America’s Coolest Small Towns

Big cities like New York and Los Angeles may get most of the attention, but America is filled with small towns and communities. Come with the added appeal of rustic charm and hometown heroes. America’s wonderful small towns offer a carefree getaway at a fraction of the cost. 

Carmel, California

Carmel is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. Just above California’s famed Big Sur is gorgeous Monterey Peninsula. Home to Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Carmel-by-the-Sea, a tiny, one square mile, charmer with upscale shopping and dining amid gingerbread-like houses.

Breckenridge, Colorado

Located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Breckenridge is one of the state’s most popular resort destinations. Known most for its ski resort, Breckenridge is an authentic mountain town. In winter, blankets of soft snow set the stage for outdoor adventure; in the fall, the leaf foliage can’t be beat; and in summer, enjoy the cool mountain breezes make for perfect hiking weather. Plenty of things to do and enjoy such as great restaurants, Breckenridge beer festivals, art crafts and cute little bars. One of the best of these amazing-any-time-of-year towns is Breckenridge.

Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic has become known for its quintessential New England charm. A beautiful, picturesque town worth visiting. Whether you are looking at the beautiful waterfront or the historic homes, eating at a local pub or restaurant, or just taking in the scenery, Mystic is an interesting town and worth spending time in! Attend Downtown Mystic’s annual Pirate Invasion around the end of September or early October. The fun starts with a movie in the park on Friday night, continues throughout the weekend with children’s activities, a pub crawl, and ends with the pirate invasion on Sunday in Mystic River Park!

Sanibel Island, Florida

You’ll also find amiable small towns up and down the peninsula state’s coastline, Just 12 miles long and 3 miles wide, Sanibel features shell-covered beaches and wildlife refuges for a truly off-the-beaten-path Floridian getaway.Seafood is the order of the day on Sanibel, and there are more than a few ways to get a fish fix. May is an excellent time to go: The water is warm, and the sun is generally shining during the island’s shoulder season. 

Hanalei, Hawaii

On Hawaii’s oldest and greenest island of Kaui, you’ll find Hanalei Bay, featured in the film “South Pacific.” Its a peaceful Hanalei Town with scenic beaches, mountain views and a laid-back surfer vibe. Grab a Mai Tai at a local hot spot, enjoy fresh sushi and shaved ice, explore historic churches and houses, and wriggle your toes in the sand as your cares fade away.

Ketchum, Idaho

Within central Idaho is the sweet town of Ketchum, the heart of Sun Valley Ski Resort. (That’s the mountain surrounding the town.) You’ll find art museums and galleries alongside ski shops and amenities in this artsy community that has yet to become an Instagram sensation — making it far more appealing.

Traverse City, Michigan

Might be the largest city in northern Michigan, but Traverse City retains small-town charm, particularly during its annual, beloved National Cherry Festival. (fact: Three-quarters of the popular Montmorency cherries grown in the U.S. come from Michigan!) Besides being popular for their tart cherries, the town boasts a location in Grand Traverse Bay, providing an entryway to carefree days on the water and bays of Lake Michigan.

Cape May, New Jersey

The Jersey Shore is loaded with small beach towns, from the outskirts of New York all the way down to the southern tip of the state. If your vision of the Jersey Shore has been shaped by the MTV “reality” show, you’ll definitely be surprised by Cape May.

Found at the lower tip of the Shore, just across from Delaware, this Victorian seaside town seeps charm. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into fictional Mayberry — only this one set along the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cooperstown, New York

What is more American than baseball? How about going to the small town that is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame? Found at the lower tip of Otsego Lake, this charming village is lined with quaint shops, restaurants, art galleries and museums, farming and, of course, baseball. 

Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort is a city on Port Royal Island, one of South Carolina’s coastal Sea Islands. It’s known for its antebellum mansions, especially in the downtown historic district. Each of the coastal Sea Islands of South Carolina are inviting, but Beaufort’s downtown district filled with historic and imposing antebellum mansions along palm tree-lined streets make it not-to-be-missed.