40 American Towns You Haven’t Heard of But Should Visit ASAP

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Hit the roads less traveled.

1

Damariscotta, Maine
This boating and fishing community located on the salty Damariscotta River will have you wondering why river towns aren’t more popular. The shores are lined with oyster shells that historians say are from Native American gatherings 2,500 years ago. Cool, no?2

Galena, Illinois
The historic charm of this mining town’s six-block Main Street will make you feel like you took a time machine to a different decade. After you conquer downtown, must-see attractions include the Old Market House and the Historical Society and Museum.3

Pella, Iowa
Even though this midwest town is quaint and quiet during the majority of the year, it totally transforms in May for the annual Tulip Time Festival. To honor their dutch culture, they transform the streets into the Netherlands and host an epic parade.4

Welch, West Virginia
This town used to be all about coal mining, but today it’s rich in history thanks to the Kimball War Memorial. We recommend grabbing a bite and sitting next to the Elkhorn Creek that flows through the town and into the Tug Fort.

 

5

Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
This town’s motto is «The Oldest Summer Resort in America,» and its prime location on Lake Winnipesaukee proves why. People from all over New Hampshire, Boston and even Hollywood (Drew Barrymore once visited!) vacation here during warm summer months.

6

Corning, New York
Wineries and breweries: check. Close proximity to gorgeous lakes: check. The only Smithsonian museum in the region: check. This southern Finger Lakes community offers something for everyone—no wonder it’s recently become a favorite for destination weddings.

7

Keene, New Hampshire
Even though downtown Keene is a must-visit destination, the countryside and lakes are the real treasures in this town. Make sure you take a tour of the covered bridges and hike up Mount Monadnock during your stay.

8

Ferndale, California
It makes sense why this city’s population of 1,372 people all live within one square mile when you see how lovely it is downtown. It’s known as the «Cream City» for its well-preserved Victorian storefronts and homes and will let you escape the daily grind.

9

Franklin, Tennessee
About 21 miles south of Nashville is a much quieter downtown experience that still offers tons of culture. Wind your way through antique shops and restaurants, then catch a live show at one of their award-winning venues, like The Franklin Theatre.

10

Healdsburg, California
This northern Sonoma County town is a lesser-known destination for wine tasting, but no less gorgeous. If you’ve had your fill of pinot, there’s still plenty to do, including hiking, biking and even canoeing.

11

Lanesboro, Minnesota
Known as the bed and breakfast capital of Minnesota, this small town (the population is just 754!) offers relaxation for couples and outdoor adventures for families in the bluffs of the Root River Valley.

12

Little Compton, Rhode Island
This fishing town originally belonged to the Sakonnet tribe, but today it’s known as Rhode Island’s secret coast. It’s a favorite place for locals to escape to the beach, take in local artwork or grab a lobster roll.

13

Woods Hole, Massachusetts
This tiny, bustling town in the southwest corner of Cape Cod was once a pass-through destination for Martha’s Vineyard ferry travelers. Now it holds its own thanks to a waterfront filled with restaurants and shopping.

14

Marietta, Ohio
Back in the 1700s, when this town was settled, it was named in honor of Marie Antoinette. Today, it’s a historic riverboat town that’s ideal for families who seek out vacations full of outdoor adventures.

15

Cedar Key, Florida
This secluded beach community is less about the hustle and bustle and more about small town living. Proof: The restaurant- and buffet-filled streets of the mile-long historic district are filled with bicycles instead of cars.

16

Grand Haven, Michigan
Located on the Eastern shore of Lake Michigan and the mouth of the Grand River is this appropriately named town, which offers wine tasting, sand dune riding and an annual Coast Guard Festival at the end of every summer.

17

Frederick, Maryland
Less than one hour from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore is this small town that’s surrounded by mountains, wineries and orchards. Downtown has even been designated as the Arts & Entertainment District, where you can find live music, dancing, you name it.

18

Shelburne, Vermont
Along the shores of Lake Champlain is this quiet town that’s most famous for Shelburne Farms, a series of barns where people can milk cows and watch cheesemakers make cheddars.

19

Damascus, Virginia
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia is this small town (we’re talking a population of 814 people) that is known as «Trail Town.» Hikers and bikers seek it out since it’s at the cross roads of some of the most beautiful trails in the state.

20

Fredericksburg, Texas
This small town has surprising German roots and old-time residents even refer to it as Fritztown. But the Magic Mile (a shopping scene with more than 150 stores) and some of the best wine tasting in Texas are what keeps the tourists coming back.

