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The Most Picturesque Towns In The U.S.

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Prettiest Town's In America (1200 × 800 px)

The Most Picturesque Towns In The U.S.

From the charms of Galena, Illinois, to the seaside village of  Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, grab your camera, load up the RV and let’s head out to the most picturesque town in each state.
Rich in architecture and layered with nature—whether it’s canopies of trees, a beach that stretches for miles, or the glass-like surface on a lake or river—each U.S. state hosts more than one town that will take your breath away. From the East Coast to all the way to the West, we have listed are our favorites, with special love for small towns that are also abundant in culture. So put on your hiking boots and get ready to explore. Chances are, you’ll come back home with memories that will last a lifetime, or even a new piece of art to hang in your home.

Small but mighty, Fairhope, along Mobile Bay’s shoreline, flaunts a French Quarter of brightly colored buildings and canopies of live oak trees nearly everywhere you look.

This gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park also features a picturesque marina, lots of puffins, and quirky stops.

You’ve heard of the energy vortex, a Sedona phenomenon that claims to heal ailments? Yep, that’s in this Northern Arizona town, but so are stunning orange and red boulders and the Old West-like, walkable Main Street District.

With its sugar-white sand beaches, the painstakingly restored Carmel Mission with lush gardens, and a quaint downtown with fairy-tale-like cottages and cobblestone alleys, this town hugging the Pacific Ocean is stunning.

“Breck,” as its commonly called, is a resort town 90 minutes southwest of Denver. During the 1850s it was a hot spot to mine for gold. Today, skiers and hikers alike flock here for recreation and to stroll the downtown’s historic district.

Mystic Harbor’s charming collection of sailboats (many of them wooden) frame this coastal Connecticut village, which is also home to a maritime museum and historic downtown district. On a nice day you’ll likely spot a traditional schooner as well as stand-up paddleboarders out on the water.

Thick crowds in the summer months are par for the course in Rehoboth Beach, although the shoreline’s soft edges come dawn are what keep people coming back to this arts-oriented community.

This colorful town along the Gulf of Mexico was a location for the 1998 movie The Truman Show. Seaside—one of the country’s first New Urbanism communities—and is filled with candy-color cottages.

St. Marys serves as the gateway city to Cumberland Island, the largest of the barrier islands along the Georgia coast, and to the picture-perfect Cumberland Island National Seashore.

This artsy, music-oriented community tucked into the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas boasts Victorian-era buildings, cute shops, and many natural springs.

Perhaps more than any of the other islands, Kauai is known for its natural beauty and its dramatic, beautiful sites. These include Waimea Canyon, the Coconut Coast and much more. You’ll find gorgeous mountains and waterfalls, white sand beaches, sugarcane fields, and beachside cliffs such as those on the Na Pali coast.

At the base of Bald Mountain, Ketchum—a favorite haunt of Ernest Hemingway and at nearly 6,000-feet elevation—is an outdoor sporting paradise that includes, in the summer, fly-fishing.

Most of Illinois is flat, but this favorite weekend getaway for Chicagoans along the Mississippi River is not. Tucked beneath Galena’s rolling hills are well-preserved 19th-century mansions, “you-pick” farms, and activities that celebrate the outdoors, such as horseback riding.

Snug along Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore—which includes the far southern edge of Lake Michigan—is this quaint town founded by a fur magnate that includes attractions such as a master luthier’s shop and more restaurants per capita than any other town in the area.

As Grant Wood’s paintings depict, small-town Iowa is at its sharpest view in the Amana Colonies, a collection of seven villages settled by German immigrants during the 1850s. Shops continue the craftsmen tradition by selling art, antiques, artisan-made wares, pastries, and—at the Amana Woolen Mill—cozy throw blankets.

It’s no myth: During a certain window (usually August and September), sunflowers do bloom in Kansas’s fields. This includes Grinter Farms, in Lawrence.

South of Lexington is this crafts-oriented community where weavers, furnituremakers, and more live a good life, largely inspired by the natural setting, all of which lends credibility to Berea’s stature as the folk-art capital of the country.

In the heart of Cajun country, Breaux Bridge is delightfully trapped in time, home to the world’s best crawfish, a vibrant Acadian culture, and bayous that serve as meditative spots.

Being in Stonington, a fishing village, is like slipping back into time, with wooden boats bobbing in Penobscot Bay and homes (many with cedar-shake shingles) built into the sloping hillside.

Rooted in nautical history—the U.S. Naval Academy is based here, and locals love to go out on their boats—Annapolis is a more meditative counterpart to the bustling D.C. area.

