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One of the best things about traveling is getting to know the people in the destination you’re visiting, and of course, the friendlier they are, the more fun you’re likely to have too. While there’s no scientific way to determine exactly which towns in the United States are the friendliest, personal experiences can reveal a lot. If you’d like to visit a place where you’re likely to see plenty of smiles, be sure to check some of these towns out.
It’s not difficult to have a good time in Key West, and part of the reason for that is the friendly residents and their unique sense of humor. Artists, visionaries, and authors, including Ernest Hemingway, have long sought out this town as an escape from the ordinary. The southernmost city in the Continental United States is known for its tolerance and acceptance of diverse people and ideas, as well as its bar scene. What’s most commonly noted is that it’s one of the best spots to cut loose and forget about all your worries.
Savannah bursts with southern charms and beauty, with locals incredibly chatty, and happy to get to know those who come to visit. It’s highly walkable, safe, and offers a fantastic food scene, fun shopping experiences, and loads of historic attractions. Take a stroll through the shady parks, walking underneath the oak trees draped with Spanish moss, and you never know who you’ll meet. Be sure to ask one of the locals about their favorite places to eat, and the best way to discover a hidden gem.
Telluride is not only one of the most beautiful mountain towns in Colorado, but it’s one of the friendliest. Nestled deep into a box canyon in the San Juan Mountains, it has a storybook feel with streets lined with grand Victorian-era buildings and jagged mountain peaks providing an especially impressive backdrop. Some say it’s the scenery, and the charms of bygone days it offers, with no billboards, neon signs, or even stoplights, that results in such friendly locals. Or, maybe it’s in the water. Whatever the reason, the laid-back environment and jaw-dropping scenery here are hard to beat.
Asheville, North Carolina has become one of the hottest spots in recent years with music lovers, artists, brewing enthusiasts and more. It’s also been called one of the happiest places in the nation. Walking the streets of this fabulous small city, you’ll almost always get a smile when passing the friendly locals. The River Arts District is a great place to stroll, with art galleries, breweries, eateries, and street musicians to enjoy. The surrounding area is an adventure enthusiasts’ playground with miles and miles of scenic trails and roaring rivers for whitewater rafting.
In Jackson Hole, the views are extraordinary and the people are exceptionally friendly. Located at the doorstep of Grand Teton National Park, it’s surrounded by incredible scenery, abundant wildlife and a wide range of opportunities for outdoor adventure, which may be why the locals are just naturally always smiling. In a Conde Nast Traveler survey, it was once ranked among the friendliest U.S. cities, with the publication also noting it as a place where “Old West meets upscale” and “jeans work everywhere.”
Sedona is a kind of “New Age-y” place that’s all about maintaining a positive vibe, helping one to forget about their worries and whatever the bad news happens to be that day. It’s a place where you can breathe deep and take in some of the freshest air, gaze up at some of the brightest blue skies, and out at some of the most impressive red rock canyons. It also helps to foster a culture of acceptance of anyone and everyone who is friendly, without judgment. While it’s all about good vibrations, you’ll find plenty to do from indulging in spa treatments and browsing art galleries to four-wheeling and taking treks to high-energy spots known as vortexes.
Bar Harbor, Maine is a popular tourist destination for thousands of visitors thanks to its location in Acadia National Park, yet it somehow manages to retain its small-town charms. A community where locals know everyone’s name and fun gatherings are often hosted, from art shows to the annual Acadia Night Sky festival that brings families for night hikes and watching movies under the stars, it’s a fun place to be.
One of America’s most charming Southern towns, Beaufort can often be found on lists of the friendliest towns, exemplifying Southern hospitality. Just 90 miles from Charleston, this three-centuries-old town is a place where you can see residents hanging out on the front porch drinking sweet tea and enjoying get-togethers with neighbors for crab boils. The state’s second-oldest town, it also boasts a wealth of historic sites and magnificent antebellum architecture, a picturesque waterfront, and mouth-watering local cuisine, including thick and spicy gumbos.
