Getting the Most out of Life

5 Great Places for Small-Town Living

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Living in a big city isn’t the best choice for everyone. Small towns have plenty of great perks, and you may find they’re a lot more suited to your style than a huge, crowded metropolis. There are countless options across the country, but here are just a few top-rated small towns to get your search started.

1. Freeport, Maine

If you’re interested in small-town living in New England, check out Freeport, Maine. Freeport boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the state and is safer than 42 percent of all U.S. cities. It boasts a 4.1 percent unemployment rate, which is lower than the national average of 6.3 percent. Though statewide income tax is a bit high at 7.95 percent, the total cost of living is worth it. Freeport offers state parks, shopping at outlets like L.L. Bean, and live shows at the local Freeport Theater of Awesome.

2. Brevard, North Carolina

With a temperate climate and cozy atmosphere, Brevard is a great place for small-town living. It was named one of the Top 50 Last Great Places by National Geographic and is a utopia for outdoor enthusiasts. Brevard offers hiking, kayaking, and zip lining in the nearby Blue Ride Mountains, French Broad River, and Gorges State Park. There’s also an active downtown that offers plenty of shopping and dining opportunities. Their unemployment rate is lower than the national average at 6.1 percent.

3. Yellow Springs, Ohio

Named one of the Coolest Small Towns by Budget Travel, Yellow Springs is a fun place for residents and tourists. Its cost of living hovers right around the national average, but some of its other numbers are noteworthy: unemployment is only 4.9 percent and the average home price is only $96,000.

Yellow Springs is also a great place for creatives and progressive thinkers, with tons of eccentric boutiques, cafes, and galleries. Graffiti here is unique, known as “yarn bombing.” Residents cover fixtures like lampposts and trees with colorful knit panels, just for the sake of art.

4. Andover, Kansas

It’s no surprise that Andover earned the top ranking in NerdWallet’s list of Best Cities for Young Families in Kansas. Income tax is hovers at a low 4.6 percent, while the average income has gone up 47 percent over the past decade. In short: It’s a great city for getting your start.

The population has also risen 75 percent over the last 10 years. Even so, Andover is still considered a small town at under 12,000 residents. The city is working on a comprehensive plan for the next decade to ensure further economic development while still preserving the small-town perks like walkability, top-notch schools, and a friendly atmosphere.

5. Woodward, Oklahoma

With an average cost of living that’s 13.7 percent below the national average, along with an income tax of 5.25 percent and an unemployment rate of only 2.2 percent, Woodward is one of the most affordable small towns on this list. It has been named one of the Top 5 Friendliest Towns in America by Rand McNally and one of the Top 100 Places to Live by Committed to eco-friendliness and renewable energy, Woodward is Oklahoma’s wind farm capital. Thanks to its wide-open spaces and small-town hospitality, this little town on the prairie is sure to win your heart.

Small-town living isn’t for everyone, but as businesses begin to operate less from the metropolitan offices and more from remote locations, having that urban career in a small-town atmosphere is more attainable. So if the hustle and bustle of busy city streets is too stressful for you, consider retreating to America’s small towns where that Norman Rockwell sense of Americana is still alive and well.

Paula Pant is the founder of award-winning website and a journalist and blogger specializing in personal finance, real estate and lifestyle design. She has been featured more than three dozen publications, including Forbes, DailyFinance, Marketplace Money, Business Insider, Inc. Magazine, and many more.