With travelers looking to visit smaller towns and destinations with fewer crowds and plenty of space to roam, 2021 saw a recent shift in the friendliest cities in America. But for friendly locals, some staples just can’t be beaten.
From coast to coast, you’ll find familiar Southern hospitality, dependable small-town charm, and surprising big-city congeniality. Here are 20 of the friendliest cities you can visit in the US and how they compare going toe-to-toe with their state’s politeness rating on the go.
Table of Contents
- Travel Manners
- 1. Charleston, South Carolina
- 2. Minneapolis, Minnesota
- 3. Franklin, Tennessee
- 4. Wailea, Hawaii
- 5. San Luis Obispo, California
- 6. Logan, Utah
- 7. Jupiter, Florida
- 8. Bar Harbor, Maine
- 9. San Antonio, Texas
- 10. Greenville, South Carolina
- 11. Manitou Springs, Colorado
- 12. Norfolk, Virginia
- 13. Anchorage, Alaska
- 14. Ocean Springs, Mississippi
- 15. Atlanta, Georgia
- 16. Jackson, Wyoming
- 17. Key West, Florida
- 18. Des Moines, Iowa
- 19. Savannah, Georgia
- 20. Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Fly the Friendly Skies with Next Vacay
Manners maketh the traveler.
From sea to shining sea, check out how people from these states are perceived on the road. When you compare them to the top 20 friendliest cities in America, you may come across some surprises!
1. Charleston, South Carolina
We did mention Southern hospitality, so of course, a city like Charleston—known for making its way onto the lists of friendliest cities in America for nearly a decade—was bound to show up on this one. And why quickly becomes apparent when visiting this history-rich town.
From the strong sense of culture and community to the well-mannered residents always ready to strike up friendly conversations, visitors will be blown away by the welcoming nature of Charleston’s locals. The buzzing culinary scene and historical landmarks will seem like an added perk to all the warmth you’ll encounter, and the friends you’ll make, in Charleston.
South Carolina – Friendliness Rating 7/10
Good manners follow wherever you go. Tourists from the state of South Carolina pay testament to that with an above-average score on the politeness index.
2. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Despite its big-city status, you can find a distinctly neighborly charm in the residents of Minneapolis. That may have something to do with the city’s auspicious ranking as the fourth most neighborly city in the US.
So, ask for directions without fear and share smiles with random passersby as you make your way from the Mall of America to the scenic views from Stone Arch Bridge and enjoy Minneapolis’s abundant and cherished parks.
Minnesota – Friendliness Rating 7/10
You can take the person out of the community, but you can’t take the community out of the person. People from Minnesota aren’t just good neighbors to their fellow Minnesotans but keep that neighborly spirit alive when visiting other cities in the US.
3. Franklin, Tennessee
Franklin is the kind of beautiful, picturesque town you wouldn’t mind getting stuck in if your car broke down. It’s also the kind of town to host a volunteer program where friendly locals walk through Franklin’s historic downtown just to welcome newcomers to the area, sharing smiles and local tips.
It almost sounds too good to be true, but that’s the kind of cozy, southern warmth you can expect when visiting Franklin.
Tennessee – Friendliness Rating 7/10
The people of Tennessee are friendly folks, so when traveling to other states, that affable nature shines through. Of course, we’d expect nothing less from people who go out of their way in their own state to make visitors feel so welcome.
4. Wailea, Hawaii
Aloha is much more than a word to say hello and goodbye. It’s a way of life that emphasizes love, kindness, and a sense of togetherness. In Wailea, you’ll find just that. Among the fine-dining restaurants, sprawling beaches, and art galleries full of glass wonders is a community spirit woven into the very island itself.
Hawaii – Friendliness Rating 7/10
With Hawaiian’s sense of culture and community so highly regarded, it’s no surprise others notice the good manners of this state’s residents when they travel.
5. San Luis Obispo, California
Nestled between the mountains and the coast, you’ll find the down-to-earth and friendly people of San Luis Obispo, affectionately called SLOcals.
Here, the days take on a relaxed, tranquil feel. Visitors are encouraged to live like the locals and take their time while in town, enjoying the beauty and tradition San Luis Obispo has to offer, from volcanic mountains and historical landmarks to sprawling vineyards and top-tier wineries.
California – Friendliness Rating 5/10
Against the incredible warmth of the people of San Luis Obispo, California’s rather average friendliness score may feel like a shock of cold water. But it’s simply a case of the bigger they are, the harder they fall. With so much ground to cover, California’s politeness score can’t compare with the residents of one of the top friendliest cities in the state.
6. Logan, Utah
Just an hour north from the bustling state capital of Salt Lake City lies the tranquil town of Logan. Although this city is beautiful in every season, autumn is a sight to behold, and you can fully enjoy the beauty of fall foliage with a visit to the gorgeous Logan Canyon.
