While the cities of the USA may attract the most tourists, the small, riverside towns are where you will find the heart and soul of each state. Packed with history, heritage, culture, and truly unique quirks, these are America’s seven prettiest riverside towns.
Hanover, New Hampshire
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Check out the first fall colors from the Baker Library Clock Tower! With peak foliage just around the corner, we’ll be sure to take plenty of photos and keep you updated as the colors begin to change. We’ve still got about a week till October, but already the first yellows and oranges can be seen on the trees around campus, and it seems this fall’s going to be particularly beautiful. This short was taken looking north-west towards Vermont. If there’s a building or part of campus you’d like to see as the leaves change, and that’s visible from the Tower, make sure to let us know in the comments. #dartmouthlibrary #dartmouthcollege #dartmouth #uppervalley #uppervalleyvtnh #newhampshirefall #vermont #vermontfoliage #vermontfall #vermontlife #vermontphotography #igers #vermontliving #vermontshots #vermontbyvermonters #fallfoliage #fallinvermont #travelvermont #newenglandfall #leafpeeping #newengland #hanovernh #collegecampus
Nestled along the Connecticut River, Hanover is famous for being home to the prestigious Dartmouth College, but this New England town has so much else on offer too. Hanover is quite a traditional small town and is one that boasts so much natural beauty, making it great for those who want to explore the great outdoors.
Things to Do in Hanover
People usually head to a small town’s Main Street when they are looking for something to do, and Hanover’s Main Street definitely won’t disappoint. The street is actually a part of the world-famous Appalachian Trail, meaning that plenty of hikers stop off in Hanover, giving the town a unique diversity. Even if you aren’t in the mood for a long walk, simply taking in a small section of the trail for an hour or two is immensely rewarding.
While you’re around Main Street, check out some of the independent stores here. From handmade pottery to second hand books to freshly-roasted coffee, the shopping selection provides everything that you would want from a relaxing getaway.
Where to Stay in Hanover
The Hannover Inn Dartmouth is one of the best hotels in town. It’s located on the Dartmouth campus, meaning that you’re only a short walk away from the heart of town. With chic, upscale rooms and incredible food, this is a hotel that will definitely complete your visit.
Narrowsburg, New York
Narrowsburg is another riverside town that is bursting with natural beauty. Sitting on the banks of the Delaware River, Narrowsburg is just a short drive from New York City, making it ideal for a weekend away.
Things to Do in Narrowsburg
The Delaware River is the heart of this town, and locals tend to spend their free time indulging in outdoor activities around it. The Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River is always a highlight – stretching out for 73.4 miles, this river park is perfect for some canoeing or kayaking. On your way, you will pass the Darbytown Bridge, which dates back to 1810.
Of course, the town’s Main Street isn’t to be missed either. There is a quirky selection of stores to browse here, as well as some amazing restaurants.
Of course, if you’ve decided that you have had enough of small town life and want a taste of the hustle and bustle of the big city, NYC isn’t far away, making it ideal for a day trip. Don’t forget to also pop in to one of the OROGOLD stores in the city to treat your skin to a luxurious VIP facial!
Where to Stay in Narrowsburg
If you are looking for a hotel that is quaint, traditional, and ultra-luxurious, the Moonriver Inn won’t let you down. This gorgeous boutique hotel is in the town’s historic district, meaning that you will be walking distance from all of Narrowsburg’s best attractions.
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Harpers Ferry sits at the point where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet, meaning that this small town has been a significant one throughout history. The town’s National Historic Park documents its rollercoaster past, but there is so much else on offer here too…
Things to Do in Harpers Ferry
Just about every visitor heads straight to the National Historic Park, where you will learn more about John Brown’s raid on the federal armory in 1859, where he was attempting to end slavery in the United States.
This is another small town on this list that also sits in the path of the Appalachian Trail. Although it’s not quite at the halfway point, many walkers refer to Harpers Ferry as the psychological midpoint of the trail, meaning that it has become a very popular gathering spot over the years.
If hiking isn’t your thing, soak up more history at St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was the only church to survive the Civil War, John Brown’s Fort, which was built in 1848, and the Heyward Shepherd Monument.
Where to Stay in Harpers Ferry
There are some truly gorgeous inns dotted around Harpers Ferry, but the one that comes most highly recommend is the Hillbrook Inn. Nestled within 30 acres of land, which once happened to be owned by George Washington, this elegant bed and breakfast is located a little way out of town, but more than makes up for this with its fairytale appeal.
Edenton, North Carolina
Edenton was the first permanent settlement in colonial North Carolina, which took place in 1660, meaning that this small town is packed with so much history. However, in addition to its rich heritage, Edenton also boasts incredible natural beauty and plenty of recreational activities, making it ideal for a short getaway.
Things to Do in Edenton
For those who want to learn more about Edenton’s history, and this is usually what draws visitors to the town, some of the most historic sites to check out include:
- The 1767 Chowan County Courthouse
- The Iredell House Homesite
- The Maritime Underground Railroad
- The 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse
Since there is so much to see, many visitors often opt for a guided trolley tour, as this ensures that you won’t miss out on anything important!
