Commercial Street in Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA. Editorial credit: Mystic Stock Photography /

8 Friendliest Towns to Visit in New England in 2024

New England is renowned for its evergreen scenic charm, rich cultural landscape, and gorgeous coastlines. However, this inviting region is only complete with the friendly aura of some of its small towns. These towns feature low populations, low crime rates, warm locals, and a less chaotic atmosphere. This makes them suitable places to live or just visit with family and friends and have fun. From the cozy Provincetown and its seaside aura to Jamestown and its tranquil beaches, here are the friendliest towns to visit in New England in 2024.

Jamestown, Rhode Island

Aerial view of the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge spanning Narragansett Bay, with the town of Jamestown on Conanicut Island, Rhode Island, USA, captured in summer.
Jamestown, Rhode Island, USA.

Jamestown is a picturesque and friendly town that occupies nearly all parts of Conancut Island, the second largest in Narragansett Bay. This Island town brims with many attractions in a serene and welcoming ambiance. Here, visitors will welcomed with several beaches, some of which include Mackerel Cove, East Ferry Beach, and Potter’s Cove. These beaches are great places for seaside adventures, especially Mackerel Cove. Jamestown also features a couple of interesting historic landmarks like the Jamestown Windmill (built in 1787) and Conanicut Island Light (built in 1886). For more history with a mix of adventures, visitors are invited to the Beavertail State Park to explore the Beavertail lighthouse (built in 1856) and museum, and also hike, enjoy picnics, and saltwater fishing along the mesmerizing shoreline. For some afternoon snacking and light refreshments when exploring, visit Ace’s Pizza or 1 Ferry Wharf.

Wellfleet, Massachusetts

Wellfleet Harbor Marina in Massachusetts.

Wellfleet Harbor Marina in Massachusetts.

Wellfleet is an unforgettable town in Barnstable County on the magnificent Cape Cod. Once here, go beach hopping as about half of the town’s land is within the Cape Cod National Seashore, overlapping the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the top beaches in town include - Marconi, Cahoon Hollow, and White Crest. Next, head to Wellfleet Harbor to enjoy the gorgeous views and enjoy a meal at Mac’s on the Pier. Afterward, hit the Great Island Trail to discover the diverse features of Cap Cod. Elsewhere, history lovers can partake in the various historic tours at the Wellfleet Historical Society and Museum to learn about the town’s past and its iconic landmarks.

East Haddam, Connecticut

Gillette Castle in East Haddam, Connecticut.

Gillette Castle in East Haddam, Connecticut.

East Haddam is a gorgeous town along the banks of the Connecticut River that blends history, art, natural beauty, and a welcoming atmosphere for visitors. This town features interesting attractions like Goodspeed Opera House, which is positioned by the river and hosts year-round musical performances and major summer events like Music by the River. The theatre is also close to the historic East Haddam Bridge, one of the world’s longest swing bridges, stretching 881 feet. For history buffs, the town features the East Haddam Historical Society Museum, which preserves the area’s history. For those hungry for adventures, East Haddam is home to Lake Hayward, a natural spring-fed lake where tourists can swim, boat, fish, canoe, and bask in the sun at any of its four private beaches. While leaving town, grab some souvenirs at Miller’s Antique in Society Hall.

Exeter, New Hampshire

Odd Fellows Hall at 115 Water Street in the historic town center of Exeter, New Hampshire, USA.
Town center of Exeter, New Hampshire, USA. Editorial credit: Wangkun Jia /

Exeter is a larger city with about 16,000 people; however, its population does not affect the town's friendly atmosphere and laid-back aura. This town is home to many rivers, such as the Exeter River, Squamscott River, Dudley Brook, and Piscassic River, all lavish with diverse fish species for anglers. For nature lovers, the town hosts the 235-acre Conner Farm Wildlife Management Area, home to a forest of red oak and white pine trees, including wildlife such as deer, turkey, and waterfowl. Meanwhile, history buffs can head to the American Independence Museum, featuring one of the original printings of the Declaration of America's Independence. The museum is also home to Ladd-Gilman House, with many artifacts, and the Folsom Tavern, once visited by President Washington. While exploring the town, visitors can take a break and enjoy a delectable pizza at Otto Pizza or savor lunch and drinks at Ambrose Restaurant.

