Best Places To Live A Simple Life | WalletGenius (2023)

  • If you long for a simpler life with less stress and more fun, then these 10 towns fit the bill.
  • They show you can escape expensive city living without sacrificing culture or opportunity.
  • Whether you’re retired or raising a family, these towns offer a high quality of life for less.

Do you ever dream of picking up and moving to a quaint town to live a simple life? Somewhere with friendly folks, safe streets, idyllic parks, and affordable living. Perhaps you hesitate to make the move because you don’t want to give up city life. Fortunately, you can get the best of both worlds in some small towns.

Here are 10 towns from across the country with plenty of charm — and close access to a metropolitan area. Each town has a distinct personality, affordable housing options, and free attractions. We used data compiled by Data USA to help determine the list.

Sandpoint, ID

  • Vibe: Puts the great in the great outdoors
  • Population: 8,386
  • Median property value: $249,400
  • Free fun: Watch classics like Othello at Shakespeare in the Park
  • City escape: Spokane, WA (72 miles away)

Located in North Idaho, Sandpoint is known for its beautiful scenery and year-round recreational activities. In the summer, spend the day on Lake Pend Oreille — the biggest lake in the state. Then in the winter, hit the ski slopes at Schweitzer Mountain.

Throughout the year, the quaint town buzzes with community celebrations. Enjoy music festivals, art fairs, fireworks, classic car shows, and old-fashioned county fairs. Festival at Sandpoint, one of the favorites, brings fun acts like The Beach Boys to town.

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Gulfport, FL

  • Vibe: A little beach town with a big heart
  • Population: 12,335
  • Median property value: $185,600
  • Free fun: Explore the weekly farmers’ market
  • City escape: Tampa, FL (26 miles away)

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Flordia’s touristy spots, Gulfport has a tight-knit community that looks out for the town they love. For instance, residents gather monthly to keep the beach clean. And they keep Little Free Pantries around town stocked with donated food.

The little waterfront town also has an artsy side. For example, the community comes together for monthly Art Walks to celebrate and support local artists. Find books, antiques, and other treasures at quirky independent shops. And dig into good food at local restaurants.

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Montpelier, VT

  • Vibe: Small town Americana
  • Population: 7,477
  • Median property value: $252,600
  • Free fun: Go leaf-peeping to admire the vibrant fall foliage
  • City escape: Montreal, QC (130 miles away)

If you’re looking for a picturesque New England town, then Montpelier fits the bill. Even though it’s the state capital, Montpelier maintains its small-town atmosphere. In fact, it has the smallest population of any state capital in the nation. And it’s the only one without a McDonald’s.

Instead of national chains, residents frequent small businesses. They also have parks, historic sites, and of course, maple syrup farms to explore. And as the state capital, Montpelier is a civic-minded town with politically engaged residents. After all, locals see the legislative process up close.

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San Marcos, TX

  • Vibe: Austin vibe without the price tag
  • Population: 63,220
  • Median property value: $171,500
  • Free fun: Enjoy weekly summer concerts in the park
  • City escape: Austin, TX (31 miles away)

Located between Austin and San Antonio, San Marcos is the region’s hidden gem. The river that runs through town can be enjoyed year-round because the waters stay comfortable at 72 degrees. So, residents can go swimming, tubing, and kayaking when the mood strikes.

Beyond the river, San Marcos also offers a thriving music scene, eclectic shops, and plenty of old-school Texas charm. Plus, the Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marco helps residents connect to the town’s Hispanic heritage. Check out its museum, and then take art and music classes.

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Greenville, SC

  • Vibe: Southern charm with a modern twist
  • Population: 67,737
  • Median property value: $292,400
  • Free fun: Take a walk over the single-suspension bridge in Falls Park
  • City escape: Charlotte, NC (102 miles away)

Thanks to decades of thoughtful redevelopment, Greenville has a thriving main street. Residents enjoy a pedestrian-friendly downtown that connects to the town’s neighborhoods. As a result, many can step outside their home and stroll right into town.

It’s known as a welcoming community that exudes Southern charm and hospitality. So, that means the town has delicious food, historic architecture, and charming shops. It also has a performing arts center where residents can see the symphony and the ballet.

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Canandaigua, NY

  • Vibe: Farm country for foodies
  • Population: 10,287
  • Median property value: $164,400
  • Free fun: Visit the Ontario County Historical Museum to learn about local history
  • City escape: Rochester, NY (28 miles away)

Conveniently for foodies, Canandaigua is surrounded by the Finger Lakes farm and wine region. Residents can keep things farm-to-table fresh, thanks to the farmers’ market that operates most of the year. And the town offers lots of choices for international cuisine.

