Our Favorite Small Towns in North Carolina
From the coast to the mountains, North Carolina has charm to spare. That’s undeniable. In the Tar Heel State, there are so many great small towns—far too many to count—so choosing our favorites is a monumentally challenging task. But we’ve done it; we’ve picked 19 of our favorite small towns across the state. These spots are prime destinations for making memories. They’re ideal for weekend getaways and have plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, shopping, eating, boating, and wandering picturesque main streets.
Visit any one of these small towns, and you’re sure to run into locals who will greet you like family. Whether your thing is watersports, mountain climbing, antiquing, bookstore browsing, or lounging at a bed and breakfast, there’s a North Carolina small town on our list that will call out to you, compelling you to plan a trip soon. These towns are full of history and ecological wonders. Some you may have already visited. Whether eastern, western, or somewhere in between, these small towns have compelled us to plan a North Carolina road trip as soon as possible. Who’s with us?
This Western North Carolina town is a paradise for outdoor adventurers.
This coastal treasure promises ecological adventures galore.
You’re sure to find thrills on the slopes in this tiny ski town.
Come for the High Country sights, stay for the delicious eats in Blowing Rock.
Summertime in Brevard is a small-town dream, with arts, music, and festivals aplenty.
Step into this Smoky Mountain hamlet, and you’ll be transported (literally, if you hop aboard a family-friendly steam train ride).
See: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot, Smoky Mountain Trains Museum, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Fly Fishing Museum, Deep Creek Recreation Area, Fontana Lake, Nantahala River, Nantahala Outdoor Center, Island Park
This picturesque, vacation-favorite village is nestled in North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest.
Plan a quick trip to spend a weekend in this charming college town outside of Charlotte.
Stroll down Elizabethtown’s picturesque Main Street to get to know this small town treasure.
Visit Franklin, a convenient stopover along the Appalachian Trail, and you’re sure to encounter hikers with stories to tell.
Enjoy the shops and restaurants on Hendersonville’s charming Main Street, and don’t forget to stop at the area vineyards too.
This oasis of cuisine and arts in Western North Carolina is a perfect destination for a weekend getaway.
This small town along the Eno River has plenty of cycling and walking trails along the water.
Hire a canoe and paddle the lake beside which this fun town is nestled.
The residents of Mt. Airy often call the town Mayberry, and there are plenty of reasons why—one of which is that it’s the hometown of Andy Griffith.
Bring your clubs for a weekend spent on the links in picturesque Pinehurst.
Plan a trip to see what about this small coastal village inspired Nicholas Sparks to write his novel Nights in Rodanthe.
Slow down in Sylva while you browse the town’s charming bookstores.
Stay: Blue Ridge Inn