Sure the cities have a lot to offer but there is so much to discover in the small towns of not only in our state but in the entire south. It is nearly impossible to pick a favorite, especially when you have such diverse options. I mean just here in North Carolina we have mountains, beaches, the Piedmont, all home to numerous small towns. But when it came to Southern Living’s pick it was a mountain town that was named the best small town in North Carolina for 2024.

Readers of Southern Living actually voted on this list as part of the publication’s South’s Best Awards. One of the categories voted on was the reader’s all-time favorite small town in the South. In total fifteen towns were recognized one in each of the “southern” states. Here’s how the voting process worked according to Southern Living. “An online survey was conducted by third-party agency Proof Insights among Southern Living consumers, asking them to rate their favorite places across the South for the South’s Best Awards 2024. The survey was fielded from July 12 to August 23, 2023, and had over 20,000 respondents.”

The North Carolina mountain town that took the crown for the best small town in North Carolina is one that I love to visit. Though small, it’s a popular destination. Keep reading to see which town made the list for NC. And you’ll also discover the best small town in some neighboring states as well. This includes towns in South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. Who knows maybe your new favorite vacation destination is about to be discovered. They are all a reasonable drive for a quick or long weekend getaway. Interested in the full Southern Living list? You can read that here.


  • North Carolina- Blowing Rock

    I grew up going to Blowing Rock and still often go up with my parents in the summer months. This tiny mountain town is a few miles outside of the college town of Boone and features some highly rated restaurants, a quaint downtown, lots of shopping, a park, and numerous outdoor activities. You can learn about my favorite things to do in Blowing Rock here.

  • South Carolina- Beaufort

    Beaufort is HIGH on my list of nearby places I’d love to visit. This southern town is deep in history (dating back to the 1500s) and full of moss-draped live oak trees. It’s located on Port Royal Island one of the sea islands. It’s full of history to explore, activities, restaurants, and shopping. Learn more here.

  • Georgia- Tybee Island

    Georgia’s Tybee Island is a quaint beach community located about 20 miles (or a 30-minute drive from Savannah). It’s full of everything you love at a small beach town- local restaurants and of course the beach. Savannah is one of my favorite cities in the world so it’s hard for me to say take time out of a weekend trip to Savannah to visit (unless of course you are taking a beach trip). But I also wouldn’t stop you from planning a weeklong beach trip to Tybee and driving in to Savannah for a day or two! Learn more about visiting Tybee Island here.

  • Tennessee- Gatlinburg

    I’ll be honest while I have visited Gatlinburg and nearby Pigeon Forge I still get them both confused. Gatlinburg is known as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and features lots and lots of tourist attractions so you won’t be bored here! Try the  Gatlinburg SkyLift Park or Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster for some thrills. Learn more about visiting Gatlinburg here.

  • Virginia- Chincoteague

    30 minutes ago I had never heard of Virginia’s Chincoteague Island now I want to plan a trip there. The website for Virginia’s only resort island describes itself as a “serene, yet fun-filled, tourist destination”. Here you’ll find wild ponies, unspoiled nature, and of course serene beaches. Learn more (and fall in love) here.

  • Florida- St. Augustine

    I’ve paid a quick visit to the nation’s oldest city. I have to admit, when I went (the last day of the city’s Christmas lights) it was so crowded you couldn’t really enjoy anything. While I was not impressed on that particular visit I have heard a lot of great things and hope to be able to give St. Augustine a second chance in the near future. It boasts 450 years of history, brick-lined streets, historical sites, and restaurants, all in a waterfront location. Learn more about visiting St. Augustine here.

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