Most travel bucket lists feature destinations like national parks or big metropolitan cities, which always make for a fun trip, but if you’re only hitting the world’s largest destinations you’re missing out on a whole lot of charm found in small towns.
Traveling to a small town encourages visitors to slow down and take in the sights, like charming main streets , quirky antique shops , plus unique restaurants, and make themselves at home for the length associated with their journey.
The Midwest is known for a lot of things—agriculture, the Great Lakes and friendly attitudes—combine that with the charm and cuteness found within small towns and it makes for a perfect getaway. Read on for the particular 10 cutest small cities in the Midwest, according to travel experts.
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The Best Small Towns in the particular Midwest
1. Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
With a population of just over 200, Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, in the state’s picturesque Door County peninsula, is the model cute midwestern small town. It’s also located about just halfway up the long peninsula, plus directly on Green Bay, making it an ideal waterside destination for anyone who wants the small city getaway.
“[Egg Harbor] is quintessential Door Region, and its location in the middle of the particular peninsula makes it an easier town to get in order to for anyone traveling from the Midwest or further afield, inch says journey writer Agnes Groonwald .
The town offers every amenity that someone would want out of a trip to Door County—stunning water views, fun breweries, and of course, your own Wisconsin-made cheese straight from the Dairy State to take home from Doorway Artisan Cheese Company .
2 . Amana Colonies, Iowa
Visiting the Amana Colonies within east-central Iowa isn’t just taking a trip to one little village, or even the particular seven villages that make up the colonies. Instead, you’re taking a journey to a version of utopia for some German Radical Pietists, who broke away from the particular Lutheran church and formed their own community within the midwestern state inside 1855.
“This adorable [area] is lined with one of a kind locally run stores, unique places to eat an old-fashioned meal and plenty of nostalgia with regard to visitors, inches says Melissa Dixon , a travel blogger in Thirty Something Super Mom . “The streets are lined along with lanterns, the businesses are made of brick, stone and clapboard, creating an ambience associated with yesteryear. Visitors can step inside a good original general store that houses the particular original glass topped display cases and wooden floor from your mid 1800’s. ”
The particular colonies were a hub of communal living with a self-sufficient local economy for several decades, and have been listed as a National Historic Landmark since 1965. Nowadays, they’re a tourist attraction that is much loved for its unique shops filled with handcrafted items and as an area with an extremely unique history.
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3. Hamilton, Ohio
Not far from Cincinnati in the southwest corner of Ohio, Hamilton will be a relatively small city with the lengthy background. Originally established as a military fort named after Alexander Hamilton , the city sits on the Great Miami River and is 1 of the particular cutest locations in the Midwest.
“It has a beautiful and walkable Main Street and High Street Corridor that’s lined along with lovely shops, restaurants, plus parks, ” says Tracy Kocher , the vice president of marketing and communications from Visit Butler County . “The beautiful Great Miami River flows through this area plus there’s a walkable bridge that will joins both halves. inch
But it’s not just stunning river views that attracts people to Hamilton. The city is well-known regarding its sculptures, and you can see many on display at the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum , which is home to more than 70 permanent pieces associated with art and a rotating series of exhibitions.
4. Beatrice, Nebraska
Just because Beatrice, Nebraska is a small city, with an area of under ten square miles, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot to do. In fact , the particular southeastern Nebraska city packs a lot of activities in its tiny area.
“Beatrice has Homestead National Historic Recreation area which marks the first homestead site claimed under the Homestead Act by Daniel Freeman, ” says Megan Bartz , the tourism coordinator at Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce . “Over the last decade there has been a lot of revitalization efforts resulting in distinctive boutique shopping, a brewery and speakeasy, and gorgeous hiking, biking, walking, running and cycling trails intended for all to enjoy. ”
The charming small city is also the county seat associated with Gage State, and in addition in order to its small-town charm, Beatrice also houses stunning buildings like the particular Gage County Courthouse, the striking Richardson Romanesque building constructed in 1892 that will has already been around the National Register of Historic Places since 1990.
5. Winona, Minnesota
Take a look around most large cities and you’ll see that they’re modernizing as they grow, upgrading old structures and sadly, stripping away some of the elegance. Thankfully, Winona, Minnesota doesn’t have that problem. Its downtown region, filled along with buildings constructed within the Victorian commercial architecture style can make it one of the cutest little cities in the Midwest.
In addition to its wonderful downtown, Winona is home to Winona State University , a public university with approximately nine thousand students. The school makes the city, which has the population associated with just 25 thousand residents, feel like a cute college town rather than the bustling town.
Not only does Winona have a cute small-town main street, filled with shops, cafes, and public buildings, but it’s furthermore set in a beautiful location. The city is upon the Mississippi River, approximately the border from Wisconsin, and it can surrounded simply by bluffs including Sugar Loaf, a 500-foot tall bluff that towers over Lake Winona.
