It’s the time of year when we’re layering on sweaters and blankets, and to celebrate the winter season, the official list of the coziest small towns in the USA has just been released.
These North Carolina towns are considered the coziest: Highlands (ranked No. 36 coziest in the nation), Cashiers (72nd), Nags Head (102), and Ocracoke Island (130).
To determine the coziest small towns in America, 170 well-known small towns across the country were compared on ten key metrics.
They looked into winter temperature, average snowfall, cafes, bakeries, crafts, and bookshops, among other indicators of a cozy small town. By analyzing the data points, each town has been given a ‘Cozy Town Index Score,’ representing the level of coziness you might experience in that small town.
If you’re in the mood for cozy towns to get into the winter spirit, here are some of the best small towns across the country to visit for some serious winter comfort.
Here are the 4 coziest towns in North Carolina:
Highlands, North Carolina, has long been a favorite getaway for Southern city dwellers and antique hunters. Located in Macon County, downtown Highlands is a collection of quaint inns, upscale shops, and renowned eateries that draw visitors from throughout the Southeast. Nantahala National Forest surrounds the town in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Rank: #36 out of 170 cities
Average Winter Temperature: 36 °F, Winter Season: 3 months, Snowfall: 10.6 inches, Days Below Freezing: 101.7
Silver Run Falls, in the heart of this Blue Ridge Mountains town—63 miles southwest of Asheville and at about 3,500 feet elevation—is just one of the natural beauties.
Rank: #72 out of 170 cities
Average Winter Temperature: 40.5 °F, Winter Season: 3 months, Snowfall: 11.2 inches, Days Below Freezing: 101.4
Found on North Carolina’s Outer Banks (ya know, like the show??), Nags Head is a beach town known for its towering sand dunes, many boardwalks, and incredible beaches. What to do: Explore Jockey’s Ridge State Park, walk along Jennette’s Pier, try the obstacle courses at First Flight Adventure Park, and climb the Bodie Island Lighthouse.
Where to eat: Tale of the Whale is a beloved steak and seafood spot overlooking the Roanoke Sound and featuring live lounge music. Where to stay: First Colony Inn is a historic B&B that’s equal parts charming and chic, with a pool, library, encircling verandah, and close proximity to the beach.
Rank: #102 out of 170 cities
Average Winter Temperature: 50 °F, Winter Season: 3.3 months, Snowfall: 1 inch, Days Below Freezing: 40.4
With fewer than 1,000 people, Ocracoke is the place to go when you want a quiet summer vacation. The town has several historic landmarks, including a postcard-ready lighthouse, a history museum, a British cemetery, and a nice assortment of restaurants and shops.
But the best thing to do here is to disconnect, spending your hours walking on the shore and finishing all those books that have been piling up on your bed stand. Fun fact: One of the most popular ways to cruise around this sleepy town, where the speed limit never exceeds 25 mph, is via a golf cart.
Rank: #130 out of 170 cities
Average Winter Temperature: 50 °F, Winter Season: 3 months, Snowfall: 2 inches, Days Below Freezing: 21.1
You can find the coziest small towns in the US study here.