Canandaigua is also a fit for those wanting four seasons of outdoor fun. Go boating or hiking from spring to fall. There are hiking trails, beaches, and parks. Then head to Bristol Mountain to ski come winter. The town does get an average snowfall of 55 inches per year!

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Port Townsend, WA

  • Vibe: A Victorian seaside town
  • Population: 9,551
  • Median property value: $338,000
  • Free fun: Enjoy Concerts on the Dock during the summer
  • City escape: Seattle, WA (56 miles away)

Located on the Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend is a charming seaside town. With its picturesque main street and neighborhoods, Port Townsend is a step back in time. It was a bustling port in the late 19th century, so much of its architecture is Victorian.

Take a stroll and enjoy the sea breeze while exploring downtown. There are boutiques and art galleries — plus a cute independent movie theater. Then head to one of the town’s parks or beaches to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

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Logan, UT

  • Vibe: Scenic outdoor playground
  • Population: 50,863
  • Median property value: $198,500
  • Free fun: Explore the Riverside Nature Trail
  • City escape: Salt Lake City, UT (82 miles away)

When you think about Utah, dramatic deserts and rock formations might be the first image that comes to mind. But Logan turns that idea on its head. It sits in the green Cache Valley, surrounded by tree-covered mountains. Given that, Logan is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

Grab your hiking boots and explore the nearby Wasatch-Cache National Forest before the snowy season. Then swap them for skis and head to Beaver Mountain in the wintertime. Logan’s also considered Utah’s “Heart of the Arts,” so residents enjoy an active arts scene.

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Ames, IA

  • Vibe: Puts the heart in the Heartland
  • Population: 66,023
  • Median property value: $205,900
  • Free fun: Go bird watching at Ada Hayden Heritage Park
  • City escape: Des Moines, IA (36 miles away)

If you’re looking for wide-open spaces, then Ames has your name written all over it. It’s the quintessential Midwest town — complete with a lively main street in town and rural countryside just minutes away. Ames also has great parks and hiking trails.

The little college town is home to Iowa State University, so it bustles with students. Cheer on the Iowa State Cyclones to get into the hometown spirit. And explore the beautiful campus to take in the classic collegiate feel. The campus is especially pretty in the fall.

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McMinnville, OR

  • Vibe: Quirky wine country
  • Population: 34,010
  • Median property value: $247,400
  • Free fun: Check out Turkey Rama, the town’s big summer festival
  • City escape: Portland, OR (38 miles away)

Nestled in Oregon’s wine country, McMinnville residents are close to countless wineries. And thanks to the region’s farmlands, residents and restaurateurs can specialize in farm-to-table dining. In addition to the benefits that come with country life, McMinnville has a quirky side.

In the spring, McMinnville hosts the UFO Festival — folks get all decked out in costumes for the parade. And every summer, residents come together to celebrate Turkey Rama, a big festival with live music, local vendors, and carnival games. Then come fall, residents decorate lamposts as scarecrows to get in the spirit.

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Where is the easiest place to start a new life? ›

Fresh Start: 10 Best Cities to Move to Start a New Life
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Anyone looking for a fresh start will find a kindred spirit in Pittsburgh itself. ...
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. ...
  • Salt Lake City, Utah. ...
  • Jacksonville, Florida. ...
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. ...
  • Cleveland, Ohio. ...
  • Denver, Colorado. ...
  • Nashville, Tennessee.
Jan 7, 2022

Where is the best quality of life to live? ›

  • Sweden. #1 in Quality of Life. #5 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Denmark. #2 in Quality of Life. #10 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Canada. #3 in Quality of Life. ...
  • Switzerland. #4 in Quality of Life. ...
  • Norway. #5 in Quality of Life. ...
  • Finland. #6 in Quality of Life. ...
  • Germany. #7 in Quality of Life. ...
  • Netherlands. #8 in Quality of Life.

