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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.
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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, 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, 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 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 in 2017, it was ranked No. 7 among 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 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.
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.