Fishing shacks and piers along the waters of Tangier Island at dawn

Tangier Island, Virginia

Natural Bridge, Virginia

Kayaking along Lake Habeeb in Rocky Gap State Park

Tasting room with wine barrels and customers

The tasting room at Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, Virginia

Fishing shacks and piers along the waters of Tangier Island at dawn

Tangier Island, Virginia

Natural Bridge, Virginia

Kayaking along Lake Habeeb in Rocky Gap State Park

Tasting room with wine barrels and customers

The tasting room at Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, Virginia

Top 10 Small Towns in the USA Capital Region

Big cities and monuments may get more attention, but these small towns near Washington, DC are the heart and soul of the Capital Region.

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Travel beyond Washington, DC, into neighbouring Maryland and Virginia, where you'll find some of the best small towns to visit in America brimming with down-home hospitality, heritage events, locally owned shops and distinctive attractions.

Virginia Small Towns

1. Tangier Island

Hop on the Ferry to visit this Chesapeake Bay gem. Onshore, rent a bike or golf cart to explore the village. Don’t leave without grabbing a bowl of cream-of-crab soup from Lorraine’s.

2. Natural Bridge

Venture to the Shenandoah Valley’s southern end to see the town’s namesake natural wonder: a spectacular, 65-metre-tall limestone arch. Enjoy nearby historic sites and outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and kayaking.

3. Big Stone Gap

Visit the town that inspired the book and star-studded film of the same name, based on Virginia author Adriana Trigiani’s experience growing up there.

4. Clifton

Treat yourself to a tasting at Paradise Springs Winery, then stroll through the picture-perfect city centre to admire historic buildings and hunt for antiques and other treasures.

5. Purcellville

Hit the Washington and Old Dominion Trail on foot, bike, or horseback. It winds 45 miles (72.4 km) through countryside and urban areas. Afterwards, relax with award-winning whiskey at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company.

Maryland Small Towns

6. Ellicott City

Discover the unique shops, galleries, and dining that create the eclectic atmosphere of this historic mill town. Play a round on Turf Valley Resort’s immaculate fairways.

7. Loveville

Shop for artisan goods made by local Amish and Mennonite communities and stop by the weekly produce auction for farm-fresh delights.

8. Flintstone

Outdoor adventure abounds here. The Green Ridge State Forest’s lush trails and the sparkling waters of Lake Habeeb at Rocky Gap State Park are both close by.

9. Sykesville

Find tasty restaurant delights, charming architecture, and friendly folks on Main Street. In the summer, the town hosts free concerts in Millard Cooper Park every Friday.

10. Smith Island

Head here for some of the Eastern Shore’s best seafood, the famous many-layered Smith Island Cake, pristine beaches, scenic wetlands, and inspiring views everywhere you look.