Highlands, N.C. named Best Small Town for Shopping

You'll find a bit of everything on this winning Main Street

Eclectic boutiques, art galleries, antiques stores and farmers markets – these 10 small towns with populations of less than 25,000 are perfect destinations for some retail therapy.

  • Highlands
    North Carolina

    The picturesque Main Street in the small North Carolina town of Highlands is a shopper’s paradise stocking a little of everything – sportswear, gift items, European and American antiques, home decor and accessories, fine art and kitchen gear.
    Photo courtesy of Jon Platek / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

  • Dahlonega
    Georgia

    Shoppers will find more than 100 businesses within Dahlonega, one of Georgia’s top destinations for retail. Pick up custom gold jewelry from the sight of the nation’s first gold rush, browse locally made gift items from some 30 regional artists, try on a new outfit or peruse a collection of antiques at the Gateway Antique Mall.
    Photo courtesy of Georgia Department of Economic Development

  • Montpelier
    Vermont

    Just steps from the Vermont State House lies the pedestrian-friendly Montpelier downtown shopping district – a neighborhood packed with shops, antique stores and restaurants. Find one of a kind pieces from Vermont artists at the Artisans Hand Craft Gallery, pick up a new cooking gadget at Capital Kitchen or browse treasures from around the world at Global Gifts.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / SeanPavonePhoto

  • Ponchatoula
    Louisiana

    Ponchatoula, the oldest incorporated town in Tangipahoa Parish, is nicknamed “America’s Antique City” for its numerous antique stores (as well as galleries and boutiques) that occupy the restored buildings downtown.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / jmsilva

  • Shepherdstown
    West Virginia

    You’ll find hardly any chain stores lining the streets of historic Shepherdstown, but what you will find is a collection of locally owned and independently operated specialty shops and boutiques stocking items like vinyl records, mid-century antiques, pet care products, dance apparel, housewares, books and clothing.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / EyeJoy

  • Sequim
    Washington

    Sequim, an old mill town on the Olympic Peninsula, enjoys a walkable downtown filled with gift shops and cafes, and punctuated by a historic grain elevator. This unusually sunny small town (at least by Washington standards) is famous for succulent Dungeness crab, as well as the fields of fragrant lavender at its outskirts.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Spondylolithesis

  • Paducah
    Kentucky

    Paducah, a designated UNESCO Creative City, is best known for its National Quilt Museum which anchors a thriving fiber arts community. Historic brick structures now house an array of artist studios, galleries, boutiques and antique shops, while the Kentucky Oaks Mall – the largest in the region – features more than 100 retailers.
    Photo courtesy of Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • Fredericksburg
    Texas

    More than 150 shops line the streets of historic Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country, including many antique dealers and furniture design studios, making the town a popular destination for Texans looking to furnish a home. Take home a taste of Texas from Rustlin’ Rob’s Texas Gourmet Foods, handmade crosses and plaques from The Seasons or “traditional chic” fashion at Jabberwocky.
    Photo courtesy of TravelTex

  • Carmel-by-the-Sea
    California

    If shopping by the sea gets any better, those in Carmel don’t see how. Here, along cobblestone streets and paths, quaint stores selling local wares are set up in a picturesque village setting that feels more like a step back in time than a stroll down a retail row. Art galleries are a top draw, and it’s also a good spot for unique gifts and children’s toys. Just a stone’s throw away are the gift shops for the famed Pebble Beach courses and resorts, where golfers and tennis enthusiasts can stock up on everything to up their game.
    Photo courtesy of CarmelCalifornia.com

  • Beaufort
    North Carolina

    Beaufort enjoys one of the most popular downtown areas in the Inner Banks, featuring dozens of shops and eateries right on the waterfront. Visitors will find everything from local and regional artwork in the downtown galleries to quirky souvenirs at the converted general store and ice cream parlor.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / PamSchodt

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

  1. Highlands, North Carolina
  2. Dahlonega, Georgia
  3. Montpelier, Vermont
  4. Ponchatoula, Louisiana
  5. Shepherdstown, West Virginia
  6. Sequim, Washington
  7. Paducah, Kentucky
  8. Fredericksburg, Texas
  9. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
  10. Beaufort, North Carolina

A panel of experts (listed below) partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning small towns!

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Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Anna Hider

Anna Hider

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez