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9 Small Towns That Feel Like TV's Idyllic Mayberry

You'll be waiting for Sheriff Andy Taylor to round the nearest corner.

If there was ever a TV show setting that epitomized small-town America, it would be Mayberry, North Carolina, on The Andy Griffith Show. The fictional town, which is also the setting of the spin-off Mayberry R.F.D., is defined by its solitary traffic light, slower pace, and beloved local sheriff, Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith). The comedy series—and Mayberry itself—are favorites for many, and these days, they're also a reminder of simpler times before big-box stores and cellphones.

If you want to tap into that nostalgic feeling and embrace the small-town sense of community, there are some spots travel experts say you need on your bucket list. Read on to discover which nine small towns will make you feel like you've been transported to Mayberry.

RELATED: 10 Small Towns in the U.S. That Feel Like You're in a Hallmark Movie.

Mount Airy, North Carolina

mount airy, north carolina
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock

Starting out strong: If you want to be fully immersed in everything "Mayberry," book a trip to Mount Airy, North Carolina, AKA Griffith's actual hometown. Not only does the town have museums and attractions dedicated to the show, but it also exudes that welcoming feeling we associate with Mayberry.

"Mount Airy's got a rhythm all its own. It's a place that reminds you of the good ol' days, where folks still wave at each other and take the time to chat on their front porches," Beth McCarter, family travel blogger tells Best Life.

You can stop in and check out some of your favorite spots from the show, including the real-life Floyd's Barber Shop and Snappy Lunch.

"The town features year-round attractions such as the Andy Griffith Museum, Andy Griffith Playhouse, and Squad Car Tours that highlight key locations such as the house where the famous actor was raised," says Mercedes Zach, travel expert at ASAP tickets, part of Trevolution Group. "Each year there is also a three-day-long Andy Griffith-themed and family-friendly festival called Mayberry Days, which features parades, celebrities, music, trivia contests, screenings of show episodes, live entertainment, and other fun activities worth exploring."

According to McCarter, the best time to visit is the fall, so you've still got time to plan your visit and enjoy Mount Airy when it's boasting beautiful fall foliage. She says a visit in the autumn won't just make you feel like you're in Mayberry, but it'll also make you feel "like you're living in a postcard."

"Wander up to Mount Airy, spend a night in the house where Andy himself grew up, catch some live bluegrass music, and crack up open a cold one at a friendly local brewery and, by golly, you'll be doing just fine," McCarter says.

RELATED: The 8 Cutest Small Towns on the East Coast.

Northport, New York

sunset over northport, new york
Kenneday Photography / Shutterstock

Head up to the Northeast and you'll also find a small town where Sheriff Taylor would feel at home.

"One small town/village that feels similar to Mayberry is Northport, New York," Chrissy Ruggeri, co-owner and founder of Northport Journal, tells Best Life. "Northport is a harborside village that's on Long Island, located right between New York City and Montauk, on the north shore. It's the kind of place where people know your name, with short conversations with neighbors taking place as you walk the tree-lined sidewalk from one small shop to another."

Northport has all of the quintessential components of a small town, including boutiques, restaurants, beloved ice cream and coffee shops, and—of course—a quaint Main Street.

"At the end of Main Street is a large park that sits beside Northport Harbor, with boats coming and going from their day out on the water," Ruggeri says. "If you walk through Northport, you're sure to see someone strolling with their dog, kids on bikes or playing in the park, flowering native plants, and historical plaques. It's the perfect place for young families who enjoy the ease of small-town life without giving up city-like amenities."

RELATED: The 12 Quirkiest Small Towns in the U.S.

Tipton, Indiana

historic courthouse in tipton, indiana
Roberto Galan / Shuttestock

According to Pam Howard, owner and author of the travel blog Our Adventure is Everywhere, you can also find Mayberry-esque vibes in the Midwest.

"Tipton, Indiana, shares some similarities with the idyllic small-town setting portrayed in The Andy Griffith Show," she says. "Tipton has a warm and welcoming community—if you stop into a shop or restaurant, odds are you'll end up enjoying a conversation with the owner. The town is small enough that most residents know each other, but large enough to have a quaint downtown with charming boutiques, a small-town grocer, and locally-owned restaurants."

While you can enjoy browsing Tipton's shops or its "long-standing movie theatre" any time of year, Howard recommends heading to Tipton during one of the town's many festivals.

"From the Tipton County Pork Festival in early September to the French Market in July, Tipton knows how to throw a festival, so timing your trip during one of them will add to your appreciation of the area," she says.

Fort Scott, Kansas

fort scott historic site kansas
Lindsey Martin Webb / iStock

Another Midwestern Mayberry is Fort Scott, Kansas.

According to Caitlin Dismore, travel blogger behind Twin Family Travels, Fort Scott "echoes the essence of Mayberry with its warm community, unhurried pace, and charming downtown."

She continues, "The warm locals and their smiles remind visitors of the close-knit community that Mayberry was famous for. The moment you step foot in Fort Scott, it's like stepping into a simpler time, much like the idyllic Mayberry we all cherish."

According to Dismore, a tour on the Dolly the Trolley is a must—which will run you through the history of Fort Scott and the Fort Scott National Historic Site—while the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes and the Gordon Parks Museum should also be on your to-do list. And don't skip downtown, either.

