The Cutest Town in Every U.S. State
Sure, cities are big and bustling and exciting, but there’s something special about small town livin’. Here, the most adorable little towns in every state. They may be tiny, but they have plenty of character.
Alabama: Magnolia Springs
This tiny town was named after the river that runs through it. In fact, it’s the last remaining water delivery mail route in the U.S. Residents who live along the river leave their mailboxes open so the mailman can deliver letters quickly by boat.
Located at the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, Homer is known as the halibut capital of Alaska, home to fishermen, artists and outdoorsy types galore. The most famous landmark is the Salty Dawg Saloon, a popular pub housed in a cabin that dates from 1897.
One of the last mining boomtowns in the Old West, Tombstone is dotted with 20th-century saloons and colorful storefronts. Today, you can see a gunfight reenactment or take a walking tour to learn about the famous Wild West characters who lived there. (Cough, cough: Wyatt Earp.)
Arkansas: Siloam Springs
On the edge of the Ozark Mountains sits this town that once attracted settlers for the aforementioned springs' therapeutic qualities. Today, you can swim in the handful of springs still flowing just outside the historic Main Street area.
California: St. Helena
Just north of San Francisco, this Napa Valley sweet spot has it all: a strong sense of community, beautiful mountain views and an adorable downtown area lined by sycamore trees. Also, all of the wine.
If you’re ever visiting the popular resort towns of Vail or Breckenridge, don’t miss a stop at Victorian Georgetown. Each Christmas, the old and iconic Georgetown Loop Railroad is clad in holiday lights and converted into a North Pole adventure.
Guilford possesses all the New England charm you’d expect from a small town in southern Connecticut. Don’t miss a stop at Bishop’s Orchards, where you can stock up on freshly picked produce (or go pick your own) and indulge in locally made wine and apple cider.
The Victorian shipbuilding town of Milton is just minutes from Rehoboth on Delaware’s east shore. There, you’ll find small family-run boutiques, old-fashioned ice-cream parlors and, of course, the cult-favorite Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.
This rural, sleepy town just south of Gainesville, nicknamed “the little town that time forgot,” has a population of about 600. The busiest road, Cholokka Boulevard, is lined with typical Florida architecture, old oak trees covered in Spanish moss and antique storefronts.
This Appalachian mountain town with a population well under 1,000 will make you feel like you’ve stumbled into the Swiss Alps. Each fall, Helen holds one of the country’s biggest Oktoberfest celebrations, flowing with beer, bratwurst and polka.
The hippie surf town of Paia is a must-visit spot on Maui's north shore. Once a plantation village, this bohemian enclave is full of farm stands, galleries, yoga studios, health food stores and surf shacks. Just outside of town you’ll find some of Maui’s best beaches for surfing and chasing sunsets.
You’d probably never guess that Wallace is the world’s largest producer of silver. When you’re done prospecting (or um, shopping), hit up Silver Mountain, a popular winter ski resort just outside its borders.
Illinois: Long Grove
As if this historic village weren’t cute enough, it hosts annual strawberry and apple festivals in June and September to celebrate its agricultural roots.
About four hours north of Tennessee, you’ll find a very different kind of Nashville. There’s no honkey-tonk here-just a quirky artist’s colony surrounded by the great outdoors.
Nicknamed “America’s Dutch treasure,” the town of Pella is a little European enclave in the Midwest. Each spring, Pella celebrates an annual tulip festival, during which citizens parade down the streets in traditional Dutch attire and the hills come to life with rows and rows of tulips.
Located along the bluffs of the Missouri River, Atchison has two claims to fame: 1) It’s the birthplace of Amelia Earhart, and 2) it’s supposedly haunted. Visitors can take a haunted house trolley tour and hear ghost stories about the town’s extra spooky locations.
Known as the bourbon capital of the world, Bardstown sits at the start of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, right smack in the Bluegrass region. It’s home to a handful of well-known distilleries like Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam, and each September, the town pays tribute to its favorite spirit with a big ol’ fashioned bourbon festival.