Burlington is the largest city in Vermont, yet it has the feel of a small town with a population of just over 42,000. It has a laid-back, artsy vibe that’s helped to attract young and friendly locals who are likely to welcome you in as if you’re one of their own. In the summer, it hosts a different festival nearly every weekend, like the Jazz Fest, Brewers Fest and Art Hop, while the Saturday farmers’ market is a great place to stop for lunch and locally-grown produce. Be sure to check out the view from Waterfront Park and take time to catch a glorious sunset. As the sun sets over the Adirondacks, the landscape is splashed with pinks and purples, garnering oohs and awes from locals and visitors alike.
Tucked along the shores of picturesque Whitefish Lake in Flathead County, Montana, Whitefish is an outdoor adventure hub. It offers lots of small-town charms with an idyllic blend of beaches and mountains, bringing opportunities to enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, boating, swimming, waterskiing, skiing, boarding, and more. It makes a great base for visiting nearby Glacier National Park and has been ranked by multiple locations as one of the friendliest in the U.S. You’ll find plenty of venues for shopping and dining, along with a professional theater.
Located at the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown has long been known for being open-minded, friendly, and welcoming to all. Expedia named it among the friendliest towns in the country based on user reviews, and it’s also been called one of the most dog-friendly. If you bring your four-legged best friend, Commercial Street is a great place to stroll together, enjoying the art galleries, shops, and eateries. Of course, there are beautiful beaches like Race Point Beach and Herring Cove Beach, along with sorts of recreational activities to enjoy. Join a whale watching tour to spot humpbacks and other whale species or hit the Long Point Lighthouse Trail.
The gateway to Zion National Park, Springdale is a small town that lies along the North Fork of the Virgin River. Founded in the 1850s, it’s popular with tourists who can enjoy everything from bird watching to hiking. There are campgrounds and lovely inns, fun shops, eateries, and a brewery. Zion Brewery was the first to open in Southern Utah, serving around a dozen of its own brews along with delicious pub favorites like buffalo meatloaf and chicken wings. Afterward, enjoy a treat at Springdale Candy Company known for its homemade fudge and hand-dipped chocolates.
The small coastal city of Charleston is renowned for its Southern hospitality. While visitors often come for the history, with Civil War-era sites like Fort Sumter and magnificent centuries-old homes, the cherry on top is the welcoming community. Mingle with the locals at the weekly Charleston Farmers Market or while drinking a pint at Cooper River Brewing Company. The food scene is incredibly impressive, and just a short drive away you’ll find sandy beaches.
Bend is a popular hub for outdoor adventure, located just east of the Cascade Mountains where hiking, biking, paddling, golfing, skiing and boarding can all be enjoyed. It’s also famous for its beer, often named among the top beer cities in the country with the third most breweries per capita. As such, it puts on a big Oktoberfest celebration providing the perfect excuse to indulge with all the friendly locals. People here are very friendly to dog owners too, as it seems just about everyone has a furry friend to take to the trails and parks with. Maybe it’s all that Vitamin D with nearly always sunny skies here on the drier side of the state. Whatever it is, everywhere you look it seems the locals and visitors are smiling.
Skagway is tucked between North America’s deepest fjord and the Coastal Mountain Range, delivering awe-inspiring views while being home to very friendly locals. Residents total less than a thousand, but in the summer, the cruise ships bring many visitors who enjoy discovering the historic buildings from the gold rush area in the six blocks downtown that makes up the National Historic District, looking as if it’s been frozen in time. While strolling the wooden sidewalks, you can pop into unique shops and old saloons like the Red Onion which even offers a brothel tour. Here, some of the locals like to don attire from around the turn of the 20th-century and greet visitors just as they did back in its heyday.
Despite being fairly close to the big city, just 14 miles from Tacoma, Gig Harbor locals are incredibly friendly. There’s a deep sense of community, a place where people often strike up conversations in line at the grocery store and help their neighbors out. Once a sleepy fishing town, visitors and locals alike enjoy farmers’ markets, theater productions, open-air movie nights, and chowder competitions. It was recognized by Smithsonian magazine as the country’s fifth-best small town, with the publication noting its restaurants serving gourmet fare that can be complemented by Washington State wines and its gallery walks held on the first Saturday of the month.