Most of the time when we think of places to go to for a vacation, we automatically think of the popular destinations: The ones we see on TV and in movies, big cities, and the well-known tourist destinations. These are the lesser-known American towns you should visit, even though you’ve probably never heard of them.
40 American Towns You Should Visit At Least Once
There are plenty of incredible towns you should visit right here in America. Perhaps some of these towns will even be within driving distance for you.
1. Damariscotta, Maine
Known as the oyster capital of New England, Damariscotta is nestled along the salty shores of Damariscotta River. They love oysters so much, in fact, that they have an annual oyster celebration every summer. (1)
Learn more about Damariscotta here.
2. Galena, Illinois
If you want to take a trip back in time, then Galena is the town to visit. From the gorgeous scenery and quaint downtown to the historical attractions, there is plenty to do and see in this small town. (2)
Learn more about Galena here.
3. Pella, Iowa
A visit to Pella is like a visit to the Netherlands while staying much closer to home. A nod to their Dutch heritage, they have a tulip festival every May. (3)
Learn more about Pella here.
4. Welch, West Virginia
Whether you like history or adventure, Welch is a great place to go. The town has war monuments worth visiting, and in the heart of the mountains, there is no shortage of hiking and ATV trails for you to enjoy. (4)
Learn more about Welch here.
5. Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
Nicknamed “The Oldest Summer Resort in North America”, Wolfeboro has plenty of attractions, beaches, parks, and trails. Perfect for the whole family. (5)
Learn more about Wolfeboro here.
6. Corning, New York
Located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Corning has a lot going for it:
- Smithsonian Museum
There’s something for everyone there. (6)
Learn more about Corning here.
7. Keene, New Hampshire
It’s the countryside, lakes, and trails of Keene that really make this town something special. Visit to get our outdoor adventure in, including a hike up Mount Monadnock. (7)
Learn more about Keene here.
8. Ferndale, California
Right in between California’s famous redwood forest and the lost coast, Ferndale is known for its historic Victorian homes and storefronts. Great for an easy stroll through town or for a more adventurous hike in the woods, this town has it all. (8)
Learn more about Ferndale here.
9. Franklin, Tennessee
The next time you’re in Nashville, consider taking a quick trip 21 miles north to this quiet little town. With plenty of festivals involving food, wine and spirits, and music, this historic spot will keep you busy. Don’t forget to see what shows are on at the award-winning Franklin Theatre while you’re there. (9)
Learn more about Franklin here.
10. Healdsburg, California
If wine tasting in Sonoma Valley is on your bucket list, make sure you stop by this northern Sonoma town when you go. Besides just wine, there’s plenty of outdoor activities to do, such as paddling, biking, and hiking. (10)
Learn more about Healdsburg here.
11. Lanesboro, Minnesota
Tucked away in the bluffs of the Root River Valley, Lanesboro is known as the bed and breakfast capital of Minnesota. Here you can find tours and art galleries, plenty of hiking and outdoor adventure, theatre, and lots of great restaurants to try out. (11)
Learn more about Lanesboro here.
12. Little Compton, Rhode Island
Little Compton is the secret little beach town of Rhode Island. Here you can relax all day at the beach, grabbing a lobster roll (or two) when you get hungry. This town dates all the way back to the Sakonnet tribe, so there is plenty of history for the history buffs to sink their teeth into. (12)
Learn more about Little Compton here.
13. Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Located in the southwest corner of Cape Cod, Woods Hole used to be just a pass-through destination for Martha’s Vineyard ferry travelers. Now, however, it is an epicenter for marine and biological science in the U.S. There is plenty to do, see, learn, and eat here, and is a perfect destination for the whole family. (13)
Learn more about Woods Hole here.
14. Marietta, Ohio
Marietta was settled in the 1700s and named after Marie Antoinette. Now it is a historic riverboat town that has plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy all day, as well as shopping, arts and entertainment, and other attractions. (14)
Learn more about Marietta here.
15. Cedar Key, Florida
In Cedar Key, they really like to take things slower. You’ll find more bikes than cars in this quaint little beach town which perfectly suits its vibe. Beyond the beach, you’ll find many trails and different birds, as well as plenty to do in Cedar Key Museum state park. (15)
Learn more about Cedar Key here.
16. Grand Haven, Michigan
Recognized by its picturesque red lighthouse, Grand Haven is a little town on the banks of Lake Michigan known for its sandy beaches. In the summer months, you can watch the musical fountain light and water shows, as well as go wine tasting, sand dune riding, and take part in the annual Coast Guard Festival. (16)
Learn more about Grand Haven here.
17. Frederick, Maryland
Not far from both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Frederick is a small town with a lot to offer. It is home to a variety of museums, art, and entertainment and is surrounded by orchards, wineries, and mountains. (17)
Learn more about Frederick here.
18. Shelburne, Vermont
Nestled on the shores of Lake Champlain, Shelburne is the place to go to learn all about farming. At Shelburne Farms you can learn to milk cows and make cheese. There’s also a teddy bear factory, winery, brewery, and an orchard. (18)
Learn more about Shelburne here.
