170 Coziest Small Towns in America
We’ve swept the country to find some of the coziest towns in America for a winter weekend escape. Whether you’re looking for a ski lover’s paradise, a historic spot that’s still near a major metropolis, or a remote waterfront retreat, you’ll find it on this list.
Winter can seem like a never-ending season dampened by drizzly weather, cold temperatures, and dark nights that can leave you in a miserable mood to match. Combat the seasonal blues by visiting some of the coziest small towns on this list, which can provide sanctuary and warmth while winter rages on outside.
Drink hot chocolate, sit by a fireplace, read a book, enjoy warm meals, and curl up with someone special under a warm blanket.
Full Data Set: Best 170 Coziest Small Towns in America
A List of the Best Small Towns in America
The best small towns for a winter weekend escape!
With a spectacular view of Lake Pepin, Stockholm offers the right blend of shops, dining, and lodging. Antique shops, art galleries, artisan furniture, a performing arts center, and a winery/cidery are all part of Stockholm’s charm. This beautiful tiny town enthusiastically displays its Swedish roots, from food to architecture.
One of the Northeast’s premier ski towns, Stowe’s amenities—in addition to the ski hills—include spas, boutique shopping at indie retailers (including Shaw’s General Store, in business since 1895), and year-round outdoor recreation, thanks to its location at the foot of Mount Mansfield.
Located at the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains on the banks of the Salmon River, Stanley is the ideal place to disconnect and get a taste of Idaho frontier life. Hike the Fishhook Creek Trail, ride horseback at Mystic Saddle Ranch, take a paddleboat out on Redfish Lake, and visit the nearby Boat Box, Hot Springs.
Its population may not even reach 500, but this is precisely what makes Ellicottville perfect for overstressed New Yorkers. The state forests and mountains surrounding this town invite outdoor adventure. You can visit Allegheny National Forest to catch vibrant fall colors, take up skiing in the winter, and hike numerous paths.
You’ll find stunning Colorado mountain vistas year-round in this former gold rush town. In winter, powder hounds flock to Breckenridge’s ski resorts to shred powder. Once the weather warms up, outdoor pursuits like hiking and biking the Vail Pass Path and Boreas Pass Road become the main things to do. Regardless of the visit, you’ll discover plenty of breweries and distilleries to unwind after a busy day.
Medora is surrounded by breathtaking, unspoiled nature, with Theodore Roosevelt National Park as its backyard. Known for its western culture, visitors will find this historic hub filled with endless activities and events for all ages.
This town in the Adirondacks was on the world map when it hosted the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Since then, snow-sports enthusiasts have flocked here in even greater numbers to enjoy cross-country skiing, hockey, ice skating, and even dog-sledding. There are also numerous spas where you can relax, recover from the day’s activities, and escape the cold.
For those descending upon South Dakota to visit Mount Rushmore, take the extra trip to the nearby town of Keystone. Here, the former mining town has transformed into a tourist destination, with places to stay, eat and shop—fun fact: Keystone is less than 3 square miles in size.
The city of Mackinac Island encompasses the entire island, though most of the protected land is managed by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission. Thanks to its famous fudge shops, horse-drawn carriages, and gorgeous natural surroundings, it’s a long-beloved vacation spot. The town is perhaps most famous for the iconic Grand Hotel, and the island has been car-free since 1898.
Nestled in the Adirondack region of upstate New York, Lake George offers a tranquil getaway for lovers of wine and fresh mountain air. Hike Prospect Mountain, visit the Adirondack Winery, and spend the day at Million Dollar Beach.
This Black Hills town’s Main Street appears to be trapped in a time where life stands still (that’s a good thing). While many decades removed from the gold rush, the somewhat recent HBO series Deadwood renewed interest in the town’s National Historic Landmark status.
At around 10,000 feet, the country’s highest-elevation incorporated city—a former mining town that during the late 19th century had Colorado’s second largest population behind Denver—boasts all the goods for foodies and beverage snobs (including a brewery) and is a popular training spot for runners.
When prospectors headed west searching for precious minerals in the mountains, they founded the town in 1874. As its name implies, silver was plentiful in the San Juan Mountains. Although the mining camps are long gone, and the last mines closed in the 1990s, 630 people remain in the town, filled with its original architectural combination of saloons and churches.
From award-winning beaches to scenic waterways and grassy dunes, from a thriving art scene born from creative, open-minded culture to a culinary landscape that’s become world-renowned—this is a one-of-a-kind place where people long to stay.
The Bavarian town of Leavenworth isn’t actually in Bavaria, Germany, but in Washington. In the 1960s, the town remodeled itself after a traditional German village to draw in tourism. Though Christmas is popular, Leavenworth hosts an annual Christmas market. In the summer, visitors take advantage of great hiking, bouldering, and birding.
Kohler, Wisconsin, is one of the best small towns in the Midwest, with championship golf courses, a spa, and an AAA four-star restaurant. It’s also home to The American Club at Destination Kohler, ranked among the best resort hotels in the Midwest by Travel + Leisure readers.
With its pristine snow and quirky mountain town vibe, it’s no secret that Telluride is a cold-weather paradise for downhill skiing and other winter adventures. In addition to outdoor recreation, downtown Telluride is home to art galleries and independently owned shops selling perfect souvenirs.
Harpers Ferry has a lot going on, geographically speaking. After all, it’s where West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland meet and where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers combine. The scenic junction and surrounding Harpers Ferry National Historical Park make for one very picturesque townscape, especially during those leafy autumn months. Meanwhile, the town offers constant historical tours (the site of John Brown’s raid) and the occasional ghost tour. There’s more than enough here for adventurers, like kayaking, rafting, zip-lining, rock climbing, and hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
With its location at the base of Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park, the residents of Talkeetna get to gaze upon the United States’ tallest mountain. In addition, the little village is listed as a National Historic Site, filled with color to liven up the scenery when long winters cover the town in the snow.
Near the top of the Door County peninsula and along Lake Michigan, this harbor town boasts a cute A-frame coffee shop, a microbrewery’s taproom, a nature sanctuary with hiking trails, and adorable inns.
In order to determine the coziest small towns in the nation, MyDatingAdvsier.com compared 170 well-known small towns across three key dimensions: 1) Weather, 2) Food, and 3) Activities.
We evaluated each of those dimensions using 10 relevant metrics of cozy town friendliness. These are listed below with their corresponding weights. The metrics were combined to create a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for coziness.
We determined each location’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample. In determining our sample, we considered popular small towns across the USA.
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, National Oceanic, and Atmospheric Association, TripAdvisor, United States Department of Agriculture