New England has the best historic small town in America, according to USA Today readers

You'll find it in Rhode Island.

A kayaker with The Kayak Centre in Wickford, Rhode Island. Rachel McCarty

A Rhode Island destination full of 18th-century buildings is the most historic small town in America, according to USA Today readers.

The publication unveiled the best small towns for 2022, part of its 2022 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards, on Friday and named Wickford, Rhode Island, the best historic small town in the U.S. It was the only New England entry on the list.

“The 10 Best Historic Small Towns have small populations (fewer than 25,000 people) with big histories, making them fun and affordable ways to dive into our nation’s past,” wrote USA Today.

Here’s what USA Today wrote about Wickford, a village in North Kingstown:

Europeans first settled this Rhode Island community around 1637, and today it features one of the northeastern United States’ most significant collections of 18th-century dwellings, most of which are on their original foundations. The Old Narragansett Church was established in downtown Wickford in 1707 and today stands as the oldest Episcopal church building in the northeastern United States. One of the area’s most visited historical locations is Smith’s Castle, built in 1678 by the son of one of Wickford’s earliest European settlers.

USA Today’s 10Best

Other New England small towns in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire were recognized as well.


Maine’s Bar Harbor made the best coastal small town list, ranking No. 9. The best coastal small town is Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

New England represented well in the category of best small town for adventure: North Conway, New Hampshire, ranked No. 4; Stowe, Vermont, ranked No. 6; and Gorham, New Hampshire, ranked No. 10. The No. 1 town for adventure is Savanna, Illinois.

And finally, shoppers, take note: Montpelier, Vermont, ranked No. 3 and Camden, Maine, ranked No. 10 for best small town for shopping. The top shopping town in the country was Frenchtown, New Jersey.

For the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards lists, USA Today travel experts select 20 nominees in topics from food to lodging, destinations to things to do. Then the publication asks readers to cast votes to determine the top 10.

View the entire list of best historic small town in the U.S.


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