Most beautiful towns in America: Part 2

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Searching for beauty high and low

Of course, beauty is subjective, but there are some things on which we can all agree. A charming downtown oozing with character, sparkling waves under the glow of a sunset, and wide-open ranges void of human handprints are all undeniably beautiful in their own ways.

Not too long ago, we curated a list of our favorite beautiful towns in America, and we’re back at it again. From endearing architecture and preserved nature trails to serene coastlines and mountaintop views, we’re bringing you even more pretty towns and cities from sea to shining sea.

Explore the destinations below, and you, too, will find beauty in this world. 

1. Big Bear Lake, California

Beautiful scenery of the mountains and lake in Big Bear, California.

Left Via Shutterstock
Top Right Via Shutterstock
Bottom Right Via Yelp/Ros A.

Take the windy road that hugs the San Bernardino Mountains to arrive on the banks of Big Bear Lake. Whether snow is effortlessly draping the pine trees, or wildflowers are springing up along the trails, this lakeside resort is picturesque anytime of the year. Admire the aqua lake from afar as you weave down Bear Mountain on skis or settle in for a meal at The Pines Lakefront for front-row views of the sparkling shore.

2. Staunton, Virginia

Historical architecture and outline of the mountains in Staunton, Virginia.

Left Via Flickr/Doug Kerr
Bottom Right Via Flickr/m01229
Top Right Via Flickr/Danny Navarro

As you stroll along Staunton’s Main Street, the word “charming” doesn’t quite do it justice. Maybe it’s the sense of history—some of the homes and buildings date back to the late 18th century—or perhaps it’s the hazy blue outline of the Shenandoah ridges in the distance. Whatever it is, this idyllic mountain town makes you feel right at home. Download Traipse, an app that lets you explore and learn about the town in new ways, or dedicate an afternoon to eying the creative exhibits at the Staunton Augusta Art Center.

3. Hanover, New Hampshire

Beautiful sights to see in Hanover, including nature and Darmouth College.

Top Left Via Flickr/Adam Riggall
Top Right Via Flickr/Doug Kerr
Bottom Right Via Flickr/Adam Riggall

Hanover certainly gets some points in the pretty department thanks to Dartmouth College’s regal campus—Baker-Berry Library is a beaut in and of itself. Yet the town in the Upper Connecticut River Valley has its own allure up its sleeve. Set along the Connecticut River, Hanover’s quaint Main Street connects with the Appalachian Trail, one of the most treasured hikes on the East Coast. Picnic along the peaceful water at Storrs Pond Recreation Area and find your Zen at the Mink Brook Nature Preserve for some scenery at its finest.

4. Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Pretty scenery along the coast and marshes of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

Left Via Flickr/Andrew
Top Right Via Yelp/Angie T.
Bottom Right Via Shutterstock

You’ve heard being by the water is good for the soul and Bay St. Louis is the perfect place to test it. Surrounded by the bay and marshlands, this pretty little coastal town is a sailor’s delight. Stroll to the marina and listen for the sound of sailboats creaking against the dock, or build sandcastle masterpieces on the shore at the end of Main Street. You’ll find beauty in touring the quirky Gallery 220 Main art gallery, searching for Dayle Lewis’ angel trees, and watching the neighbors gather for a chat on the porches of shotgun cottages.

5. Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Picturesque landscapes in Medicine Park, Oklahoma.

Bottom Left Via Flickr/duggar11
Top Left Via Flickr/Jack Gray
Top Right Via Flickr/Doug Miller
Bottom Right Via Flickr/jack Gray

The prettiest cities in the U.S. are scattered across the nation, but when it comes to Oklahoma, look no further than Medicine Park. Dubbed the state’s only cobblestone resort community, the region is famous for the granite rocks that emerge from beneath the ground, creating a natural cobblestone effect. While you’re in town, dabble in the splendor: Plunge into the swimming hole at stunning Bath Lake, or search for American bison roaming the grassy prairie in the neighboring Wichita Mountains.

6. Thermopolis, Wyoming

Beautiful mineral deposits, petroglyphs, and hot springs in Thermopolis, Wyoming.

