Are you looking for the cutest small towns in the south? This guide has some of the best small towns in the south, USA.
While sometimes a trip to a big city like New York, Atlanta, or Los Angeles is great, other times you may just be looking for a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of life and the metropolitan scene. These small towns in the south are perfect for this type of travel fix!
Just as a warning, small towns in the south can have a reputation of sometimes not being as friendly to visitors who are not white, and even though they are tiny and cute, these towns can have an extremely dark past. So even when you go and enjoy these small towns in the south, please don’t disregard the people whose blood, sweat, and tears brought the towns to be!
Despite their size and sometimes dark history, many small towns in the south are packed with things to do. You can visit historical cites, take tours, support local businesses, take a trip to the shore, or just enjoy the quaint southern town itself. No matter where you choose to visit, these small towns in the south are great for your getaway.
15 Cutest Small Towns in The South USA
1. Helen, Georgia
Helen Georgia is a mountain town in the northeast region of the state, right in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains! It is famous for its Bavarian-style buildings, because stopping here is literally like stepping into a different setting.
Locally, there are great vineyards around and many people love to travel here to visit the Unicoi State Park, as they can camp by the lakeside here. Lots of trails also run through the nearby Chattahoochee National Forest as well, and hikers love to go looking for Anna Ruby and Raven Cliff waterfalls.
If you’re looking for a more historical thing to do, the Hardman Farm State Historic Site is home to the Nacoochee Indian Mound Burial grounds and has a 1870 homestead. But whether you’re hiking, fishing, or just exploring, this is one of the best small towns in the south for a getaway.
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2. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Gatlinburg is a mountain town located in eastern Tennessee and is famous for being the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, arguably making it one of the best small towns in the South.
Many of the key attractions and appeal of Gatlinburg includes its sweeping views of the National park. Places like the Space Needle Observation Tower and Sky Lift gives visitors a breathtaking view of the mountains.
Whether you visit here in the summer, fall, winter or spring, there is a variety of things to do: from ski resorts to downtown shops and even an amusement park, Gatlinburg is the perfect family vacation spot where you can camp, relax, and explore!
If you want to check out exactly what to do while visiting Gatlinburg, check out our article on Things to Do in Gatlinburg.
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3. Marietta, Georgia
Just northwest of Atlanta, Marietta is one of those quaint southern towns that you don’t want to miss out on! This tiny town is full of rich history. For example, a 1845 once cotton warehouse is now home to the Marietta Museum of History.
Nearby experiences help visitors explore the local history and enjoy the southern roots of this place. Whether you are celebrating Gone with the Wind at the Gone with the Wind Museum, or taking a hike through the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, you won’t be bored.
From hiking trails, Marietta Square, local boutiques and cafes, this is truly one of those small towns in the south that thrives and welcomes visitors as they explore Kennesaw Mountain, a nearby water park, and more.
And don’t forget that Marietta is a great place to see the fall foliage in Georgia!
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4. Boone, North Carolina
Boone is a town in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains that is famous for its Hickory Living History Museum that recreates the 1700s homelife. This town sits atop the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and serves as Watauga’s County seat and market town.
Historically, Boone was named after the famous explorer, Daniel Boone, and many people love to visit here as the temperatures never really go above 76 degrees, making it the perfect place to escape the heat.
Boone is also well known for its outdoor adventures in the Southeast. People flock to the lowland areas to participate in wintry sports, explore Grandfather Mountain, and more. This is one of the towns in the south that boasts charm with its local businesses and strong sense of community. Combined with its natural beauty, it is a great place to visit.
And don’t forget that Boone is one of the best places to visit for fall foliage in North Carolina! If you’re looking for more NC spots to see fall, check out our article about the 10 best places to experience fall in North Carolina!
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5. Fredericksburg, Texas
Some of the cutest small towns in the south have some of the best communities and local businesses. The founders of Fredericksburg in Texas placed their roots in 1846 and watched this small town grow into a fantastic place.
Known for its elegant shops, fine dining, wineries and more, this is one of the best small towns in the south, as the Main Street is true to its German roots and history, and the spirt of the community really shines here.
Voted as one of the Best Wine Regions, it should not be a surprise that many people flock here for the arts and culture, but also for the museums, history, restaurants and outdoor adventures. Between shopping and other attractions, this small town exudes charm and is a great place to visit.
And if you’re visiting Texas, make sure to check out our Texas Road Trip article to stop in some of the best Lone Star Places!
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6. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Eureka Springs is one of the most unique small towns in the south to visit, with endless outdoor opportunities such as trout fishing, water sports, and camping.
From the White River to Kings River, locals and tourists flock outdoors on sunny days, but in the evening, they explore the town that is filled with blocks of one of a kind shops, art galleries, museums and restaurants.
Victorian Homes hug the cliff sides, and the winding mountainside streets are breathtaking for any visitor. Locals love to participate and put on events that feature blues musics, opera shows, car shows, arts and more. This is truly a romantic small town in the south!
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7. Saint Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is one of the oldest small towns in the south! In fact, it claims to be the oldest city in the United States, and is famous for its Spanish colonial architecture and sandy, Atlantic beaches.
Ripe with history, you can find yourself exploring places such as the Castillo de San Marcos (which is a 17th-century Spanish stone fortress), or the inlet to the town, or even the tranquil Crescent Beach.