We think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to beat the autumn chill than with the cozy warmth of Logan and its residents. The only thing you’ll find more abundant than the friendly people are the wildlife and scenic views.
Utah – Friendliness Rating 6/10
Nothing compares to the hospitality you’ll find in small towns. Although Utah can’t perfectly emulate the goodwill and midwest courtesy of its small cities, it does its best, with the state scoring just above average in travel manners.
7. Jupiter, Florida
Don’t forget to pack up your beach gear. Sunny manners and beautiful beaches abound in the bright town of Jupiter. If you’re not sure how to find your way to this friendly city, just look for the town’s iconic red lighthouse, which stands as a lookout over the city and the Loxahatchee River. Or, you can always just ask a stranger. You’ll be blown away by the helpful Jupiter natives and their obliging attitudes.
Jupiter’s warm weather and brighter spirit call to all. It’s no wonder the town is home to one famous resident after another, with stars like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan having homes here and duking it out for the title of the most famous resident.
Florida – Friendliness Rating 5/10
The amiable nature of Jupiter’s residents isn’t matched all over the Sunshine State, though, as Florida’s overall politeness rating just scrapes by with an average score.
8. Bar Harbor, Maine
Waterfront views, rugged mountains, and historic downtown districts.
This down-to-earth city welcomes newcomers with a friendly smile and gorgeous getaway spots. Relax under the sun on cozy Sand Beach or escape to the wild trails of Acadia National Park.
Bar Harbor’s brand of charming authenticity undoubtedly is one of the reasons it has topped Expedia’s rankings of the friendliest cities in the US for multiple years.
And with its low crime rate, you can walk around town safe in the knowledge that you’re at home in one of Maine’s safest cities.
Maine – Friendliness Rating 6/10
Despite the high praise for Bar Harbor’s enchanting locals, the state of Maine’s travel manners aren’t strong enough to earn more than a slightly above-average score.
9. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is a big city with a small-town heart. Things here certainly may get busy, but the locals know how to take it slow and enjoy the little things in life: like delicious tacos from Ray’s Drive Inn.
Despite the large population and influx of visitors to this historic colonial city, residents remain unfazed and welcoming to all. Their genial manners make it obvious why San Antonio’s locals are named some of the friendliest around year after year.
Texas – Friendliness Rating 6/10
Texas may be home to some heart-warmingly friendly cities, but they rank only slightly above average when it comes to their own travel manners. Perhaps not all southern hospitality translates well on the road.
10. Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville, SC is no stranger to accolades, with high praise for its downtown scene dating as far back as 2011 to more recent nods as one of the top ten cities to watch in 2020 by Worth.
Having been a rising star for years, Greenville’s recent recognition as one of the friendliest cities in America seems like a natural continuation of its success. From vibrant farmer’s markets to numerous craft breweries and stunning parks, the relaxed atmosphere invites you in as much as the welcoming community of residents, happy to chat with strangers to the city.
South Carolina – Friendliness Rating 7/10
When it comes to friendly locals, the south just does it better. South Carolina’s above-average score on travel manners speaks for itself.
11. Manitou Springs, Colorado
Manitou Springs is another small-town favorite of Expedia users and the perfect getaway if you’re looking for a remote escape. Nestled among peaks, canyons, and hot springs, you can spoil yourself with nature and some nurturing away from the crowds. But rest assured, when you want to be around people, the locals’ genuine kindness will lift your spirits just as well as the outdoors.
Colorado – Friendliness Rating 7/10
The south might reign in hospitality, but the midwest has its fair share of charms, which is why Colorado residents receive high marks for their travel manners.
12. Norfolk, Virginia
History and romance combine in this waterfront city on Virginia’s coast. Visitors can enjoy delicious seafood along the lively harbor that houses Battleship USS Wisconsin before strolling through the colorful trails at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.
As the state slogan goes, “Virginia is for lovers,” and the welcoming and inclusive atmosphere in Norfolk will make visitors feel like they’re a part of this vibrant and loving community.
Virginia – Friendliness Rating 7/10
With a state slogan about love, Virginians put their manners where their mouth is to come away with an indisputable acknowledgment of their good behaviors on the road.
13. Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage may be Alaska’s largest city, but it’s got the down-to-earth vibes of a much smaller town, and the locals serve as one of its biggest highlights.
That’s saying something considering the sheer size and incredible allure of this beautiful place where lucky travelers can spot whales among breathtaking fjords and the magnificence of the aurora borealis streaking across the sky. When considering all that beauty, it seems an added perk that Anchorage also happens to be one of the friendliest cities in America.
Alaska – Friendliness Rating 8/10
Coming from a state that scored higher on travel manners than any other, the frost-chilled residents of Alaska bring their warm hearts and a warm glow with them wherever they travel.
