Whether you want to ski, hike, surf, or simply drink sweet tea on a front porch somewhere, North Carolina delivers the goods. Sweet small towns in every corner of the state offer a laid-back pace, ample natural beauty, and a big helping of Southern hospitality. From coastal gems packed with history to mountain getaways tucked into rippling blue-hazed mountains, here are a dozen of the best small towns (population: 10,000 and under) in North Carolina.


A rural paradise for pottery lovers, the tiny community of Seagrove is the beating heart of North Carolina’s pottery tradition. Set in the pretty countryside and Uwharrie foothills are dozens (more than 100, but some counts) of ceramic shops and studios, many of them with working potters at the wheel. One such stop is Uwharrie Crystalline, whose pieces are fired with unique crystal-infused glazes.