50 Underrated Small Towns In America Worth Visiting

If you are a part of the over 80% of Americans who plan at least one trip each year, do you know where you are going this year? While big cities may be an obvious go-to, destinations like New York City and Chicago may not be your kind of scene. Small town America deserves its place in the travel spotlight, and you may be surprised at how many hidden gems are deserving of a little more attention.

There is no place on this Earth that lacks some kind of beauty; you just have to know how to find it. In fact, there are overlooked destinations all over the country that have a history, community, and culture all their own.

We've searched for some of the best small town Main Streets, festivals, and quirky attractions that make the otherwise unnoticed communities of America truly great. These 50 underrated, low-population towns are underdogs in the travel industry and are totally worth checking out.

Abbeville, South Carolina

If you're hunting for Southern charm and endearing small town vibes, Abbeville should shoot to the top of your U.S. travel bucket list. History buffs with a love of architecture will love strolling down its streets, as historical buildings with unique details can be found throughout.

The centerpiece of Abbeville's architectural wonders is the towering Trinity Episcopal Church, which can be seen from downtown. Some of the other old buildings now house a wide range of local businesses to explore.

Abita Springs, Louisiana

Culture is everywhere in Louisiana, not just NOLA. Right across Lake Pontchartrain is Abita Springs, a small town that loves the open air and offers plenty of opportunities to explore local activities and sights.

Everything exciting that happens in Abita Springs is centered around Abita Springs Park and the surrounding area, where you can find the Art and Farmers Market, Pavilion, and the Trailhead Museum. Consider visiting during one of the town's annual festivals, like the Whole Town Garage Sale or the Buskers Festival.

Ashburn, Georgia

For many people, the draw of a small town is the community that is ever present there. Ashburn is a small Georgian town with no lack of love for its people and what they have created there, and it shows in many unusual ways.

If you're planning a trip to this quaint town, bring the whole family to the annual Fire Ant Festival for an eclectic range of festivities. Also, be on the lookout for the world's largest peanut monument. Yes, you read that correctly.

Baraboo, Wisconsin

Baraboo is one seriously cool town, and we aren't just saying that because of how the name slides right off the tongue. The little Wisconsin community is known as a circus town and was home to the Ringling Brothers in their time. The area still honors these roots with its circus museum.

It isn't just trapeze walks and sideshow acts that Baraboo gets excited about. The town also has a love of the mystical and witchy. Their annual Witches Night Out and shops like Mystic Panther bring out another side of the lively town.

Bardstown, Kentucky

With a name like Bardstown, you just know there's a good time to be had here. The small Kentucky town has good drinks and exciting musical entertainment for both locals and visitors to enjoy.

Several whiskey brands make their brews in Bardstown, and their distilleries are open for tours and tastings. The annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival also takes place in the town. The whiskey culture here is perfectly complemented by live music at establishments like The Amp, an outdoor venue.

Belle Fourche, South Dakota

Want to get the heck out of town? Take a trip to South Dakota and fill your time with something a little rowdy. Belle Fourche has a past straight out of a cowboy Western, a history that remains tangible in the small town today.

Belle Fourche is home to the Black Hills Roundup, a rodeo that dates back over a century. Just a half hour from the famous Deadwood (of television fame), this small town is a perfect, underrated addition to a tour of America's old times out west.

Bennington, Vermont

Small towns in New England are worlds apart from those in the South or on the West Coast, but they are no less charming. Cue Bennington, Vermont, a gorgeous town packed with intricate architecture reminiscent of "Practical Magic," an active outdoor scene, and a downtown that will keep your head on a swivel.

Bennington's enchanting nature can be found in its shops, with windows to other worlds available in its bookstores, art galleries, and music shops. The mystic shop 13 Moons inspires visitors to create a little of their own magic here.

Capitola, California

You don't have to fly to Lisbon (Portugal) or the Amalfi Coast (Italy) to get a colorful coastal experience, as there is a much smaller, just as vibrant town waiting on the coast of California. The beach town of Capitola is home to a rainbow of pastels that line the sandy shore.

Capitola's boardwalk boasts two National Historic Landmarks in the form of carnival rides. If thrill rides aren't your thing, play to record your initials on the high score on one of the many arcade games here. Or just take a bazillion photos of the gorgeous pastel-colored buildings.

Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Located 18 miles east of downtown Cleveland, Chagrin Falls has that small town feel with the added benefit of being on the doorstep of a major city. The little village is a perfect mix of art, culture, and history.

Main Street and its cross streets are packed with cute and endearing shops. The historic popcorn shop is a nostalgic venture, and Fireside Book Shop is the perfect place to find your next read. Head over to Riverside Park to enjoy a book and your selected popcorn for a day just as charming as Chagrin Falls itself.

