Road Trips Trip Ideas outdoor color Town road colorful neighbourhood street way scene vacation Downtown shopping sidewalk store colored several
Trip Ideas

The 9 Cutest Small Towns in America

Every year, America’s small towns draw tourists—and new residents—to their streets in droves. They are, after all, reminders of a simpler way of life, where mom-and-pop shops are the norm, everybody knows your name, and the pace is slower than the speed of tweets. To help you get away from the breakneck tempo of your daily routine, we rounded up nine of the cutest small towns for an easy weekend escape, from a picturesque New England coastal haven to a romantic Southern getaway that feels untouched by time.

Jen has been a staff editor at Architectural Digest, Travel + Leisure, and Martha Stewart Weddings, and her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Afar, and Elle Decor. When she's not snowmobiling in the French Alps or tasting scotch straight from the barrel in Scotland, she's at home in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

See recent posts by Jennifer Fernandez

Trip Ideas sky outdoor water Nature Beach shore snow Sea body of water Coast horizon Ocean vacation morning cloud River sand bay landscape loch wave Lake sunlight dusk reservoir
Trip Ideas tree building outdoor grass sky house property estate Town Garden Village tourism brick vacation home mansion château rural area flower old waterway stone cottage castle Villa lush bushes
Carmel, California

Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

With its local wineries and Pacific Coast Highway views, the Northern California town of Carmel-by-the-Sea is as idyllic as its name suggests. Come for the beach, a mile-long swath of white sand from which you can view dolphins and sea lions, then wander around town to shop quirky independent boutiques and see whimsical cottages that look like they came straight out of a fairytale. The atmospheric gardens and chapels at Spanish-colonial Carmel Mission, founded in 1770 and designated a National Historic Landmark, offer worthy spots for reflection, though you’ll find just as much tranquility after a stay in one of the intimate suites at L’Auberge Carmel. For dinner, nab a table at Cultura Comida y Bebida, where chef Michelle Estigoy serves standout chicken tinga tacos and epazote quesadillas inspired by her family’s Mexican heritage.

Trip Ideas mountain sky outdoor water mountainous landforms Nature landform geographical feature mountain range fjord Sea Lake vacation cloud loch bay vehicle Coast glacial landform alps boating shore day

Sitka, AK

Accessible only by air and sea, the fishing village of Sitka is a remote beauty that anyone who has watched the 2009 Sandra Bullock film The Proposal is sure to recognize (filming took place in Rockport, Massachusetts, but sets were built to resemble this port town). Here, you can indulge in the natural pursuits Alaska is known for, from whale watching and kayaking to hiking up a dormant volcano or strolling through towering spruce trees—spotting bald eagles and totem poles along the way—at Sitka National Historic Park.

Book Hotels In Alaska
Trip Ideas grass sky outdoor mountain mountainous landforms Ruins Village Town human settlement vacation rural area hill landscape ancient history valley fortification monastery dirt ruin highland
Taos, New Mexico

Taos, NM

It’s easy to see why this high-desert town in the Sangre de Christo Mountains has become a haven for artists, writers, and other creative types. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a feast for the senses thanks to its striking adobe architecture, red-rock canyons, and snow-tipped peaks. Feeling inspired? View works by the likes of Agnes Martin and other local painters at the Harwood Museum of Art and more than 80 other galleries. There are also plenty of activities to keep adrenaline junkies engaged year ‘round. Summer brings hiking and hot air ballooning, while winter offers some of the best skiing in the country.

RELATED: 22 U.S. National Parks to See Now

Book Hotels in New Mexico
airstream ambient lighting artistic artsy calm Exterior Glamping Hip isolation Luxury Travel night Night Sky Patio porch quirky remote serene Terrace trendy Trip Ideas sky outdoor transport vehicle light evening
airstream artistic artsy calm Exterior Hip Hotels isolation quirky remote serene Solo Travel trendy Trip Ideas outdoor sky property transport trailer home house real estate cottage vehicle shack shed outdoor structure hut
artistic artsy bed Bedroom cozy fire Firepit Fireplace Hip Hotels interior isolation living area quirky remote Solo Travel teepee trendy Trip Ideas indoor decorated bedclothes furniture

Marfa, TX

As art meccas go, Marfa is an unlikely one. Founded in 1883, the tiny Texas town—population under 2,000—has served as a railway headquarters and military training base, but it wasn’t until the 1970s, when artist Donald Judd moved there, that it became a cultural destination for the aesthetically informed. View some of his most iconic concrete sculptures on a sunrise tour of the Chinati Foundation, or make like the Insta glitterati and take a selfie in front of Elmgreen and Dragset’s now-famous Prada Marfa installation, off Highway 90.

Balcony Country Deck Inn Living Lounge Trip Ideas property room porch estate home backyard outdoor structure cottage interior design real estate Villa living room Patio mansion Garden furniture stone
Bedroom Country Inn Living Trip Ideas floor indoor room wall living room property estate home interior design dining room furniture Suite real estate mansion window curtain Design window covering window treatment decorated several
Trip Ideas tree outdoor grass habitat plant Nature park natural environment grove ecosystem woodland botany Forest woody plant estate leaf Garden flower biome plantation arecales Jungle botanical garden area wooded lush surrounded

Beaufort, SC

If this Lowcountry fishing village looks straight out of a movie set, that’s because it is: Beaufort was the backdrop for such films as Forrest Gump and The Big Chill thanks to its sprawling antebellum mansions, moss-draped oaks, and picturesque downtown streets. Located on Port Royal Island in South Carolina’s Sea Island chain, the town makes an ideal base for enjoying simple pleasures and all manner of aquatic diversions, including paddle boarding, kayaking, dolphin watching, and crabbing.