19. Damascus, Virginia
Damascus is known as “The Trail Town” and is tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is the perfect place for the outdoor adventurer, cyclists, and hikers included. (19)
Learn more about Damasus here.
20. Fredericksburg, Texas
This tiny Texan town is known best for its wineries. It also has what’s called “the magic mile” that boasts more than 150 stores. (20)
Learn more about Fredericksburg here.
21. Gallup, New Mexico
Along the historic Route 66, Gallup is also next to Red Rock Park that has plenty of archaeology sites to check out. They have a rich Native American culture there as well as the High Desert Trail System for some fantastic hiking. (21)
Learn more about Gallup here.
22. Paia, Hawaii
Known as the hippiest town in Hawaii, Paia is the place to go for an authentic experience. With plenty of good food and surfing for much more reasonable prices, it’s certainly worth a visit. (22)
Learn more about Paia here.
23. Hood River, Oregon
This small town is big on outdoor adventure: Hiking, skiing, windsurfing, mountain biking, and more. At the end of the day, you can head to one of the three craft breweries for a well-earned pint. (23)
Learn more about Hood River here.
24. Sitka, Alaska
This small Alaskan town is only accessible by boat or airplane, but it is well worth the trip. Another outdoor mecca-type town, this is the place to go if you want to catch a glimpse of humpback whales. (24)
Learn more about Sitka here.
25. Natchitoches, Louisiana
The oldest settlement in the Louisiana purchase, this is a history buff’s delight. They’ve also got plenty of attractions, music, restaurants, and more to do. (25)
Learn more here.
26. Berlin, Maryland
This is the town where both Tuck Everlasting and Runaway Bride were filmed, so needless to say, it’s picturesque. Go for a stroll, check out the shops and restaurants, and have yourself a relaxing day. (26)
Learn more about Berlin here.
27. Ste. Genevieve, Missouri
Founded by French-Canadian colonists, Ste. Genevieve is a great place for wine lovers. As Missouri’s first settlement, there is plenty of history to dig into, as well. (27)
Learn more about Ste. Genevieve here.
28. Davis, Oklahoma
If you love waterfalls, then you will love Davis. Turner Falls Park is home to a 77-foot-tall waterfall that you can actually swim right under. Afterward, you can explore the nearby rock castle built right into the hillside. (28)
Learn more about Davis here.
29. Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
Named after Native American Athlete Jim Thorpe, this town is also known as “the Switzerland of Pennsylvania”. This is probably because of its rolling hills and quaint buildings. Don’t be fooled, however – this is also a great place to go white water rafting. (29)
Learn more about Jim Thorpe here.
30. Capitola, California
Classic California, this is a must-go surf destination for anyone looking to catch a wave. It’s also just a place to relax at the beach or go fishing. (30)
Learn more about Capitola here.
31. Guilford, Connecticut
Settled in 1639, Guilford has enough historic homes to explore to keep you going for several days. This town will be even better if you are a seafood lover. (31)
Learn more about Guilford here.
32. Lead, South Dakota
This former mining town is also called the Mile High City for its position high up in Mount Rushmore. A good place for history, outdoor recreation, and entertainment. (32)
Learn more about Lead here.
33. Shipshewana, Indiana
With the largest flea market in America, this Amish town is a great place to go to get a good deal. With 900 booths over 100 acres of land, there’s plenty to do for the whole family. (33)
Learn more about Shipshewana here.
34. Rogers, Arkansas
Built in 1832, the War Eagle Mill has been destroyed and rebuilt three times over. Still operational to this day, it’s a wonderful little piece of history. For DIY-ers, they host an annual craft festival that shouldn’t be missed. (34) This is a town you should visit.
Learn more about Rogers here.
35. Creede, Colorado
If you love country western films, this is the town to visit. Scenes from Lone Ranger were shot in this historic mining town. There’s plenty to do for adventurers and town strollers alike. (35)
Learn more about Creede here.
36. Abilene, Kansas
The Great Plains Theatre in an old church building has plenty of great shows for viewing. The birthplace of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, so there is a variety of attractions dedicated to him. (36)
Learn more Abilene here.
37. Boone, North Carolina
Named after American Pioneer Daniel Boone, the town has a Living History Museum that recreates the 1700s homestead life. It’s also a great place to hike the Blue Ridge Mountains or check out the local bluegrass music. (37)
Learn more about Boone here.
38. Milton, Delaware
Whether you’re sipping a pint at the famed Dogfish Head Brewing Company or swimming in the Broadkill River, there are plenty of activities for you to choose from. (38)
Learn more about Milton here.
39. Canton, Mississippi
The Canton Courthouse Square is packed full of historic buildings, shops, restaurants, and an amazing flea market. The best part is the large variety of charming AirBnbs that you have to choose from. (39)
Learn more about Canton here.
40. Serenbe, Georgia
If farm-to-table restaurants and endless trails are how you prefer to spend your days, then Serenbe is for you. This slow-paced, quaint little town is the perfect place to relax and recharge. (40)
Learn more about Serenbe here.
There You Have It, 40 Towns You Should Visit
Small town American has plenty of gems to visit, you just have to find them. This list is a great place to start, so make sure you share these hidden oases with your friends and family.