While we love the energy of big cities like New York, L.A. or Chicago, sometimes an escape from the urban jungle is just the thing. USA TODAY 10Best is looking for America's best small towns – travel-worthy destinations with permanent populations less than 10,000.
From coast to coast, the U.S. is dotted with thousands of such places, perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
We asked a panel of local travel experts around the nation to nominate their favorite small towns in each of five American regions: the Northeast, South, Midwest, Northwest and Southwest. For the next four weeks, we need you to vote daily for the towns you think deserve the title of Readers' Choice Best Small Town.
Cast your ballot once per day in each category until voting ends on Monday, April 24. The winners will be announced on Friday, April 28 at noon ET.
Click on each category below to vote.
Best Southern Small Town
Lexington, Virginia — Photo courtesy of Steve Shires / Lexington and Rockbridge Area Tourism
Moss-draped oaks, rocking chairs on front porches, cold glasses of sweet tea and good old Southern hospitality. These are just some of the things that come to mind when you picture small towns in the Southern United States – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
Best Northeastern Small Town
Cape May, New Jersey — Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
When you think of a quintessential American small town, the charming hamlets of New England likely come to mind. The Northeastern United States – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont – are brimming with travel-worthy small towns.
Best Midwestern Small Town
Hermann, Missouri — Photo courtesy of Davekeiser / Wikimedia Commons
The Midwestern United States – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin – are home to thousands of quaint communities and small towns that often double in size during the summer months when visitors head into the countryside to escape the big cities.
Best Southwestern Small Town
Ouray, Colorado — Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
Beachside escapes, mountain mining towns and artist colonies in the desert ... the small town landscape of the American Southwest – Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and West Texas – is as diverse as the physical one.
Best Northwestern Small Town
Friday Harbor, Washington — Photo courtesy of Mike Bertrand / San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
From fishing villages to Old West mining towns, the Northwestern United States – Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming – is dotted with small towns, each with its own unique appeal.
Did your favorite small towns make our lists of nominees?