15 Most Underrated Small Towns in America

Step out of city life and check out small towns that might be great places for your next home.
Updated Aug. 22, 2023
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Small towns have become more appealing to those who want a lower cost of living, more land, or charm that you can’t find in a city.

Families, people who work from home, and retirees all find these places attractive. The lower cost of living also might help boost your bank account.

If you’re thinking about moving to a small town, here are a few options to check out. See if one of these places is the right new home for you.

Midway, Utah

Michael Eaton/Adobe midway green plains

Midway is located about an hour outside of Salt Lake City. It offers the perfect charm of a mountain town along with some modern amenities.

Check out Homestead Resort for water activities and golfing. You can retire early and spend recreational time in the mountains while saving money.

Beacon, New York

Nancy/Adobe view from beacon mountain

Along the Hudson River is Beacon, which may be a good option for New York City residents trying to get away from the hectic nature of the city.

The town is on the Metro-North Railroad line into the city, giving residents a convenient way to get into Manhattan. 

Or, you can explore the sights of Beacon itself, including quaint shops and a “Doctor Who”-themed restaurant for fans of the show.

Florence, Alabama

ace/Adobe florence bridge long exposure

Florence is located in The Shoals area of northern Alabama. It’s a great place to enjoy the natural beauty surrounding a small town.

The area is home to hiking and outdoor adventures. Or, enjoy some of the town’s rich music roots with concerts and other events.

Los Alamos, New Mexico

M. Makela/Adobe los alamos new mexico

You may have heard of Los Alamos after seeing the latest blockbuster movie “Oppenheimer” about the Manhattan Project. 

Los Alamos can be a great small-town alternative to bigger and better-known cities in New Mexico. Check out Manhattan Project National Historical Park and the Bradbury Science Museum.

Sitka, Alaska

Skookum Photography/Adobe sitka alaska

Sitka is a great small town if you don’t mind a little cold to go along with beautiful views of the water.

The island town has plenty of nature to enjoy. You can hike or watch whales. Or if you prefer, explore the town’s historical Russian heritage at landmarks such as the Russian Bishop’s House.

Pro tip: There are a lot of opportunities in a small town to earn extra money and give you the spending cash you need to travel. 

Brooklyn, Michigan

Sue Smith/Adobe small town in michigan

Like other towns in Michigan, Brooklyn is known for its location near lakes, giving residents plenty of opportunities for activities on the water.

The town is also home to the Michigan International Speedway, which hosts major racing events.

Thermopolis, Wyoming

forcdan/Adobe thermopolis hot springs wyoming

Thermopolis is home to numerous hot springs. Enjoy the warm water before heading to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.

The town is also relatively close to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, giving residents the perfect opportunity to venture out to beautiful national parks.

Marfa, Texas

Rosemarie/Adobe welcome to marfa sign

Marfa might be a great option If you’re looking for a small-town feel in Texas with a beautiful desert landscape.

The town is located in the Big Bend region of western Texas. And check out Prada Marfa, a fake luxury store in the middle of the desert that’s perfect for photos.

Durango, Colorado

Jim Glab/Adobe the town of Durango

Colorado is known for mountain activities such as hiking and skiing. Durango can give you those things with a small-town feel.

The town also has plenty of lakes and reservoirs if you enjoy water activities.

Lambertville, New Jersey

Vadim/Adobe delaware river at summer

Lambertville was founded in 1705, and the town’s charm includes preserved federal townhouses and Victorian homes.

The town is also close enough to big cities such as Trenton and Philadelphia that you won’t be far from big-city life when you want to enjoy it.

Guthrie, Oklahoma

Roberto/Adobe logan county

North of Oklahoma City is the town of Guthrie, which served as the state’s first capital.

Now, the town is home to antique shops and other stores in its quaint downtown, as well as plenty of old homes that have been preserved.

Holbrook, Arizona

Felix Mizioznikov/Adobe desert landscape on blue sky

Holbrook was once a fabled stop on Route 66, and it still has some of the old-fashioned charm that made it the perfect place for visitors and residents.

It’s also close to the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert if you want to venture out and enjoy the beauty of the Arizona desert.

Billings, Montana

David/Adobe montana cityscape streaming lights

Big Sky Country could be a great place to live if you love nature and open spaces — as long as you don’t mind plenty of snow in the winter.

Check out the Rimrocks, which are beautiful sandstone cliffs surrounding the town. Or, try out the city’s food scene, including a walking tour of six breweries.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Danita Delimont/Adobe kennebunkport village harbor

Kennebunkport is a great spot if you want to live on the Atlantic Ocean and enjoy all that a harbor town has to offer.

The town has plenty of whale-watching opportunities and beaches to visit in the summer. Or, check out the shops in town and get fresh lobster from some of the local restaurants.

Onalaska, Wisconsin

Jacob/Adobe small town of ashland

Onalaska is located near La Crosse on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border. It is perfect for people who want to get outdoors and fish close to home.

The town is known for its fishing opportunities on Lake Onalaska. Swing by the Sunny the Sunfish statue near the lake to celebrate local fishing before heading into town to enjoy the sunset at one of the local restaurants.

Pro tip: Using a credit card for your retirement purchases that offer rewards like cash back can stretch your money as long as you don't carry a balance.

Bottom line

Melinda Nagy/Adobe woman relaxing in hammock

One of the great things about living in a small town is the lower cost of living, which can help you lower your financial stress.

It’s also a good opportunity to help you save money while also being able to take life a little slower. A small town still has plenty to offer and can provide a terrific place to retire. 

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Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.