Left Via Yelp/Kathy P.
Middle Via Yelp/Debra R.
Top Right Via Yelp/Paul L.
Bottom Right Via Shutterstock

The search for beautiful small towns will always lead you to Thermopolis, the Gateway to Yellowstone County. Find your way to Hot Springs State Park, where you’ll discover the best seat in the house to enjoy nature’s grandeur, from the gigantic mineral deposit formations to the scorching hot water cascades. To uncover more beauty in this world, set your sights on the Legend Rock State Petroglyph Site, which reveals nearly 300 depictions from prehistoric cultures, dating back as far as 500 A.D.

7. Heber City, Utah

Beautiful scenery of Mount Timpanogos, Deer Creek Dam, and the Heber Valley Railroad around Heber City, Utah.

Bottom Left Via Flickr/Ken Lund
Top Left Via Flickr/Eric Ward
Top Right Via Yelp/Brian B.
Bottom Right Via Yelp/Brian B.

Heber City is the kind of place where the scenery is so magnificent that it’s almost distracting. Located in the Heber Valley, the area is defined by its stunning backdrop of mountain ranges. Climb aboard the Heber Valley Railroad and chug past Mount Timpanogos and the Deer Creek Dam and Reservoir—and keep your eyes peeled for moose and elk along the way! To really immerse yourself in Heber’s au natural appeal, book a fly fishing trip with Fish Heads Fly Shop for a guided adventure on the nearby Provo River.

8. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Amazing landscapes overlooking the valleys and river in the Grand Canyon.

Top Left Via Yelp/Jeffrey S.
Top Right Via Flickr/Loco Steve
Bottom Right Via Yelp/Vanessa H.

Everyone’s heard of the Grand Canyon, but have you ever actually stopped to admire its magnificence? Carved by the Colorado River, this gigantic canyon exposes vibrant shades of orange in its ancient rock structure, decorating its 277-mile course. Hoof it along the Bright Angel Trail to experience the call of the wild, or sit back and soak up the desert scenery from the comfort of a passenger train on the Grand Canyon Railway.

9. Haleiwa, Hawaii

Surfboards, mountains, and a palm tree-lined beach with a sea turtle in Haleiwa.

Bottom Left Via Yelp/Michael B.
Top Left Via Flickr/Anthony Quintano
Right Via Shutterstock

When picturing the most beautiful places in the United States, your mind often wanders to the paradisiacal Hawaiian Islands. In fact, Haleiwa just may be the idyllic escape you dreamt up, with its perfectly curled waves and colorful surfboards lined up outside the shops. You’ll soon realize why Oahu’s North Shore is known the world over for its legendary surf spots, but the swirling cotton candy sunsets at Haleiwa Joe’s are what will leave an ever-lasting impression on your memory.

10. Grand Lake, Colorado

Beautiful scenes of Grand Lake, Colorado, during the summer and winter.

Bottom Left Via Flickr/adifferentbrian
Top Left Via Flickr/PhotoBobil
Right Via Shutterstock

Grand Lake is known as the Western Gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park, but not so fast. Before you make a beeline for the park, admire the beauty within this lakeside town. Its namesake is the state’s largest natural lake, and it’s a delight to watch the sail boats catch the wind and glide around the water. On a warm day, explore the historical Grand Lake Boardwalk and look for the hitching posts. But when the snow starts coming down, snowmobile along Main Street or hit the groomed trails.

11. Hagerstown, Maryland

There’s beauty to be had in a place that embraces its past. That’s just what you’ll find in Hagerstown, a city celebrating its narrative with four designated historic districts and preserved landmarks in semi-rural Western Maryland.

12. Yankton, South Dakota

Boasting a range of good-looking attractions, like the Missouri National Recreational River, Dakota Spirit Fountain, and the 6th Meridian hop farm, Yankton is what we like to call a knockout.

13. McCloud, California

The epic views of Mount Shasta certainly don’t hurt McCloud in the beauty department, but the town has its own claims to fame, from its River Falls Trail to the historic Main Street District.

14. Irvington, New York

How attractive is Irvington? From its sweeping views of the Hudson, sprawling acres of woodland, and admirable 19th-century architecture, it’s much too pretty to count the ways.

15. St. Augustine, Florida

Florida is beautiful through and through, but St. Augustine stands out from the competition with its historical buildings along Aviles Street, Gilded-Age architecture of Flagler College, and tidal marsh and sand dunes of Anastasia State Park.

16. Wellfleet, Massachusetts

Stretching across the forearm of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Wellfleet is a handsome coastal town, treasured for its peaceful retreats at Marconi Beach, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, White Cedar Swamp, and beyond.

