Summer is upon us, and if you're looking for some vacation inspiration, look no further than these award-winning small towns – each with a population of fewer than 30,000 people. Whatever you're looking for, from a top-notch culinary scene or shopping, to history and culture, these small towns are sure to deliver in a big way.
Click on each category below to see the full list of winners.
Best Small Coastal Town: Georgetown, S.C.
Readers chose Georgetown as the nation's best small town on the coast — Photo courtesy of iStock / Joesboy
The small community of Georgetown on the Carolina coast is what Charleston used to be – 200-year-old homes (more than Charleston, in fact), scenic plantations, lots of southern charm and none of the crowds. Local restaurants serve up Lowcountry specialties, and outdoor adventures might include kayaking, fishing or paddleboarding.
Best Historic Small Town: Tarpon Springs, Fla.
Visiting Tarpon Springs is like going to Greece without leaving Florida — Photo courtesy of iStock / crys94
Visit the small town of Tarpon Springs, and you might feel like you’ve been transported to the shores of the Greek Islands. In the early 1900s, sponge beds were discovered nearby, and Greek sponge divers arrived and set up shop in what has become the town’s famous Sponge Docks on the Anclote River. The historic district features 145 historic buildings.
Best Small Town Cultural Scene: Lake City, S.C.
Lake City is known for its annual art festival, ArtFields — Photo courtesy of Visit Lake City SC
The population of Lake City almost triples during the annual ArtFields festival. During the rest of the year, art lovers enjoy the Smithsonian-qualified Jones-Carter Gallery housed in a converted tobacco warehouse in the heart of the downtown historic district. The town’s festival calendar also includes the South Carolina Tobacco Festival (one of the longest-running festivals in the state) and the Rhythm & Q’s BBQ and Live Music Competition.
Best Small Town Food Scene: Collingswood, N.J.
There's something for every palate in Collingswood — Photo courtesy of Gannett, Douglas Bovitt/(Cherry Hill, N.J.) Courier-Post
Hungry travelers will find flavors from around the world coming from the kitchens of Collingswood, known as South Jersey's "Restaurant Row." Eateries run the gamut from casual (Bobby Chez, Collingswood Diner, Primo Hoagies) to upscale (Hearthside, Bistro di Marino) and everything in between.
Best Small Town for Adventure: Marquette, Mich.
Marquette serves as a gateway to adventure on Lake Superior — Photo courtesy of Travel Marquette
The largest town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, still small Marquette sits on the shores of Lake Superior, making it a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts. Presque Isle Park serves as the launching point for kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding, while McCarty’s Cove offers a family friendly beach. Hikers and paddlers come from all over the world to explore the 150 miles of singletrack, 83 miles of Superior shoreline and 77 waterfalls in Marquette County.
Best Small Town for Shopping: Berlin, Md.
This National Register Historic District boasts more than 50 shops and galleries — Photo courtesy of Squelle / Wikimedia Commons
Berlin's downtown, a National Register Historic District, has featured in films like Tuck Everlasting and Runaway Bride. Situated a stone's throw from Ocean City, Berlin’s Main Street is packed with retail shops – more than 50 – that run the gamut from antiques and art galleries to jewelry stores and clothing boutiques. It’s a diverse assortment for such a small town.
Congratulations to all these winning small towns! Remember to visit 10Best.com daily to vote in other Readers' Choice categories.