Black Mountain, North Carolina
In a valley, surrounded by spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Black Mountain calls itself “The Little Town That Rocks!” Peppered with locally-owned restaurants and art galleries, Black Mountain is loaded with small-town charm. From Summer to Fall, rocking chairs painted by local artists can be seen outside the downtown shops, thus inspiring the nickname. The valley is littered with hiking trails, perfect for walking or biking. Clear running mountain streams and lakes provide ample opportunity for fishing and camping.
Port Angeles, Washington
This scenic harbor town that is nestled in the shadow of Olympic Mountain is the gateway to Olympic National park. Port Angeles is loaded with history and captivating beauty. Its temperate summer climate makes it an optimal vacation destination. The heart of downtown is peppered with cafes, galleries, bookstores, and galleries. It’s also the birthplace of NFL hall of Famer, John Elway.
Traverse City, Michigan
This Midwestern town consistently ranks high on the annual Livability list of the 10 Best Small Towns, and it’s no wonder. Freshwater beaches, beautiful vineyards and gorgeous views of Lake Michigan have more and more families calling this small town home. Active and health-minded residents enjoy year-round fun with plenty to do: state and national forests; nature preserves and wildlife refuges for hiking, cycling, and combing the beaches; fishing; and more. Some of the country’s best trout streams are located in Traverse City, and the lakes and rivers are perfect for sailing, boating, swimming and canoeing. The area is also known as the country’s largest producer of tart cherries, harvesting 360,000,000 pounds annually.
Situated on Baranof Island and just minutes from the Tongass National Forest, Sitka offers unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s not uncommon to see whales breaching the nearby waters or bald eagles soaring overhead. Residents have plenty of space to spread out, as Sika’s land area is nearly 3,000 miles, while the town itself only has two stoplights. The average commute is eleven minutes. Nature lovers have a variety of activities to choose from with biking and hiking trails meandering through the forest, and the beautiful waters off Sitka provide ample fishing and boating opportunities.
The road to Hana was made famous by Georgia O’Keeffe when she decided to paint the location in 1939. The 52-mile long winding road is dotted with waterfalls, lush rainforests, and pristine coastlines. The drive alone is worth it, but at the end of the road awaits Hana, famous for its black sand beaches and perfect surfing conditions. The locals are friendly and always willing to share the town’s unique history or recommend the best place to grab some fresh food made with local ingredients.
Picturesque Telluride is loaded with small-town charm and known for both friendliness and a laid-back atmosphere. This former silver mining town is popular as a skiing destination and lately has blossomed into one of the best festival sites in the country, hosting events like the Telluride Film Festival and the Bluegrass Festival. Elevated at 8,750 feet, and located in a box canyon, surrounded by forested cliffs provide unequaled views of the mountains. Nearby Bridal Veil Falls is considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. 300 sunny days a year provide the area with ample hiking, biking, and river activities. As home to some of the country’s most celebrated chefs, the dining is unsurpassed.
Nestled in the beautiful Kittitas Valley in the shadow of the magnificent Cascade Range, Ellensburg is a charming town that offers the best of both worlds, small-town appeal and big-city amenities. With a beautiful downtown full of historic, elegant 19th-century buildings, it’s home to a number of museums and galleries. It boasts a rich culinary scene and some of the best breweries in central Washington. Each January, the city hosts Winterhop Brewfest which is attended by two dozen microbreweries from around the Pacific Northwest region. It’s also home to Central Washington University.
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Loaded with small-town friendliness, diverse wildlife, and ancient history, Los Alamos is becoming popular for those looking to raise a family. As the gateway to three national parks, outdoor recreation is abundant year-round with activities such as golf, skiing, ice skating, cycling, and hiking. It’s role in the Manhattan Project, the program created in the 1940s to develop the atomic bomb, has made the town home to fascinating history, and world-changing technology development, and also gave the town its nickname, “Atomic City.”
Surrounded by apple orchards and vineyards, and only 15 miles from both the Pacific Ocean and the Sonoma County, Sebastopol is loaded with surprises. Down-to-earth, culturally diverse, family-friendly and easygoing are a just a few of the ways the city describes itself. Downtown features charming antique and craft shops along with bookstores, restaurants, pubs and art galleries. Residents enjoy exploring nearby Laguna de Santa Rosa, one of the nation’s largest freshwater wetlands. Wine enthusiasts love the town for its ample supply of small, family-owned vineyards. Its rich agricultural landscape provides a bounty of fresh produce sold locally at Farmer’s Markets.
Whether you’re looking for a place to relocate or simply plan your next vacation, you can’t go wrong with any of these beautiful locations. Big things really do come in small packages.