20 Best Small Towns in America for Your Bucket List
Are you seeking a respite from the busy and noisy urban lifestyle? Look no further than America’s small towns. From the quaint and charming to the downright quirky, small towns across the country offer unique experiences and attractions. Here are 20 of America’s most famous. Where are you going next?
1. Deadwood, South Dakota
The Black Hills of South Dakota is home to Mount Rushmore and one of the Wild West’s most famous gold-rush towns – Deadwood. Today, visitors can see the historic town and hear stories of famous cowboys and cowgirls that spent time in the area, such as Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Wyatt Earp.
2. Moab, Utah
Home to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, Moab is a popular place for outdoor adventures and summer road trips. Around 5,000 people live here year-round but tourism traffic can swell the town into the thousands.
3. Whitefish, Montana
Considered a gateway to Glacier National Park, Whitefish also has a legendary ski resort known for its powder. During the summer, it is a great place to get out in nature and maybe even taste the local huckleberries.
4. Hell, Michigan
Hell, Michigan, is a small town with a population of around 72-266 people, known for its unique name and attractions, such as the Hell Hole Diner and Dam Site Inn.
Tourists enjoy sending postcards with the town’s name to friends and family and visiting the Hell Saloon for a drink. The city also hosts an annual “Hellfest” celebration featuring live music and other entertainment.
5. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
This town of just 5,725 residents, but it’s famous for its groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Every year on February 2nd, people flock to Gobbler’s Knob to see if the groundhog’s prediction will either indicate an early spring or six additional weeks of winter.
In addition to the annual Groundhog Day festivities, the town has a cute downtown area with local shops and restaurants.
6. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg is a small town in Pennsylvania with just over 7,300 people. It is most famous for the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War, which is commemorated by a national military park and numerous historical sites.
Tourists flock to this town to explore the battlefield, visit the Gettysburg National Cemetery, and take a ghost tour of the city. The town is also known for its quaint downtown area with charming shops and restaurants.
7. Woodstock, New York
Woodstock is a small town located in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. With a population of almost 5,793 people, it is known for its vibrant arts and music scene.
Tourists rave over the annual Woodstock Film Festival and the town’s rich musical history, including the famous 1969 Woodstock festival in nearby Bethel. In addition, visitors can stroll down Tinker Street, lined with unique shops and restaurants, or hike through the beautiful surrounding forests and mountains.
8. Tombstone, Arizona
Tombstone, Arizona, a town with a population of around 1,300, is known for its Wild West history and the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Visitors can witness reenactments of the shootout, visit the Boot Hill Graveyard, and explore the town’s historic sites and museums.
9. Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid, a picturesque village in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, is a popular year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
With a population of just over 2,245, this small town is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, crystal-clear lakes, and Olympic history. In addition to world-class skiing, hiking, and biking, visitors can enjoy water sports, golf, and fishing.
10. Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Kitty Hawk is a small town with almost 3,761. Known as the birthplace of flight, it’s where the Wright Brothers made history with the first powered flight.
Tourists enjoy the beautiful beaches and water activities, such as kayaking and surfing. The town is also home to the Wright Brothers National Memorial, a must-see for aviation enthusiasts.
11. Sleepy Hollow, New York
Sleepy Hollow, New York, with a population of 10,955, is famous for its connection to the spooky legend of the Headless Horseman. Tourists visit this small town to explore the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and visit the Old Dutch Church.
The town hosts several events throughout the year, including the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, where thousands of carved pumpkins are lit up in a spectacular display, and the Horseman’s Hollow, a haunted house attraction inspired by the Headless Horseman legend.
12. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Nestled in the heart of the Teton Mountains, Jackson Hole is a small town with big adventures. With a population of just over 10,849, this charming western town is a gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
13. Forks, Washington
Nestled in the lush rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula, Forks is a small town with a population of 3,385 that packs a big punch for fans of the supernatural.
Known as the “Home of Twilight,” this town was the inspiration and setting for the popular vampire romance series. Visitors can explore the real-life landmarks that inspired the books and movies.
14. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Tucked in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas, this charming small town is known for its colorful Victorian architecture, antique stores, spas, and art. It is a great town to base out of if you love outdoor adventures. Eureka Springs is about an hour and a half from Buffalo National River, one of Arkansas’s prized national parks.
Northwest Arkansas is special — I love it here.
15. Taos, New Mexico
Not only is Taos famous for its ski resort, it is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a designated National Historic Landmark. Taos is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Called a “dog’s heaven on earth,” visitors won’t find addresses, parking meters, streetlights, or sidewalks outside of the downtown commercial area. The town is known for its European Style and proximity to the fabulous coastline.
17. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Gatlinburg is a small tourist town nestled next to the Great Smoky Mountains. It is also a gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most visited national parks in the U.S.
18. Telluride, Colorado
Tucked in a box canyon in southwest Colorado, Telluride is the place to go if you love hiking, camping, and winter sports. Here, the views of the San Juan Mountains will take your breath away.
19. Fredericksburg, Texas
With its award-winning wine country and culinary scene, people come from all over to visit Fredericksburg. Its friendly Texas ambiance is why so many people are choosing to visit. The town is also famous for its bluebonnets.
20. Sedona, Arizona
Sedona is another popular small town known for its beautiful red rock country and new-age hippie vibe. Less than 10,000 people live in Sedona year-round, but you wouldn’t guess from visiting during certain times of the year. It’s also an outdoor lover’s paradise.
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Where indicated, images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.