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10 Of The Smallest US Towns To Visit

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Escape the urban sprawl and explore the allure of the smallest US towns to visit scattered across the United States. In this captivating article, we’ve curated a list of 10 of the tiniest, most enchanting towns that beckon travelers seeking a unique experience.

From Monowi, Nebraska, with its population of one, to other charming micro-communities, each town on our list offers a glimpse into a bygone era, a chance to immerse yourself in rich history, and a respite from the frantic pace of city life.

Discover the heartwarming stories of these miniature municipalities, where the sense of community is unparalleled, and where simple pleasures and genuine hospitality reign supreme.

Whether you’re drawn to the tranquility of Monowi, the scenic beauty of Buford, Wyoming, or the rich cultural heritage of Oatman, Arizona, these towns have something special to offer every traveler.

Join us as we journey through these ten delightful destinations, celebrating the small-town spirit that makes them some of the most captivating and endearing places to visit in the United States.

Monowi, Nebraska: America’s One-Person Village

Nestled in Boyd County, Nebraska, Monowi is a remarkable village with a population of just one. Elsie Eiler, the sole resident, wears many hats – she’s the mayor, librarian, and bartender. This unique place has a rich history, having been founded in the late 19th century as a railroad town. At its peak in the 1930s, it boasted around 150 residents, but its population dwindled over the years.

Important Facts:

  1. Monowi was officially incorporated in 1937, and Elsie has been its mayor since 1955.
  2. The town levies taxes on itself to maintain its infrastructure.

History: Once a bustling town, Monowi’s decline in population led to its extraordinary status today. Elsie’s resilience and dedication to her hometown have kept it alive.

Places to Visit:

  1. Monowi Tavern: The town’s lone bar, where you can enjoy a drink and chat with Elsie. It’s a hub of local stories and history.
  2. Monowi Library: Housing over 5,000 books, this library is a treasure trove for book enthusiasts.

Today’s Life: Monowi is more than just a small town; it’s a living testament to the spirit of rural America. Its charm lies in its simplicity and the warm welcome you receive from Elsie. A visit to Monowi is a journey into a bygone era, where the community isn’t measured by numbers but by the heart and soul of its one and only resident. Don’t miss the chance to experience this extraordinary place in Nebraska.

Buford, Wyoming: A One-Person Smallest US Towns with a Big Heart

Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Wyoming lies Buford, a town that proudly holds the title of the ‘Nation’s Smallest Town.’ With just one resident, Don Sammons, Buford stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of rural America.


Buford’s history traces back to the 1860s when it was a thriving stop along the Union Pacific Railroad. In its heyday, it had a bustling population due to its strategic location. However, as the railroad industry evolved, the population dwindled.

Important Facts:

  1. Don Sammons, the lone resident, purchased Buford in 1980 and has since been its caretaker.
  2. The town boasts the Buford Trading Post, a historic general store, and a post office that serves as a vital pit stop along Interstate 80.

Places to Visit:

  1. Buford Trading Post: This historic store is a must-visit, offering travelers a glimpse into the past. You can grab a cup of coffee, pick up supplies, and soak in the nostalgia.

Today’s Life:

Buford may be tiny, but it’s not devoid of life. Don Sammons welcomes visitors and tourists from around the world, sharing stories of the town’s history and its unique status.

Buford is more than just a dot on the map; it’s an embodiment of resilience and the enduring American spirit. It serves as a reminder that even the smallest places can leave a lasting impression on those who take the time to explore them. If you’re passing through Wyoming, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the charm of Buford, a town where one person’s determination keeps its legacy alive.”

Mystic, Connecticut: A Maritime Gem and Living History

Nestled along the Connecticut coastline, Mystic is a place where history and maritime charm come to life. This enchanting town has a rich history, captivating visitors with its seafaring heritage and vibrant culture.

History: Mystic’s story begins in the 17th century when it was settled by English colonists. Over the centuries, it evolved into a bustling maritime hub, renowned for shipbuilding and the whaling industry. Today, its historic district, preserved with meticulous detail, offers a window into this bygone era.

Important Facts:

  1. Mystic is home to two world-class museums: Mystic Seaport Museum and Mystic Aquarium, both celebrating the town’s maritime legacy.
  2. The famous Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world, can be explored at Mystic Seaport.

Places to Visit:

  1. Mystic Seaport Museum: Step back in time at this living history museum, where you can walk through historic vessels, a recreated 19th-century coastal village, and even try your hand at traditional crafts.
  2. Mystic Aquarium: Dive into the wonders of the ocean and encounter marine life, including beluga whales, penguins, and sea lions.
  3. Olde Mistick Village: Stroll through this charming shopping village, featuring boutique stores and eateries in a picturesque New England setting.

Today’s Life: Mystic seamlessly blends its rich maritime history with a vibrant modern community. Visitors can enjoy fresh seafood, explore quaint shops, and experience the town’s warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Mystic, Connecticut, is more than a destination; it’s a journey through time. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or simply seeking a tranquil coastal retreat, Mystic offers an unforgettable experience that lingers in the heart and soul, making it a must-visit gem on the New England coast.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee: Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains

Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers. This charming town boasts a rich history, stunning natural beauty, and a wealth of attractions for visitors.