17. Excelsior, Minnesota

A ride on the vintage Excelsior Streetcar or the antique Steamboat Minnehaha will not only give you a glimpse into this city’s Victorian past, but it’ll also reveal the enchanting allure of this quaint lakeside town.

18. Wamego, Kansas

The Prairie Village, Totos Around Town, and Mount Mitchell: Wamego has all the charm (history, art, and nature!) to earn it a reputation as one of the most beautiful towns in America.

19. Madison, Indiana

Madison is a stunner, and you’ll see for yourself as you indulge in the local vineyards along the Indiana Wine Trail, hike Clifty Falls State Park, and cruise along the Ohio River Scenic Byway.

20. Berea, Kentucky

Berea is an enchanting Kentucky Trail Town celebrated not only for its scenic routes, but also for its thriving art community, where you’ll find more than 40 unique crafts shops, showcasing everything from art galleries to glassblowing studios.

21. Tellico Plains, Tennessee

With its breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains and endless acres of pastoral farmland, Tellico Plains has its fair share of charisma. Explore this striking Trail Town and you’ll soon understand its nickname, The Little Town with the Big Backyard.

22. Tyler, Texas

The delicate roses that burst to life in Tyler each spring aren’t the only things that make this Texas city easy on the eyes. Look beyond the Azalea & Spring Flower Trail to discover peaceful Lake Tyler, grape-laden vineyards, charming historical homes, and more.

23. Medora, North Dakota

The rustic, Old West cow town of Medora is the portal to the magnificent Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Take in the glory of the Badlands on horseback as you gallop past bison and mountain sheep, and venture to the nearby Painted Canyon Overlook.

24. Marietta, Ohio

Zoom out of Marietta, and you’ll see a lovely town dotted with Victorian architecture, sitting along the river, but zoom in, and you’ll be inspired by the details. Uncover the pretty brick streets, covered bridges, wetlands, and art galleries galore.

25. Polson, Montana

Good luck deciding what Polson’s most attractive features are because the list goes on and on. The dreamy views of Flathead Lake and the omnipresence of the Mission Mountain Range in the distance just scratch the surface when it comes to Polson’s beauty.

26. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

It’s romantic coastlines like Carmel-by-the-Sea that entice visitors to venture where the sand meets the ocean. The spectacular views from Scenic Bluff Path and the emerald waters at China Cove are only tiny pieces of Carmel’s seduction.

27. Incline Village, Nevada

No matter if Incline Village is covered in a fresh layer of snow or casting its reflection on the crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe, it’s undeniably gorgeous every day of the year.

28. Fairhope, Alabama

Fairhope could easily be the fairest of them all with its dramatic live oaks, architecturally divine antebellum homes, and serene shorelines along Mobile Bay.

29. East Lyme, Connecticut

Looking for some delicious views? Feast your eyes on East Lyme, where you can meander along Niantic Bay Boardwalk, overlooking the Long Island Sound, and hike along the creeks and pond in Nehantic State Forest.

30. Pullman, Washington

The small town of Pullman is especially good looking when the trees turn amber along Main Street and the Pullman Riverwalk, but some might consider the surrounding Palouse region the real draw; a magical display of rolling hills and wind-blown silt.

What are the most beautiful places in the United States?

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Chloe Mulliner

As a staff writer for Expedia, Chloe Mulliner is dedicated to providing top travel tips for your jaunts around the world. She believes there are adventures to be had on every inch of the globe from surf spots on the Peruvian coast to the charming villages of the English countryside. Chloe specializes in showcasing all the must-see attractions on your travel wish list. She lives by the belief that every adventure is a story worth sharing.

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10 thoughts on “Most beautiful towns in America: Part 2”

  1. If only coverage of these “beautiful” small towns included research into what it’s really like to live there; what the people are like, how the government operates, etc. Thermopolis, WY is pretty, but I wouldn’t invest your money or vacation time visiting. It may boast beautiful scenery, but so do other small towns in Wyoming, but it is also home to one of the most corrupt governments in America. Cheif of Police Steven Shay, Srgt. Pat Cornwall, Officer Kevin Smith, and pretty much all of the judges and county commissioners in Hot Springs county are criminals at best. Make sure you don’t need medical care while in Thermopolis either; the hospital and Dr. W. Travis Bomengen violate HIPAA laws and they will rob you blind.

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