Chimayo, New Mexico

You don't need to head to the Old World for a religious pilgrimage because New Mexico's Chimayo is a spiritual spot worth savoring. Okay, so it may not have the pope or the Vatican, but the shrine here is a holy site for Catholics.

Santuario de Chimayo is humble and historic. Legend has it that the first floors of the little chapel have spiritual abilities that can heal those who make the trek to this holy site.

Cliff Island, Maine

For travelers looking to go a little remote when getting away from everyday life, Maine's Cliff Island offers a somewhat secluded reprieve. Right off the coast of Portland, the rocky coastlines are home to fewer than 100 full-time residents.

You'd struggle to get a more authentic slice of tiny town life than what is offered here, as the island is entirely walkable and all its roads are unpaved. The sights are anything but small, though, and the seaside cliffs offer stunning views of the sunset and sunrise.

Culpeper, Virginia

If "Virginia is for Lovers," then Culpeper is for friendships. The small town boasts a healthy mix of long-time, staple businesses and more modern hangout spots perfect for strengthening relationships or fostering new ones.

Trendy and attractive shops, restaurants, and breweries in historic brick buildings make for perfect full-day outings. For craft beer lovers, Beer Hound Brewery and Far Gohn Brewing Company are located on the same square, and they're within walking distance of numerous local businesses, like the historic Frost Cafe and the eco-shop Green Roost.

Decatur, Georgia

When you think of Georgia, does your mind instantly go to Atlanta? The metropolis is one of America's largest cities, but right next door is the much smaller, more serene community of Decatur.

Decatur has a healthy amount of local businesses that would take quite some time to explore, but the events schedule is where the town really shines. Their annual Downtown Bonfire and Marshmallow Roast lights up the night, and live music festivals and weekends are held throughout the year.

DeLand, Florida

If you are planning a trip to Orlando or Daytona, it's easy to take a little detour and put DeLand on your itinerary — and you should. Located less than an hour away from those popular Florida destinations, the eclectic small town boasts some pretty unique attractions.

Athens Theatre is one spot that should be on your radar. The bright historic theater is in the heart of the town, within walking distance of all DeLand has to offer. A mural walk, sculpture walk, and various art museums also make DeLand a brilliant small city for art lovers.

Ellicottville, New York

Ellicottville offers travelers the best of all worlds, with an exciting outdoor scene and a cozy downtown to return to. There is always something to do here, especially if you like winter sports, shopping, or festivals.

The small New York town has ski slopes, a ropes course, and a golf course, and it is also a fabulous place for hiking and biking. The downtown area has dozens of unique places to eat, drink, and shop. No matter when you visit, there will likely be a festival of some kind happening that you can take part in.

Ennis, Montana

Our world is a stunner, and there is evidence of its beauty all around us. If you're lucky enough to visit Ennis, Montana, you might just have a new golden standard when it comes to how beautiful things can get on this big hunk of rock.

The mountains, plains, and stellar sunsets surrounding Ennis are awe-inspiring, but there's more to do in the town than just look. Fly fishing is big here, and the old Western-style downtown area has a surprising number of cool businesses, from art-based establishments to the town's own distillery.

Fredericksburg, Texas

A small Texan town might not be the first place you'd look for a craft beer experience, but Fredericksburg is a beer city through and through. The German-inspired town takes its beer very seriously, with many businesses brewing something special.

In addition to its beer troves, Fredericksburg also features a Magic Mile in its downtown area, with brilliant art galleries, unique shopping opportunities, and restaurants that pair delicious grub with local brews.

Glover, Vermont

Many tourists may be used to cities having a designated place for the weird and wacky, but some small towns have been built on the backs of misfits. Glover, Vermont, has honed its own special kind of weird, and there's more than one bizarre attraction in the tiny New England town.

Travelers looking for a one-of-a-kind experience should head to the Bread and Puppet Theater, where nearly unexplainable displays await you. The Museum of Everyday Life is another must-see, though you're likely very familiar with everything on display here. That is kind of the point, after all.

Guthrie, Oklahoma

An underrated Oklahoman jewel, Guthrie has a charm all its own that shines differently throughout the year. Strong Christmas traditions make it a good choice for a holiday trip, and a tight connection to cowboy culture makes the rodeo season a great time to visit as well.

Guthrie is a town that looks to be stuck in time (in the best way), as the architecture is gorgeously reminiscent of Victorian times. The town also features a Christmas celebration that matches the era. For more historical experiences, check out the town museums, like the Frontier Drugstore Museum.

