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Newsmax's 50 Best Small Towns in America

Newsmax's 50 Best Small Towns in America
Lebanon, New Hampshire, City Hall at night. (Picasaweb.google.com/Submitted by Travis Paige)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 January 2016 11:26 AM EST

Fed up with the crowding, crime, dirt, noise, daily hassles, and frustrations of living in our nation's big cities?

Whether it's New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, or Baltimore, big cities certainly have their advantages — culture, dining, employment opportunities, and excitement. But face it: Sometimes you yearn for a peaceful, serene atmosphere where you can relax, raise a family, and rely on down-home neighbors with good, basic all-American values.

Those places are still out there. Here, Newsmax has rounded up 50 of the very best small towns in America, where churches are abundant, schools are orderly and safe, crime is low, scenery is beautiful, and people are friendly. These are the small towns where you can kick back, relax, and enjoy life like it used to be in our country.

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1. Lebanon, New Hampshire (population 13,367) — A valley town on the Connecticut River, Lebanon offers hiking in forests, great restaurants, skiing, the Alliance for the Visual Arts Gallery, and whitewater rafting and kayaking.

2. Los Alamos, New Mexico (population 12,068) — Enjoy the high-tech with the Los Alamos National Laboratory or get into nature by hiking in the Bandelier National Monument preserve, mountain biking, or hunting.

3. St. Augustine, Florida (population 13,271) — The oldest city in our nation, St. Augustine is chock-full of Spanish architecture and a seaside atmosphere complete with boating, diving, the World Golf Hall of Fame, and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.

4. Ligonier, Pennsylvania (population 1,560) — This town has one of the nation's oldest amusement parks and the downtown square, called The Diamond, still boasts a scenic bandstand. It's awash in French and Indian War history at Fort Ligonier.

5. Leavenworth, Washington (population 1,965) — Modeled on a picturesque Bavarian village, this town features scads of fine restaurants, wine shops, and skiing and hiking areas.

6. Bar Harbor, Maine (population 2,427) — Bar Harbor provides rocky coast sailing, the beauty of Acadia National Park, and six historic lighthouses for trips with the kids.

7. Stowe, Vermont (population 4,339) — This skiing mecca calls itself, deservedly, the Fall Color Capital of New England. The vacation town hosts a plethora of never-ending cultural activities and features fine dining and climbing on Mt. Mansfield.

8. Louisville, Colorado (population 18,831) — This town contains space exploration companies, outdoor summer concerts at the Steinbaugh Pavilion, and a wide variety of pubs and restaurants.

9. Leiper's Fork, Tennessee, north of Nashville (population 650) — "There's a two-lane road through a one-horse town," goes the motto in Leiper's Fork, which hosts an annual Porchfest and Fork Fest of music, an annual chili cook-off, and a yearly turkey shoot.

10. Hood River, Oregon (population 7,214) — This small town features skiing, windsurfing, and mountain biking. It also hosts the Annual Hood River Hops Fest and has more than two dozen buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

11. Maysville, Kentucky (population 8,920) — The birthplace of singer Rosemary Clooney, Maysville also boasts a picturesque downtown area on the banks of the Ohio River, featuring the Washington Opera House, golfing, biking, and boating.

12. Beaufort, South Carolina (population 12,967) — The town boasts lush greenery, historic Civil War-era homes, the nearby Parris Island Marine base, and tours by boat, kayak, or island coach.

13. Spearfish, South Dakota (population 10,690) — With lush scenic views from Crows Mountain, Lookout Mountain, and Spearfish Mountain, Spearfish is best known for fishing, the Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, and a location midway between Mount Rushmore and the Devils Tower National Monument.

14. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (population 3,722) — This dog-friendly city is abounds with art galleries and wine shops. With charming cottages and beautiful scenery, it also hosts an annual Bach Festival and the Monterey County Symphony. Its residents once elected Clint Eastwood as mayor.

15. Traverse City, Michigan (population 14,942) — It may be the tart cherry center of the U.S., but this town has a lot more to offer than cherries. Great restaurants, Northwestern Michigan College, freshwater beaches, a successful wine industry, and Sleeping Bear Dunes' beautiful scenery make Traverse City a great place to live.

16. Mooresville, Alabama (population 65) — Often called "Alabama's Williamsburg," this town is for the American history buff. Enjoy touring the Brick Church, the Stagecoach Inn and Tavern, and the Post Office, built of local sawmill lumber in 1840.

