The United States is a fairly large country, and within the country, there are hundreds of cities and towns to be explored. Since there are so many towns in American you can see a lot of different things in each giving you variety wherever you go. You can find small nice historic towns or travel to towns where the population is in the tens of thousands and still have a great time. The United States really does have a wide range of variety when it comes to its cities and towns. In this list, we go through 10 small towns with populations ranging from the low hundreds to around 5,000. Then we go through 10 towns that are still considered towns but should probably be considered cities that have populations ranging anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people.
These towns are littered all across America and we made sure to add variety in the states we picked. Therefore, not all of the towns discussed on the list would be from one area. If you have wanted to go further into the United States than the obvious big cities or tourist traps and see what America is from a day to day basis, then this could be a great start!
20 Small Town: Trinidad, California
The small town of Trinidad is famous for being the meeting place of the Red Woods and the ocean. According to the town's website, it is a great place to fish and serves primarily as a fishing village. The town also has one of the most diverse seabird environments with many different species of seabirds including tufted puffins or fork-tailed storm-petral. Another plus of Trinidad is the fact that it is a coastal town which means it is home to some great seafood restaurants that offer fresh food caught right off the coast. The total population of Trinidad is 311.
19 Small Town: Oceanside, Oregon
Oregon has many small towns around the state but the one that sticks out the most is Oceanside. While there are other small towns along the coast of Oregon none are quite as beautiful as Oceanside. Not only does the small town have a great view of the ocean but it is also built on a large hill that overlooks the ocean. There are many beautiful homes littering the side of the hill that overlook the beach and many of them are actually Air BnB's so you can stay in a nice house overlooking an amazing beach front. The population here is around 360.
18 Large Town: Salida, Colorado
Despite being in the Large town section of this article, Salida located in Colorado is one of the smallest towns on the list when considering the sheer size of the town. However, when you consider the number of people living in Salida you would classify it as a fairly large town. The town as over 5,500 people living in a 2.5 square mile town. The town features an old-timey style downtown that features several diners. The Arkansas River also runs through Salida which is where most of the locals spend their time. However, if you aren't a fan of the river then you can hike through the Cristo Mountains which are also located near the town.
17 Large Town: Brighton, Michigan
Brighton has a fairly large population reaching around 7,600 and still manages to retain a small town charm to it. Brighton is one of the wealthiest places located in Michigan which makes it even more impressive that it can act like a small town. The best things to do in Brighton would have to be one of the many festivals which are held every few months. Skiing is also popular among the locals. The town also takes pride in art as it has many art festivals that show off local artists and their work. The town also features several art galleries, one of the best being Artisan’s Bench.
16 Small Town: Grafton, Vermont
The small town of Grafton located in Vermont is possibly one of the most beautiful towns on the east coast that you could visit. The town is known for being very historical and several buildings like the Grafton Inn were built in the early 1800s. You can even still stay in the Grafton Inn if you decide to visit as it is one of the oldest hotels to still be open to this day. The town is surrounded by mountains and it stays pretty cold in Grafton so skiing is a popular pastime among visitors and locals. Grafton has slowly been on the rise as far as population but it still sits at the low number of 679.
15 Small Town: Ocracoke, North Carolina
This small town in North Carolina known as Ocracoke is known for the Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree which it is actually famous for. The Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree is a festival in which the small town celebrates a festival with a pirate theme. There are other things to do in the small town like visiting the lighthouse or visiting the brewery which has been in operation since the 1700s. If you decide to visit the beaches there is a lot of wildlife to see and if you aren't a fan of the beach there is a lot of history behind Ocracoke just waiting to be discovered. The small town has a population of 948.
14 Large Town: Sitka, Alaska
Sitka is situated on a set of islands located in Alaska and can only be reached by boat or plane. The entire town is within walking distance of its downtown but that doesn't mean that the town isn't large. The town has a population of just under 9,000 people. The town holds a lot of history and culture dating back to its native roots. A lot of the attractions you will find in Sitka are based on their history and culture and include museums and other historical sites. The town also has a large majority of national parks near it so you can connect with nature if you so wish.
13 Large Town: Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Sturgeon Bay is located in Door County, Wisconsin and is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the Mid West United States. Sturgeon Bay is located right off of a river where most of the locals hang out. There are several events that are held on the river, whether it be boat races or firing fireworks in the summer. The weather in Sturgeon Bay is perfect, in the winter it doesn't get too cold and in the summer it doesn't get too warm. While Sturgeon Bay could be considered a city at this point it still holds some small town charm compared to other towns in the United States.
12 Small Town: Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Unlike other small towns on the list, Eureka Springs located in Arkansas has a surprisingly high number of things to do for such a low number of people living in it. The town offers things like zip lining through the Ozark mountains, wildlife refuges, and there are even over a hundred shops in the town itself, according to the town's website. The town has a little more than 2,000 people living in it. The town's name comes from the fact that all the water in the town is drawn from natural spring waters. There is even more when it comes to festivals that are held in the town. You really won't find a shortage of things to do in Eureka Springs.