Hanapepe, Hawaii

It's hard to think of any part of Hawaii as underrated because of how culturally important and gorgeous the state is, not to mention how popular it is. The truth is, though, many visitors stick to the major destinations within the state, and they miss out on gems like Hanapepe.

Visitors will be impressed by how creative the community in Hanapepe is, as art is the town's defining feature, and art shops and galleries open to welcome all on Friday nights. Be sure to walk the swinging bridge as well, the town's featured landmark.

Island Park, Idaho

Chances are Idaho takes up very little room in your brain when it comes to choosing a travel destination, but we're here to change that. It is absolutely bonkers how beautiful the state is, and Island Park showcases the very best of the Gem State.

With a stellar view of the mountains and exciting outings for all seasons, Island Park is a dream destination for lovers of the outdoors. The small town also has one of the longest Main Streets in the world, and the stretch of road is a great place to start when hunting for the sights.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Though you may have never heard of it, Wyoming's Jackson Hole has quite a lot going for it. Not only is it an ideal destination for skiers, but a considerable portion of the surrounding area is protected land.

Jackson Hole is a stone's throw from Grand Teton National Park, and the scenery here is lavish. The town's love of nature and the outdoors is complemented by its Western vibe, seen in the shops and the saloon-style bars.

Jud, North Dakota

The town of Jud is very down-home, and there is nothing fancy about the buildings here. That said, the residents have made their little no-frills town something to write home about.

Murals can be found scattered throughout the town on both preserved and dilapidated buildings, creating a totally unique-to-Jud look. Some of the old buildings look straight out of a time capsule, so architecture and history buffs should also find the tiny town delightfully intriguing.

Leavenworth, Washington

The magic of New York City during Christmas is known throughout the world. However, there's a more intimate destination on the opposite side of the country that exudes its own kind of holiday spirit. Leavenworth, Washington, is a picture-perfect Hallmark Christmas town that might not yet be on your holiday travel radar.

Leavenworth's German-inspired downtown is what makes the town so charming. The shops and local businesses that line the streets are fun to explore year-round, but around the holidays is when festive pub crawls and shining lights make the area so much more endearing.

Lewes, Delaware

Lewes is a small town seemingly built just for history buffs. Between its connections to the Underground Railroad, historic buildings, and museums, the town of fewer than 3,300 people has plenty to offer visitors.

When visiting, Lewes presents a charcuterie board of history, with each museum looking into a chunk of the town's past. The Zwaanendael Museum is impressive at first sight, and both the Maritime and Nanticoke Indian Museum show completely different perspectives of history.

Lewisburg, West Virginia

Lewisburg is one of the coolest small towns in America, but have you ever heard of the small West Virginia spot? Maybe so, maybe not, as Charleston and Morgantown might first jump to mind for outsiders.

All towns in West Virginia are technically small enough to be on this list, and the Mountain State is highly underrated. Its beauty knows no bounds, and Lewisburg, in particular, sees quite a bit of this with the Seneca Skyway running right through it.

Lisbon, Maine

All-American travelers may know to head to Route 66 for an Americana-filled vacation, but Maine is also a fabulous place for Americana fans to visit. In addition to being a naturally stunning place surrounded by waterfalls, a roaring river, and nature, Lisbon is home to the Moxie Festival.

Moxie is one of the first mainstream sodas, and the root beer-like drink is beloved in the town and the broader New England area. Moxiefest combines this love for the drink with coastal New England culture and should be on any Americana lover's travel bucket list.

Lovelock, Nevada

The tradition of leaving a pair of locks on fences and bridges as a show of unbreakable love has become standard in many cities around the world. The town of Lovelock naturally takes part in this tradition, and a pit stop here with your partner could be a gesture to cement your love for one another.

Historians in love have even more reason to visit this small desert town, as legend says giants used to live here. The remains of a large humanoid were found near Lovelock, and the area has myriad stories of such figures.

Micanopy, Florida

You may think of fun in the sun or even Alligator Alley when considering Florida, but the Sunshine State is littered with little gems of towns. Micanopy, nestled between protected parks, is one such destination.

The tiny town has just over 600 residents and is known as an antique hunter's dream. Though you can find shops elsewhere in the town, Cholokka Boulevard is the place to go for a tremendous thrifting experience. Here, historic buildings hold hidden treasures ripe for the picking.

Narragansett, Rhode Island

Though Narragansett is not a tropical beach getaway, this small Rhode Island town is an underrated coastal destination. Its main beach boasts a sandy coast and a view of a castle-like structure known as The Towers, the remnants of an old casino.

