quaint small town stores and history. Our favorite activity in Niantic is the mile long boardwalk that lines the beach overlooking the beautiful sound. With so many different ways to experience nature and history within the area, visitors will always be active on a visit here.
The small town of Smyrna takes pride in honoring the past and their small town origins while being aware of the present and looking to the future. The town has visitors satisfied in their search for the perfect small town in the north east! Located between Duck Creek and Lake Como, the nature and scenery that fills this town is unlike any other. For nature lovers, this town is also home to the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge that offer amazing flora and fauna sightings form their salt marshes.
Mt. Dora, Florida
While you may recognize Mt. Dora’s name, chances are, you never knew what a small town it truly is! This Florida small town is conveniently located in central Florida, just an hour away from Orlando. The streets downtown are lined with local cafes, shops and picture perfect photo ops! Stroll the streets after attending one of the many festivals that visit or take a trip into the surrounding nature to experience the Florida wildlife!
Lake Dora, known as the “Bass Capital of the World,” is the perfect destination for people who love fishing. If you want to explore the lake, opt to take the “by air, land and sea” tour. This tour gives visitors an up close experience of the lake from a sea plane, a train and a boat. Visitors also have the opportunity to sail down the canal to participate ion some of the best ecotourism the state has to offer. With so many different options for activities, the whole family is bound to enjoy this small town!
This Georgia small town holds just the escape you’ve been searching for. Located south of Atlanta, Fayetteville is in the perfect escape from the big city. Our favorite site to visit here is the historic Starr’s Mill located on the banks of Whitewater Creek. The mill was originally built in 1866 and last rebuilt in 1907 to be used as a water powered turbine. The mill ground corn, operated a sawmill and provided electricity to nearby towns. Today, visitors enjoy picnics and photoshoots at the site. In the right season, visitors can even catch a glimpse of local wildlife. The iconic red mill creates the perfect setting for your next family outing in this small town!
Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii
If a tropical small town getaway is your idea of the perfect destination, we have found just the town for you! Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Haleiwa is one of the best known surfing destinations around the world. Visit in the winter and enjoy the iconic waves that earned this small town the title of “Surfing Capital of the World.” During these months, visitors will be able to watch (and participate if desired) in daily surf competitions and enjoy the excitement that fills the town.
During spring and summer, visitors will find this small town exhibiting a much more laid back atmosphere. Lay out on the beach or try your hand at surfing the more mild waves that line the shore this time of year. A trip to Haleiwa Joe’s for a meal is necessary during your stay to experience the legendary local cuisine. Whether you choose exploring the shore or the sea on your trip here, the sights and activities are guaranteed to have you waning to move to Hawaii!
With a population of 63, Stanley Idaho is the smallest small town we found on this week’s list! But don’t count it out just yet, Stanley offers a variety of activities and adventures! Visitors have biking, climbing, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, skiing, rafting and motorsports all at their fingertips when visiting this town! Local places to stay include RV parks, camping, cabins and hotels. And just when you though this small town couldn’t get any better, the town is also known for it’s incredible dining and shopping options! Get away to the mountains and experience authentic small town life as it was meant to be!
If you are looking to take a trip out west, Galena, Indiana is often referred to the best city to visit in the Midwest. Here, visitors can find a variety of arts, nature and experience that create the unique ambiance that fills the area. Foodies love the destination for it’s array of noteworthy restaurants, wineries, breweries and culinary school. If you love scenery and nature, there is also plenty of activities for you here too! hiking, biking and kayaking are all offered in the area. But if you are an adventurer at heart, we know just the activity you need to sign up for! The town offers hot air balloon rides and rentals to experience the views from above!
New Harmony, Indiana
If you are looking for a serene stay in a small town somewhere out of the ordinary, we suggest adding New Harmony, Indiana to your travel list! This small town boasts a greenery filled setting that if bound to provide relaxation to anyone. They take pride in their “best kept secret gardens.” Originally created by a town member, Jane Owen, all of these green getaways are hand planted and landscaped with a calming atmosphere in mind. Find your peace at any of the destinations. If you are planning a trip here, we suggest downloading the town’s mobile app to plan your own personalized walking tour!
Located in the Des Moines River, Bentonsport, Iowa is a small town completely designated as a National Historic District. With almost every building maintaining it’s 1800’s architecture, visitors experience a trip back in time. Go shopping at the old Dutchman’s Store, buy some sweet treats at Addie May Fudge and Antiques or learn the history in depth at Addie May Green Hotel Museum. Take a walk through the rose garden or a stroll along the old truss bridge that crosses the river. History buffs are bound to love this gem of a small town!
Booming with loads of history, this small town is a destination you have to add onto your list! Abilene, Kansas is most famously known for being the town that President Dwight D. Eisenhower grew up in. Throughout town, you visitors can find museums dedicated to him, memoirs and his grave. You can take a train ride through town with the kids. And take in all the sights the small town has to offer. Visit mansions and museums during the day and enjoy a night out at Old Abilene Town. Here, you can participate in some dancing or watch a show of a gunfight. This town is sure to offer an old time American hometown experience to all of it’s guests!
We love the diversity of the small towns that contribute to our states’ history! Let us know down below what your favorite small towns are.
Don’t forget to come back next week to see part 2 of our favorite small towns in the USA!
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