6. Nashville, Indiana
It’s not the particular Nashville you’re thinking of, although Nashville, Indianapolis, located in the southern portion of the particular midwestern state, is simply as artistically-inclined as the larger city that shares its name. The city, which usually has the population of just over one, 200, is usually known because of its arts scene and the specialty stores and bed and breakfasts, which attract many visitors.
“[Nashville] is definitely a quintessential and exemplary little town that [has] plenty associated with trees, lovely people, plus an old antique vibe, inches says Lokesh Pant , a journey expert and the CEO of Bargain Air Ticket .
The town is the hub of the particular Brown Region Art Colony, which stimulates many artists in Indiana and the Midwest to visit plus paint. While the colony was officially established within 1907, performers have been moving to Nashville and using the small town as a muse since the 1870s.
7. Mackinac Island, Michigan
Part of Mackinac Island’s charm plus overall cuteness is the nostalgic feeling it evokes in site visitors. Mackinac Tropical isle, situated in River Huron, is completely devoid of chain dining places, hotels and stores, as well as cars. The particular island is a tourism hotspot in the particular Midwest, yet the long term population hovers around 500 residents, making it one of the most popular small towns in the country.
Mackinac Island is the majority of well-known to get its majestic Grand Hotel , a massive, historic hotel that offers hosted five U. H. presidents since the late 19th century. But that’s not the just place to stay on the charming island, which can be home in order to dozens of hotels and mattress and breakfasts, including the Mission Point Resort .
“With a ban on motor vehicles, Mackinac Island limits modes associated with transportation to horse-and-buggy, walking and bicycling, making guests feel as if they’ve stepped into a forgotten time, ” says Liz Ware , the vice president of sales plus marketing with Mission Point Resort. “More than 80 percent of the island is certainly protected like a state park, creating a lot more than 70 kilometers of hiking and cycling trails through which to explore the island’s natural beauty, from coniferous forests to rocky shorelines. Victorian-style cottages dot the bluffs of Mackinac Island, and the little but bustling downtown area is filled up with shops boasting goods through handmade fudge to in your area crafted jewelry. ”
Mackinac Island is only reachable by private boat, ferries that will leave from St. Ignace in the particular Upper Peninsula or Mackinaw City within the state’s Lower Peninsula, or simply by plane, as the island offers its personal small airport. The main tourist season is from May through October, but the island is open for website visitors all year-round, with events like the island’s Christmas Bazaar happening inside the beginning of December, as well as the Twilight Turtle Trek , a ski plus snowshoeing trek taking place in January.
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8. Pella, Iowa
People don’t normally travel to the particular Midwest pertaining to an European experience, but that’s exactly what visitors in order to Pella, Iowa will get. The particular town, settled by Dutch immigrants, pays tribute to this heritage with its canal, windmills, and Dutch-themed stores, and it is as close to an experience of visiting the Netherlands that you can get.
“It’s an excellent destination for a day trip option or even weekend escape to enjoy the Gouda Cheese through Frisian Farms Cheese House and enjoy Dutch-inspired spots and treats from Vander Ploeg Bakery & Jaarsma Bakery , Ulrich’s Meat Market , plus Dutch Fix for a Dutch culinary experience, ” states Owen Redford , the founder associated with travel website Things to Do .
9. Augusta, Missouri
The Midwest is not typically known for its sights and vistas, such as other regions of the nation that are set in mountains or along the coast, yet Augusta, Missouri is the bit different. The small town, not far from St. Louis, attracts visitors every fall due to the fact of the stunning scenery, which is just part of what makes Augusta such a cute city.
“As a person enter Augusta, you may feel like you are stepping into a small town USA movie set, inch says vacation writer Casandra Karpiak , the co-founder of Savoteur . “Visitors can stroll the idyllic downtown, hop on the free trolley to go wine tasting at the particular local wineries, rent bikes to spend the day within the Katy Trail, or relax on a single of the many patios overlooking the stunning fall foliage throughout the valley. ”
Augusta, with a population of approximately 200, is a popular stop across the Katy Trail, the bike plus walking trail that extends for more than 220 mls along the Missouri River.
10. Woodstock, Illinois
While Phil Connors, Bill Murray’s character within the 1993 film Groundhog Day , might have resented waking up within the same place every day, residents associated with Woodstock, The state of illinois, where the particular movie was filmed, don’t seem to mind, because of the small-town charm found in the northern Illinois city.
Although you could possibly do the same thing over and more than again each day, there are usually so many things to do in the little town that it’s not mandatory. Spend a day in the particular fall picking apples on All Seasons Orchard, or partake within some small-town fun antiquing and hitting up local, family-owned restaurants.
Or visit the town in the beginning associated with February to take part in the annual Groundhog Days festival, which pays tribute to the particular movie that will made the town famous, and the particular holiday it was called for.