Some of our nation's most underrated travel destinations are its small towns, places with fewer than 30,000 people where life moves a little bit slower, people tend to be friendlier and mom-and-pop establishments help keep things local.
We want to find the best small towns in the United States – the best coastal and historic small towns, and the best small towns for eating, shopping, culture or outdoor adventure. To do so, we need your help.
Vote once per day for your favorite in each category. Voting ends on Monday, May 14 at noon ET, and the winning small towns will be announced on Friday, May 18.
Click on each category below to vote:
Best Coastal Small Town
Our nominees for Best Coastal Small Town span the nation from Atlantic to Pacific, including the lake shores in between — Photo courtesy of iStock / Ron_Thomas
Move over San Francisco, Miami and Honolulu! Our 20 nominees for Best Coastal Small Town – each with a population of fewer than 25,000 people as of the last census – offer uncrowded, unpretentious and affordable seaside fun in small packages.
Best Historic Small Town
Step back in time in these 20 historic small towns — Photo courtesy of iStock / Lightguard
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 20 nominees for Best Historic Small Town have big histories and small populations, making them fun and affordable ways to dive into our nation's past.
Best Small Town Cultural Scene
These small towns have art and cultural scenes that rival those of much bigger cities — Photo courtesy of iStock / AzmanL
Bigger isn't always better, especially when it comes to these 20 small towns. What each lacks in size, it makes up for with a big cultural punch – museums, art galleries, performing arts and busy event calendars.
Best Small Town Food Scene
Hungry? Visit one of these food-centric small towns — Photo courtesy of iStock / Marje
Tasty things sometimes come in very small packages. These 20 small towns have big food scenes with chef-driven restaurants, local flavors and plenty of variety, especially given their small size.
Best Small Town for Adventure
Which small town is your favorite gateway to adventure? — Photo courtesy of iStock / piola666
These 20 towns might be small, but they're big on outdoor adventure, from hiking and mountain biking to kayaking and rock climbing.
Best Small Town for Shopping
From antiques to boutiques, these small towns shine when it comes to shopping — Photo courtesy of iStock / huePhotography
Eclectic boutiques, art galleries, antique stores and farmers markets – these 20 small towns with populations of less than 25,000 are perfect destinations for some retail therapy.
Remember, you can vote once per day in each category. Check back on Friday, May 18 to see which small towns take home top honors.