When planning a vacation, most people opt for the popular destinations: cities they've read about, or towns and attractions that have been recommended by friends and family. But that's about to change, because there are plenty of charming small towns in America that are worth taking a road trip to, even if you didn't know they existed — until now, that is. These 60 underrated towns across the U.S. might not have made it onto your bucket list yet, but they absolutely deserve a spot.
This picturesque village is located right on the edge of Skaneateles Lake in Upstate New York. With beautiful and serene surroundings, you can spend the days of summer relaxing in a kayak or hiking the trails. Plus, there are premium shopping outlets not far from town.
Known as the "covered-bridge capital," the town offers a trail studded with seven covered bridges that connect the village across rolling hillsides and a series of waterfalls and rivers. The delightful setting is home to plenty of great hiking and bicycling spots, as well as several cozy B&B retreats.
Right at the edge of Zion National Park sits a small village where visitors can soak up the breathtaking mountain views as they enjoy dining at the local brewery or shopping at one of the many crystal and geode shops.
Once you make it Hawaii, rent a car and visit the town of Hilo which is nestled along the Big Island's largest harbor and boasts beautiful waterfalls with stellar views. Just south of the tropical retreat is Volcanoes National Park, home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world.
Not far from Lake Isabella is the perfect place for adventurers to escape. From kayaking and white water rafting, to mountain biking and rock climbing, there are plenty of activities to fulfill any adrenaline-seekers' list. Not to mention, the downtown has an Old West aesthetic, full of quaint antique shops, boutiques, and restaurants.
Stuart is formally known as the Sailfish Capital of the World, thanks to its close proximity to the St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon. The small town's tropical climate is perfect for snowbirds who enjoy getting away during the bitter winter months, but are looking for a less popular destination.
From a legendary castle to mushroom houses to a stunning red lighthouse, the small town of Charlevoix has plenty to offer. And if you’re a fan of all things lavender, this is the ideal destination for you—Charlevoix is home to Lavender Hill Farms, abundant with 25 varieties.
Black Mountain is nestled deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains with a population of 7,500 and is considered one of the prettiest small towns in the United States, according to Trip Advisor. Taking a stroll through the Town Square reveals stunning landscaping, the small town’s famous rocking chairs, and of course, hiking trails, camping grounds, and waterfalls.
This town has a Bavarian village feel that makes it a must-visit during Oktoberfest and the holiday season. Take in spectacular views of the Pacific Northwest on nearby hiking trails or just take it easy with some shopping and wine tasting.
History buffs and beach lovers alike will love this small island town off the Georgia coast. There, you can golf, fish, and visit plenty of historical monuments, and you can't miss climbing to the top of the St. Simons lighthouse to see the view of the entire island.
Back in the day, Bisbee was a major silver and copper mining hub, but now it's a quaint small town home to artists and retirees. With houses on cliffs' edges and a mine cavern that you can still explore, it's pretty picturesque.
In this town, you can skip the touristy stuff and relax by the (much less crowded) beach. With fishing, boating, snorkeling, multiple golf courses, and more, there's a little something for everyone.
If you like whiskey, Bardstown is basically a can't-miss stop — you might not be familiar with it, but it is the bourbon capital of the world, after all. It's home to several distilleries, including Jim Beam and Maker's Mark.
A visit to this charming, serene town might be just what you need. It's a great spot for biking and hiking as well as browsing the local shops. If you visit in July, be sure to check out their Bastille Day festival.
With a population of less than 400 people, calling this town small is an understatement. That said, Trinidad is home to some beautiful public beaches and picturesque offshore rocks, and it has rich Native American history.
You'll need to take a ferry to make it to this quaint little island, but once you get there, you'll be instantly charmed. Relax at the beach, go sailing, or head to one of its many attractions, like the Antique Car Museum or Butterfly House.
Astoria is actually the oldest settlement west of the Rocky Mountains, so if you love history, you'll love exploring this interesting town and its many museums, like the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
For a peaceful visit, head to this quiet town and enjoy beautiful walking trails and an abundance of maple trees. Take a wildlife tour, head to a local music festival, or even check out a museum, like the American Museum of Fly Fishing.
In the heart of the Ozark Mountains is this charming Victorian village, known for both its Historic District and its natural springs.
This boating and fishing community located on the salty Damariscotta River will have you wondering why river towns aren't more popular. The shores are lined with oyster shells that historians say are from Native American gatherings 2,500 years ago.
The historic charm of this mining town's six-block Main Street will make you feel like you took a time machine to a different decade. After you conquer downtown, must-see attractions include the Old Market House and the Historical Society and Museum.
Even though this Midwest town is quaint and quiet during the majority of the year, it totally transforms in May for the annual Tulip Time Festival. To honor their Dutch culture, they transform the streets and host an epic parade.
This town used to be all about coal mining, but today it's rich in history. We recommend grabbing a bite and sitting next to the Elkhorn Creek that flows through the town and into the Tug Fort.
This town's motto is "The Oldest Summer Resort in America," and its prime location on Lake Winnipesaukee proves why. People from all over New Hampshire, Boston and even Hollywood (Drew Barrymore once visited!) vacation here during warm summer months.
Wineries and breweries: check. Panoramic views of a gorgeous lake: check. Restaurants filled with top-notch food: check. This southern Finger Lakes community offers something for everyone and has become a favorite for destination weddings.
Even though downtown Keene is a must-visit destination, the countryside and lakes are the real treasures in this town. Make sure you take a tour of the covered bridges and hike up Mount Monadnock during your stay.
It makes sense why this city's population of 1,372 people all live within one square mile when you see how lovely it is downtown. It's known as the "Cream City" for its well-preserved Victorian storefronts and homes.
About 21 miles south of Nashville is a much quieter downtown experience that still offers tons of culture. Wind your way through antique shops and restaurants, then catch a live show at one of their award-winning venues, like the Franklin Theatre.
This northern Sonoma County town is a lesser-known destination for wine tasting, but no less gorgeous. If you've had your fill of Pinot, there's still plenty to do, including hiking, biking and even canoeing.