History: Gatlinburg’s roots date back to the early 1800s when it was first settled. Its name comes from Radford C. Gatlin, an early postmaster. Over the years, it evolved into a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors with its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Important Facts:

  1. Gatlinburg is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains” due to its location at the park’s entrance.
  2. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States, attracting millions of nature enthusiasts each year.

Places to Visit:

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Explore the park’s breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails, and diverse wildlife. Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park, offers panoramic views.
  2. Gatlinburg Space Needle: Take an elevator ride to the observation deck for a bird’s-eye view of the town and the surrounding mountains.
  3. Ober Gatlinburg: This mountain-top amusement park offers skiing in winter, an aerial tramway, an alpine slide, and more.

Today’s Life: Gatlinburg’s charming downtown is a hub of activity, featuring unique shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Visitors can experience local culture, dine on Southern cuisine, and enjoy live music.

Whether you’re hiking through pristine forests, taking in panoramic mountain views, or immersing yourself in the town’s vibrant atmosphere, Gatlinburg offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and modern entertainment. It’s a destination that beckons outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone seeking a memorable escape in the embrace of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Sedona, Arizona: The Spiritual and Scenic Oasis

Nestled amidst the awe-inspiring red rock formations of Arizona, Sedona is a town like no other. Known for its captivating beauty, spiritual energy, and rich history, Sedona has become a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a unique and transformative experience.

History: Sedona’s history is steeped in ancient Native American cultures, with evidence of human presence dating back thousands of years. The town’s modern history began in the early 20th century when settlers recognized the area’s natural beauty and established a community. Sedona Schnebly, the town’s namesake, played a pivotal role in its early development.

Important Facts:

  1. Sedona is renowned for its stunning red rock formations, including iconic landmarks like Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock.
  2. The town is often referred to as the “New Age Capital” due to its spiritual energy vortexes, attracting those seeking healing and spiritual enlightenment.

Places to Visit:

  1. Red Rock State Park: Explore miles of hiking trails, enjoy breathtaking vistas, and learn about the area’s geology and wildlife.
  2. Chapel of the Holy Cross: This architectural marvel built into the red rocks offers a serene and contemplative experience.
  3. Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village: Stroll through this charming village filled with art galleries, boutique shops, and delightful restaurants.

Today’s Life: Sedona’s allure extends beyond its natural beauty. Visitors can experience holistic healing practices, yoga retreats, and meditation workshops. The town’s vibrant arts scene and culinary delights provide a perfect balance to its serene spiritual atmosphere.

Sedona, Arizona, is not just a place; it’s an enchanting journey of self-discovery and rejuvenation. Whether you’re drawn to its stunning landscapes, spiritual energy, or vibrant culture, Sedona offers an oasis of inspiration and tranquility in the heart of the Southwest.

Tavistock, New Jersey: An Exclusive Enclave by the Delaware River

Nestled along the tranquil banks of the Delaware River, Tavistock, New Jersey, is a hidden gem known for its exclusivity and rich history. This picturesque enclave offers a glimpse into a world of elegance and charm.

History: Founded in the early 1920s, Tavistock was developed as an upscale residential community. Its creation was driven by the vision of a private golf course and luxurious homes, attracting affluent individuals seeking a refuge from the hustle and bustle of nearby Philadelphia.

Important Facts:

  1. Tavistock is one of the smallest municipalities in New Jersey by both size and population, known for its privacy and exclusivity.
  2. The Tavistock Country Club, designed by renowned architect William S. Flynn, remains a centerpiece of the community.

Places to Visit:

  1. Tavistock Country Club: A world-class golfing experience with meticulously maintained fairways and stunning views of the Delaware River.

Today’s Life: Tavistock continues to exude an air of refinement and exclusivity. Residents enjoy the serenity of manicured landscapes, a close-knit community, and the convenience of being just a stone’s throw away from the cultural and culinary delights of Philadelphia.

While Tavistock may be small in size, its legacy as an upscale enclave remains strong. For those seeking a taste of the refined life by the Delaware River, Tavistock stands as a testament to timeless elegance and exclusivity in the heart of New Jersey.

Traverse City, Michigan: The Cherry Capital of the World

Nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, Traverse City is a charming gem renowned as the “Cherry Capital of the World.” Its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and delectable cherries make it a must-visit destination.

History: Traverse City’s history is deeply rooted in the 19th century when it was a hub for lumber, shipping, and agriculture. However, it gained worldwide fame for its cherry orchards, thanks to the region’s fertile soil and favorable climate.

Important Facts:

  1. Traverse City produces over 70% of Michigan’s tart cherry crop, making it a global leader in cherry production.
  2. The annual National Cherry Festival, dating back to 1926, celebrates the cherry industry with parades, concerts, and cherry-themed events.