The rest of the town takes its cue from The Towers, as large residences and buildings make their presence known throughout. Of course, a signature New England lighthouse (Point Judith Lighthouse) is also present.

Nevada City, California

California is truly one of the most diverse states. Between the Redwoods and various shorelines, you could seemingly visit many worlds within the same state. Nevada City is yet another kind of place Cali has hidden amongst its desirable locations.

The small town makes you feel you've traveled in time with its Victorian Christmas tradition. Oil lamps and attire from the 19th century make for a somewhat immersive experience and an intriguing way to spend the holidays.

Ottawa, Illinois

Not to be confused with the much larger capital of Canada, Ottawa, Illinois, is a historic river town with a wildly creative personality. The best way to enjoy the small town is to get outside, where nature and art are waiting.

Ottawa is covered in murals, and the architecture around the town is charming and stylish. The informative murals, as well as the historic buildings, tell the story of the town in a visual and appreciative way.

Paris, Arkansas

While no French getaway, Paris, Arkansas, certainly tries its hardest to be worthy of the Parisian moniker. A mini-fountain Eiffel Tower, a designated space for love locks, and a Main Street bursting with charm make the small town a highly underrated, low-key destination for love and friendship.

The holiday season sees the miniature tower and surrounding square lit up brightly. This creates the perfect place to stand and embrace festive magic with the people you care most about.

Park City, Utah

Nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Park City, Utah, is a nature lover's paradise. The snow-capped mountains make a perfect backdrop for the town and an even better spot for respite.

With two resorts, the town takes skiing very seriously. Despite it being the main draw, skiing isn't the only sport visitors are finding enjoyment out of here. Other winter sports are popular, sure, but during the summer months, horseback riding, paddle boarding, hiking, biking, and fishing take over.

Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Science fiction fans looking for a destination from their favorite films should consider adding Phoenixville to their itinerary. The adorable town is home to one of the filming locations for the cult classic "The Blob," which holds a special place in the hearts of many who appreciate a good B-movie.

The Colonial Theater is not only featured in "The Blob," but it is now the location of an annual festival dedicated to the film and all things classic sci-fi and horror. Blobfest includes costume contests, vendors, and screenings of the classics.

Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Ponchatoula is a town of quirks. Like the Molly Shannon of small towns, the community embraces its eccentric nature and strives to be known for something. And this place undoubtedly has a "Superstar" quality about it.

Though they haven't made fetch happen yet, the town is known for its former alligator mascot, Old Hardhide. The nearby swamp is full of modern-day dinosaurs and is supposedly haunted by a voodoo priestess. On a lighter note, you may want to visit during their spring Strawberry Festival – just keep an eye out for gators.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Though known in New Hampshire, the small city of Portsmouth is vastly underrated in terms of a destination and is still somewhat overshadowed by the Granite State's larger cities. The coastal community has all the charm of a small town with the liveliness of a city.

There is always something new to see in Portsmouth. Whether you are by the water, enjoying the nightlife, or exploring the thriving art scene, you'll be able to find something that speaks to your soul here.

Rockland, Maine

Rockland is everything you'd expect from a small town in Maine. Cold, rocky coasts, quaint buildings in a tranquil setting, and plenty of local history evident throughout. The lively Main Street brings something extra special to the town, though.

Lights brighten Rockland's Main Street at night as shops, museums, and restaurants offer a safe haven from the windchill. Strand TheaterFarnsworth Art Museum, and Rock Harbor Brewing Co. would all make a memorable visit.

San Luis Obispo, California

If you love the idea of visiting a town like Seattle but aren't a fan of big-city life, then San Luis Obispo, California, just may be a perfect solution. Though no two destinations are totally interchangeable, this small town has some major parallels to the coastal coffee city 1,019 miles to the north.

First of all, San Luis Obispo boasts its own disgustingly awesome gum wall. And though it is no Pike Place Market, the community also has its own farmers market spanning five blocks.

Scottsboro, Alabama

Where do things go when they're lost? While the land of missing socks is still a mystery, some lost airline baggage ends up in Scottsboro, Alabama. This seemingly random town contains the headquarters of Unclaimed Baggage, the only retailer of lost luggage in the U.S.

You have heard of antique picking, but sifting through suitcases and forlorn personal effects hits a little different. Scottsboro is unique when it comes to thrift shopping, an underrated experience next to antiquing. The Alabama town also has a pretty hopping outdoor scene, surrounded by wildlife and parks like Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge.

Silver City, New Mexico

Most travelers opt for a beach getaway over one on desolate plains, but desert towns like New Mexico's Silver City have a unique kind of magic to them. Art and history, especially, have a place here and work together to tell the town's story.