Which American city has the best quality of life? ›

The U.S. Cities With The Highest Quality of Life 2022
  • San Diego, California.
  • Hartford, Connecticut.
  • Portland, Maine.
  • Reno, Nevada.
  • Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Trenton, New Jersey.
Aug 10, 2022

Where can I move for a simpler life? ›

Best Places To Live A Simple Life
  • Sandpoint, ID.
  • Gulfport, FL.
  • Montpelier, VT.
  • San Marcos, TX.
  • Greenville, SC.
  • Canandaigua, NY.
  • Port Townsend, WA.
  • Logan, UT.
Jul 4, 2022

Can where you live make you happier? ›

So, can moving make you happier? Likely yes, if it comes with general improvements in your living environment, social network, and work-life balance. But it's far from a cure-all, and you're unlikely to notice a change in how you feel if your move doesn't offer more than just a superficial change in scenery.

What is the #1 best state to live in? ›

▲ Overall RankStateEconomy
3South Dakota17
4New Hampshire10
41 more rows
Jan 12, 2023

Where in the U.S. is the best place to live for quality of life? ›

Its 2022 ranking for the best places to live looked at five metrics: job market, value, quality of life, desirability, and net migration. The best place to live in America is Huntsville, Alabama, followed by Colorado Springs, Colorado.

What country is #1 in quality of life? ›

“Having quality of life as the top subranking demonstrates that elements such as a good job market, affordability, political stability and well-developed health and education systems are playing an increasingly important role in shaping a country's global image.” For the fifth time, Switzerland claimed the No.

Where are people happiest to live? ›

The world's happiest countries, 2022 edition
  • Finland.
  • Denmark.
  • Iceland.
  • Switzerland.
  • Netherlands.
  • Luxembourg.
  • Sweden.
  • Norway.
Mar 18, 2022

Where are Americans happiest? ›

Cities from 19 states ranked among the 50 happiest places in America, as well as Washington, D.C. California dominated the list, with 17 of its cities ranking among the top 50, followed by Colorado, which had four cities in the top 50.

What is the #1 city to live in America? ›

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado is still America's #1 place to live in 2021-2022 according to U.S. News & World Report. What makes it so appealing? A paradise for those who love the outdoors, for practitioners of alternative medicine and fitness enthusiasts, wellness and health are at the core of Boulder's charm.

Are people with simple lives happier? ›

Yes! There are many reasons why choosing to live a simple life can lead to a happier you. Simplicity can help you feel in control of your life, and give you time to unwind and focus on your well-being.

Is living a simple life worth it? ›

For many, one of the biggest benefits of simple living is the fact that it leads to way less stress. Without as much to worry about, you can say goodbye to sky-high stress levels. Studies have shown that cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone, are higher in cluttered spaces.

Is it OK to just want a simple life? ›

Your health can benefit

Living a slow and simple life just feels good—great even. You have less stress and anxiety because you're not trying to do everything. This can result in huge boosts to your mental health.

Where is the cheapest place to start a new life? ›

Coming in as the cheapest state to live in in the United States is Mississippi with a cost of living index score of 83.3. It also has the lowest average housing costs in the nation at 33.7% below the national average. The median single family home costs around $140,818.

Where can I move for a quiet life? ›

Here are the 20 most peaceful countries in the world:
  • Iceland. Apart from dramatic scenery, Iceland has a 100% literacy rate in the 300,000 population Living among an educated population which is tolerant towards minorities is a great bonus. ...
  • Denmark. ...
  • New Zealand. ...
  • Austria. ...
  • Switzerland. ...
  • Japan. ...
  • Finland. ...
  • Canada.

Where is the cheapest and easiest place to live? ›

We based our list of the cheapest places to live on research from The Council for Community and Economic Research, Niche, among other sources.
  • Amarillo, Texas. ...
  • Meridian, Mississippi. ...
  • Tupelo, Mississippi. ...
  • Muskogee, Oklahoma. ...
  • Jackson, Mississippi. ...
  • Topeka, Kansas. ...
  • Richmond, Indiana. ...
  • Salina, Kansas.

Is moving good for depression? ›

The links between depression, anxiety and exercise aren't entirely clear — but working out and other forms of physical activity can definitely ease symptoms of depression or anxiety and make you feel better. Exercise may also help keep depression and anxiety from coming back once you're feeling better.

Should I move if I'm not happy? ›

If you live in an unhappy place, the best thing you can do is move to a happier place," he advises, pointing to a study of people who picked up and moved to Canada, which consistently ranks very high on happiest country lists.

Where you live affects your mental health? ›

Location matters—and not just in real estate. Psychologists have long known that people's surroundings can influence their moods and mental health, and that mental health services are unevenly distributed in communities. "Mental health is a moving target," says Courtney L.