11 Small Town: North Conway, New Hampshire
This small town sits between the border of New Hampshire and Maine and has several attractions that are famous with tourists in that area. One of these areas is The White Mountain National Forest which gives great hiking trails for locals and visitors. The White Mountain National Forest isn't the only outdoor place to explore as the town is also located near Echo Lake State Park and Mount Cranmore. The best times to visit the town are in the fall or winter due to the leaves changing color and the opportunity for skiing. If you are a fan of the outdoors you should definitely visit this small town of only 2,349 people.
10 Large Town: Corning, New York
When people think of New York they immediately usually think about the big New York City. However, New York has many small towns in its more upstate part. Corning is a popular town in upstate New York and houses around 10,000 people. There are several attractions in Corning that are worth checking out that include Chimney Rocks, Bloody Run, and the living history museum of Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes. Corning is best known for its glass making and there is even a glass museum which shows visitors just how glass is made.
9 Large Town: Dover, Delaware
Dover is one of the largest towns in Delaware and can probably be considered a city at this point. Dover has over 38,000 people living in it. Dover is most famous for the Dover International Speedway which hosts NASCAR races every now and then. Another popular attraction in Dover is the Firefly Music Festival which has featured bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Black Keys to name a few. There are also a ton of festivals held in the town over the year one which includes a wine and beer festival. Dover is located near Amish country so you may even get to experience the Amish lifestyle.
8 Small Town: Pa'ia, Hawaii
Maui is an island in Hawaii that features several small towns, one of them being Pa'ia. Pa'ia is by far the most unique and beautiful of all the small towns and is worth the stay if you are visiting Hawaii. Pa'ia is a typical tropical island getaway and features things like small restaurants and shops. The food on Pa'ia is unique and definitely worth a try to anyone trying to expand their pallet. If you are a fan of beach fronts then you will love Pa'ia. Pa'ia is the perfect getaway from the hectic cities and towns across other parts of Hawaii and if you want to have a truly peaceful vacation you should visit this small town with only 2,688 people living in it.
7 Small Town: Chelan, Washington
Chelan has been claimed to be the best small town in the state of Washington by many people and for good reason. For one the town is built on top of a lake and the town spans 50 miles all of which is right on the lakefront. Chelan is also located near the Wenatchee National Forest which offers many hiking opportunities to those interested. There are several things to do in Chelan which include attending a wine tour since there are approximately 20 wineries near and in Chelan. If you want to go downtown you will feel right at home as there are many restaurants and shops for you to explore!
6 Large Town: Framingham, Massachusetts
Framingham is no longer technically a town as it has officially been promoted to city status as of this year! That doesn't mean we're still not going to put it on the list. The town/city is known for a large assortment of outdoor activities many which include state parks. The town is located near Cochituate State Park, the Garden in the Woods, and the Callahan State Park. There is also a large assortment of restaurants in Framingham's downtown area. If you are traveling along the east coast and want to stop in a great city then Framingham may be perfect for you.
5 Large Town: Carmel, Indiana
The town of Carmel located in Indiana is known to be a very wealthy town and has topped the "best places to live in the United States" lists for years now. This isn't a surprise to anyone who has been there as the town is fairly large and has a lot to do. Carmel has its own arts and design district in which they hold many art festivals every year. The town also has several great shops and restaurants to eat and shop at. Carmel is fairly hard to miss as its town's architecture is fairly unique. It also houses just over 90,000 people which could technically mean that Carmel could become a city one day.
4 Small Town: Madison, Georgia
This historical small town in Georgia is known as Madison. The history there is currently trying to be restored by officials in the town and a lot of focus is being put into making the town as historical as possible. One step in Madison and you can tell that this is their prerogative as much of the architecture can be described as 19th-century colonial buildings and houses. The town is also a part of Georgia’s Antebellum Train which spans through many of the small towns in Georgia. The town is a great place to go antiquing as there are over 150 antique shops in the small town.
3 Small Town: Tucumcari, New Mexico
This is the last small town on the list as it almost barely qualifies as a small town with its population sitting at just under 5,000. However, the town itself is quite small even when considering the number of people in it. The area in New Mexico is rich in history that dates back to natives. The Tucumcari Mountains are located near the town giving the town its name. The small town is along the Route 66 and is a great place to stop and visit if you are traveling down Route 66. Many people who have visited the town say it is like stepping back in time according to reviews on Trip Advisor.
2 Large Town: Boulder, Colorado
If you have ever been to Colorado then you know just how beautiful the state can be. One of the things that make Colorado so beautiful is the mountains. The town of Boulder is right in the middle of these mountains giving it some amazing views. Perhaps, the most famous attraction in Boulder, Colorado is the Flatirons which is a large mountain range located just outside the town. The town is the home of the University of Colorado which means that Boulder is a college town so if you are a fan of college towns this could be a good stop. If you happen to be in Colorado you should give Denver a pass and focus on Boulder.
1 Large Town: Naperville, Illinois
As far as all the other towns on this are concerned, Naperville located in Illinois may be the best place to settle down on this list. While it may not have been voted the "best place to live in the United States" it has its fair share to offer. Naperville isn't the wealthiest town in America but it presents a nice atmosphere with a focus on good education and taking care of the town. The town prides itself on being one of the safest towns in America. The town has much to do if you visit it like festivals near the holiday seasons and great food in its downtown area.