The votes are in for T+L readers’ best-loved small towns, from Vermont to Utah.
No. 2 Estes Park, CO
America's Favorite Towns 2013
No. 2 Estes Park, CO
Elk wander the streets at will in this gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park, where a bustling Main Street encourages visitors to stroll with ice cream cone in hand. Its 2 million annual visitors can choose from rustic to regal accommodations that earned high marks in the cool motels (No. 1), B&Bs (No. 4), and vacation homes (No. 9) categories. Historic inns like the 105-year-old Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King’s The Shining, came in at No. 3. visitestespark.com; shopestesparkcolorado.com.
As you watch the sun dip below 14,000-foot peaks from Allred’s restaurant, toast your craft beers to a vacation well spent in Telluride, CO, a historic ski town hip enough to host film and bluegrass festivals.
Related: America’s Best Little Beach Towns
Telluride, rated No. 7, is just one of the small towns with outsize personalities that proved irresistible to the T+L community. For our first America’s Favorite Towns survey, we asked our fans and followers to nominate their favorites on social media with the hashtag #TLTowns—and then to vote for the 744 towns in 55 categories, including farmers’ markets, museums, adventure travel, and family-friendly hotels.
To determine the overall popularity results, we calculated each town’s average score. The results reveal that T+L readers have a soft spot for small towns in the Rockies, with the No. 1 title going to Aspen, CO, which scored highly for its attractive locals, beer scene, and Victorian-era Main Street.
Related: America's Best Mountain Resorts
What most winning towns have in common is a history dating back at least a century. Charlottesville, VA, for instance, still bears the imprint of Thomas Jefferson, who masterminded Monticello and the University of Virginia and also appreciated fine wine. The area makes a scenic wine-country getaway, with the Blue Ridge Mountains for a backdrop.
Read on for more of T+L’s favorite towns—and share your picks in the comments below.