What state has the nicest people? ›

Minnesota takes top spot, thanks to its extraordinarily friendly residents. It's called 'Minnesota Nice' for a reason – the atmosphere in the Twin Cities and beyond is hard to match, with a homey feel and locals who go the extra mile to welcome tourists.

What is the cheapest but best state to live in? ›

Mississippi is the cheapest place to live in the United States, with a cost of living 15.6% lower than the national average.
1. Mississippi.
Unemployment Rate3.9%3.7%4
3 more rows
Jan 5, 2023

What is the smartest state to live in? ›

Massachusetts has an average IQ of 104.3, making it the smartest state in the country. New Hampshire is the second smartest state, with an average IQ of 104.2. Positioned in third and fourth place for smartest states, with average IQ scores of 103.8, are North Dakota and Vermont.

Where is a peaceful place to live in the US? ›

Lewisboro, New York

Just 50 miles from New York City but a world apart otherwise; the crime rate in this tiny town is zero. Besides, it also has seven natural preserves and parks as well as numerous ponds and trails that act as an attraction to the tourists.

Where is the nicest cheapest place to live in the US? ›

Lake Side Park in Fort Wayne, Indiana, named the most affordable city to live in America. In its report, Niche also ranked the cheapest places to live in the U.S. At the top of the list was Fort Wayne, Indiana, which also took the top spot in three previous years: 2021, 2019 and 2018.

Where is the most peaceful place to live in us? ›

Most Peaceful States in the U.S.
  1. Vermont. Population: 623,989. Capital city: Montpelier.
  2. Maine. Population: 1.34. ...
  3. New Hampshire. Population: 1.36 million. ...
  4. Minnesota. Population: 5.64 million. ...
  5. Utah. Population: 3.21 million. ...
  6. Connecticut. Population: 3.57 million. ...
  7. Massachusetts. Population: 6.89. ...
  8. Rhode Island. Population: 1.06 million. ...
Dec 6, 2021

What is the most free country? ›

4New Zealand

Which country has the best future? ›

15 Best Countries to Live in the Future
  • United Kingdom. GDP per capita, Purchasing Power Parity in 2021: $49,675.3. ...
  • France. GDP per capita, Purchasing Power Parity in 2021: $50,728.7. ...
  • Canada. GDP per capita, Purchasing Power Parity in 2021: $52,085.0. ...
  • Finland. ...
  • Australia. ...
  • Germany. ...
  • Austria. ...
  • Belgium.
Oct 16, 2022

What country has the best healthcare? ›

The Top 10 Healthcare Systems in the World 2022
  • South Korea. South Korea tops the list of best healthcare systems in the world. ...
  • Taiwan. Taiwan is second in the best healthcare systems in the world. ...
  • Denmark. ...
  • Austria. ...
  • Japan. ...
  • Australia. ...
  • France. ...
  • Spain.
Jul 21, 2022

What is America's happiest city? ›


What is the happiest US state? ›

Massachusetts: “The Happiest State in the U.S.”

Our research studies reveal that the state of Massachusetts topped the rankings for 3 of our categories: Well-being, Mental Health, and Family, and featured in the top 11 states for three more: Health Care, Financial Security, and Work.

What is the healthiest and happiest city in the US? ›

Naples, Florida has been making it into the "happiest and healthiest city" rankings for many years in a row. Thousands of people choose this city to become their home for hundreds of reasons.

What is the kindest city in America? ›

1. Savannah, Georgia. Earning the top spot among the friendliest cities in the U.S., Savannah made quite an impression on travelers this past year. It's hard to say what exactly makes the locals here so happy.

What U.S. cities pay you to live there? ›

Here's a look at 11 cities that pay you to move there in 2022.
  • Paducah, Kentucky. Median Rent*: $895. ...
  • Cities in the Shoals, Alabama Region. Median Rent in Muscle Shoals: $1,395. ...
  • Greater Rochester, New York. ...
  • West Lafayette, Indiana. ...
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma. ...
  • Cities in Southwest Michigan. ...
  • Communities in West Virginia. ...
  • Natchez, Mississippi.
Jan 2, 2023

What U.S. city has the lowest cost of living? ›

If you're looking for an affordable place to call home, the following five cities are the cheapest in the nation, according to doxo.
  1. Maxton, North Carolina. Average bill costs: $1,025 per month (48.8% below national average) ...
  2. Mercedes, Texas. ...
  3. San Benito, Texas. ...
  4. Booneville, Mississippi. ...
  5. Marion, Virginia.
Oct 7, 2022

Is it OK to live a quiet life? ›

Living a quiet lifestyle means surrounding yourself with quality, not quantity. Valuable relationships add to your life and help you to feel fulfilled. If you find yourself associating with many acquaintances and not true friends, a quiet lifestyle can help you to focus on those relationships that matter.

