11 Manzanita, Oregon
Along the Pacific Ocean shoreline in far western Oregon are miles of sparsely populated beaches, the town of Manzanita included. With Neahkahnie Mountain off in the distance, you get beach dunes and mountains in one view.
12 Jekyll Island, Georgia
Part of the Sea Islands, this island off the coast of Georgia was established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a vacation-home destination for the wealthy. Today’s visitors enjoy a mix of nature (such as marshlands and beaches) and architecture (a 240-acre historic district on the island’s north side includes the Jekyll Island Club Hotel).
13 Friday Harbor, Washington
The delightfully moody setting (cue fog and rain) of Friday Harbor, part of the San Juan Islands, is iconic to the Pacific Northwest but without the noise of an urban locale. Whale watching is a huge draw here, and the arts thrive at places like the San Juan Islands Museum of Art.
14 Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Considered “the Newport of the Midwest,” this lake community two hours north of Chicago is rimmed with opulent mansions once belonging to wealthy Chicago families (Sears, Wrigleys, etc.) and, even today, are rich in affluence and design. Mail is still delivered by boat during the summer months.
15 Seward, Alaska
This coastal town in the Final Frontier state is a gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park and also a mecca for sailing, sport fishing, and kayaking with its stunning glaciers (around 40).
16 Woodstock, Vermont
A quintessential town for glimpsing peak foliage each autumn, one of Woodstock’s most charming traits are its covered bridges, including the apple-red Taftsville bridge.
17 Kennebunkport, Maine
Long a playground for presidential families such as the Bushes and the Kennedys, this coastal community thrives come summer when its resort status ratchets into motion. Sailboats cruise along the shore and a trolley runs through local streets.
18 McCall, Idaho
Its outdoor activities year-round ranging from fly fishing to cross-country skiing, this resort town (home to quite a few wellness properties) on the southern shore of Payette Lake also hosts an annual Winter Carnival and, in 2018, launched its first sled-dog race.
19 Seaside, Florida
So darling is this New Urbanism town—hugging the Gulf of Mexico—that it starred as the setting in a Jim Carrey film (The Truman Show). Brightly colored cottages are a short walk to the downtown, with Airstream food trucks, an indie bookstore, art galleries, and seafood eateries.
20 Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Sugar-white sands along the Pacific Ocean—with a shoreline of stunning cliffs and wispy cypress trees—and a Spanish Mission–style downtown anchor this community, which is tucked into a wine region (Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are the main thrust). Actor Clint Eastwood is a former mayor.