From wildlife sanctuaries, popular college campuses, great ghost tours during the evenings, museums, and everything in between, Saint Augustine is one of those small towns in the South that you can spend days at and never be bored! Make sure to check it out!
And speaking of ghost tours, the check out our Article on Florida Trippers about some of the best ghost tours in Florida!!
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8. Natchitoches, Louisiana
If you’re looking for one of those small towns in the south that encompasses what it truly means to be in the French Creole, don’t look any further than Natchitoches! This National Historic Landmark District is famous for its architecture.
Tourists and locals love to explore the stained glass windows of the Minor Basilica and the townhouses that line the street here. This town stays true to its roots and features fun places, like the General Mercantile, which is the town’s oldest general store.
And with Cane River running south to the plantations of the Cane River Creole National Historic Park, there is tons of outdoor activities for both locals and tourists to participate in!
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9. Charlottesville, Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia is one of those small towns that is ripe with history and modern tourists, visitors and locals. It is home to the University of Virginia, and right outside the campus, there is the mountain-top plantation, Monticello, that once belonged to Thomas Jefferson.
But besides Jefferson’s mansion, there is also James Monroe’s home. And if you’re looking for something a little less historical, this town is the perfect gateway to the Shemamdoah National Park, which encompasses a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Outside of outdoor activities and historical places to visit, Charlottesville prides itself on being a town where you can maximize your stay and your memories by visiting famous taverns, landmarks from the 1930s, orchards, and local restaurants that put food on the table from nearby farms. This is truly a great and fun getaway.
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10. Inman, South Carolina
Inman, South Carolina is one of those small towns in the south that is slowly growing in popularity because it is well known for its charm, attractive neighborhoods, historic downtown, and overall great location.
From Harvest Days to local musical festivities and festivals, downtown in Inman is always busy. They host series and ensure that both locals and tourists can enjoy food, music, and culture every weekend.
Whether you’re a resident, business owner, or visitor, everyone seems to love the mild climate and enjoy spending time outdoors. The mountain scenery that makes up the Isothermal Belt and even the lower elevations of the town’s mountains is great for exploration, too.
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11. Gainesville, Florida
Gainesville, Florida is one of those small towns in the south that is also a college town. Known for being home to the University of Florida, this sprawling campus brings tourists and locals here every year, and because of the college population, has much to offer!
Many people love to explore the Florida Museum of Natural History as it houses huge fossils and other ethnographic exhibits. It is also home to the Butterfly Rainforest, where many butterflies and birds reside. Other exhibits at the museum feature Asian and African art works.
This small town truly merges urban and suburban with its residents. There are plenty of natural parks to explore, and the population is up and coming with young professionals who are opening and running local businesses that will have you drooling over many restaurants, breweries, and one of a kind boutiques/stores.
If you are staying here, make sure to check out our article on things to do in Gainesville!
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12. Madison, Georgia
Madison, Georgia, is one of Georgia’s oldest and largest National Historic Districts. It is well known for its picturesque background of antebellum homes and stunning attractions such as one of a kind shopping strips.
You can explore the outdoors in Madison by taking the hiking trails in one of Georgia’s largest state parks: Hard Labor Creek. And when you visit, cute and locally run inns and bed and breakfasts are perfect for romantic small town getaways!
But between the outdoors and backdrop, this town really has a unique style that is filled with southern charm. It is one of those small towns in the south that is unforgettable and grounded in its community with renowned restaurants, small businesses, lovely people and more!
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13. Abingdon, Virginia
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Abingdon is one of those small towns in the south that is known for its combination of artsy vibes and historic charm.
But beyond this, Abingdon has great outdoor recreation because it is so close to the Blue Ridge Mountains. From hiking trails, camping opportunities and more, tourists and locals flock to this town to explore all nature has to offer.
But whether you’re visiting the Barter Theatre at the Moonlite Drive-in or taking a day hike, or even just relaxing at the picnic music series at the Abingdon Vineyards, there is always something fun to do in this small town.
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14. Natchez, Mississippi
Right off the Mississippi River, Natchez is one of those small towns that is famous for its large and historic antebellum mansions that give it its true southern charm. One popular one in Natchez is the Melrose Estate!
There is also a great Natchez National Historical Park Here, and many people love to take the Natchez Trace Parkway during the evenings for a scenic drive. Some even use this road for recreational purposes.
But whether you’re just driving through or staying, make sure to check out the history here: just to the south of the town there is the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, which is home to the reconstructed Natchez house and ceremonial mounds.
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15. Seaside, Florida
Seaside is that perfect Florida getaway, especially when you are looking for one of those small towns in the south that feels like a resort community! Known for its urban design, the pastel-colored houses and large porches and fences look like they are truly from a postcard.
At Seaside you can enjoy long stretches of sandy beaches, pavilions, and even Grayton Beach State Park, which features a variety of trails and a costal dune lake.
But whether you’re relaxing on the beach or watching the sunset, do make sure to explore the town center where you can explore clusters of restaurants, one of a kind beachy shops, and really support local businesses.
And if you’re looking for other small, cute beach towns in Florida, make sure to check out our article on the best small beach downs in the area!
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And there you have it! 15 of the cutest small towns in the south. So no matter where you go– Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, or even Virginia, you are sure to enjoy your time in these charming towns. Sit back and relax, the small town life is great for relaxation!