What age has the lowest rate of life satisfaction? ›

Life satisfaction in the U.S. follows a U-shape during working age, from 18 through retirement, with a mid-life low in the mid-40s, as in most countries (Figure 1).

Can you be happy with no social life? ›

It is nice to have strong social relationships but it is not necessary for our survival or even our happiness. Simply put, it is not necessary for humans to have friends. Marson explains that many people struggle with making and keeping friends and often think very negatively of themselves because of that.

How much money do you need to live a nice life? ›

Globally, the study found that the ideal income point for an individual is $95,000 for life satisfaction and between $60,000 to $75,000 for emotional well-being.

What are the benefits of slow living? ›

Slowing down helps you live a healthier life, improve your relationships, reduce stress and anxiety, save time, save money, develop deeper experiences, and make better decisions.

How can I live a simple life without money? ›

Here, Jo explains and shares her advice for others wanting to live a little more frugally.
  1. Offer service instead of cash. ...
  2. Share and swap. ...
  3. Don't waste anything. ...
  4. Grow your own food. ...
  5. Live like your grandparents. ...
  6. It's OK to ask for help.
Apr 28, 2020

Is being single for life healthy? ›

Research suggests that unmarried people tend to be healthier than their married counterparts. People who were single and had never married exercised more frequently every week than married folks in a survey of over 13,000 people.

What does slow living look like? ›

It means doing everything at the right speed. Instead of striving to do things faster, the slow movement focuses on doing things better. Often, that means slowing down, doing less, and prioritising spending the right amount of time on the things that matter most to you.

Why is single life so hard? ›

Since no one can foretell the future, a single person cannot know for sure whether they will find someone who meets their expectations and subsequently marry them. It is this lack of clarity about the yet-to-be spouse that makes the loss ambiguous, and in turn difficult to manage or come to terms with.

Where do I start trying to get my life together? ›

15 Actionable Steps To Get Your Life Together
  1. Talk about your feelings to someone. ...
  2. Remove toxic people from your life. ...
  3. Stop procrastinating. ...
  4. Get organized. ...
  5. Value the time you have. ...
  6. Set goals in life. ...
  7. Learn to take responsibility. ...
  8. Be honest with yourself.

How do you disappear and start a new life? ›

How To Disappear Completely, Never Be Found (& It's 100% Legal)
  1. Step #1. Pick a Day & Plan Ahead. ...
  2. Step #2. End All Contracts. ...
  3. Step #3. Get a PAYG Burner Phone. ...
  4. Step #4. Travel Light. ...
  5. Step #5. Use Cash Not Credit Cards. ...
  6. Step #6. Quit Social Media. ...
  7. Step #6. Change Your Name By Law. ...
  8. Step #7. Cut All Ties To Friends & Family.

Where do I start over again? ›

How do I start over in life?
  • Start with reflection.
  • Examine your value system.
  • Revisit (and rewrite) your goals.
  • Work up the courage to change.
  • Make your next move.
  • Get a coach.
  • Keep checking in on yourself.
Apr 14, 2022

What is the best city to start over in? ›

And while many people have big city dreams, some locations are better than others for “starting over.”
The best cities in the U.S. to start over.
RankCityStarting over score
1St. Louis, MO71.4
2Buffalo, NY68.9
3Hartford, CT68.6
4Providence, RI67.0
6 more rows
Dec 29, 2022

At what age should you have your life together? ›

So what's the age when you should have your life together? According to a new survey, that age is 39. Well that's some great news!

Where do I meet the love of my life? ›

If you're looking for love, you might want to consider meeting people in these six places:
  • A club (but not a night club) ...
  • A volunteering project. ...
  • Your place of worship. ...
  • A social event organized by a friend. ...
  • Work. ...
  • Somewhere unexpected. ...
  • Karen Banes, FamilyShare.
Oct 20, 2016

How do I find a purpose to live? ›

How to find purpose in life: 12 tips
  1. Develop a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset is linked to having a sense of purpose. ...
  2. Create a personal vision statement. ...
  3. Give back. ...
  4. Practice gratitude. ...
  5. Turn your pain into purpose. ...
  6. Explore your passions. ...
  7. Be part of a community. ...
  8. Spend time with people who inspire you.
Oct 19, 2021


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