The 16 Most Beautiful Towns In The US As Of 2023
Ready for a charming little getaway in the US? Then check out these top small-town destinations that are a feast for the eyes and then some.
The US is definitely brimming with quaint little towns that are picturesque and inviting. In fact, more than a few places have it all—gorgeous scenery, rich history, incredible attractions, and ample touristy activities. Yet, often travelers overlook these places because they want to experience all the glitz and glam of the major cities nearby.
But, at some point, everyone needs a relaxing and beautiful respite away from the hustle and bustle of city living. So to help, here are the 16 most picturesque towns in the USA that are sure to make your charming little getaway one for the books.
- Carmel by the Sea, California
- St. Augustine, Florida
- Cordova, Alaska
- Sedona, Arizona
- Cannon Beach, Oregon
- Haleiwa, Hawaii
- McCloud, California
- Port Townsend, Washington
- Chautauqua, New York
- Woodstock, Vermont
- Telluride, Colorado
- Camden, Maine
- Aspen, Colorado
- Tombstone, Arizona
- Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
- Wawona, Yosemite, California
Carmel-by-the-Sea entices visitors from around the globe with its European allure, stunning coastal backdrop, and vibrant atmosphere, earning its reputation as California’s most aesthetically pleasing city. The town’s striking cliffs, pristine white sand beaches, and captivating sunsets contribute to its enchanting appeal. Wander along its cobblestone streets with antique stores, immersing you in a truly magical ambiance. With a rich history, European-inspired architecture, and renowned art galleries, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a favored destination for those who appreciate the arts and cherish history. The town’s invigorating atmosphere and picturesque natural surroundings make it one of the most delightful towns in all of America.
Ideal Time to Explore Carmel-by-the-Sea: September and October
Must-Visit Places in Carmel-by-the-Sea: Carmel River State Beach, Asilomar State Beach, Chalone Vineyard, Point Lobos State Park, Ocean Avenue
St. Augustine, Florida
Established in 1565, this coastal city is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the United States. It showcases some of the earliest Spanish colonial architecture in the nation, boasting numerous historical structures that have withstood the test of time. The town’s unique fusion of historic architectural marvels, a thriving cultural scene, stunning beaches, and a picturesque waterfront has rightfully earned it a reputation as one of the most magnificent towns in the United States.
Ideal Time to Explore St. Augustine: March to May
Must-Visit Places in St. Augustine: Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Lightner Museum, Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, St. Augustine’s Historic Old Jail, Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, St. Augustine Distillery, St. George Street
Nestled between Eyak Lake and Hawkins Island lies Cordova, Alaska, another idyllic coastal paradise awaiting travelers. This town boasts some of the most awe-inspiring and unspoiled scenery imaginable.
From majestic snow-capped mountain peaks to colossal icebergs and expansive vistas teeming with wildlife, Cordova presents a landscape that will make visitors feel like they’ve stepped into a breathtaking masterpiece.
As expected, outdoor enthusiasts will revel in many activities, while history buffs will delight in the town’s historical museums. Accommodations and resorts of the highest caliber are available for those seeking a comfortable stay.
Optimal Time to Explore Cordova: June to August
Must-Visit Places in Cordova: Prince William Sound Museum, Cordova Historical Museum, Eyak Lake, Sheridan Glacier, Childs Glacier, Copper River Delta, Sheridan Mountain, Cordova Center, Million Dollar Bridge
A trip to the desert oasis, Sedona, AZ, might not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning an alluring small-town getaway, but it should be.
Besides the stunning must-see red rock formations, spiritual healing vortexes, and Western-style downtown, this lovely little place has more than a few spa resorts.
Sedona visitors can enjoy Native American cultural sites, first-rate restaurants, wineries, and acres of forested land.
So if you’re looking for desert beauty abound, starry nights, lavish spa treatments, relaxation poolside, and more, Sedona is your town.
- Best Time To Visit Sedona: March to May and September to mid-October
- Places To Visit In Sedona: Montezuma Castle National Monument, Oak Creek Canyon, Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona Wetlands Preserve, Verde Valley, Mayhew Lodge, McDonald’s arches
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Located just north of Portland, OR, Cannon Beach is a lovely coastal town with remarkable sandy beaches, ocean views, and more. One of the leading local attractions is Haystack Rock, a towering 235-foot-tall monolith that protrudes from the water.
