It is no coincidence that small towns which bend toward tourists are economically prosperous tiny magnets that attract long-timers to feel at home within their well-developed downtown areas and tertiary industries to satisfy every taste. The residents of these quickly-growing seven small towns can vouch that they live in the best place in the United States.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Known as "Tree Town," the small Ann Arbor's thick forest and several parks on the river offer an environment where one needs not to drive out to experience nature every day. The lake is lovely for scenic walks, hiking, and having a picnic in a quaint spot within the scenery around during long summer days. Home to the University of Michigan, the college vibe keeps up the youthful atmosphere, while the lively downtown area, suited for any crowd, is perfect for strolls, daily shopping, or basking out at one of the terraced cafes after studies for couples, and families with kids. The river offers more ways to diversify pastimes with swimming and canoeing or relaxing days overlooking the beautiful Huron River. The wonderful Main Street is known as one of the best in the United States, with many returning for the unique ambiance times again. Pulling fleets of tourists each year, it is no surprise that some end up staying or moving to live in the place where the "candy wrapper" of the greenery and fall foliage with all the fresh air and the breathtaking views match the charming atmosphere of the downtown, where it is hard not to linger.
Part of the Ozark mountainous region, Bentonville is spread cozily over the foothills, where one can immerse into the incredible environment right from the doorstep. The small town is known for its walkable downtown area, cultural diversity, booming economy and is home to the world’s largest retailer. The art fanatics will revisit many times to explore the vast collection of American artworks by Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Norman Rockwell at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The foodies will revel in the diversified culinary scene where dishes are made from local farm-sourced ingredients, and the Preacher's Son restaurant is based in a former Gothic Revival Church. The tertiary industry keeps up with the incredibly-fast growing city, where the population increased by over 30,000 from 2000 to 2017 and kept on expanding. With the first Walmart store opening in Bentonville, one can get the captivating story of the significance of the retail giant to the town and the world at the Walton Museum. Opened by Sam Walton in 1962 with a dime store, the 1950-style soda fountain is reminiscent of that time.
One does not have to choose between the mountains and the sea residing in the lovely coastal town of Camden, perched ideally on Penobscot Bay, where the mountains meet the Atlantic. Adjacent to the Gulf of Maine, often adorned by the Maine Windjammer Fleet of beautiful sailing ships, the “Jewel of the Maine Coast" possesses post-card good looks from every angle to the envy of those who are visiting. The incredibly photogenic harbor's schooners, sailboats, and yachts have been captured on travel magazine covers, with the town itself featured in numerous movies. A prestige holiday getaway for the wealthy in the 19th century, Camden has grown in tourist popularity since, with the downtown full of upscale restaurants, galleries, boutiques, and local produce and handmade goods. The summertime offers frequent cultural events and performances along with the town's own beach, while the historical working port emanates romantic charm for afternoon walks and reminiscing. The Camden Hills State Park comes with over 30 miles of hiking trails, a lovely freshwater beach at Barrett's Cove on the Megunticook Lake, and a campground with picnic areas, while driving to the summit of Mount Battie will reveal marvelous views of the bay.
Geneva, New York
Set on the picturesque Seneca Lake, it is no surprise that the small town of Geneva, with a walkable, charming downtown square filled with historic homes, has 13,000 residents. The Exchange Street is filled with innovative eateries, home-style breweries, and populated bars, while the narrow Linden Street is the culinary heart of Geneva, closed off to weekend traffic for eating, drinking, and socializing on the road. The State Park in possession of two marinas is only 2.5 miles from downtown via a trail offering scenic strolls and atmospheric water vistas. The town is especially beloved by artists, featuring the Smith Opera House and the 1,400-seat venue Smith Center for the Arts, with regularly scheduled stacked performances of theatrical spectacles, concerts, and films. The heart of the original town's configuration is a waterfront Pulteney Square overlooking Seneca Lake, perfect for fishing and swimming. The natural area around calls out to hike, unravel a day picnic, or set base at one of the well-developed camping sites. With winemaking constituting the backbone of Geneva's economy, there are the Three Brothers Wineries, the Ravines Wine Cellars, the Belhurst Castle Winery, and the Lacey Magruder Winery in the countryside.
Initially inhabited by Calusa Indians, followed by the Seminoles, and named after the Italian city, Naples was a planned winter resort in the late 1880s. With tourism remaining a mainstay, the citrus industry supports the economy with a tropical vibe. Many instantly fall in love with the town's beautiful turquoise waters and stay for the art scene, the authentic dining, and superb shopping options. Vanderbilt Beach is a public space of many resorts, shops, and restaurants, while Naples Municipal Beach is a family-friendly place with a concession stand and a historic pier for sightseeing. Despite being one of the most expensive towns in the state, anyone can enjoy the free beaches with panoramic views and fishing, while the large retiree population signals the stability of the town's economy. The Caribbean Gardens, with a botanical garden and a zoo, and the Collier County Museum historical Park, are lovely to stroll around or lounge with a book. One will never get tired of the miles of beaches for diversified water fun, including the 300 meters long fishing pier and abundance of fish to catch. Thousand Islands is about 30 km southeast, along with the many natural green spaces, including the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve encompassing some 60 square km of mangrove forests and other habitats.
New Hope, Pennsylvania
A long-time popular and picturesque getaway from the steel of Philadelphia and New York, New Hope is perched on the Delaware River's West Bank. The aptly named town can only signal at good beginnings, especially with the words like "fascinating" and "straight out of a fairy tale" describing New Hope. The historic landmarks, including the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, the Parry Mansion constructed in 1874 by Benjamin Parry, one of New Hope's founders, and the Bucks County Playhouse, will attest to those looking for a well-settled town. The latter is also a nationally-renowned arts and culture center, putting on fantastic Broadway shows, musicals, and theater productions. There are hundreds more art galleries, antique stores, and unique boutiques along the town's scenic streets, while the beautiful architecture that makes all residents proud to live in such a historically significant town will astound the newcomers. The up-and-coming small town with a thriving arts and culture scene, unique shops, eclectic restaurants, and second-to-none nature can suit people with any taste and from all walks of life.
The former capital of Alaska is located on Baranof Island on the southern "tail of Alaska." Although only accessible by air or sea, once there, one will never want to leave the paradise corner on the Pacific Ocean coast. The perfectly wild town of Sitka comes with all the modern comforts and the remote setting many crave. Known for its thriving economy, it is a quaint and compact town with magnificent mountains "Sisters" as the backdrop. The foliage of the spruce trees-covered slopes almost all the way to the front-facing sea is charming in autumn, while the harbor-side offers scenic boat rides, whale-watching opportunities, and fishing. The great outdoors access comprises endless opportunities for hikers, climbers, and hunters to engage in their favorite pastime right from their doorstep. There are many trails in the vicinity, where one can meander around the Tlingit totem poles at the Sitka National Historical Park. Right out of a Wild West John Wayne movie, the scenic flat-fronted wooden buildings of the charmingly walkable downtown house a unique blend of restaurants, art galleries, and local shops. Known as Novo-Arkhangelsk when it was established in 1799 by the Russians, the remnants of the Russian Empire include the picturesque St. Michael’s Cathedral from the 19th century, while the Russian Bishop’s House from the 1840s is one of the oldest surviving wood buildings of Russian America.
Each of these seven towns has something unique to offer its residents, from wander-worthy water-bound views to the myriads of hikes in the vicinity for the active. With stable economies made by tourism and continuously growing tertiary sectors, their quintessential charm and atmospheres will attest to any group of people.