12 Famous American Small Towns That You Can Visit Today

When we think of small American towns, specific images come to mind. Do you picture a place like the fictional towns of Stars Hollow, Cabot Cove, or Mayberry? It’s undeniable that little towns across the US have the wholesome, nostalgic, peaceful qualities we imagine. But smaller cities are more varied than we might think. Contributors on an online forum shared some of the most famous, and the choices may surprise you.

1. Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone, Arizona, USA - October 17, 2018. Historic Allen street with a horse drawn stagecoach in Tombstone. Built near the Goodenough Mine Tombstone became a boomtown in the American frontier.
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Tombstone is one of the most infamous places in American history, particularly related to the Old West. This was the site of the legendary gunfight at the O.K. Corral, where Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and Doc Holliday fought a group of cowboy outlaws. The fight has been immortalized on screen, most famously in the film Tombstone with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. Today, Tombstone is a popular tourist trap that still looks like it did in the 1800s. An individual raves, “I went there last year and saw the actual tin cup Val Kilmer twirls in the bar scene with Johnny Ringo. It was worth it just for that.” Tombstone qualifies as a small town with a population of 1,307.

2. Cooperstown, New York

COOPERSTOWN, NEW YORK - 21 JUNE 2021: Main Street in the upstate town and home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
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Cooperstown is a very tiny village with a population of 1,867. This charming hamlet is famous for its connection to Major League Baseball. This town is the site of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The museum honors and immortalizes the sport’s greatest and most legendary players. It’s a tremendous honor to be inducted, and any true baseball fan hopes to visit someday.

3. Sleepy Hollow, New York

SLEEPY HOLLOW, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 18: A scenic look along the Hudson River shoreline on September 18 2021 in the village of Sleepy Hollow in New York state.
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Those who love Halloween and everything spooky flock to several places in New England. One is Sleepy Hollow, New York, made famous from the Washington Irving story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and various films. Its population is higher than what one might expect, with 10,955 residents, but it’s still charming. One person points out an interesting fact: “The town’s original name (and the name by which it’s known in the story) is North Tarrytown, but they renamed it Sleepy Hollow in the ’90s. Sleepy Hollow was the term used to refer to the town’s cemetery.”

4. Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey, PA, USA - September 4, 2020: Visitors stand in line at the entrance of Hersheypark, a popular attraction in Chocolatetown USA.
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Hershey, Pennsylvania, is one the most famous towns in America because of the creation of Hershey’s chocolate. The average person does not make the connection between the candy and the town. But those who do often visit Hershey’s Chocolate World, a wondrous place that tourists and locals alike love.

5. Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia, USA: 31st March 2021; Woman riding on a horse and buggy in colonial Williamsburg
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The small towns of Virginia are rich in history and beauty with relatively low populations. Williamsburg has 15,590 residents and retains the charm of early America. Colonial Williamsburg, in particular, is a popular attraction where visitors can experience life in the 1700s. One user adds that you can visit the Virginia small-town trifecta adding Yorktown and Jamestown.

6. Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah, USA downtown in autumn at dusk.
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Park City is relatively small, with a population of 8,457, but it’s become a household name thanks to the Sundance Film Festival and the 2002 Winter Olympics. Known as a place to visit in the winter months to enjoy snowboarding and skiing, but any time of the year offers locals and visitors beautiful crisp weather and historic architecture.

7. Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, USA - July 3, 2019: Colorado town with small airport in famous city during summer day with fence by road and mountains
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Aspen, Colorado, is another place known for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. It’s even smaller and more quaint than Park City, with a population of 6,949. Aspen is also known for catering to celebrities and the wealthy.

8. Astoria, Oregon

Astoria, Oregon, the first permanent U.S. settlement on the Pacific coast, overlooks the Astoria Megler bridge as it crosses the Columbia river to the state of Washington.
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Astoria is a quaint seaside town with a modest population of 10,343. It’s a lovely place to visit for those qualities alone. But Astoria has a significant claim to fame. It is the setting for the 1980s classic The Goonies, and much of the movie was filmed there. Fans can see Mikey and Brand’s house, the jailhouse, streets from the opening sequence, the hillside where the Fratelli’s restaurant was, and the beach from the ending scene. Several YouTube channels have showcased The Goonies’ filming locations, including two of my favorites, Adam the Woo and Justin Scarred. They’re terrific guides to this famous place.

9. Mackinac City, Michigan

Mackinac Bridge, a.k.a."Big Mac" and "Mighty Mac", Colonial Michilimackinac Park, Michigan
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The lovely Mackinac City on Mackinac Island undeniably earns the term small town. The population is only 853 in this tiny hamlet made famous as the filming location for Somewhere in Time (1980) and This Time For Keeps (1947). One individual asserts, “It’s known for its Victorian-era charm and the absence of cars downtown. It is a popular vacation spot for people looking to step back in time and enjoy some old-fashioned hospitality.” Mackinac is a beautiful time capsule and a place I’d love to visit someday.

10. Beverly Hills, California

Beverly Hills, CA, USA - January 23 2020: Los Angeles, Rodeo Drive shopping district in Beverly Hills.
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Most may not think Beverly Hills qualifies as a small town because of its modern and affluent quality. It’s a place known for the rich and famous, as they say. And while its population of 31,896 is the highest on this list, the US census says any town under 50,000 still counts. The rise in the movie industry and movie stars led to an increased fascination with the town. And the series Beverly Hills, 90210 solidified it in the cultural zeitgeist.

11. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Photo of The Path Leading to the Spangler Barn, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania USA
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Gettysburg is one of the most significant towns in American history and a place that deserves respect and reverence. During the Civil War, thousands of lives were lost during the Battle of Gettysburg, a significant turning point in the North’s victory. President Abraham Lincoln also gave his famous address at the Gettysburg Soldier’s National Cemetery site. The population is only 7,392, but it’s one of the most important towns in America.

12. Marceline, Missouri

MARCELINE, MO, USA - MAY 26 2013: Gondalas DTTX 723533 and DDTX 765990 , for carrying loose, bulk material, parked in the BNSF railyard in front of Santa Fe Coaling Tower.
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The population of Marceline, Missouri, is a modest 2,125, making it one of the smallest famous towns in the US. Disney fans know this as the town where Walt Disney spent much of his childhood. Its Main Street was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street USA. The town retains much of its old-fashioned charms and Disney’s immortal presence.

Source: Reddit.

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This article was initially published and syndicated by The Cents of Money

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