The small towns still exist in North Carolina, and there are many of them. We are very fortunate to live here. There are so many things to do and see. Some towns are historical, some are artsy, and some have a coastal vibe. With so many towns to see, we narrowed it down to 10 that are a must-see this year.

Every town has its own personality with a Main Street filled with great shops and eateries. These small towns are a great place to spend a getaway weekend or just enjoy a day of escaping the stress of a workweek. Have a look at our list of 10 of the best small towns in North Carolina to get some ideas for where to visit. Happy traveling!

  • 1. Marion, North Carolina

    Main Street in Marion is lined with historic buildings, churches, and the courthouse. There are plenty of attractions nearby, including Mt. Mitchell, Caverns, and Linville Falls in this small town at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The caves and waterfalls are gorgeous. The caverns and waterfalls are located outside of downtown. We went to the town’s Big Foot Festival. Main Street is lined with restaurants, craft breweries, bakeries, ice cream parlors, boutique shops, and galleries housed in former banks and warehouses. You can see more about traveling to the town of Marion here.

  • 2. New Bern, North Carolina

    Once, I attended a wedding here and it was stunning. Try New Bern, North Carolina, if you enjoy ocean views. In North Carolina, it is the second oldest European settlement and the first colonial capital. Located approximately 40 miles north of Emerald Isle, it is a small Inner Banks town. You can see more on traveling here.

  • 3. Pittsboro, North Carolina

    Pittsboro is a small town in Chatham County, North Carolina, and is the county seat. If you’re a fan of tigers, you’ve probably visited the Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro. Wildcats are rescued and provided with a permanent home at the sanctuary. With pepper festivals, a farmers market and festive parades, the small town of Pittsboro is a must-see in North Carolina. If you like history, also may a visit to the Chatham County Historical Museum is a small, intimate museum. They also have a cool folk art area. The Small Museum of Folk Art was established around a core collection of 400 folk art pieces. You can see more in the small town of Pittsboro here.

    Small town - big fun!! Live performances, bicycle parade, water slide, food trucks,vendors and lots of other wonderful...

    Posted by Town of Pittsboro, NC on Monday, July 8, 2019
  • 4. Topsail, North Carolina

    Located 26 miles off the coast of North Carolina, Topsail Island is the official name of the barrier island. There are three stunning seaside towns on Topsail Island: North Topsail Beach, Surf City, and Topsail Beach. One of the best features is the Seaview Fishing Pier. There are no boardwalks, Ferris wheels, or crowds of people here because it’s a small town. You can score some locally caught seafood on Topsail Island as well as relax with the salty air.

  • 5. Blowing Rock, North Carolina

    There is nothing better than a small town like Blowing Rock, North Carolina. The town is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway and its namesake formation is a geological formation. It has an ancient outcrop of gneiss whose bulk causes the wind to blow vertically, causing objects to appear to float in mid-air. In addition to the Tweetsie Railroad, Mystery Hill, Sugar Mountain, and mountain hikes, there are excellent shopping opportunities and dining establishments in Blowing Rock. There are many shops along Main Street, including one of my favorites, a candy store. Take a stroll through this little mountain town, enjoy the scenery, and breathe in the fresh mountain air. You can see more about planning a trip here.

  • 6. Spruce Pine, North Carolina

    The town of Spruce Pine is nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina and has an important arts and culture scene. Its annual festivals and events draw lots of people! Its historic downtown fronts the North Toe River and boasts two main streets, Oak Ave. The small town is right by the world-renowned Penland School of Craft. This place is a gateway to a vibrant community of artists and craftspeople. You can see more here on visiting this small town.

  • 7. Belmont, North Carolina

    Belmont, which means ‘Beautiful Mountain,’ was renamed the Garibaldi Station community in 1833. The name was chosen because of Crowders Mountain’s proximity. Redevelopment and revitalization are taking place in the downtown area. The Chronicle Mill has been approved for a project that would retain its history while bringing new life to downtown and Main Street. Belmont will establish a new identity in this modern era of development while still maintaining its small-town charm and sense of community. My favorite part of the town is the Jonas Brothers eatery, Nellie’s Southern Kitchen in Belmont, North Carolina.

  • 8. Waxhaw, North Carolina

    The small town of Waxhaw in North Carolina offers a lot to its residents. This town, named after a Native American tribe, has a rich history that includes the birthplace of a president, ancient tribal lands, and a colonial trade route. One of the best ways to experience the area is through its cuisine. You can see more about this small town here.

  • 9. Black Mountain, North Carolina

    A small, quaint town located 15 miles east of Asheville on the eastern edge of Buncombe County, Black Mountain is home to a charming downtown, a thriving arts and crafts scene, and access to incredible outdoor adventure at 2,405 feet above sea level. With its mountain range towering over the town, Black Mountain became a haven for pioneers in the arts, such as painters, musicians, poets, and architects in the mid-twentieth century. Historically, the town was home to Black Mountain College, one of the most innovative and highly regarded experimental art colleges in the United States. Several galleries showcase some of southern Appalachia’s best arts and crafts. Today, it remains a mecca for artists. You can see more about exploring North Carolinas Black Mountain and the small town here.

  • 10. Manteo, North Carolina

    Manteo may seem like an ordinary North Carolina coastal town, but the area is as filled with attractions and fun as it is rich in history. There are numerous attractions on the Outer Banks that have been captivating vacationers for generations, including one of the world’s greatest mysteries and the birthplace of English colonization in America. You can see more on visiting this small town in North Carolina here.

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