Here visitors can kick back and relax beachside for a while. After some fun in the sun, guests can enjoy a pleasant stroll through this beachy town full of microbreweries, art galleries, chocolate shops, and fine dining establishments.
There are also a wealth of vacation rentals and a few B&Bs in this beautiful town.
- Best Time To Visit Cannon Beach: June to August
- Places To Visit In Cannon Beach: Haystack Rock, Ecola State Park, Oswald West State Park, Hug Point State Recreation Site, Tolovana Beach State Recreation Site, Downtown Cannon Beach
Just about anywhere travelers visit in Hawaii is simply stunning. But Haleiwa, Hawaii, is next-level beautiful. Referred to as the cutest town in Oahu, this Hawaiian slice of heaven has pristine beaches, nature parks, crashing waves, island vibes, and a genuinely serene landscape.
Visitors can enjoy the views from Rainbow Bridge, world-class surfing, tours of Waimea Valley, sacred mythology, art galleries, and more.
This is such a delightful place to visit that it might just become a recurring getaway for you by this trip’s end.
- Best Time To Visit Haleiwa: April through June
- Places To Visit In Haleiwa: Wyland Galleries, Waimea Valley, Sunset Beach Park, North Shore surf lessons, Dat Cajun Guy, USS Arizona Memorial, Iolani Barracks
McCloud is a lesser-known California town with majestic waterfalls, lush nature parks, and heavenly scenery for miles and miles. This option is excellent for nature lovers, outdoorsy folk, and avid hikers/explorers.
Here visitors can spend days immersed in the natural beauty of this place. This former logging town played to its strengths when it embraced its dense surrounding landscape.
With Shasta Lake, Lake Shasta Cavern, stunning mountain summits, and outdoor recreation galore, you might forget to explore the town when visiting.
- Best Time To Visit McCloud: May to October
- Places To Visit In McCloud: McCloud Falls, Mount Shasta, McCloud River Mercantile Company, McCloud Outdoors, and Gear Exchange
Port Townsend, Washington
Port Townsend, Washington, is one of the most beautiful US towns. Thanks to its rich maritime history, classic Victorian vibes, and refreshingly modern twist, this small town in Washington knows how to attract visitors.
A multi-generation getaway spot, visitors can enjoy everything from sailing and kayaking to oceanfront picnicking and camping. Plus, the downtown area is just about as charming as possible.
- Best Time To Visit Port Townsend: Mid-May to September
- Places To Visit In Port Townsend: Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend Historic District, Rothschild House, Rose Theatre, Galatea Fountain, Sequim Bay State Park, Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve
Chautauqua, New York
Chautauqua, New York, is another beautiful small town that is easy on the eyes. Adorned with historic mansions, a sparkling lake, and the most delightful downtown area, this is the ideal getaway for history, wine, and lake resort lovers.
In addition to all the outdoor recreation, an abundance of wineries, and gorgeous turn-of-the-century architecture here, visitors can spend their evenings enjoying a Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra performance.
This quintessential town also has several pristine natural areas that you can easily explore via a hike or mountain adventure.
- Best Time To Visit Chautauqua: June to August
- Places To Visit In Chautauqua: Dunkirk Lighthouse, National Comedy Center, Lake Chautauqua, Lily Dale Museum, Grape Discovery Center, Midway State Park, Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, Smith Memorial Library
With its forested land, endless miles of foliage, and easy access to the Green Mountains, Woodstock, Vermont, was always going to be a shoo-in. Visitors here come for the breathtaking scenery but more than likely stay for the delicious cheese—like, who doesn’t think cheese is beautiful?
Of course, there’s more to Woodstock than just cheese.
This famed US town has a lovely downtown area, antique shops, picturesque historic B&Bs, cute covered bridges, seasonal festivities like the Classic Woodstock Vermont Christmas extravaganza, and more.