Places to Visit:

  1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: Explore miles of pristine beaches, towering sand dunes, and hiking trails along Lake Michigan’s shoreline.
  2. Old Mission Peninsula: Discover wineries, vineyards, and scenic drives through picturesque cherry orchards.
  3. Downtown Traverse City: Stroll along Front Street, lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and eateries offering cherry-infused treats.

Today’s Life: Traverse City seamlessly blends its agricultural heritage with modern amenities. Visitors can indulge in cherry wine tastings, visit local markets, and enjoy water activities on the Grand Traverse Bay.

Traverse City is not just a cherry lover’s paradise; it’s a destination for nature enthusiasts, foodies, and those seeking a quintessential Northern Michigan experience. Whether you’re savoring cherry pie, enjoying the stunning scenery, or basking in the warm community spirit, Traverse City welcomes you to explore its unique charm on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Gross, Nebraska: Preserving the Legacy of Rural America

Nestled in the heart of Nebraska, Gross is a small town with a big story. Steeped in history and rural charm, it stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of rural America.

History: Gross was established in the late 19th century, during the westward expansion. Named after its first postmaster, it thrived as an agricultural and railroad community. Though its population has dwindled over the years, Gross has never lost its sense of identity and community.

Important Facts:

  1. The town is known for its historic St. Michael’s Catholic Church, an architectural gem that has stood the test of time.
  2. Gross remains a close-knit community where neighbors look out for one another, preserving the strong bonds of rural life.

Places to Visit:

  1. St. Michael’s Catholic Church: A visit to this beautiful church, with its stunning stained glass windows and timeless charm, offers a glimpse into Gross’s history.
  2. Gross Reservoir: Nature enthusiasts can explore the nearby Gross Reservoir for fishing, picnicking, and serene views.

Today’s Life: Gross may be small, but it’s far from forgotten. Its residents, proud of their heritage, continue to maintain the town’s unique character. While there may not be bustling crowds or flashy attractions, Gross offers a different kind of charm – one rooted in simplicity, tradition, and the enduring values of rural America.

A visit to Gross is a journey back in time, where history lives on in the stories of its residents and the echoes of a simpler way of life. For those seeking a genuine taste of rural America, Gross, Nebraska, welcomes you with open arms, preserving the legacy of a bygone era.

Bonanza, Colorado: The Mining Town That Time Forgot

Nestled high in the rugged Rockies, Bonanza, Colorado, whispers tales of a bygone era. This tiny mining town, perched at an elevation of over 9,000 feet, is a living testament to the state’s rich mining history.

History: Founded in the late 1800s, Bonanza boomed during the silver rush. At its peak, it boasted hotels, saloons, and a population in the thousands. The mines were known for their high-quality silver and lead.

Important Facts:

  1. The town’s name, “Bonanza,” reflects the hopes of striking it rich in the mines.
  2. The Sunnyside Mill, once a bustling hub, processed ores from nearby mines and is now a ghostly relic of the past.

Places to Visit:

  1. Bonanza Ghost Town: Explore the remnants of this once-thriving town, including weathered buildings and mining equipment left frozen in time.
  2. Kerber Creek: A pristine trout stream that meanders through the area, offering fishing and a tranquil escape into nature.

Today’s Life: Bonanza’s population has dwindled to just a few hardy souls who embrace the town’s isolation and history. Visitors can immerse themselves in the rugged beauty of the San Juan Mountains, with opportunities for hiking, camping, and stargazing.

Bonanza, Colorado, maybe a ghost town, but it’s far from forgotten. Its hauntingly beautiful landscapes and echoes of the past offer a unique glimpse into Colorado’s mining heritage. For those seeking a remote and historic adventure in the heart of the Rockies, Bonanza beckons as a place where time stands still.

Point Arena, California: Coastal Beauty and Lighthouse Legacy

Nestled on the stunning Mendocino Coast of California, Point Arena beckons with its breathtaking beauty and rich maritime history. This picturesque town, surrounded by rugged cliffs and pristine beaches, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

History: Point Arena’s history is intertwined with the sea. It became a bustling port during the late 19th century, serving as a hub for the timber and fishing industries. Its iconic lighthouse, first lit in 1870, has guided countless vessels safely along the treacherous coastline.

Important Facts:

  1. Point Arena Lighthouse is one of the tallest lighthouses on the West Coast, standing at 115 feet.
  2. The region is known for its diverse marine life, making it a haven for whale watching and tidepool exploration.

Places to Visit:

  1. Point Arena Lighthouse: Climb to the top for panoramic views, visit the museum, and learn about the lighthouse’s storied past.
  2. Manchester State Park: Explore miles of coastal trails, marvel at the vistas, and enjoy picnicking and beachcombing.
  3. Arena Cove: Discover the quaint harbor, dine on fresh seafood, and watch fishing boats come and go.

Today’s Life: Point Arena offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and a relaxed coastal lifestyle. Visitors can savor fresh seafood, explore tide pools, and witness the annual migration of gray whales along the coast.

Point Arena, California, is a haven for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone seeking a tranquil coastal escape. With its captivating landscapes and enduring maritime legacy, it invites you to experience the timeless charm of the Mendocino Coast.


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