Charming homes in the best small towns

Leave the beaten path

Imagine living in a small town with all its charm and history, but still remaining within reach of a vibrant city.

We used Smithsonian Magazine's 2012 and 2013 lists of the Best Small Towns in America to locate some great homes for sale in communities with fewer than 13,000 residents.

Square footage, number of bedrooms and unique amenities vary, but there's one thing these homes all share: They're all off the beaten path.

While all seven homes on our list are near a metropolitan area, they're far enough out of the way to serve as an ideal vacation getaway — or a year-round home that always feels like a vacation.

Prices range from $182,500 to $394,000, or a monthly payment of about $750 to more than $1,600, assuming a 20% down payment and today's average mortgage interest rates.

But pay close attention to the difference in price per square foot, which is one of the best ways to measure how far your housing dollar will stretch in each town.