Ogunquit, Maine

Fishing boats docked in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, on the coast of Maine, south of Portland, USA.

Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, on the coast of Maine, USA.

Ogunquit is a cozy, warm, inviting, and friendly town along the river of the same name in Maine. With a population of just 1,500, visiting this town is always safe, pleasant, and enjoyable. One of the best things to do here is to chill at the Ogunquit Beach, separated from the town by the shallow Ogunquit River. Visitors can swim on the beach, stroll around, sunbathe, build sand castles, and enjoy picnics. For more adventures, hike along the charming 1.25-mile paved Marginal Way that runs along the shoreline from the beach to Perkins Cove and admire views of the rocky shores and the waves. Next, step back in time to the town’s early days at the Ogunquit Heritage Museum. Before leaving, shop for antiques at Abacus Gallery and grab some chocolates for the kids at the Harbor Candy Shop.

Woodstock, Vermont

Early autumn foliage scene featuring houses in the mountains of Woodstock, Vermont.

Early autumn foliage scene featuring houses in the mountains of Woodstock, Vermont.

Woodstock is an incredibly beautiful town in Windsor County with so much to love. In addition to its spectacular scenery, this town’s population is only about 3,000, the locals are friendly, and it ranks among the safest places in the country. Woodstock is home to Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Park, the only national park in Vermont, featuring a magnificent Queen-Anne-Style Mansion and a garden. The town also hosts the historic Billings Farm and Museum and the Sunflower House, featuring a historic farm and a house where thousands of sunflowers form beautiful structures. More interesting attractions in and around Woodstock include - Quechee State Park (featuring a gorgeous gorge) and shops such as Wingren Barlow Art & Antiques and Gillingham General Store.

Stowe, Vermont

Aerial view of Stowe, Vermont, and the Green Mountains adorned with autumn colors.

Aerial view of Stowe, Vermont, and the Green Mountains adorned with autumn colors.

Stowe is a cozy town in Lamoille County, famed as the Ski Capital of the East, with Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest peak, overlooking it. This friendly town is a ski hub in winter, featuring the Stowe Mountain Resort with 116 ski runs and multiple chairlifts. In summer, Stowe also comes alive as visitors flock to attractions like Moss Glen Falls, accessible via a four-mile trail. Smuggler’s Notch State Park is another summer outdoor paradise in Stowe, featuring hiking trails as well as Sterling Pond and Bingham Fall, two prime spots for cool dips. For more adventures, hit the famous 5.3-mile Stowe Recreational Path to behold breathtaking mountain views and browse restaurants and other local businesses in town. Visit the Alpine Hall afterward for a refreshing lunch made from local produce. Meanwhile, history lovers can visit the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum to learn about the town’s rich ski history.

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Aerial view of Provincetown, located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Aerial view of Provincetown, located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Provincetown is a bayside town on Cape Cod with captivating seaside allure and a friendly aura. In this welcoming town, visitors can start their adventures with panoramic views of the town at the top of the Pilgrim Monument, an iconic tower with 116 steps leading to its summit. The tower is the tallest all-granite structure in the US at 252 feet. At the base of the monument, history buffs can learn about the town's glorious past inside the Provincetown Museum through artifacts, historic programs, and exhibits. Next, the town invites visitors to enjoy fishing at the Macmillan Pier or embark on boat tours to explore the Atlantic Ocean. Afterward, play in the dunes that overlap the ocean at Race Point Beach and admire the Race Point Lighthouse. For similar experiences, head to Herring Cove, which also offers great sunset views.

Why New England's Small Towns Are Worth Visiting

The towns of New England have an edge over other regions when it comes to tranquility, magical scenery, and a welcoming atmosphere. Locals in these towns run a close-knit community where everyone is valued, and visitors are always special guests. An experience in one of these towns feels like uniting with friends and families, with plenty of natural and historic attractions to explore together. These towns offer an escape from the bustle of the cities, a hideout fit for retreat, and a vacation where intimacy with nature, history, and a slow-paced society is the ultimate goal.

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