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Amy_D Mar 21st, 2013 08:59 AM

10 Best Small Towns in America
Hi everyone,

I wanted to share a recent Fodor's blog story with you that's been making quite a stir on social media. Our editors took on the task of narrowing down a multitude of options to the 10 best small towns in America. The winners were picked based on criteria like population (all are under 50,000 people), and draws like great local eats, interesting museums and cultural points, and noteworthy natural attractions or outdoor adventures.

Did any of your favorites make the list? Which ones did we miss?

Read the story here:

PeaceOut Mar 21st, 2013 09:25 AM

Provincetown, Cap Cod, is a "small town", but it is so swamped with tourists that it loses that singular feeling.

nytraveler Mar 21st, 2013 10:07 AM

I'm glad that they defined 50K and under as small towns. Lots of times we see people here calling places like that cities (IMHO a city is at least 500K - although really I think several million for a true city with a walkable, livable downtown area.)

HappyTrvlr Mar 21st, 2013 11:13 AM

I love Sedona but don't see it as a resort area rather than "Small town." Galena,IL?? Left after a couple of hours and don't get why it's considered so great.
Love P-Town too.

HappyTrvlr Mar 21st, 2013 11:15 AM

Amy..actually P-town Sedona and Door County are big resort, week-end escape areas. Is that what you're looking for since this is a travel forum?

doorcountygirl Mar 21st, 2013 11:47 AM

So excited to see Door County on this list. I grew up in Door County and take my kids back every year from California for a couple of visits. They love it and I love being a tourist. My favorite experiences with kids: climbing Cana Island lighthouse, cream cheese and cherry french toast at White Gull Inn (winner 2010 best breakfast in America by Good Morning America), art clsses at Hands On Art Studio, ferry ride and bike riding on Washington Island, looking for goats at Al Johnsons and jumping off piers into the Lake. And there is so much more to do!

Best deep-fried cheesecurds in the county are at The Nightingale Restaurant in Sturgeon Bay - fresh from Renards Cheese Factory. And don't miss a Friday night fish fry or fish boil - like White Gull Inn's fish boil too - they have the best dessert.

emalloy Mar 21st, 2013 12:04 PM

Wow, I'd call under 10,000 a small town. 50,000 is big, from my 5,000 town point of view.

1JAR Mar 21st, 2013 05:19 PM

Bozeman is great and described well.

jubilada Mar 21st, 2013 06:19 PM

Brattleboro Is wonderful and does retain a real sense of place, unlike Sedona which seems like a new age theme park to me, though gorgeous.

I love Provincetown, and off season it is indeed wonderful.

SusieQQ Mar 21st, 2013 06:30 PM

For some of them a real "Meh"...St. Augustine, for example, was a wonderful small town, but is now a big tourist trap...with such attractions as Ripley's Believe it or not...Door County, come on, it is not even a town, but a large area....just to mention two from the list.

zootsi Mar 21st, 2013 07:18 PM

I think 'small town' is a bit of a stretch for many of these. There are still a few parts of Provincetown that are 'small townish', but in general it's a tourist town with a carnival atmosphere. Brattleboro Vt. is nice enough, but by Vermont standards it's a city. There are many other small towns in Vermont that are more qualified to be on the list.

jubilada Mar 22nd, 2013 06:20 AM

Although by Vermont standards Brat is a city, it is still only 12,000 people.
But yes, VT has many lovely small towns. brandon, for one.

PTown has a very small town feel between late October and Memorial day.

Keith Mar 22nd, 2013 07:00 AM

50,000 people sounds way too big for the small town limit.

annikany Mar 22nd, 2013 07:12 AM

I can think of a number of towns in NY that should be on the list based the criteria. Surprised NY didn't get a nod.
Oh well- one of them I've been to and others look like they would be nice to visit.

ronko Mar 22nd, 2013 07:25 AM

La Pointe - Wisconsin - Apostle Islands - is a unique small town on and island in Lake Superior. It is very historical and houses a great museum. Check your history books -- the fur trade and lumber industry was very active here many years ago. It was one of the first developments of the new west - going back to the 1600's -- many explorers passed through La Pointe. Check it out - you will be pleasantly surprised.

5alive Mar 22nd, 2013 11:16 AM

<I can think of a number of towns in NY that should be on the list based the criteria. >

There is a silver lining to being omitted from these kinds of lists. Too much notoriety can really change a place's vibe.

Lookin_Glass Mar 22nd, 2013 11:37 AM

If I said what I really think about this list, I would fear someone getting fired, and I don't want that hanging over me. Better they try harder next time.

Tomsd Mar 22nd, 2013 02:13 PM

Good Golly Miss Molly. It all depends on who is doing the voting, the panel of judges, yada, yada, yada.

You could easily add dozens of small towns: Ashland, Oregon (over the hill from my hometown of Klamath Falls, Ore),
Bend, Oregon, Grand Junction, Colorado (Is Boulder over 50,000 not counting students?), The Summit, Colorado, Park City, Utah, Coeur d' Lane (sp) Idaho, Lake Tahoe (Cal or Nevada side) - and on and on and on.

Tomsd Mar 22nd, 2013 02:16 PM

And how much was year round weather a factor? Truly outstanding recreational opportunities?

wekewoody Mar 22nd, 2013 05:52 PM

Good Golly Miss Molly? Is that how defrocked lawyers talk?

nanabee Mar 22nd, 2013 06:18 PM

I would definately add Coronado, CA as a great "small" town (25,000).

Shanti Mar 23rd, 2013 06:38 AM

I've never understood the purpose of any "10 best" lists. I don't think that even Fodors' editors really think that all the small towns in America can be reduced to the "10 best."

And then I look at this list and wonder where they came up with some of these places. Maybe they meant to entitle it as "10 non-big city areas take are nice to go to for a vacation." They list a county as a being of the best towns? Sedona is a beautiful area but it is more of a resort than a town.

Healdsburg is nice but that photo doesn't make it look very attractive.

tomfuller Mar 23rd, 2013 07:55 AM

Sorry Tomsd, Bend went over 80,000 in the last census.
Maybe Brookings would qualify on the coast of Oregon.
Could the editors give us a simple list of 25 towns that were investigated?
As for Walla Walla WA, the original products were onions and cherries, not grapes and wine.

GreatVacations Mar 23rd, 2013 12:39 PM

New Ulm, MN is one of my favorite small town. Especially, when August Schell Brewing(second oldest brewery) is having a beer festival. Break the winter blues and go to Bockfest in February.

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