21

Gallup, New Mexico
There’s a reason this town is known as the Indian jewelry capital of the world: It’s rich in Native American culture and the destination embraces it across the board. Another pro tip? The High Desert Trail System is an amazing way to take in the sights by foot.

22

Paia, Hawaii
This little town is known for offering one of the few remaining traditional island experiences — in fact, it kind of feels like a time warp. The one-stoplight town is vibrant, colorful and offers authentic cuisine.

23

Hood River, Oregon
During any time of year, this town along the Columbia River offers outdoor activities for adventure seekers, including skiing, wind surfing and mountain biking. After a day outside, you can explore one of the three microbreweries located downtown.

24

Sitka, Alaska
Even though this town is hard to get to (it’s only accessible by air or sea!), once you arrive you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how unique it is. It’s nestled amongst a spruce and hemlock rain forest and sea life. Go on a tour to spot humpback whales.

25

Natchitoches, Louisiana
History buffs, you’re going to want to visit this town, which is the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. Today, you can wander around the 33-block district or try one of their famous meat pies.

26

Berlin, Maryland
If you need proof that this quaint town is Hollywood-approved, both Runaway Bride and Tuck Everlasting were filmed here. And it’s not surprising why: Strolling the streets and visiting the antique shops instantly make you forget what year it is. (In a good way.)

27

Ste. Genevieve, Missouri
Not all American wine is made in California: This French-influenced town (it was founded by French Canadian colonists) is home to several vineyards, along with its historic cornerstone church that goes by the town’s name.

28

Davis, Oklahoma
There’s a reason Turner Falls Park is a favorite swimming hole for locals: It’s home to an impressive 77-foot tall waterfall that you can swim underneath. After taking a dip, explore the rock castle that was built into the hillside nearby.

29

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
Those rolling hills? That charming architecture? There’s a reason this town is known as the «Switzerland of Pennsylvania.» Come here if you want to try your hand at white water rafting or hike the day away, then roam the quaint town afterward.

30

Capitola, California
This bright and vibrant town is a quiet surf destination for some, a trendy place to shop and eat for others and a place where you can fish off of the wharf if you fit somewhere in between.

31

Guilford, Connecticut
This quiet town was first settled in 1639 and is considered to have the third largest collection of historic homes in New England. But even if you’re not into history, the shops on the green, local seafood and the peaceful marina are more than worth the trip.

32

Lead, South Dakota
If Mount Rushmore is on your bucket list, skip the bustling Rapid City and stay at this quieter escape instead. It was once a mining town, but has since lost the gold miners and kept the charm. Visit the Black Hills Mining Museum to gain a deeper appreciation of the town’s history.

33

Shipshewana, Indiana
This cute town boasts an Amish community and the largest flea market in the country, featuring a whopping 900 booths that cover 100 acres of land. You can munch on treats like sweet corn, while the kids feed animals at the petting zoo.

34

War Eagle, Arkansas
The famous War Eagle Mill was built in 1832 and has been destroyed and rebuilt three times, yet it’s still in operation today. During the fall, the town hosts an elaborate craft fair that DIY lovers won’t want to miss.

35

Creede, Colorado
This historic mining town is like walking into an old western movie. In fact, Johnny Depp shot scenes here for the action western Lone Ranger. The downtown shops and surrounding nature adventures allow you to enjoy a trip that’s as busy or quiet as you’d like.

36

Abilene, Kansas
This town’s claim to fame is that President Dwight D. Eisenhower grew up here, which is why they have a library and museum dedicated to him. Another can’t-miss attraction is Great Plains Theatre, which used to be a church.

37

Boone, North Carolina
It’s appropriate that this town is named after American pioneer Daniel Boone, since most visitors come to hike and explore the local Blue Ridge Mountains. The town is also full of bluegrass musicians and Appalachian storytellers.

38

Milton, Delaware
You don’t have to choose between different bodies of water here: Located on the banks of the Broadkill River, Milton is just a few miles from the Delaware Bay and Broadkill Beach (pictured). But some people might find it even more exciting that it’s home to the famous Dogfish Head Brewing Company.

39

Canton, Mississippi
The most popular area of this southern town is the courthouse square, which is full of historic buildings and shopping, including the Canton Flea Market. At night, escape to the east side, which is filled with adorable B&Bs.

40

Serenbe, Georgia
The beauty of this urban town is that it’s located in the middle of rural country and is full of farm-to-table restaurants, shopping and miles of trails. More than anything, the community of 400 prioritizes living a slower, happier pace of life.

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