- Best Time To Visit Woodstock: Mid-May to September
- Places To Visit In Woodstock: Woodstock History Center, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Billings Farm and Museum, Quechee Gorge, Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon, Sugarbush Farm Maple & Cheese Farm
Telluride, Colorado, is another beautiful mountain town to make this year’s list. At first glance, this tiny winter wonderland of a city looks like one of those fancy Christmas cards Grandma used to send.
But besides a welcomed dose of nostalgia, Telluride is simply an excellent choice for cold-weather activities. In the warmer months, though, this town becomes extra lively with great bluegrass and film festivals, plus there’s the sweet smell of wildflowers in the air.
Of course, no matter the season, Telluride is a beautiful place with a vibrant downtown area, art galleries, mountain resorts, hearty cuisine, and an overall welcoming vibe.
- Best Time To Visit Telluride: June to September
- Places To Visit In Telluride: Telluride Ski Resort, Jub Wiebe Memorial Trail, Town Park, Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride Historical Museum, Bear Creek Trails, San Sophia Overlook, Mount Sneffels
Forever captured as the seemingly idyllic town in the 1957’s classic movie Peyton Place, Camden, Maine, is stunning. This small seaside New England town is the place to be if you want to enjoy phenomenal mountain and sea views as far as the eye can see.
With lovely boutique hotels, a lively harbor, an impressive downtown area, plus top-tier dining and entertainment, you’ll likely have a hard time leaving this place upon check-out.
Overall, Camden is truly a dazzling US gem perfectly placed “where the mountains meet the sea” that genuinely has a little something special for everyone.
- Best Time To Visit Camden: July and August
- Places To Visit In Camden: Camden Hills State Park, Farnsworth Art Museum, Harbor Park and Amphitheatre, Merryspring Nature Center
Aspen is an old silver mining town that was fortunate enough to reinvent itself as a high-end alpine resort town. It is famous for being the retreat of the rich and the famous. Aspen is one of the premier destinations for skiing in the United States and an excellent place for those who can afford it. But afford it is the question – Aspen is infamously expensive.
In the summer, Aspen is a great destination to enjoy some of Colorado’s most stunning landscapes; in the winter, it is one of the top ski resort destinations in the country.
- Best Time To Visit Aspen: December and February
- Places To Visit In Aspen: Maroon Bells, Independence Pass, Aspen Art Museum, Wheeler Opera House
Tombstone gets on this list for being one of America’s most iconic Wild West towns and being the site of the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Today it is a significant destination to experience the Old West, see reenactments of the gunfight, and experience the wild frontier. At Tombstone, visitors are greeted with horses, carriages, saloons, and much more.
Tombstone was one of the last significant boomtowns, founded in 1877. At this time, rivalries between the North and South were still fresh (part of the backstory of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral), and the country was still working to establish law and order in the towns along the Mexican border.
- Best Time To Visit Tombstone: March to May and September to November
- Places To Visit In Tombstone: OK Corral, Boothill Graveyard, Bird Cage Theatre, Tombstone Courthouse State Historical Park, Tombstone Epitaph Museum, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, Tombstone Historic District, Schieffelin Hall
Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg took over as the capital of the Colony of Virginia after it moved from Jamestown (Jamestown was the first successful English settlement in North America). Later the capital moved on to Richmond, which remains the capital today. Today Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living museum in the country and preserves a fantastic amount of old colonial structures (although some are rebuilt).
Colonial Williamsburg is a must for anyone traveling through Virginia who would like to learn about the history of the Commonwealth.
- Best Time To Visit Colonial Williamsburg: April, May, and October
- Places To Visit In Colonial Williamsburg: Governor’s Palace, The Capitol, The Courthouse, The Magazine, The Gaol
Wawona, Yosemite, California
Wawona is perhaps a strange settlement to make the list, but it really is a stunning little village. It is nestled in the forests of Yosemite National Park close to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and just after the main entrance to the park. It is quiet and full of cabins for rent (most of the homes are rental cabins).
It is within easy reach of the famous Yosemite Valley and is one of the most relaxing places to enjoy a retreat far from the hustle and bustle of life.
- Best Time To Visit Wawona: May, June, and September
- Places To Visit In Wawona: Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, Pioneer Yosemite History Center, Tuolumne Meadows, Wawona Covered Bridge, The Redwoods In Yosemite, Valley View Yosemite