14. Ocean Springs, Mississippi
The Hospitality State serves up a gem with Ocean Springs. This quaint town offers a laid-back but fun vibe, with rich southern culture in its funky boutiques, live music, and vibrant art scene. Travelers can enjoy all that and more amid several festivals the town throws throughout the year. Or escape to the Davis Bayou Area to reconnect with nature. You’ll discover plenty of reasons Ocean Springs has been named one of America’s friendliest towns.
Mississippi – Friendliness Rating 7/10
The south does it again. With a nickname like the Hospitality State, we’d be disappointed with anything less. But Missisippians live up to the hype with above average travel manners.
15. Atlanta, Georgia
Big cities can be intimidating, from their restless and frenetic energy to the residents’ own stoic impatience. But the south prides itself on embodying charm and hospitality, even in its big cities. As the saying goes, “North is a direction. The South is a lifestyle.”
Even amid the hustle and bustle of Atlanta, you’ll find kind strangers and friendly people all over, whether dining at southern-style restaurants, touring around famous filming locations, or enjoying the day at Atlanta’s parks.
Georgia – Friendliness Rating 7/10
If the South is a lifestyle, it must be sticking because Georgians bring their good manners and genial attitudes with them on the road.
16. Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson sits in the Jackson Hole valley, a beacon of light and warmth in Wyoming’s rugged and sparsely populated wilderness.
But the lack of people shouldn’t deter you from visiting, as the residents of Jackson make up for their small numbers in their service ethic, lively nature, and strong town pride. Not to mention the natural beauty around Jackson is a sight to behold, with the city set against the backdrop of gorgeous mountains and not one but two national parks.
The locals are only too happy to share Jackson’s beauty with visitors from out of town, welcoming them into the community with open arms.
Wyoming – Friendliness Rating 7/10
Jackson is a mere reflection of the overall warmth of the people in this wild state, who score above average in travel manners.
17. Key West, Florida
With sands that look like fine sugar and waters of a stunning blue shade, Key West has all the requisite mainstays of any popular tourist destination in the Sunshine State. However, Key West’s ace in the hole, what sets it apart from other gorgeous beach cities, is its neighborly atmosphere and the feeling that all are welcome to partake in the quiet beaches, beautiful coral reefs, and vibrant community.
Florida – Friendliness Rating 5/10
It’s not always sunny in the Sunshine State. But, if Florida’s low score brings Floridians down, it may make their day a bit brighter to know they can claim two of the top friendliest cities in America.
18. Des Moines, Iowa
Few crowds and friendly locals—it doesn’t get much better than that.
Des Moines’ unassuming nature and quiet, next to oldest-sibling energy, is part of the charm of this small town in a big city’s body. A trip to this city won’t be anything flashy, but it will be fun. With opportunities to skydive and zip line or kick back along parks and trails, visitors can put a trip here on cruise control to take in the quiet or go for broke and try something crazy.
Des Moines – Friendliness Rating 6/10
Midwesterners are often known to take care of each other and the visitors that spring onto their small towns. However, that sense of community doesn’t always travel well. As a result, Iowans ranked just above average in their travel manners.
19. Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is a crowd favorite. Not just among the friendliest cities in the US, it’s also considered a romantic getaway, foodie’s paradise, and one of America’s most beautiful cities.
The walkability of Savannah’s downtown means you can strap on a pair of comfortable shoes, stroll down the cobblestone streets, and discover just what it is about Savannah that makes the city and its people so beloved by travelers.
Georgia – Friendliness Rating 7/10
Georgians know how to treat visitors whether they live in big cities or small towns. So, it’s little surprise they carry that southern presence with them when they travel.
20. Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is an idyllic southern getaway with a good balance of activities in the city and outside of it, all mixed in with the charm of easygoing and friendly residents. With a bustling downtown scene full of good food and good times, and breathtaking escapes into garden trails and mountains, you’re guaranteed to make memories and friends.
Tennessee – Friendliness Rating 7/10
Tennessee’s above-average score for travel manners may not precisely meet its slogan of America at Its Best. Nevertheless, the core of America’s spirit is its can-do attitude, which the people of Tennessee possess in spades.
Fly the Friendly Skies with Next Vacay
Is there anything better than friendly towns? Maybe friendly skies. Whether you want to experience the endless charms of Charleston or brave the colds of Alaska for some warm smiles, you’ll first need to find a way to get there. And it’s never been easier to travel than with Next Vacay.
Keep things simple with flight deals delivered right to your inbox. Hoping for a retreat to the sun? Maybe it’s time for some fun in Key West. Looking for that Wild West feel? No better place to be than the rugged wilds of Jackson.
Wherever your heart takes you, Next Vacay can help you explore the nation’s friendliest cities for less. So, are you ready to go?