Book Hotels in South Carolina
Exterior Golf Grounds Outdoors Trip Ideas Waterfront tree outdoor sky property house estate home residential area real estate Resort Garden yard backyard cottage mansion Villa lawn Courtyard Village suburb plantation plant empty
Trip Ideas tree outdoor grass road sky transport park horse-drawn vehicle
Trip Ideas road outdoor building sky street way Town transport scene City neighbourhood sidewalk urban area human settlement Downtown residential area vacation tourism cityscape infrastructure vehicle travel pedestrian

Galena, IL

The romantic ideal of Main Street is alive and well in this mining town on Illinois’s northwestern border—think of it as the Midwest’s version of Stars Hollow. Trolley cars still cruise down the historic lane, which is lined with 19th-century brick buildings and cute galleries, boutiques, and craft shops that give it a distinctly small-town feel. American history fanatics, however, will be more impressed with Galena’s status as the home of Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant, a fact illuminated at the U.S. president’s namesake museum.

B&B Balcony Boutique Scenic views Trip Ideas Waterfront sky chair outdoor property room vacation home Resort estate Ocean house Villa overlooking cottage condominium interior design real estate apartment Suite living room Deck furniture
B&B Grounds Ocean Trip Ideas tree outdoor building bicycle ground house neighbourhood residential area home flower estate Courtyard yard Garden cottage parked
B&B Boutique Outdoors Scenic views Trip Ideas Waterfront water scene sky outdoor pier Sunset reflection sunrise dawn Sea evening dusk morning River shore Coast bridge walkway cityscape sunlight long lined line several
Trip Ideas sky grass outdoor shore Sea Coast horizon vacation Beach bay Ocean cove marina dock Lagoon reservoir Lake tower

Edgartown, MA

On the southeast tip of Martha’s Vineyard, Edgartown is the quintessential New England seaside getaway with classic shingle-style buildings, windswept dunes, and a scenic lighthouse. Though the beaches are the draw, the onetime whaling port brims with storybook charm. Tour the 18th-century homes of whaling captains on foot or bike, then try your hand at sailing like a local. All it takes is a short ferry ride to explore neighboring Chappaquiddick Island, where, during the summer, you can play a round of night golf by the light of the full moon.

RELATED: The 18 Best Weekender Bags Out There Now

Book Hotels in Edgartown, MA
Trip Ideas tree outdoor grass River season autumn flower reflection Garden waterway leaf rural area Nature landscape pond park Lake château Forest lush wooded surrounded
Trip Ideas grass outdoor tree leisure backyard yard outdoor play equipment outdoor structure lawn table Playground furniture set
Trip Ideas outdoor tree sky building house property home residential area estate suburb cottage roof rural area landscape Farm residential Village farmhouse old Town Garden

Stowe, VT

This impossibly quaint Green Mountain town has all the makings of a Norman Rockwell painting—right down to the general store. But there’s more to Stowe than simple pleasures. Not only does Stowe have Vermont’s tallest peak, making it one of the East Coast’s most popular (and powder-friendly) ski destinations, it’s also home to the Trapp Family Lodge, an Austrian-style chalet owned by the family immortalized in The Sound of Music, as well as a stellar culinary scene. Don’t miss the grilled cauliflower steak with quinoa at our favorite dinner spot, Plate. Have a sweet tooth? The Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory is nearby in Waterbury.

Trip Ideas grass tree outdoor Town neighbourhood landmark residential area plaza human settlement vacation Resort arecales estate tourism town square Village cityscape Garden
Trip Ideas water sky outdoor Boat kayak vehicle sea kayak kayaking boating watercraft transport orange watercraft rowing sports equipment Lake Sea Sunset paddle
Road Trips Trip Ideas outdoor color Town road colorful neighbourhood street way scene vacation Downtown shopping sidewalk store colored several

St. Augustine, FL

The cobblestone streets of St. Augustine are steeped in history. Founded in 1565 by Spanish conquistadors, the northern Atlantic coast town is studded with colonial architecture, from the 17th-century Castillo de San Marcos fortress to the Victorian antiques-filled Lightner Museum, housed in an 1887 Spanish Renaissance Revival building commissioned by Rockefeller business associate and Florida real estate magnate Henry Flagler. If sun and sand is what you seek, there’s plenty of that, too: Anastasia State Park comprises four miles of wildlife-dotted beach and maritime forests.

Book Hotels in St. Augustine, FL

What to Pack on Your Next Trip

Headed on a small-town adventure this season? Don’t forget to pack some of our favorites from Everlane, Madewell, and Nordstrom.

For info on these editor-selected items, click to visit the seller’s site. Things you buy may earn us a commission.

Want more?



All products are independently selected by our writers and editors. If you buy something through our links, Jetsetter may earn an affiliate commission.