America's best small towns
June 12, 2014 -- Updated 1848 GMT (0248 HKT)
Explore "America's Best Small Towns," listed here in alphabetical order. Wacky and wonderful, Ashland is an arts lover's dream. It's home to the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, Ashland New Plays Festival and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the largest regional repertory theater in the United States. Visitors can also enjoy dinner at one of the Northwest's signature seafood spots and a trip to Lithia Park. The latter is on the National Register of Historic Places and stretches over 90 acres.
Best small towns: Ashland, Oregon
Beaufort, South Carolina
Cooperstown, New York
Port Townsend, Washington
- Fodor's favorite small towns have fewer than 30,000 residents
- One small town can be seen in the movie "Forrest Gump"
- One baseball hall of fame town has a lot more than baseball going on
(CNN) -- With their quaint downtowns, undeniably charming shops and distinct personalities, small towns have long held a special place in the American heart.
That homey feel can also appeal to city travelers longing for a slice of small town Americana.
The best of the best are included in Fodor's Travel second-annual list of "America's Best Small Towns," released Thursday. From a funky arts town in Oregon to a popular South Carolina throwback, there is nothing small about the affordable attractions these cities offer.
Top spots in Europe 2014
"There has been a big uprise in traveling to smaller towns that have some quirky and regional appeal," said Arabella Bowen, executive editorial director of Fodor's Travel. "There is a want for a local, authentic, mom-and-pop experience."
To qualify for the Fodor's list, these small towns must have fewer than 30,000 residents, although the majority have under 10,000 residents. The cities also must be able to accommodate short, weekend stays.
"There is a lot of surprising delight in these places," Bowen said.
So whether it's a wedding anniversary or a family vacation on a budget, wave goodbye to big city blues and hello to tiny town delight. Click on our gallery to see Fodor's top 10 choices.
Which are your favorite American small towns? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
You don't have to be an adrenaline junkie to take a dare.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Fireworks are fantastic and human endeavor has its place, but sometimes Mother Nature outshines any performance we can produce.
February 22, 2014 -- Updated 1909 GMT (0309 HKT)
They're almost unbelievable. Impossible blues, electric greens, depths as clear as glass -- all bathed in blinding sunshine.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1546 GMT (2346 HKT)
Check out the photos CNN.com readers have shared and submit your own.
January 17, 2014 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
Earth never stops surprising us. Every corner of the planet offers some sort of natural peculiarity.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
Not many cities evoke as many instant associations as Las Vegas.
For 24 hours, we made the world's busiest airport our destination and found a world unto its own. Join us on our journey. What you see will surprise you.
August 13, 2013 -- Updated 1934 GMT (0334 HKT)
Beaches along the coasts of the United States call to shoreline explorers year-round.