A survey by Conde Nast Traveler magazine revealed that eight out of the ten friendliest places in the country are spread through the southern states. A coincidence? Maybe, since we have live proof of how warm and welcoming the northern United States towns are. Forget the southern charm and hospitality and visit one of the northern towns for an unforgettable lifetime experience. Like the south, the north is full of approachable creatives and friendly young professionals, with a sophisticated, vibrant vibe most noticeable in a small-town atmosphere, unlike anywhere else in the country.
This charming northern town in northern Virginia is full of unique places with the same friendly vibe. Start a memorable day with a stroll along the historic Old Town and settle in a cafe amid the sights to plan out your day. Alexandria's residents, comprising many young professionals and families out and about, lend an elated feel along the streets. Pets are a huge part of life here, so bring your pup to browse around vibrant shops, culinary spots, and artsy sights, followed by a scenic picnic overlooking the Jones Point Lighthouse.
Check out the Torpedo Factory Art Center and seek heritage through the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, and Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Save Pope-Leighey House, Carlyle House, and Woodlawn Plantation for another day on a bike ride to end at the picturesque waterfront for sunset. Mid-April to mid-June is the best time to visit for just the right amount of interaction, warm weather, and unobscured views.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a music and art-filled town with friendly vibes and many hotspots along the streets. It feels made for mingling and group visits, where locals will make you feel part of the crowd in their beloved home, one of the happiest places in the US, according to surveys. Take a morning stroll through the North Carolina Arboretum and spend a sightseeing day at the Basilica of Saint Lawrence, Biltmore Estate, and Pinball Museum. Craft beer and good banter flow non-stop in the evening to enjoy local company, nearly tourist-free in March and April.
Explore the pleasant town on a stroll along the River Arts District, where nature and culture combine into a scenic promenade with several museums, breweries, restaurants, and buskers with beautiful views. Enjoy the summertime vibes along the raging river in a whitewater raft and a whole lot of picturesque outdoors for refreshing hikes to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pisgah National Forest, and Linville Falls.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is your go-to happy place in Wyoming when the city sights, rush, and grime have got you down. Enjoy the local company and get away into the surrounding nature that will take your breath away. Here, you can relax and indulge in your niche throughout the year, from the warm summer outdoor hikes to the wintertime skiing delights in the region. Explore the boundless Grand Teton National Park with its wildlife trails and enjoy other outdoor adventures like rafting, fishing, and ranch visits.
Come for the winter sports at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort or to dine fine at a one-of-a-kind place in the company of local nature lovers and tourist venturers. The family-friendly town attracts shopaholics to Jackson Town Square, while kids and teens love Snow King Mountain and the Cowboy Coaster. Visit the National Museum of Wildlife to see paintings of regional scenery like the nearby Elk Antler Arch, the Snake River, and the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve.
La Conner, Washington
La Conner is the sweetheart of the northern US, set against a backdrop of one of the country's best natural treasures, the Cascade Mountains. This tiny, picturesque community overflows with historic sights, modern attractions, and scenic views throughout. Step back in time with three museums, a large collection of antique stores, and authentic German treats like chocolate and savory scones from the Scone Lady Bakery.
Find this friendly fishing village with a population of under 1,000 between Seattle and Vancouver, along the banks in the heart of the Skagit Valley. La Conner is a great stop to catch a breath along Washington’s ultimate summer road trip, the Cascade Loop. There are plentiful local boutiques and galleries, from the vibrant downtown art colony to the Salish Sea’s Swinomish Channel waterfront. Sight eagles, otters, and sea lions on a stroll along the delicious restaurants lining this passage.
Take a scenic hour drive through the verdant rolling hills north from Wichita along Interstate 35 to hear "Välkommen till Lindsborg!" in this happy town of around 3,500. Founded in 1868 by Swedish immigrants amid the beautiful, fertile Smoky Valley in Central Kansas, "Little Sweden" offers a trip through its vibrant past and modern culture. Settle at the "Seasons" of Fox Bed and Breakfast with refreshed rooms according to the season, and visit the Coronado Heights landmark, a stone "castle on the plains."
Start at the Blacksmith Coffee Shop and Roastery in a former smithy and down the Brent Nelson sandwich from Ol Stuga for a hearty breakfast to realize your day's plans ahead. Dive into a galore of attractions, cuisine, and architecture with Scandinavian roots, like vintage dala horses decorating the streets in celebratory bursts of color. On the second Friday of the month, stroll through the transformed Main Street into the "Makers Street" community art walk and join in the June-time Midsummer’s Festival with Maypole dancing.
Littleton, New Hampshire
This quintessential American town brims with good vibes, from its sweet-sounding name to wholesome pursuits, friendly locals, and family businesses since the early 1930s. Visit Schilling Beer Company for a region-renowned pint of craft beer in good company, and sightsee the Pollyanna statue that literally grins from its pedestal downtown, iconic of Littleton's happy atmosphere.
