The United States is full of beautiful small towns. Though large metropolises like New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Washington, DC, are often thought of as culture and beauty capitals, this doesn’t mean other locales can’t be beacons of these qualities too. All across the county, locals and tourists alike are drawn to these charming enclaves where beauty takes shape in the form of lakes, mountains, historic main streets, forests, architectural splendor, and beaches, among other picturesque qualities.

As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so when developing this list, we looked at easy access to nature, the presence of historic or design districts, and topography that’s appealing in its own right—whether it’s beaches or mountains, or maybe a riverside perch. From a California community known for its celebrity residents to an indie-shopping hotbed in New York; from Washington’s San Juan Islands to plush inland communities along lakes and within forests—here are the 55 most beautiful small towns in America.

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