main street in Bisbee, Arizona

11 Most Underrated Towns in the United States

The United States of America is undoubtedly a land full of magnificent natural splendor, diverse and wide ranging culture, and centuries worth of fascinating (and dark) history. Indeed each State has something unique to offer for any visitor and though the major cities and capitals will always attract much attention, it is surely also the smaller towns that hold much allure. From east, west, north, and south, the towns of the continental United States reveal an eclectic assortment of beautiful culture, natural surroundings, and so much more. So come explore America and see these wonderful, but often overlooked towns on your next trip!

Walla Walla, Washington

Aerial view of Walla Walla, Washington
Aerial view of Walla Walla, Washington

Named after a Native American tribe, the town of Walla Walla is beautifully located within the Walla Walla Valley with a majestic framing of the Blue Mountains. Seat of the same named county, this welcoming and scenic town is only 6 miles from the border with Oregon and in addition to its mountain landscape also boasts great views of wheat fields and rolling green.

Street view in Walla Walla, Washington
Street view in Walla Walla, Washington, via carterdayne /

Together with its hot summers and mild winters, this makes Walla Walla truly a wonderful place to discover year round. Meanwhile for the history lover stops at the famous Oregon Trail and the important Fort Walla Walla transport one back in time to the turbulent years of the 19th century. And of course, visiting this region of Washington State would not be complete without trying a locally made wine. Indeed up to 120 separate wineries are in operation here alone!

Dodge City, Kansas

Aerial view of Dodge City, Kansas
Aerial view of Dodge City, Kansas, via Eduardo Medrano /

A veritable town of the Old Wild West, Dodge City can trace its foundational history to the 1870s when it was a true hotspot for outlaws, cowboys, and gamblers. Today this town of just under 28,000 inhabitants maintains a most unique 19th century charm that will surely leave the young and old enthralled. Amongst the sights of interest include the Boot Hill Museum (and its insightful look at post Civil War America) and the Boot Hill Cemetery, while an old fashioned trolley ride through the historic district definitely creates a sense of time travel. In addition the always delightful Dodge City Days in the summertime is great for all ages. It is here that everything from rodeos, parades, live music, and some delicious barbecue cookoffs can be enjoyed in one of Kansas’ most special places.

Narragansett, Rhode Island

Aerial view of Narraganset, Rhode Island
Aerial view of Narraganset, Rhode Island

Home to a modern population of nearly 14,500 residents, the most charming town of Narragansett is scenically located along a strip of the Pettaquamscutt River. One of Rhode Island’s prettiest destinations, the town is known for its gold sandy beaches that attracts thousands of guests each year. And with fun opportunities for sailing and swimming always a popular choice, it is not difficult to see what makes Narragansett so alluring. In addition visitors can explore a number of landmarks in town listed on the National Register of Historic Places which include The Towers (a castle like gate constructed in 1883) and the Point Judith Lighthouse (1857). Finally one can enjoy plenty of beautiful park areas here including the Fishermen’s Memorial State Park in a quaint and truly stunning bay side community.

Natchez, Mississippi

Street view in Natchez, Mississippi
Street view in Natchez, Mississippi, via Nina Alizada /

The historic town of Natchez serves as the seat of Adams County and has a modern history that dates back to the year 1716. Beautifully situated along the Mississippi River, this former French colonial town is indeed one of Mississippi’s most naturally beauty and historically fascinating locales. Spend time along the river where hot summers and warm winters welcome residents and visitors alike, while an exploration of an assortment of 19th century mansions, plantations, and other antebellum style buildings create a very special type of living museum. And as a former hub of cotton production, alongside its strategic location on the Mississippi River, Natchez continues to offer all who visit important lessons on the growth of the United States and its sometimes painful and enduring legacy of discrimination.

Genoa, Nevada

Aerial view of Genoa, Nevada
Aerial view of Genoa, Nevada

The town of Genoa is situated near the border with California and was founded by Mormon settlers in the mid 1800s. Today the home to humble population of nearly 1,400 inhabitants, visitors can get better acquainted with 19th century history through an exploration of several fascinating cultural landmarks. These include the Genoa Historic District and the Mormon Station State Historical Park, which has amongst its features a replica trading post and a number of other historically accurate buildings. And with mild summer and winter temperatures, Genoa is indeed a most comfortable place to discover throughout the year as a well as nice escape from some of Nevada’s busier urban centres.

Bisbee, Arizona

Aerial view of Bisbee, Arizona
Aerial view of Bisbee, Arizona

Bisbee is scenically situated right in the heart of the Mule Mountains near the border with Mexico and is indeed one of southern Arizona’s most charming places. Founded as a mining town in the 1880s, today it serves as the seat of Cochise County with a population of nearly 5,000 inhabitants. A beautiful example of small town America in a most special desert setting, Bisbee is full of architecture from the 19th and early 20th century creating plenty of great photo opportunities.