17. Jackson, Wyoming (population 9,777) — Near Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, Jackson has some of the most beautiful scenery in the U.S., and some of the best skiing anywhere at Jackson Hole, not to mention music and dancing at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.

18. Sitka, Alaska (population 9,020) — Once called "New Archangel" when the Russians ran the place, today's Sitka is a beautiful seaside village that entertains visitors with native Tlingit dancers, the Fortress of the Bear rescue center, boating and fishing, and the chance to view humpback whales from Sitka's boardwalk.

19. Pella, Iowa (population 10,346) — Pella heralds its extensive Dutch heritage with the annual Tulip Time Festival and a working Dutch windmill, while Lake Red Rock provides camping, fishing, and kayaking.

20. Sedona, Arizona (population 10,031) — With its otherworldly scenic red rock geography, this town boasts hiking, biking, scads of art galleries, and New Age healing centers for the spa-oriented. The 16-mile Oak Creek Canyon gorge is a fisherman's idea of heaven.

21. Madison, New Jersey (population 16,021) — Called the Rose City, Madison is just 25 miles from the Big Apple and home to some pricy real estate, but it also hosts two universities, a low crime rate, the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, and international dining.

22. Mystic, Connecticut (population 4,205) — Celebrate the area's maritime history with Mystic Seaport's recreated 19th Century sailing village, abundant seafood restaurants, Mystic Pizza of movie fame, and the nearby Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos for gambling action.

23. New Castle, Delaware (population 5,385) — Nestled in the Brandywine Valley on the Delaware River, New Castle revels in the area's Dutch, Swedish, and English history. Colonial buildings abound in the place where William Penn first landed in America in 1682.

24. St. Simons Island, Georgia (population 13,381) — St. Simons offers peaceful, oak-lined streets, a working lighthouse to explore, and recreation including canoeing, kayaking, bicycling, fishing, golfing, and just plain relaxing.

25. Southern Pines, North Carolina (population 12,334) — This historically charming town features the Weymouth Center grounds, galleries of the Arts Council of Moore County, and plenty of green and peaceful parks for strolls or bicycling.

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Batesville, Arkansas (population 10,490) — If you like rural living, Batesville is for you. The town, 80 miles north of Little Rock on the scenic White River, features the annual Scottish fest, a huge genealogical collection of the area's history, the Batesville Speedway, and plenty of fishing, camping, golf, and rafting.

27. Marshall, Minnesota (population 13,570) — Home to the Schwan Food Company and Southwest Minnesota State University, 69.6 percent of Marshall's people are affiliated with a Christian religion. It is well-known for hunting, golfing, antiquing, birding, and snowmobiling.

28. Rhinebeck, New York (population 2,636) — This town is home to America's oldest operating inn, the Beekman Arms, the annual Dutchess Fair and Country Living Fair, and the Rhinebeck Aerodrome, one of the largest collections of antique airplanes still flying in the world.

Abingdon, Virginia (population 8,191) — With red brick sidewalks under shady green trees, Abingdon boasts the Barter Theater and the Abingdon Muster Grounds — where the Washington County militia of Kings Mountain fame headquartered — and it also hosts an annual Civil War weekend.

30. Lindsborg, Kansas (population 3,461) — This town gives a nod to its Swedish heritage with the annual Svensk Hyllningsfest and provides great scenic views from the Coronado Heights lookout, as well as Viking Valley, a kids' playground, and the Messiah Peace Park and Labyrinth.

Ketchum, Idaho (population 2,706) — This skier's dream world is located near Sun Valley, but also offers fishing, hiking, and trail riding.

32. Takoma Park, Maryland (population 17,232) — It calls itself the Azalea City, and for good reason — thousands of azalea bushes decorate the streets just a few miles from Washington, D.C. Though a bit pricy, the Victorian mansions and scenery of Sligo Creek and Long Branch Creek make this town well worth it to residents.

33. Dillon, Montana (population 4,134) — This old railroad town is big on cattle and sheep farming, and boasts outdoor activities such as snowmobiling, hiking, and skiing at nearby Maverick Mountain.

34. Edgartown, Massachusetts (population 3,779) — Edgartown has the rich history of a whaling town and draws masses of tourists to see the Edgartown Lighthouse, the Morning Glory Farm, and other seaside attractions.

Park City, Utah (population 7,743) — Park City is a mecca for skiing, with Canyons, Deer Valley, and Park City Mountain beckoning. The town also hosts the annual Sundance Film Festival.