This former whaling port of about 5,000 residents—located on Martha’s Vineyard—includes two lighthouses (Cape Pogue Light and Edgartown Harbor Light) and a gorgeous shoreline. Sidenote: Jaws was filmed here during the 1970s.

While it may be a continent away from its Dutch sibling, tulips still bloom in this town along Lake Michigan, the downtown is thriving, and its iconic red lighthouse is practically a town symbol.

Two hours north of the Twin Cities in the Land of 10,000 Lakes is this leafy paradise that features Gull Lake and the family-friendly resorts surrounding it.

Steeped in history, this Mississippi River town is rich in antebellum homes and serves as the southern tip of the scenic 444-mile-long Natchez Trace Parkway (think long, winding roads and green spaces that include a cypress swamp), an historic corridor used by American Indians and European settlers.

You may know Cape Girardeau from the Gone Girl movie, but it’s also a sweet little town on the banks of the Mississippi River with a uniquely designed suspension bridge, antique clocks in its downtown area, and beautiful hiking spots.

It’s not called Big Sky for nothing—this idyllic southern corner of Montana attracts outdoor lovers to its four-season climate, whether for mountain biking or skiing.

Saddled with a sweet name, Valentine is close to the South Dakota border as well as home to Nebraska’s highest waterfall (in Smith Falls State Park).

Where it rims the north shore of Lake Tahoe, Incline Village—named for the Great Incline Tramway built by loggers—features towering pine trees, walls of boulders, and pools of turquoise water.

This historic seaport is home to many historical attractions, some dating back to the 1600s, and is a sought-after destination come summer.

A true shore town, Cape May boasts a boardwalk, beach, and marina. But the housing stock is just as pretty, including gingerbread-trim Victorian homes.

One of the country’s oldest cities, Chimayo was settled in the late 1700s by Spaniards. Now it’s a spiritual and artistic haven with attractions like El Santuario de Chimayo, where people flock for the “holy dirt,” which reportedly has healing powers.

This upstate town is home to Cornell University and Ithaca College along with tons of open space hosting stunning hikes paired with waterfall views, like at Buttermilk Falls State Park.

Whether you’re cruising along the Blue Ridge Parkway and taking in panoramas or hiking in any of Asheville’s many parks and nearby forests, you’ll find the area beautiful no matter the time of year.

Adjacent to Medora, Painted Canyon is in the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and features stunning vistas like this one.

Located five miles offshore on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, Put-in-Bay is a recreational paradise come summer.

Home to one of the state’s tallest waterfall, in Turner Falls Park, this town in south central Oklahoma is flush with wildflowers during the warmer months.

This spot on Oregon’s fog-laced coastline is a stunning getaway from Portland, just under a two-hour car ride, and—if you’re lucky—you might see whales during their twice-annual migration (usually in the winter and spring).

The Delaware Canal is stunning in this town, which borders New Jersey—and is an easy day trip from Philly—and is filled with dozens of art galleries.

Beyond Block Island’s beautiful beaches are quaint and chic stores selling pottery and clothing, plus attractions like the two lighthouses.

This town in coastal South Carolina—on Port Royal Island—is the second-oldest in the state, with historical buildings and walking tours documenting its 500 years of history.

This artsy town is also rich in nature, including Falls Park, with a waterfall that cuts right through a residential area.

As the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg’s smoky sky and lush green hills are eye candy for nature explorers.

Settled by Germans, this Texas Hill Country town features wineries, lavender fields, and the country’s largest family-owned wildflower-seed farm (Wildseed Farms).

This town of about 500 residents is a short bicycle ride from the entrance to Zion National Park, encircled by red rock canyons, and home to many artists inspired by the beautiful setting.

Most people come to Stowe to ski or hike through fall foliage, but year-round there’s a stunning beauty. At the foot of Mount Mansfield, this town has just 5,000 residents.

Just an hour from Washington, D.C., Culpeper is a popular weekend getaway, with shops, cafés, and boutiques tucked into tall historic buildings downtown and—farther out—wineries and cycling routes.

Blessed with delightfully damp weather on occasion but a nicer climate most of the time, Friday Harbor is part of the San Juan Islands, and located on San Juan Island itself. It’s accessible from Seattle via a seaplane or ferry.

Home to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, the town of Harpers Ferry is nearly as pretty. It’s right where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers converge. From The Point, at the convergence, you can see Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Locals call this part of Door County “the quieter side.” Butting up against Lake Michigan, the bay in Baileys Harbor is rimmed by quaint inns, cafés, and shops, including a private nature preserve.

A chic spin on Old West cowboy culture, the town of Jackson—a popular base camp for Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park—may be where the buffalo roam but it’s also where many people come to relax, whether it’s at the Four Seasons or a retrofitted midcentury-modern motel.

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