"Downtown Fort Scott has beautiful murals, locally-owned restaurants, and local shops including bookshops, clothing stores, and antiques," Dismore says.

RELATED: 13 Small U.S. Towns That Feel Like the Wild West.

Kingsley, Iowa

kingsley, iowa, during ragbrai bike race 2023
Travis Chinn / YouTube

With a population of approximately 1,375, Kingsley, Iowa, is a true small town. And according to Sherry Arkfeld of the travel blog Digital Nomad and a Dog, you'll quickly see similarities to Mayberry when you visit.

"It's small and charming and the people are super friendly. There's a very nice golf course with a great restaurant called Doosky's," she says. "There's also a public pool and a park with play equipment."

Arkfeld notes that this small town supports its youth and has "a lot of team spirit," adding that residents love coming out to watch the high school sporting events. If you need something extra to add to your trip, you can take a quick 30-minute drive to Le Mars, which is home to Wells Blue Bunny ice cream and known as the Ice Cream Capital of the World.

"While Kingsley may not be on everyone's bucket list, it's a small town that will leave a mark on your heart," Arkfeld says.

Marshall, North Carolina

madison county court house in marshall, nc
zimmytws / iStock

Another North Carolina town to make the list is Marshall, which is about three hours southwest of Mount Airy.

"The quaint and historic town of Marshall, North Carolina, is nestled between rocky cliffs and the picturesque French Broad River that runs through Madison County," McCarter says. "Just a stone's throw from Asheville, Marshall is 'one street wide and a mile long,' and with a population just shy of 900, its nostalgic small-town life brings Andy Griffith's 'Mayberry' to mind."

You'll be surrounded by historic brick buildings with "well-polished vintage cars parked in front" while walking down Main Street, McCarter says. "The street's alive with the hum of artists' studios, galleries, and venues where you can tap your feet to some genuine Appalachian music. And if antiquing's your thing, there's a medley of eclectic shops waiting for you," she adds.

You can visit during any season, with fall offering Marshall's annual art festival and spring boasting a pottery market. In the winter, McCarter notes that there's a route you can drive to see historic barns nestled amidst snowcapped mountains. However, you might want to save your trip for the summer months, as there's much to do along the French Broad River.

"Combined, the historic charm and outdoor adventures come complete with a quaint southern hospitality that's cozily reminiscent of Andy Griffith's vintage vibes," McCarter says. "Because if there's one thing Marshall's known for, it's that they've got a way of making everyone feel like they belong."

RELATED: The 7 Biggest Tourist Traps to Avoid in the U.S.

Bramwell, West Virgnia

soda shop in bramwell, west virginia
Mountain Roots / YouTube

Bramwell, West Virginia, has similar vibes to Mayberry these days, but this small town also has an interesting history.

"At one time, Bramwell had more millionaires per capita than any other part of the U.S.," Rocky Trifari, owner of the travel blog The Rocky Safari, tells Best Life. "Much of that wealth came from 40 miles of coal fields which employed more than 100,000 miners at its peak in the 1970s. Today, it's a quaint and friendly town in West Virginia that maintains some of its old-fashioned style."

Trifari recommends booking a trip in the spring when you can take a tour of the historic (and beautiful) Bramwell homes. The tours are only held twice per year—on the first Saturday in June and the second Saturday in December.

"Aside from the tour, there are other great places to visit like Pinnacle Rock State Park, the Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine, the Bramwell Corner Shop, and many other lovely places," Trifari says.

DeFuniak Springs, Florida

antiques gallery in defuniak springs, florida
felixmizioznikov / iStock

In the Florida Panhandle, you'll find DeFuniak Springs, which is yet another town that embodies the small-town feel of Mayberry.

"It has a lot of the same old-town charm today that has remained the same for decades, so being in the town can feel like a bit of a blast from the past," Brittany Mendez, chief marketing officer at, says. "It has some really cool Victorian-style homes that certainly give the nostalgic feel, as well as a ton of local shops in old buildings that serve the town well."

The nice thing about the Sunshine State is that the weather is likely to be on the warmer side, regardless of when you visit. Still, you may want to skip the hottest months.

"Considering the fact it's in Florida, you may want to skip the peak summer season as well as hurricane season to avoid the humidity and crazy weather!" Mendez advises.

RELATED: The 10 Best 3-Day Weekend Trips in the U.S.

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez Mississippi Enchanting Hideaways in the U.S.
TLF Images / Shutterstock

Natchez, Mississippi, is a bit bigger than your typical small town, with a population of about 13,800. However, it's still known for its southern charm, much like Mayberry, according to Caroline Rogers, a representative for Natchez at Lou Hammond Group.

"Natchez is one of the South's most walkable towns with a centralized, pedestrian-friendly downtown where everyone knows everyone, stemming from historic Main Street and offering an array of shops such as ArtsNatchez and Darby's, eateries including Pearl Street Pasta and Biscuits and Blues, museums and historic home tours," she says.

You can also take a short stroll from the downtown area and visit Bluff Park for views of the Mississippi River, and if you get tired, there are plenty of bed and breakfasts and hotels where you can rest your head for the night.

"The fall season is known for being a very popular time to visit due to Natchez's array of beloved events such as the Natchez Balloon Festival, Y'all Means All, Fall Pilgrimages, and Angels on the Bluff.

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Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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