Explore such landmarks like the Cochise County Courthouse or the Copper Queen Mine, while the fun of numerous annual festivals makes town a most thriving place to be. And with its hot summers and warm winters, Bisbee is indeed a place that can be appreciated throughout the year. Finally for the athletic minded tourist, partaking in the Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb is surely a test worth trying. Running for five miles, one can follow a path through town that passes by some 1,034 stairs in a most intense and memorable workout.

Hodgenville, Kentucky

Abraham Lincoln statue in town square of Hodgenville, Kentucky
Abraham Lincoln statue in town square of Hodgenville, Kentucky

Hodgenville is forever immortalized as the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, widely considered one of the greatest American presidents. Today this modern town of just under 3,300 residents continues to honor Lincoln’s legacy and it is a must visit for any lover of American history. Home to the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site and the Lincoln Museum, visitors can explore informative exhibits detailing the Civil War and the President’s role in ending the conflict. With wax figures, historic newspaper clippings, and other items from the 1860s, these places are indeed a great way to get acquainted with the nation’s past. And of course in the town’s main square, posing with the bronze statue of Abe is a must while numerous specialty souvenir shops make sure a piece of Hodgenville comes with you. Meanwhile with its location along the Nolin River, the town is also a great spot to enjoy tranquil afternoons in a hot and humid ambience.

Madison, Connecticut

Blue hour after sunset in Madison, Connecticut
Blue hour after sunset in Madison, Connecticut

Named after America’s fourth President James Madison, this splendid Connecticut town offers some of the very best of the State’s stunning coastline. Established in 1826 and home to just under 18,000 residents, Madison has loads of beautiful natural surroundings and fascinating historic intrigue that will truly satisfy the young and old. Explore the town’s assortment of 19th century edifices (many of which are included on the National Register of Historic Places), and stroll past the charming beach front stores and restaurants, indeed when in Madison there is always a welcoming mix of the outdoors with small town allure. And of course any visit here would not be complete without spending time at Hammonasset Beach State Park, which sees up to one million visitors annually! Here such fun activities like sailing, swimming, fishing, cycling, and picnicking in this most picturesque and wholly American destination.

Telluride, Colorado

Beautiful downtown in Telluride, Colorado
Beautiful downtown in Telluride, Colorado

A former mining town founded in the 1870s, Telluride is indeed a gorgeous place to enjoy both the outdoors and fascinating 19th century American history. Seat of San Miguel County and home to a populace of just over 2,600 inhabitants, Telluride is beautifully situated within the Colorado Rocky Mountains and visitors will never surely never be short on wondrous vistas to take in throughout the year. Known for its famed Ski Resort, at the Mountain Village (some 10,000 feet in the air) truly stunning alpine views and great slopes make this a definite premier destination for anyone in Colorado.

Meanwhile back in town, a charming historic district is not to be missed where numerous Victorian era landmarks, speciality shops, and local eateries all make it a very special outing. Finally for the true cinema afficionado, visiting Telluride could never be complete without enjoying the town’s celebrated Film Festival in September which attracts thousands of spectators and filmmakers from across the globe.

Carpinteria, California

Rods and Roses classic holiday car show in Carpinteria, California
Rods and Roses classic holiday car show in Carpinteria, California, via  L Paul Mann /

The seaside town of Carpinteria is a most charming and welcoming place that is just a short drive away from the city of Santa Barbara. Home to a modest population of just over 13,000 inhabitants, this relatively quiet community offers wonderful beach areas and a mild and warm climate that delights residents and visitors alike. In fact for some great California beaches but in a less crowded and busy urban centre, then Carpinteria is indeed an ideal place to experience. Enjoy an afternoon at spots like Padaro Beach or the Carpinteria State Beach, while an afternoon at the quaint downtown district is a fun way to enjoy local restaurants and other shopping outlets. And for the avocado lover, then October is indeed the time to visit where during the Avocado Festival, the delicious fruit and its related product is the star attraction.

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Main street in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Main street in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, via Wikipedia

Also known as the “Crawfish Capital of the World”, the Louisiana town of Breaux Bridge is surely one of the best places in the nation to enjoy true Cajun cuisine. With a humble population of just over 7,500 inhabitants, visitors will never be short on exciting events to discover here no matter what time of year. Of course the most popular and enduring is the Crawfish Festival, where delicious seafood and other Cajun specialties create a most unique experience. Add in the special sounds and sights of the South and any time spent in Breaux Bridge will undoubtedly leave one with a very special set of memories. In addition, tourists can enjoy such outdoor outings like Lake Martin or a nearby swamp tour. It is here that views of wildlife including alligators and herons make for quite the special array of photos and videos!

The United States is indeed a country filled with diversity. Be it natural, cultural, or historical, the splendor to be found in America has made it a perennially favorite destination for tourists, be they domestic or international. While the major American cities will always have their fame, it is also the smaller towns that have just as much to offer any visitor. From the West to the East Coast, the Deep South to the Midwest, these underrated US towns may all be situated in different parts of the nation but share some things in common. Loads of wonder, natural beauty, fascinating history, and unique Americana that remind one why the USA is indeed such a great place to discover firsthand.

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