search

Best Historic Small Town: Granbury, Texas wins reader vote

Advertisement

This Texas small town is known for its historic town square

Note from 10Best: Someday, we'll all be ready to pack our suitcases again and head out on our next adventures. In the meantime, we'll keep supporting the places that inspire us.

  • Granbury

    Granbury
    Texas

    The charming town of Granbury makes frequent appearances on “best small town” lists, and it’s easy to see why. The town’s central square, lined by historic landmarks, makes for excellent shopping, and there are plenty of mom n’ pop restaurants to choose from when it comes time to refuel. The beach at Lake Granbury offers a way to cool off on those hot Texas afternoons, and there’s even a family-friendly boardwalk.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Skyhobo

  • Abilene

    Abilene
    Kansas

    Abilene is the hometown of Dwight D. Eisenhower, a 5-Star General and 34th President of the United States, and that’s just the start of this town’s historical appeal. Besides the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood home, visitors can ride the state’s only operational steam locomotive, tour the Historic Seelye Mansion, take a spin on the oldest known Parker Carousel and step back into the Wild West in Old Abilene Town.
    Photo courtesy of Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • Valparaiso

    Valparaiso
    Indiana

    The U.S. government purchased the land of what is now Valparaiso in 1832 from the Potawatomi tribe. The name means Vale of Paradise, and the village soon grew into a prosperous town, now the county seat. Many of the historic buildings remain, including the Memorial Opera House (built in 1893). The Valparaiso Historic Preservation Commission leads guided walking tours, highlighting the history of Northern Indiana.
    Photo courtesy of Jon Hendricks / South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority

  • Mackinac Island

    Mackinac Island
    Michigan

    One of the last car-free destinations in the U.S., Mackinac Island, sandwiched between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, seems trapped in the past, but in the most delightful way. Accommodations consist of white colonnaded turn-of-the-century hotels, while the horse-drawn carriage remains the favored form of transportation. With 80 percent of the island occupied by protected state parkland, those looking to explore the outdoors will find plenty of opportunity for hiking and biking.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Michael Deemer

  • Natchitoches

    Natchitoches
    Louisiana

    Welcome to “Nack-a-Tish,” B&B Capital of Louisiana and quaint setting for the ensemble-cast classic, Steel Magnolias. Natchitoches is the oldest town in the state. Its historic district is loaded down with shopping, dining and other attractions while ample annual events – many incorporating Native American, Creole and Louisiana cultures – draw visitors by the busload. Some of the city’s most popular center on music, including jazz and zydeco, others on regional staples like good ‘ol Louisiana barbecue.
    Photo courtesy of Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • Williamsburg

    Williamsburg
    Virginia

    Originally the capital of Virginia (the largest state at that time) from 1699-1780, Williamsburg lost much of its prominence when the capital was moved to Richmond. However this was a blessing in disguise as the town was left mostly untouched by urbanization and the Industrial Revolution, leaving many of its historical buildings and sites intact, despite bitter battles and sieges being fought in the area during the Civil War.
    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona / © Joanne & Tony DiBona Photography

  • Clarksdale

    Clarksdale
    Mississippi

    Those with an interest in music history should have the town of Clarksdale at the top of their list. This town in the Mississippi Delta played an important role in the development of the blues, a history you can explore at the Delta Blues Museum. Other historical attractions include the Tennessee Williams Rectory Museum and plenty of stops on the Mississippi Blues Trail and Mississippi Freedom Trail.
    Photo courtesy of Michael A. Schwarz USAT

  • St. Augustine

    St. Augustine
    Florida

    Situated on the banks of the Matanzas River, the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in North America was initially founded by Spanish pioneers in 1565 as a forward base for expanding further into the continent. Throughout its history St. Augustine, protected by the oldest fort in America, Castillo de San Marcos, has been raided, attacked and changed hands several times. 
    Photo courtesy of Stacey Sather / FloridasHistoricCoast.com

  • Berkeley Springs

    Berkeley Springs
    West Virginia

    Less than two hours’ ride from the DC/Baltimore area, Berkeley Springs is worlds away from big-city bustle. Visitors discovered the power of this mountain enclave’s natural warm springs ages ago and have been coming ever since, seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. You can still spend time at centuries-old baths at Berkeley Springs State Park, but myriad modern options abound, as well, along with lovely inns, dining venues, shopping options and cultural events.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / WilliamSherman

  • Leadville

    Leadville
    Colorado

    History is alive and well in Leadville, a former Colorado mining town. The legendary Tabor Opera House, built in 1879, is beginning a historic rehabilitation, and visitors can peer underground into the Matchless Mine. The downtown area boasts 70 square city blocks of Victorian buildings, and the Leadville scenic train follows a historic rail route through the scenic wilderness. The mining district's original headframes and mining equipment bring alive the Silver Rush days.
    Photo courtesy of Leadville Twin Lakes

  • Granbury
  • Abilene
  • Valparaiso
  • Mackinac Island
  • Natchitoches
  • Williamsburg
  • Clarksdale
  • St. Augustine
  • Berkeley Springs
  • Leadville

The USA has a rich and exciting history, and visiting the places which most affected it is so much more fun than reading about it. These 10 winners in the category of Best Historic Small Town have big histories and small populations – fewer than 35,000 people as of the last census – making them fun and affordable ways to dive into our nation's past.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Historic Small Town are as follows:

  1. Granbury - Texas
  2. Abilene - Kansas
  3. Valparaiso - Indiana
  4. Mackinac Island - Michigan
  5. Natchitoches - Louisiana
  6. Williamsburg - Virginia
  7. Clarksdale - Mississippi
  8. St. Augustine - Florida
  9. Berkeley Springs - West Virginia
  10. Leadville - Colorado

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning small towns!

License the 10Best Readers' Choice Award Logo

 

Advertisement

AlertThe Experts

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Christina Nellemann

Christina Nellemann

Christina Nellemann

Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton
×

×