The Virginia state flag

Historic Charm Abounds in the 12 Best Small Towns in Virginia

Small Towns Virginia

by Matt Lyons Posted on April 10, 2023

Located centrally on the East Coast, the state of Virginia has a lot to offer its residents. With beaches to the east and mountains to the west, outdoor enthusiasts and adventure lovers alike have plenty to explore. You’ll also find excellent education opportunities, diverse culture, a flourishing economy — and some amazing small towns in Virginia!

While warmer states like Florida typically seem like the more desirable retirement hotspot, Virginia was actually ranked as one of the top places to retire by Forbes Magazine. Due to a number of factors such as low crime rate, good housing, and lots of historical places, it’s not a surprise that a retiree would choose Virginia. If you are a citizen of Virginia, any retiree can  deduct up to $12,000 in pension and retirement state income taxes. 

Due to the number of great living perks offered in Virginia, it’s no surprise that the state gained over 26,000 more residents from July 2021 to July 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Big Virginia Cities vs. Small Virginia Towns 

A disadvantage many of those find looking to move to Virginia is that the cost of living can be a bit high. Fortunately, Virginia has a very diverse real estate market so it’s not too difficult to find an affordable rural area if you’re OK with leaving the city.

While Virginia is known for many things, such as history, beauty, and charm, a feature that often gets overlooked is the amount of great small towns within the state. From southwest Virginia all the way to the eastern shore, some of the most beautiful sights you can see are within small towns. 

Check out these advantages of relocating to a quaint Virginia town:

  • Immense history 
  • Warm and genuine hospitality from other locals 
  • Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and antiquers 
  • Praised for community, beauty, and all around livability

Small Towns in Virginia - FAQ

Q: What is the best small town in Virginia to live in?
A: Consisting of either small coastal towns or ones nestled in the mountains, some of the best small towns in Virginia include Farmville, Leesburg, Smithville, and Middleburg. 

Q: What is the prettiest town in Virginia?
A: Since many small Virginia towns are near the beach or surrounded by mountains, there’s beauty everywhere! One of the prettiest small Virginia towns includes Onancock. 

Q: What is the nicest town to live in Virginia?
A: Abingdon is considered one of the nicest towns to live in Virginia due to its stunning Blue Ridge Mountain backdrop. 

Q: What is the coolest city in Virginia?
A: Some of the coolest cities in Virginia include Centreville, Charlottesville, Tysons Corner, and Virginia Beach. Each comes with its own unique perks that attract people from many walks of life.

Best Small Towns in Virginia 

Small towns across Virginia contain some of the most gorgeous coastal and mountain views, along with a safe environment, friendly people, and the ability to commute to a larger city if needed. No matter what your preferred atmosphere is, the small towns of Virginia have something to offer everyone.

The U.S. Census categorizes a small town as one with a population of 5,000 or fewer, but some of the towns on our list are larger than that. 

Chincoteague Ponies walking along the shore on Chincoteague Island in Virginia.
Wild ponies in Chincoteague, VA

1. Chincoteague, VA

The wild pony population of Chincoteague is well-known due to the 1947 book "Misty of Chincoteague." The region has used this to their advantage, with an annual pony penning event that takes place at the end of July. It’s important to note that the wild horses don’t live on Chincoteague, though. They live on Assateague Island, about 15 miles away from Chincoteague.

The island of Chincoteague is known for its local flavor, and they host a variety of festivals throughout the year, such as the Oyster Festival and the Island Blueberry Festival. The area also offers plenty of water recreation, including fishing, kayaking, and boat tours. Some of the shops on the island include the Sundial Books and Osprey Nest.

Chincoteague is also around a two to three-hour drive from other major cities such as Newport News and Norfolk.

2. Abingdon, VA

The town of Abingdon has quite a rich history to say the least. It was once the land of the Cherokee Nation, and throughout the 18th century notable people such as Daniel Boone camped here. In 1778 it was established as a town, and today its downtown is full of art and culture establishments like the popular Barter Theatre.

Situated in the heart of Virginia's countryside, you can find natural beauty everywhere. It's also home to the Virginia Creeper trail, as a 34-mile rail-to-recreation trail that spans between two entire counties.

3. Staunton, VA

The American Shakespeare Center and Blackfriars Theater are some of the prominent cultural institutions in this small town of Staunton, which is also the birthplace of president Woodrow Wilson. Other noteworthy institutions in the area include the Heifetz Institute for Music and the Museum of the American Frontier Culture.

Besides art galleries, the city of Staunton also hosts various festivals. Some of these include the Hot Glass Festival and the Summer Blues and Jazz Festival. The nearest major city is also around 40 miles away, which is Charlottesville. 

The historic Red Fox Inn & Tavern in Middleburg, Virginia. The three-story colonial-style building is made of stone with a metal roof, over a dozen front-facing windows, and a large red door.
The Red Fox Inn & Tavern in Middleburg, VA
(Source: The Red Fox Inn & Tavern via Facebook)

4. Middleburg, VA

The town of Middleburg has plenty of history. It's surrounded by horse-country that's regarded as one of the most beautiful in the nation, and it's also home to the Red Fox Inn. The historic district of Middleburg is on the National Register.

The Red Fox Inn — one of the oldest continually operating establishments in the country — was first established in 1728. During the 1900s, it was a popular destination for hunters and spectators and the town has since been named the "horse and hunt capital" of the nation. 

5. Blacksburg, VA

This isn’t a small town, but to those coming to school here from the major metros, Blacksburg definitely has that small-town, know-your-neighbor vibe.