Silver City itself is a work of art, each building a piece of a great masterpiece. Southwestern architecture with varying indigenous influences can be found at every turn, and the culture here clearly honors the traditions and stories of its native people.

Silverton, Colorado

Colorado is a go-to state for those who love the outdoors, but you aren't limited to Denver when making your pilgrimage there. Silverton is an underrated Mecca for hiking, biking, and many other outdoor sports or hobbies you may be into.

Once you come off the mountain, Silverton welcomes you with a lovely downtown with two local breweries. You can also tour the old gold mine, which put the town on the map.

Somerville, New Jersey

If you're looking for a small town with a walkable and diverse downtown area, Somerville should be in your travel plans. "Eat, drink, and be merry" is an understatement here, as the small town boasts over 100 restaurants and cafes in the downtown area alone.

While deciding where you're going to eat, you can be kept company by the street art adorning the diverse collection of businesses. The buildings and some of the sidewalks along your walk here are painted in celebration of the arts.

Spruce Pine, North Carolina

Appalachia is one of the most beautiful regions of the United States, and the mountain range is littered with tiny towns rich with powerful views. Spruce Pine is one such town along the Blue Ridge Parkway, though consistently outshined by Asheville and the Shenandoah Valley.

The gorgeous nature views complement Spruce Pine's downtown area, which features many art spaces. The town's Fire on the Mountain Festival is a great time to visit if you love the art of blacksmithing and metalwork.

Staunton, Virginia

Virginia is a state ripe with history, and though plenty of its cities and towns have their place, Staunton is an often overlooked historical gem. The railroad town was an important supply station in the Civil War, and modern-day residents have clung to a love of history, preserving it and creating new historical landmarks.

One such landmark is the Blackfriars Playhouse, a somewhat historically accurate recreation of an indoor Shakespearean theater. A must-see city for history buffs, visitors may also enjoy Staunton's numerous museums, such as the Frontier Culture Museum.

Sundance, Wyoming

No one is going to judge you for wanting to play childhood games of the Wild West, especially in Sundance. A Wyoming landscape is just the thing to transport you back in time to cowboys riding across the plains.

Take a ride out to Devils Tower to satisfy your need to explore the Western frontier and see colossal rock formations on the plains. Stop in at the Dime Horseshoe Bar for a gritty end to your Wild West day.

Telluride, Colorado

A former Victorian mining town, Telluride, Colorado, is bordered by the picturesque mountains and has an undeniably magnificent homely vibe, accentuated by the beauty of it surroundings. You can't go anywhere in the town without having an epic view, and it doesn't take much effort to get lost in nature's beauty.

Hiking and winter sports are popular pastimes here, but the town itself isn't something to ignore. All styles of music and art have a place here, and it's impossible to ignore the creativity that has taken root in Telluride.

Traverse City, Michigan

Located right on Lake Michigan, Traverse City often gets overlooked in favor of the Great Lake's much larger cities. However, a glorious outdoor scene meets a culture-rich downtown here, making it one of the most underrated destinations in the area.

Almost every month, Traverse City's downtown area has an event on the schedule. Food, art, and music play a big part in the majority of these festivals, like the International Fireworks Championship or the National Cherry Festival.

Warren, Rhode Island

Almost entirely surrounded by water, Warren isn't a place you'd likely come across by accident. In the same breath, though, it does seem like the kind of town you'd stumble upon and never leave. Gorgeous water views, bike trails, and fascinating businesses make for a content town; a feeling passed to travelers as they explore all it has to offer.

Warren is packed with shops, restaurants, and art. The town prioritizes self-care and creativity, with galleries and collaborative spaces many, as well as salons and gyms.

Yellow Springs, Ohio

There are famous springs all over the United States, many of which have a history of spiritual healing properties. One you may not have heard of, though, is Ohio's Yellow Springs.

The village has plenty of opportunities for visitors to get out in nature, including its namesake mineral spring. Legend says that if you drink from the spring, fate will see you return. The local brewery and shops in the downtown area will have you coming back as well.


We've considered the term "small town" to mean a town with a population of fewer than 50,000 people. The difference between a town with just a few hundred inhabitants and one with a population in the five-figure range is tremendous, but the charm and a sense of quaintness are achievable in this range all the same.

We looked at a few key factors when determining which towns made the cut. Districts, squares, and Main Streets with something a little extra special are a huge factor in this determination. History, culture, and all-around vibes are all important as well.

In addition to anything outstanding a town has to offer on its own, we also looked at the surrounding area. Has the town's strengths and awesomeness been outshone by a nearby destination or a popular place with similar features? We gave the little guys credit where it was due and let them stand on their own here.