Start the day right with the Littleton Diner’s pancakes, followed by a quirky stop at the Eli Wallace Horse Cemetery, paying tribute to her three horses. Mingle along Main Street, one of the state's best, with the world's longest candy counter at the Chutters Candy Store, and shop for unique souvenirs. End the night with some sophisticated showbiz at the Littleton Opera House and head back for another beer with the now lively crowd.
Montpelier in Vermont is the maple syrup capital of the United States, with plentiful feel-good pursuits through every season. Stock up on your favorite topping, the sticky pantry must-have, for memorable breakfasts at home, and frequent the stylish Skinny Pancake to indulge while in town. Try sweet or savory options like loaded with butter, "Pure and Simple," or the signature Sass-Squash, with butternut squash, goat cheese, apples, and organic spinach.
Visit the family-run Bragg Farm Sugar House for maple kettle corn, cookies, and candies perfected after eight generations of practice. Let the sugar kick power your hike through the hills beneath the Green Mountains, or mingle with the locals at the Capital City Farmer’s Market to support local growers by picking farm-fresh produce that your body craves after all of the sugary carbs.
Skagway, one of the largest state's most accessible towns, tucked within the Inside Passage of a valley near the north pole, offers a memorable beach time experience during the summer in Alaska. Enjoy an easy drive-in right from Klondike Highway or via the "port-of-call" connected to the ferry system, Alaska Marine Highway. The cozy town provides just the right amount of company, like the feverish residents who share their best insights about local hotspots and the avid tourists in the northmost state. Stroll along the waters or relax at Teigu and Tanani beaches along the Chilkoot Inlet.
Explore deeper into the surrounding nature of the Coastal Mountain Range and the deepest fjord in North America via breathtaking train rides, glacier helicopter tours, or dogsledding tours. You will love the 18 hours of summertime daylight for all the outdoors, with a good chance of the Aurora Borealis display in the few dark hours of the night from the shoreline. Stroll through Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park with 20th-century wooden storefronts, period buildings, and architecture from the Gold Rush era. Despite striking gold, the stampede of 1897–98 failed to "strike it rich" due to the hard northern terrain.
Try to find a friendlier town than Wamego, famous for The Wizard of Oz. Visit with your family for unforgettable times to mingle with like-minded fans of classic literature and sights all around. This fantastic Kansas tale sweeps you away with unforgettable musicals at the Columbian Theatre, the OZ Museum, and Dorothy’s yellow brick road leading to it. Explore the verdant landscape along several biking trails, historic homes, ranches, and rolling hills for sunny-day picnics.
The museum is a must-visit for everyone, with four hovering flying monkeys outside, ruby slippers inside, and live Tin Man, shy lion, and Wicked Witch working the scene amid exhibits and storytelling artifacts. The emerald town with themed shops, eateries, and bars is also home to the verdant Wamego City Park with a museum and a Dutch mill from 1879.
Whitefish is a very friendly town, welcoming a year-round string of outdoor lovers for adventures in the mountains and relaxing beaches. Holding its small-town atmosphere close to heart, you won't find the tourist trap vibe along this bank of picturesque Whitefish Lake, but local businesses and wholesome family pursuits in the fresh air. Some hotspots include Stumptown Ice Den, Whitefish Depot, and the Walking Man Frame Shop & Gallery.
The town with its own Whitefish Lake State Park is your gateway to the one and only Glacier National Park. Pursue the scenic outdoors in the warm months for hiking, horseback riding, and biking, as well as fishing, boating, jet skiing, and swimming under the summer's sun. Visit in September to November for pleasant weather and the lowest crowds to enjoy good banter over brews with friendly locals in the evening, and return for wintertime skiing and snowboarding from your doorstep at Whitefish Mountain Resort.
This darling little town is a popular destination with a friendly environment and a historical ring in the air above many immaculately preserved Federal-style buildings. Feast on the natural and heritage sights with your eyes, and choose from countless places to delight your tastebuds with mouthwatering breakfasts. Venture over three scenic bridges in Woodstock, like the Taftsville Covered Bridge from 1836, and take a stroll through the sensual gardens at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Historical Site with a mansion centerpiece.
Woodstock was voted one of the prettiest towns in America, with the best that nature has to offer. A joyous 45-minute hike up Mount Tom opens up a panoramic picture of the entire town. Visit the Vermont Institute of Natural Science with an elevated boardwalk through the treetops overlooking the Ottauquechee River 65 feet below. Imagine you are a huge climbing spider spying on the forest floor through its unique giant spiderweb.
The northern towns comprise an "undervalued local culture" with deep history, natural beauty, and guilt-inducing eats that friendly locals will feverishly share with new faces. Choose the home of the Wizard of Oz or the maple syrup capital, among other towns each with a memorable vibe, and see how warm the cool north can be. Peruse the decorated and historic streets strewn with places for culinary delights, beautiful waterways, and state parks just a hop away. Spend the warm months outdoors on a hike along the water's edge, and ditto for the wintertime skiing and snowboarding at a nearby resort.