The enchanting charm of small towns in the United States is unmistakable. From their close-knit communities to their local hotspots, growing up or just visiting one of these charming places is a unique experience. These are the most beautiful small towns in the U.S.
Each of these towns offers something special, but some have particularly picturesque settings. Beauty is subjective, and it can come in the form of historic structures, ocean views, or anything else that catches your eye. Our travel experts have curated a diverse list of small towns that offer a range of amenities, scenic views, and memorable experiences for everyone.
1. Mt. Shasta, California
Discover a Hidden Gem on the West Coast – Mt. Shasta City. According to travel blogger and author of “Digital Nomad and a Dog,” Sherry Arkfeld, this town of around 3,500 people is located at the base of Mount Shasta and is a true hidden gem. The breathtaking views of the mountain and its own charming appeal make it a beautiful destination. Visitors are greeted with a warm welcome, reminiscent of the early 20th Century when the town was popular among workers in the timber industry. In the summer, visitors can take in the nearby Lake Siskiyou and more adventurous travelers can ascend the mountain for a clear view all the way to the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.
2. Cape May, New Jersey
Do Not Underestimate this Cozy Beach Town at the Southernmost Point of the Jersey Shore – Cape May. According to Joshua Haley, founder of Moving Astute, Cape May is famous for its Victorian architecture and charming downtown area. It offers several beaches and parks, making it a popular destination for those who love the great outdoors. Although it is a summer hotspot, Cape May has plenty to offer even during the off-season, including the highly-regarded Cape May County Park & Zoo, which is open year-round and admission-free.
3. Capitola, California
Although larger than a typical small town, Capitola’s charm is incomparable. Capitola is a small town located on the coast of Northern California and is not only one of the most beautiful, but also one of the friendliest towns in the US. It is a popular vacation destination, known for its picturesque multicolored houses along the beach, which have an oceanfront view reminiscent of Mediterranean locations. The downtown area is full of charming shops selling everything from home goods to clothing to souvenirs, and the locals are warm and welcoming. A trip to California would not be complete without visiting this charming seaside town.
4. Rosemary Beach, Florida
Rosemary Beach is a small town that combines the architectural styles of New Urbanism and the West Indies and is known for its cobblestone streets. Visitors can dine at rooftop restaurants or experience the art scene with sculptures by international artists. The beach is stunning, and there is always something to do, no matter the time of year.
5. Helen, Georgia
Plan an adventurous getaway in the scenic alpine village of Helen, Georgia. Surrounded by the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, this town features cobblestone streets reminiscent of European villages like Bamberg and Lindau, Germany.
You’ll feel like you’ve transported to a Bavarian Alpine Village when you visit downtown Helen.
For optimal weather, visit between May and September, but don’t miss the annual Oktoberfest in the fall or the holiday lights in the winter, making Helen a charming and picturesque destination year-round.
6. Edenton, North Carolina
Edenton is a charming town rich in history and situated along the water’s edge. Its historic buildings date back to the colonial period, making it a hub for history buffs. From the Edenton State Historic Site to the James Iredell House, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the town’s rich past.
7. Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach, a picturesque coastal town with a population of slightly over 1,500, offers both stunning scenery and a warm, small-town vibe. Its main street, charming beach shacks, and the breathtaking Cannon Beach, featuring the 235-foot Haystack Rock, make it a must-visit. Take a walk on the beach and you may be lucky enough to spot wildlife like puffins and gray whales.
8. New Hope, Pennsylvania
New Hope, Pennsylvania is a paradise for food lovers, artists, and history enthusiasts. Situated along the Delaware River, this charming town boasts Victorian architecture and a vibrant arts scene. Explore its historic district, visit shops and galleries, or catch a show at one of the many live music venues. The Bucks County Playhouse, dating back to the 1900s, is a must-see for theater-goers. There are plenty of bed and breakfasts for overnight stays, with late spring and early summer being the best time to visit. In May, don’t miss the annual Pride Week and Parade, a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community with a range of events.
9. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Discover the charming hamlet of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in the southern part of the country. The downtown area showcases Victorian architecture and is lined with boutiques and restaurants. The serene Thorncrown Chapel, surrounded by trees, is a must-see. Take a unique dining experience on the Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railway. Don’t miss the picturesque Beaver Lake, where you can go on a scenic boat tour, kayaking or fishing in warmer weather.
10. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, offers a European feel with its charming architecture and beautiful flower displays along the Monterey Peninsula. Visitors can stroll through the town, explore shops and art galleries, and admire the stunning coastline views. Although only one square mile, as per the town’s website, this quaint village offers plenty of activities, from historic walking tours to exploring hidden passageways and courtyards from the 1920s. Relax on the iconic Carmel Beach and soak in the breathtaking blue waters.