There are a lot of charming small towns in the United States, and if you’re going to hike the Appalachian Trail, you’ll soon have a front-row seat to some of the most picturesque of them.
We know that getting on and off the route to see a few of these charming communities will add some extra time to your journey, but believe us when we say that it will be time well spent.
Best Places to Visit in the Appalachian Mountains
Keep reading to learn about ten of our favorite little towns located along the 2,190-mile path that is great for “thru-hikers” as well as people who are simply visiting the AT for a day trek.
1. The Town of Blue Ridge in Georgia
This sleepy village appears to have been plucked right from the pages of a country song, complete with mountain vistas, lakefront cabins, and a population of 1,157 people who are eagerly awaiting your arrival.
In spite of the fact that it is a very tiny town, there are a variety of different places to stay. If spending a day off the trail sipping cocktails and dining while taking in panoramic vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains seems like your idea of a good time, then you should check out the brand-new Hampton Inn Blue Ridge.
2. The West Virginia Town of Harpers Ferry
This town with a population of 285 has four miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT) passing through it, and it is also the headquarters of the nonprofit organization known as the Appalachian Path Conservancy. If you stop by, you may pick up trail guides and maps, talk to employees about the path, and shop for souvenirs.
In addition, the town is significant from a historical perspective. This area was the location of John Brown’s raid in 1859, which was an attempt to organize a slave uprising and is commonly regarded as the “dress rehearsal” for the American Civil War.
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During your time here, you will get the opportunity to explore Brown’s fort in addition to other historic sites such as St. Peter’s Catholic Church, which is the only church in town that was spared from destruction during the Civil War, as well as the site of the Battle of Bolivar Heights, which took place in 1861 and was an early engagement during the Civil War.
3. The New Hampshire Town of North Conway
Visitors to North Conway, New Hampshire, a community that is located 28 miles south of New Hampshire’s most famous mountain, Mount Washington, are accustomed to greeting visitors who are hiking the Appalachian Trail.
A post-hike massage at Sacred Circle Wellness or celebration beers and burgers at Delaney’s Hole in the Wall will make you feel right at home in this town, which is one of the most popular places along the route. The locals will make you feel welcome no matter where you go in this town.
4. New York Place Name: Cortlandt
Even though it has close to 42,000 people living in it, the town of Cortlandt on the Hudson River manages to maintain the atmosphere of a sleepy village despite being one of the largest on this list.
In the year 1781, General George Washington’s troops crossed the Hudson River at the Kings Ferry crossing site between Stony Site and Verplanck’s Point on their way to Yorktown, Virginia.
The welcoming location is well-known for its Revolutionary War history, notably for the Kings Ferry crossing point, which is located between Stony Point and Verplanck’s Point.
5. The Town of Adams in Massachusetts
Because of things like the Jacob’s Pillow International Dance Festival and places like the Mass MoCA, Clark Art Institute, and Tanglewood, which has served as the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937, the Berkshires are home to an astounding variety of high-quality cultural experiences.
Even though there are a number of wonderful tiny towns in the area, such as Monterey, which is more rural, and North Adams, which is more hipster, we have a soft spot for Adams, which is older. Susan B. Anthony, an activist for the advancement of women’s rights, was born in this town, which has approximately 8,170 citizens.
6. Virginia City of Bristol
Although there are only an estimated 16,912 people living in Bristol, the city feels very much like a major city due to its long history in country music. In 1998, the Congress of the United States officially recognized it as “The Birthplace of Country Music.”
After taking in a show at a nearby venue, make your way to the one and only rooftop bar in the city, Lumac, which is housed within The Bristol Hotel. You might also relax at the Original Burger Bar, which is famed for being the last place Hank Williams Sr. was seen alive while he was still alive.
7. Bryson City, in the state of North Carolina
It’s possible that Bryson City is not a name that’s familiar to most people, but it certainly deserves to be thanks to the many individually owned restaurants, breweries, and stores that can be found there.
The mountain town may be found in the western part of North Carolina and serves as the most important access point to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s southern boundary.
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The Everett Hotel, which is set on Bryson City’s lovely town square, is our top pick for travelers looking for a more upscale experience. The Everett Hotel is a good option for hikers looking for budget-friendly, hostel-style housing in town.
8. The Town of Vernon in New Jersey
Vernon, which is situated in Northern New Jersey along the AT, more than lives up to the promise of a charming tiny town. After putting in all that mileage, take some time to unwind at Mountain Creek Resort with some snow tubing, an aerial adventure park in the treetops, or a zip line tour.
All of these activities are on the property. If you happen to be in the area during the fall, you may spend some time picking apples or pumpkins at Heaven Hill Farm or Pochuk Valley Farms, or you can relax at Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery while listening to live music and enjoying a drink of wine, cider, or spirits.
9. The City of Marion, Virginia
Around 5,700 people call this oasis in Smyth County home, and they would be delighted to have you stay with them for a while. Treat yourself to an amazing vacation rental while you are in town, such as the modern farmhouse beauty known as The Lucille, or an A-frame cabin located on a working farm that spans 200 acres and is known as Spenceville Farms.
Visit the downtown area of “America’s Coolest Hometown,” where the streets are lined with independent restaurants and unique boutiques, while you are here.
10. The City of Hanover in New Hampshire
Hanover is one of just ten communities along the Appalachian Trail (AT) in which Main Street and the AT meet at a literal crossroads. Because the AT runs right down Main Street in Hanover, the town is virtually impossible to miss if you are hiking the AT.
Make the most of your stop by visiting some of the city’s museums, such as the Hood Museum of Art, which recently underwent an expansion, or checking out some of the sporting events, theater productions, or musical performances at the Hopkins Center.
In addition, as Marra pointed out, the Appalachians are easily accessible to a huge number of tourists because many of the largest cities in the United States are only a short drive away.
However, this portion of the United States is notable for more than just the well-known path that passes through it. This year, there are a number of different places and destinations in the Appalachian Mountains that you should try to visit.