Fun fact: Natchitoches is the oldest French settlement in Louisiana. It’s also the bed-and-breakfast capital of the state, home to dozens of small inns built in the typical French-Creole style (including the Steel Magnolias house).
Nicknamed “the jewel of the coast,” Camden is a picturesque seaport town on Penobscot Bay, nestled between Portland and Maine’s northern coast. Think: old lighthouses, sandy beaches and adorable, porch-rimmed inns. It’s also an awesome spot if you’re into sailing.
Remember the rural, green fields from the movies Runaway Bride and Tuck Everlasting? That’s Berlin. This small mid-Atlantic haven with a population of about 4,000 is located close to Ocean City and Assateague Island but is way more chill and off the beaten path.
Sailboats floating on the harbor, narrow streets lined with cobblestone sidewalks, B&B cottages and mom-and-pop shops….swoon. Historical Marblehead, which played a big role in the Revolutionary War, dates back to 1629, when settlers from the Mayflower first established it as a fishing village.
Michigan: South Haven
South Haven is one of the country’s best summer towns, located on Michigan’s aptly named Sunset Coast. Come for the bike trails, public beaches and picturesque pier. Stay for the small specialty shops, art galleries and cozy eateries.
This suburb of Minneapolis set on Lake Minnetonka has it all: an adorable main street, a central public park, an idyllic swimming beach and a scenic marina where you can sail, fish or grab a meal at one of the harborside restaurants.
You might have heard of Natchez for its plantation-style houses that date back to the antebellum south. But did you know that each fall it hosts a thoroughly charming hot-air balloon festival? Now you do.
Technically a neighborhood within greater St. Louis, Soulard boasts a totally independent, small-town feel. Originally a refuge during the French Revolution, it now has many of its own traditions, like an annual Mardi Gras celebration and a local farmers' market that's been operating since 1779.
Every trip to glacier country should require a stop in the Americana-perfect mountain town of Whitefish. In the winter, it’s a happening ski spot. In summer, people take advantage of 25 miles of hiking and biking around lovely Whitefish Lake.
Just 20 minutes outside Lincoln, Seward is a slow-paced suburb, best known for its patriotic, old-fashioned vibe. It hosts one of the best old-time Fourth of July celebrations in the nation, replete with fireworks, parades and live music. In fact, the day is taken so seriously that in 1979, Congress officially named Seward "America's Fourth of July Small Town USA."
Genoa, nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, about 25 minutes from Lake Tahoe, is super cute. (Think: mom-and-pop-owned antique shops and old-timey saloons.) But it also has a dark side; it was the setting for the horror movie Misery, starring Kathy Bates.
New Hampshire: Hanover
Home to the prestigious Dartmouth College, Hanover is historic New England at its very best. The downtown area is made up of Victorian inns, darling restaurants (try local favorite Lou’s) and natural beauty that stuns in every season.
New Jersey: Cranbury
There’s a lot to love in this charming Middlesex County town: no parking meters, an adorable, tree-lined main village and some of the quaintest Colonial homes on the East Coast. Best of all, though, is Porch Fest—a neighborhood tradition in which residents take turns throwing open house parties for the whole community.
New Mexico: Chimayó
More a cluster of independently named plazas than one central town, Chimayó is a unique little spot 25 miles north of Santa Fe. The town is known for its traditional crafts like weaving and wood carving, but its biggest claim to fame is El Santuario de Chimayo, a small adobe church believed to have healing powers.
New York: Greenport
Small-town feel meets urbane sophistication in the old fishing village of Greenport, the most scenic town on Long Island’s North Fork. You can smell the salty sea air from just about any location.
North Carolina: Lexington
Meat lovers, look no further than Lexington, the barbecue capital of North Carolina, known for chopped pork garnished with the region’s famous ketchup, vinegar and pepper sauce mixture.
North Dakota: Park River
This small, agricultural town surrounded by potato and sunflower fields is the kind of place where everyone knows each other’s name. And where you can still catch a movie at the Lyric Theater, which has been open since 1917.