36. Bandera, Texas (population 861) — The self-proclaimed Cowboy Capital of the World features an annual Ranch Heritage Day and a host of dude ranches, which will whisk you back to the days of Old West cattle drives.

37. Galena, Illinois (population 3,429) — Once home to nine Confederate generals, Galena today offers kayaking, bicycling, snowboarding, spas, superb restaurants, and great nightlife. It also bills itself as the perfect place to tie the knot.

Middleton, Wisconsin(population 17,442) — A scenic wonderland in the fall, Middleton offers the Greenway Station shopping and restaurant area, the Pheasant Branch Conservatory for pleasant walking and, for beer lovers, the Capital Brewery. Also, it is the home of the National Mustard Museum.

39. Hawi, Hawaii (population 1,081) — Known for its tropical lushness and peaceful lifestyle, Hawi is located on the Big Island. Home for the bicycle turnaround of the Ironman World Championship, it also features loads of art galleries and serves as a great place to sip legendary kona coffee at outdoor cafes.

40. St. Francisville, Louisiana (population 1,746) — Famed for delicious Cajun cooking, spicy crawfish, and seven historic plantation homes, St. Francisville also hosts the annual Audubon Festival and the Yellow Leaf Art Festival.

41. Natchez, Mississippi (population 5,513) — Sitting on the Mississippi River, Natchez has horse-drawn carriage tours, art galleries, the Natchez National Historic Park, loads of blues venues, and Natchez-Under-The Hill for nightly entertainment and drinking.

42. Glendale, Missouri (population 5,921) — For those with a sweet tooth, this town holds the annual Glendale Chocolate Affaire and, for fans of Christmas, the Glendale Glitters Spectacular Weekend and Jingle Bell Rockin' Nights are just what Santa ordered.

43. McCook, Nebraska (population 7,698) — The historic half-way point between Denver and Omaha, the town offers pumpkin patch picking, terrific hunting and fishing, nature walk areas, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Sutton House, as well as the Lighthouse Marina Summer Concert Series and the Red Willow County Fair.

44. Shipshewana, Indiana (population 677) — Nestled in the heart of Amish country with horse-drawn carriage lanes along its highways, the town is home to the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, as well as restaurants and shops offering Amish cuisine and crafts.

45. Incline Village, Nevada (population 8,777) — On the shores of Lake Tahoe, Incline Village is a fishing and water sports paradise, and offers top-notch skiing in the winter at Diamond Peak.

46. Yellow Springs, Ohio (population 3,513) — This is the Buckeye State's art center, with village trees decorated with local artist's knitted graffiti, abundant galleries, the Glen Helen Nature Preserve for scenic wonders, and the Wellness Center at Antioch College.

47. Heber City, Utah (population 12,911) — This is the place to go if you like wild mountain scenery, boating, golf, horseback riding, skiing, or hiking. In fact, in Heber City, your life would be an endless round of outdoor pleasures, and also include cultural activities like the eight-day Wasatch County Fair and sunset rides on the Heber Valley Railroad.

48. Collinsville, Oklahoma (population 6,131) — Near Tulsa but not IN Tulsa, Collinsville is a classic American small town with a historic downtown area, hot air balloon rides, and quiet living. Just down the road, there's Tulsa Railway Park, the Will Rogers Memorial Library and Museum, the Tulsa Zoo, and other big city attractions.

49. New Salem, North Dakota (population 914) — This town features Salem Sue, the "world's largest Holstein cow" sculpture standing 38 feet high and 50 feet long on top of School Hill, but there's more to the village than just a giant cow. Be sure to check out the Red Trail Links Golf Course, the Custer Trail Museum, and great fishing in well-stocked Gaebe Pond.

50. Davis, West Virginia (population 660) — At first glance, it doesn't seem to have a lot to recommend it, but if you love hunting, fishing, skiing, biking, and hiking in some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere, you won't want to miss nearby Canaan Valley State Park (locals pronounce it ca-NAN) or Blackwater Falls State Park. Get into history at nearby Thomas, an old coal-mining town with 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register, or drop by The Purple Fiddler for good old mountain music.

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Big cities certainly have their advantages, but face it: Sometimes you yearn for a peaceful, serene atmosphere where you can relax, raise a family, and rely on down-home neighbors with good, basic all-American values. Here, Newsmax has rounded up 50 of the very best small towns in America.
small, town, america, best, list
Wednesday, 20 January 2016 11:26 AM
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