If you’ve ever taken a road trip and wondered if you should move to one of the quaint, small towns you’ve driven through, you’re not alone. The allure of a small town where everybody knows your name is a common dream, especially when people travel.
And if you’ve been living in a bustling city like New York or Seattle, Washington, it may feel like time to quiet your life. We’ve curated a list of some of the top small towns in America — each with its own unique attributes.
Buckle your seat belt — let’s tour small-town America!
14 Best Small Towns in America
1. Sitka, Alaska
If you love beautiful scenery, a city that’s not too crowded, lots of hiking trails, and places to fish, Sitka, Alaska may be for you. There is an abundance of trails in the Tongass National Forest, and wildlife enthusiasts will never run out of outdoor activities in this mountain town that’s filled with history.
In fact, there’s a whopping 22 buildings on the National Historic Registry of Historic Places.
2. Hot Springs, Arkansas
If you’re a water lover, you may want to rethink the getaway thousands of people flock to each year as your new hometown — welcome to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Known for its famous natural hot springs, it’s been a tourist destination for many decades.
Hot Springs, Arkansas is less of a year-round destination, and is most popular during the warmer months, due to the water attraction. Located in the Ouachita Mountains, this small, laid-back town has great museums, and a robust nightlife, considering the size of the town.
3. Whitefish, Montana
If you love snow, but you favor not-too-cold temperatures, Whitefish, Montana, may be for you. Known for its mild winters, compared to a lot of other ski destinations, Whitefish is home to the beautiful state parks, including the Glacier National Park.
Tourists love Whitefish Montana for its natural beauty, making it a giant playground with mountains. With the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, living in Whitefish is the equivalent of one big outdoor adventure.
Between the ski resort and mountain biking, you won’t run out of outdoor activities. If you consider yourself an outdoorsman, or outdoorswoman, you should seriously consider Whitefish as your next place to call home.
4. Sanibel Island, Florida
Not known to be the least expensive small town on our list, Sanibel Islands is a beautiful beach town. A few celebrities have purchased homes there, including Steve Martin and Stephen King. People love living on Sanibel Island because of the beautiful contrast of crystal blue, clear waters against soft, white sands.
Known for its colorful seashells, Sanibel Island’s striking shells found on the beach have been nicknamed the “Treasures from the Sea.” Boasting over 70 Golf courses, people who call Sanibel Island home partake in boating, kayaking, and biking. Residents say they feel like they’re on a permanent vacation.
Housing expenses are 245 percent greater than the national average on Sanibel Island. That’s not a typo. Before you fall in love with the island of white pristine beaches, check out the cost of living there.
Don’t worry — if your pocketbook prohibits a move to Sanibel Island, keep reading. There’s a wide variety of small towns in the U. S. to suit any budget!
5. Chadron, Nebraska
With a population of 5,376, residents feel that Chadron, Nebraska is just the right size, and locals like that it’s everything big cities are not. Its heritage is a fur trading post, and there’s even a museum highlighting this rich history.
What’s it like to live in Chadron, Nebraska? It leans conservative in values and beliefs overall, and you’ll find suburbs with a spattering of young professionals who like the peaceful life.
6. Bar Harbor, Maine
Residents love to take a stroll down Main Street in Bar Harbor, Maine, where the restaurants serve fresh seafood, and boutique shops have unique gifts with a nod to the area’s beauty. This coastal town in New England gets its fair share of visitors during the summer months when the weather is warm.
Fall brings tourists from around the globe, due to the coming of peak foliage, where the display of colorful leaves sport hues of orange, red, and yellow, and rival the famed fall season of its New England neighbor, Vermont. After fall, the town gets quiet and locals continue to be in awe of Acadia National Park in the winter.
Foodies love the tasteful restaurants in Bar Harbor, Maine, with their featured dish being fresh, buttery lobster. Shall we go ahead and forward your mail now?
7. Buffalo, Wyoming
Buffalo, Wyoming is rich with history and locals love to hang out in the historic downtown area. Founded in 1879, the land was where several Native American Indian tribes hunted before settlers arrived.
Buffalo was a mining town and it was common for miners to settle there for work. With a population of 4,469, this sleepy mountain town takes you back in time into the old west.
With views of the Bighorn Mountains, Buffalo, Wyoming is an outdoor playground where residents make their own fun by stepping outdoors to wide open spaces.
8. Wamego, Kansas
If you’ve always wanted to follow the yellow brick road, you’re in luck — you can do just that at the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas. With the largest collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia, it’s a must-see when you visit.
Also, you’ll find wineries, art galleries, culture and theater, and even a Bison buffalo ranch in this Southern town. This town is known to be welcoming and is said to have some of the kindest people around.
9. Mystic, Connecticut
We’re not in Kansas anymore — we’ve jumped to Mystic, Connecticut! Tourists enjoy whale and dolphin watching in this quaint New England town.
Other attractions include the Mystic Aquarium and the Mystic Seaport. Formerly a bustling seaport for ships, this walkable town is filled with great restaurants and one of its claims to fame is the movie, Mystic Pizza, was filmed there. Mystic proper does have one public beach, and this small town is situated in the sixth wealthiest state in the U.S.
10. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Only 120 miles from San Francisco, some refer to Carmel-by-the-Sea as the most beautiful place in the world. Most of this gem of a city can be toured by foot, but to get to the beaches, you’ll need a car.
Clint Eastwood was adorned the Mayor of Carmel two times, and many other celebrities call Carmel-by-the-Sea and the surrounding area home. Carmel-by-the-Sea is most certainly not the least expensive small town on our list.
11. Dripping Springs, Texas
It’s approximately 77 miles to San Antonio, but this small Texas town is a lot quieter, and it’s said to be one of the best places to reside in all of Texas. Live music, local boutique-style stores, this Texas town is dripping with charm.
With both rolling hills and natural springs, the landscape is interesting, and things might be a whole lot bigger in Texas — but not in Dripping Springs. The locals like their small Texas town just the way it is.
12. Ketchum, Idaho
What do Demi Moore, Tom Hanks, and Ashton Kutcher have in common? They all have homes in Ketchum, Idaho. Known to be a fairly expensive town, Ketchum is mountainous, scenic, and beautiful — and remote.
With a lack of labor and development limitations, residents of Ketcham enjoy their privacy. The small Idaho town is close to Sun Valley, Idaho. If you’re not into skiing or hiking, you can catch the art scene at art galleries and take in the history of this remote town that’s just a mile down the road from Sun Valley.
13. Hanapepe, Hawaii
The word, “Hanapepe” translates to “crushed bay” in Hawaiian. This tiny town has a population of 2,678. The town, Hanaepepe, was the creative inspiration for the Disney movie, Lilo and Stitch.
An eclectic town, Hanapepe offers farmer’s markets, and galleries with talented painters and sculptor’s works. Visitors enjoy the obligatory walk over the Hanapepe swinging bridge.
14. Telluride, Colorado
Deemed as a National Historic landmark, Telluride, Colorado has a unique landscape and natural beauty. The town itself is surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, and sits within a box canyon, with the entire town being roughly 12 blocks.
This quirky town once had a law that residents must have a dog; this one may still be on the books. As you can imagine, the town is a dog haven with many pups, and lots of hiking to keep dogs and their owners busy.
Skiing is part of the culture and the locals all know each other in this remote town that’s off the beaten path. And you are a quick drive from the gorgeous rock formations of the Red Rocks!
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Shelling | SanibleIsland.com
Things To Do | SanibleIsland.com
Cost of Living in Sanibel, Florida | Payscale
Buffalo | Britannica