Cities are great for so many reasons (the convenience, the culture, the 127 different kinds of Thai delivery). But there’s also something to be said for small towns (quaint Main Streets, kooky annual festivals and charm out the wazoo).
These are our 12 picks for the sweetest spots around the country.
The entire town (population: 1,992) is modeled after a Bavarian village.
Live out your own Sound of Music fantasy by booking a trip to the Trapp Family Lodge, founded by the actual Von Trapps and today managed by their descendants.
Aside from its obvious oceanfront beauty and storybook cottages, this town is famous for its many quirks, including a ban on wearing high heels without a permit. Sure.
The University of Virginia and its surrounding town are known for some of the prettiest wooded mountains in the country and an abundance of live music. (Again, college town.)
Estes Park, Colorado
Here, elk wander downtown streets alongside pedestrians. It’s also home to the Stanley Hotel, famous for inspiring Stephen King’s The Shining.
Traverse City, Michigan
This town’s claim to fame is its Cherry Festival. Every July the folks here showcase unique cherry-oriented specialties, from salsa to sausage.
Known to many as Dolly Parton’s hometown, adventurous types seek out this Smoky Mountain spot for its ropes courses and zipline tours (14 in total). There’s also adorable retro dining options and, of course, Dollywood just seven miles down the road.
Don’t expect cars here--residents prefer to motor around this tiny island village (in Lake Erie) via golf carts. It’s also home to Crystal Cave, the world’s largest geode.
Swamp tours on the bayou end in weekly Cajun jam sessions at the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center.
This college town (whose mascot is the wild razorback) celebrates New Year’s Eve each year with a giant puppet parade and Hog Drop (the southern sister to NYC’s ball drop), in which a painted pig sculpture falls 100 feet at midnight.
Lewisburg, West Virginia
Manhattan’s Carnegie Hall is not the only one. This quaint locale boasts another performance space bequeathed from the steel-industry family.
Ahh, Florida: the home of Disney World, Casey Anthony and Miami. But this sleepy town (population: 600) is as quaint as they come. Tom Petty sang of it in "A Mind with a Heart of Its Own," and the Michael J. Fox film Doc Hollywood was filmed there. It also boasts some of the most beautiful Spanish moss-covered roads in the Southeast.