North Carolina is home to some incredible small towns. From the mountains to the coast and everywhere in between. With so many spots, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Especially when each has something unique to offer. Many are gorgeous, and while we know that it’s nice to see others recognize that beauty. The travel experts over at North Carolina Travel Guides recently ranked the most picturesque small towns in the country. And they include 6 North Carolina towns on the list. But what is the most picturesque small town in North Carolina?

Their team worked to find the 120 most picturesque small towns in America. These towns are the ones that are “an absolute must-see and that one shouldn’t miss out on this summer.” So how exactly did they do this? North Carolina Travel Guides travel experts compared 500 small towns to create this list of 120. Metrics used to determine the most picturesque included search trends, popularity with photographers, and popularity for photography with the general public. And I know what you’re thinking. If this was commissioned by North Carolina travel experts they were probably biased. Right? Wrong. The top towns are not in NC. In fact, while North and South Carolina each had 6 towns included in the 120, the SC ones ranked significantly higher.

One South Carolina town ranked number 6, another 11th, and a third 23rd. The highest ranking NC town? It was 50th. So no bias here! Towns in both Carolinas are spread between all areas of the states. So whether you are looking for a quiet spot for a weekend getaway, a weeklong vacation, or a place to relocate you’ll want to read this list. Below you’ll find the top-ranked picturesque small town and towns in North Carolina followed by those in South Carolina. You can read the North Carolina Travel Guides article here.

  • 115. Bryson City

    The town of Bryson City is situated next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park full of fresh air and nature. Its “remote location” offers plenty of space for whatever activities your heart desires from adventure to relaxation. It features “majestic mountain landscapes, scenic hiking trails, spectacular train excursions, a vibrant downtown, and the pristine waters of Fontana Lake.” Learn more <a href=”https://www.explorebrysoncity.com/”>here</a>.

  • 110. Washington

    The town of Washington is a slightly hidden gem on North Carolina’s Inner Banks. Its location along the Pamlico River is perfect for small-town charm. Downtown features an “eclectic blend of boutiques, restaurants, and attractions”. It’s a small community built around maritime culture along the Tar and Pamlico Rivers. Learn more here

  • 90. Cashiers

    Cashiers is located in Jackson County and the Blue Ridge Mountains along scenic Highway 64 in the middle of the Nantahala National Forest. The adorable downtown features boutiques, antique shops, home furnishing studios, and restaurants. A favorite of visitors is the Cashiers Farmers Market. Learn more here.

  • 73. Blowing Rock

    Blowing Rock is located on the drive up 321 before you hit the college town of Boone. It’s a quaint town mostly situated on one main street that boasts a rich history dating as far back as the 1700s. Learn about some of my favorite things to do when visiting Blowing Rock here.

  • 54. Hillsborough

    Hillsborough’s downtown historic district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It  features more than 100 homes, churches,  a school, and other buildings dating back to the late 18th and 19th centuries. The town is centrally located with easy access to both I-85 and I-40. Learn more here.

  • 50. Beaufort

    The coastal town of Beaufort is another town located on the Inner Banks. It is a popular vacation destination for just a small 2.7-mile town that is surrounded by nearly a mile of water. The lovely downtown is filled with shops, galleries, and acclaimed restaurants. Learn more here

  • South Carolina's Most Picturesque Small Towns

  • 103. Folly Beach, SC

    Folly Beach is known as “Charleston’s Beach Town”. This small beach town is all about life on the water, with offers a gorgeous backdrop for endless activities. Learn more about visiting <a href=”https://visitfolly.com/”>Folly Beach.</a>

  • 102. Travelers Rest

    You’ll find Traveler’s Rest in the southern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town was named for its natural amenities and proximity to some of the most amazing outdoor recreation in the state. It is known for its “artsy vibe, active lifestyle, and  historic charm”. The town features Swamp Rabbit Trail greenway, a driving range, shops, restaurants, antique stores, boutiques, and a brewery. Learn more about Travelers Rest <a href=”https://travelersrestsc.com/visit/”>here.</a>

  • 75. Clemson

    This one pains me a little bit (college sports rivalries are real), but I was pleasantly surprised that Clemson has more to offer than just a college town. The town is located in the foothills near the Blue Ridge Mountains and along the shores of Lake Hartwell. This gives Clemson a unique combination of mountain, lake, and urban lifestyles. Learn more here

  • 23. Aiken

    Located near the Georgia border a few miles from Augusta is the picturesque town of Aiken. Equine pursuits, the arts, sporting facilities, and nature, are just some of what the town is known for. It has a rich history from playing a part in our country’s railroad birth to our fight in the Cold War era. Local officials say Aiken has a  “history most small towns have never experienced the likes of”. Learn more here.

  • 11. Beaufort

    This coastal town has all the southern charm you come to expect from the South Carolina Lowcountry. The town’s historic streets are framed by natural foliage of picturesque Spanish moss-draped live oak trees. This charming destination has been delighting visitors since 1512. Learn more about Beaufort here.

  • 6. Isle of Palms

    Isle of Palms is a barrier island made up of six miles of white, sandy beaches. It’s less than 20 minutes from historic Charleston. IOP as it’s referred to for short is known for its beaches, natural wildlife, world-class resortsspasgolf, and restaurants. Learn more here.

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