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blacksburg is home to Virginia Tech, a renowned engineering school. The town also has a variety of local restaurants that serve international cuisines, with some of the town's best known establishments including Gillies and the Boudreauxs, a Louisiana-inspired restaurant.

The Chocolate Spike and Daily Bread are two of Blacksburg's best sweet spots. During the summer season, the town hosts all kinds of festivals, such as the Steppin Out and the Summer Solstice Fest. Roanoke is only about 45 minutes away!

6. Onancock, VA

When you're in Onancock, Virginia for the first time, you'll most likely encounter the town's residents walking, cycling, or watching boats in the harbor. This area is a great place to meet and interact with the locals and make new friends. Another popular area is Market Street, which is where you will get a glimpse into the town's history, from when it was first established in the 1600s, to the breathtaking Victorian homes you can still see today.

Overall, the town has plenty of restaurants and shopping establishments. One of the town's most prominent places is the Roseland Theater, which was built in 1950 and features an international film festival.

View from the water of docks and the Smithfield Station Hotel in Smithfield, Virginia. There are power boats and sail boats docked in the marina.
Smithfield Station in Smithfield, VA
(Source: Visit Smithfield VA via Facebook

7. Smithfield, VA

The town of Smithfield is known for its "famous ham," and it has a long history. The origins of this community can be traced back to 1634, when it was first colonized and founded on the Pagan River, and eventually became known as the "Ham Capital of The World." Today, Smithfield Foods is one of the world's largest pork producers and processors.

The community is known for hosting a lot of events and activities, such as concerts and community barbecues. The town also has a variety of historical sites that can be found in its downtown area, and some of these include the Smithfield Inn along with multiple other churches and schools.

8. Farmville, VA

Located south of Virginia's geographic center, Farmville is in the heart of the state. It's also home to one of the oldest public universities in the nation, Longwood University, and has plenty of history and charm. The town's annual festival, known as the Heart of Virginia, takes place every May. This fun event features various local businesses and musicians from all around the country.

9. Lexington, VA

Even though it is home to two universities, Lexington is more than just a place for students. It also offers a variety of other attractions, such as museums, historical sites, and art galleries. The town's historic downtown is full of stores and eateries that are both unique and quite popular.

10. Woodstock, VA 

The Town of Woodstock has a wide variety of housing options, including single-family homes, townhouses, apartments, and stacked townhomes. There are also many historic homes in the downtown area that have been well-maintained. Residents of the historic district are very close to the town's businesses and parks, making it a very convenient place to live.

Shenandoah County, which includes Woodstock and other nearby towns, is known for its beautiful countryside and natural beauty. It also attracts visitors and local residents who enjoy cycling, with plenty of bike trails and paved roads in the area.

Downtown Culpeper, Virginia, on a sunny day. The streets are lined with brick buildings and a variety of stores and shops.
Culpeper, VA
(Source: Visit Culpeper VA via Facebook)

11. Culpeper, VA

Getting out and about in the town of Culpeper, Virginia, is always a fun time with its various festivals and concerts. The town also has a historic theater and is home to several great wine regions.

One of the area's most historic sites is Culpeper National Cemetery, which holds the remains of thousands of Confederate soldiers. Another noteworthy site is the historic Fairview Cemetery, which has been well-kept and offers a variety of views.

12. Kilmarnock, VA

The commercial hub of Lancaster county is located in the town of Kilmarnock, which has a thriving small business community. In addition to national chains, it also has a variety of local shops and restaurants. 

The Town Centre Park is located in the center of town and is a multi-use facility that can be used for a variety of purposes. It features a playground, an outdoor amphitheater, a dog park, and a half-shell stage. This facility is open year-round.

A PODS truck is transporting a PODS portable moving container through a small town neighborhood in Virginia.

Choose PODS to Help with Your Move to a Small Virginia Town

With so many different options for a great small town environment, it might be tricky to find the perfect place. However, once you have decided, you will need to start thinking about the moving process. With PODS, a portable moving and storage container will be delivered right to your driveway where you can pack and load at your own pace. When you’re ready, they will pick it up and take it to your new home. One month’s storage is included in every move, so you can unload on your own schedule without feeling rushed!

Editor’s note: Monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100 for ease of reading.

#1 moving and storage company of 2024
No one understands complex moves and home renovation projects like PODS.


Kilmarnock made it but Tapoahannock did not??
Leave a Reply
I am very surprised Luray,va didn't make the list as there is so much amazeing beauty there ,, the beautiful walking greenway , caverns, skyline drive,many shops,Cooters where you see many famous actors,and so many free events music on main free Friday nights which is great ,mountain views all around ,it's an amazeing place
Leave a Reply
You missed the most exciting town of all, Floyd. Bustling farmers market every Saturday, lots of organic food from local farmers. Jamboree every Friday night, with dancing in the Country Store and music and clogging in the street. Blue grass music and dancing on Saturday night at the daylily farm. Regional bands and open mike night at Dogtown bar. Arts and jewelry, ceramics, paintings, crafts galore by local artists in the "mall". Beautiful hand made wood furniture. Hand made lighting for sale. And a REAL hometown vibe. Real country. Beautiful views of the Blue Ridge. 6 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, 35 minutes from Blacksburg.
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment * Comments are required.
Name * Name is required.Name can't be more than 50 character.
Email * Valid Email address is required.

Reply to

X Cancel Reply
Comment * Comments are required.
Name * Name is required.Name can't be more than 50 character.
Email * Valid Email address is required.
An error has occurred please try again later