With Edenton being located on the banks of the Albemarle Sound, there are stunning waterfront views to be had just about everywhere you go, along with several beaches and picturesque lighthouses. Spend some time out on the water sailing, kayaking, or boating, or enjoy it from firm ground with some fishing.
Alternatively, if you prefer walking to wading, there are numerous hiking trails to choose from in the area, as well as plenty of bird-watching opportunities for nature lovers.
Where to Stay in Edenton
The Inner Banks Inn & Restaurant is just a short walk away from the heart of town and offers up truly indulgent luxury, making it the top choice for those who want to treat themselves. This hotel sits on three acres of tree-lined grounds and consists of four stately homes that have been restored to provide the ultimate in hospitality. Don’t forget your bathing suit, since the outdoor pool here is exquisite!
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Although technically a city, Riverside deserved a mention on this list, not only due to its name, but also because of its small town charm. Its jaw-dropping history, perfect climate, and intense beauty makes it well worth considering for a short break away.
Things to Do in Riverside
Riverside’s name comes from its prime location next to the Santa Ana River, and many of the popular activities here revolve around water. The Whitewater Preserve is one of the city’s most-loved spots, with both locals and tourists spending a large amount of time at this beautiful preserve, which protects the Whitewater River. Don’t worry about it getting too crowded either – the preserve stretches out for 2851 acres, so whether you want to float down a gentle creek, do some vigorous swimming, or relax in an inner tube, you will always be able to find an area to yourself.
There is plenty of culture to be found in Riverside too, with the Riverside Art Museum being a great place to start. Then, head on over to Heritage House, which dates back to the 1800s and will teach you about what it was like to live in Riverside during these times.
After that, it’s time for some shopping! The Galleria at Tyler is a must-visit, purely for its wide range of different brands. In addition to an amazing selection of fashion boutiques, you will also find an OROGOLD store in this mall, where you will be able to enjoy free product demonstrations, expert skin care advice, and so much more.
Where to Stay in Riverside
Not only does it boast a fantastic location just a couple of minutes walk from the heart of Riverside, but the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa also offers the best when it comes to accommodation, service, and amenities. This Spanish Mission-esque hotel, complete with its own five-storey rotunda, is famous for both its architecture and its spa. It’s a popular spot for day-visits, so you might as well spend the night here too!
Incline Village, Nevada
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Although technically a lakeside, rather than a riverside, town, Incline Village is too beautiful to not mention. Situated on the north banks of Lake Tahoe, Incline Village stands out from the other small towns that are sprinkled around the lake for its sheer elegance and uptown chic.
Things to Do in Incline Village
With such an incredible range of outdoor activities to enjoy, Incline Village has always been popular with those seeking adrenaline-pumping adventure. The peaks in the area are great for hiking in the summer months, with some truly majestic views to be expected, but then turn into a winter wonderland once the snow sets in, perfect for glade skiing.
If you would prefer to relax on the shore and soak up the scenery around you, head on over to the Lake Tahoe State Park, which is known for its vividly-blue pools of water. Just keep in mind that these are bone-chillingly cold! Not too far away from here is Sand Harbor, which is where you will find one of the prettiest beaches you will have ever seen.
If you would like to appreciate the views from a different perspective, there are plenty of charter boats available that will take you right out onto Lake Tahoe. Whether you want a relaxing cruise or would like to try your hand at some fishing, this is a great way to enjoy 360 degree views of this spectacular slice of America.
Where to Stay in Incline Village
If you are looking for the best, then book yourself in for a stay at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe. The resort is packed with some great facilities, including two outdoor pools, three restaurants, and a spa, complete with a fully-equipped fitness center.
Although located in rural Iowa, Pella’s Dutch heritage sets it apart from many of the other small towns that surround it. Many often fondly refer to it as the “Little Netherlands” of the USA, and, if you visit, you will see exactly how true this is.
Things to Do in Pella
Begin by simply taking a stroll around town – you won’t be able to help but admire the ornate Dutch architecture, including authentic windmills and gardens. Even the cuisine here is Dutch-inspired, making it completely unlike any other town in the state. Speaking of the food in Pella, some of the Dutch specialties that you need to try are:
- Oliebollen, which are cinnamon raisin dumplings
- Pella bologna
- Dutch letters, which are a sweet pastry
- Poffertjes, which are mini pancakes
- Gouda cheese
Visit Pella’s Historical Village to learn more about its past – it consists of 21 buildings that date back to the 1840’s. Wandering past the clog cobbler shop, bakery, puppet theater, and more really gives you a good idea of what the town used to look like back in the day.
If you happen to be visiting in May, then you’ll also be able to take part in the annual Tulip Time Festival, complete with parades, Dutch outfits, concerts and more, all of which come together to celebrate Dutch pride.
Where to Stay in Pella
There’s no question of where to stay in Pella – the Dutch-inspired Royal Amsterdam Hotel is a must. This redbrick building is just a few minutes away from the center of town, and in addition to its chic outdoor swimming pool, it also boasts one of the best restaurants in the area.
Follow the rivers throughout the USA and you will stumble upon some truly incredible small towns. Each one has its own strong sense of individuality, heritage, culture, and tradition, giving you a unique insight into some of the more lesser-known, but just as valuable, parts of the country.