“New England Charm in the Heart of Ohio”—that’s Granville’s slogan. The Denison University hot spot is just 35 miles east of Columbus, but if you didn’t know any better, you might confuse the quaint streets, clad with candy stores, coffee shops and small book stores, for Cape Cod.
Trivia fact: This town just north of Oklahoma City was the state's first capital. Downtown, you'll find Victorian architecture, awesome antique shops and Wild West attractions like the Guthrie ghost tour and a pharmacy museum filled with old remedies of bygone times.
Oregon: Hood River
This oh-so-cute port town at the intersection of the Columbia River Gorge and the Cascade Mountain range is home to snow-capped mountains, miles of sprawling pear orchards and cascading waterfalls that’ll make you want to learn to raft. With world-class windsurfing, mountain biking and kayaking, it’s one of the best outdoor adventure towns in America.
Pennsylvania: New Hope
Just an hour north of Philly, this adorable, historic town on the west bank of the Delaware River is a popular weekend getaway for antiquers and culture-fiends alike. Don’t miss a theater production at old-school Bucks County Playhouse.
Rhode Island: Little Compton
A small town in the country’s smallest state, Little Compton feels worlds away from nearby Newport and Narragansett. But despite being virtually secluded, you’re never more than a few minutes from the beach.
South Carolina: Beaufort
Look, we have this thing for Beaufort. The poster child for adorable towns, it has all the Southern charm you could ever dream of: friendly people, a low-country culture, a slow-paced lifestyle, antebellum architecture and Spanish moss as far as the eye can see.
South Dakota: De Smet
De Smet is the epitome of prairie town charm. Not much has changed since Laura Ingalls Wilder settled there in 1880 and got to work writing Little House on the Prairie about her adventures.
History buffs will love a visit to Jonesborough. Nicknamed “the little town with the big story,” it was founded in 1779 (before Tennessee was even a state). The home of President Andrew Jackson, Jonesborough was one of the biggest supporters of the abolitionist movement within the Confederate States. Today, it draws thousands of visitors every October for the annual National Storytelling Festival.
Visit Germany by way of Texas at this Bavarian-influenced town. Beyond the Hauptstrasse (main steet), Fredericksburg is the starting point of the Hill Country wine trail. It’s also known for gorgeous fields of colorful bluebonnets that blossom each spring.
The gateway to Zion National Park, Springdale’s downtown is framed by a majestic view of red rock. While the main drag is a bit touristy, it's still charming with homey diners and small cafés, galleries and gift shops.
Surrounded by the mountains of southern Vermont, Grafton is small New England living at its finest. It has a population of well under 1,000, and boasts no more than a handful of taverns, historic inns and a single general store.
Abingdon may be small, but it definitely has something for everyone. Start your day biking along the Virginia Creeper Tail for views of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, then head to the Martha Washington Hotel for a relaxing afternoon at the spa.
Washington: Gig Harbor
Tourists have started to discover this sleepy harbor town on the Puget Sound. But don’t worry: It still maintains its friendly, slow-living vibe. Many residents work as fishermen and boat-builders (as they have for generations), and you'll find events like outdoor movies, chowder cook-offs and farmers' markets on any given summer weekend.
West Virginia: Shepherdstown
The oldest town in the state, Shepherdstown sits on the bluffs of the Potomac River. Downtown German Street is home to 19th-century brick buildings, cafés, shops and a handful of landmarks dedicated to Civil War history. (Hey, it was the site of the important battle of Shepherdstown.)
For the majority of the year, Bayfield is the quiet home of 600 or so residents, surrounded by apple orchards, lavender and strawberry fields. But during summer, the bed-and-breakfasts welcome thousands of tourists who come to take advantage of the scenic lake town and all it has to offer.
About an hour east of Yellowstone National Park is a real taste of the Wild West. Cody was named after William Frederick Cody (but you probably know him better as Buffalo Bill). And the town is still home to a professional rodeo, which hosts an annual stampede and attracts the nation’s top cowboys.