The 10 Best Small Towns In North Carolina For 2021


We used science and data to determine which small towns in North Carolina are the best of the best.

This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. This is our seventh time ranking the best small places to live in North Carolina.

You've seen these lists before: Best places to live in North Carolina, Most Beautiful Downtowns, etc., etc. But all of them focus on major cities and towns in the Tar Heel State and no one pays attention to the little guy.

Well, that's all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in North Carolina based on numbers--not opinions or hearsay.

We'll dive right into our methodology in the next section; but first, we thought you might just want to know which places in North Carolina ranked the based--you know, based on science.

Before we get to the top 15, here's a look at the 10 Best Small Towns To Live in North Carolina for 2021.

What's the best small town in North Carolina? Trent Woods is the best small town in North Carolina based on the most recent Census data. If you live in one of these small towns like Trent Woods, chances are, you're not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you--keep reading and we'll get to just why these small towns made our list.

For more reading on the Tar Heel State check out:

The 15 Best Small Towns In North Carolina For 2021

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 4,050
Median Income: $90,119 (10th Best)
Median Home Value: $237,800 (50th Best)
More on Trent Woods: Data | Homes For Sale

Wrightsville Beach, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 2,565
Median Income: $109,013 (3rd Best)
Median Home Value: $798,700 (2nd Best)
More on Wrightsville Beach: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 1,473
Median Income: $180,781 (1st Best)
Median Home Value: $910,400 (1st Best)
More on Biltmore Forest: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 4,759
Median Income: $83,012 (16th Best)
Median Home Value: $260,300 (38th Best)
More on Royal Pines: Data | Homes For Sale

Weaverville, NC

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 3,940
Median Income: $66,179 (54th Best)
Median Home Value: $280,800 (26th Best)
More on Weaverville: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 2,899
Median Income: $96,553 (6th Best)
Median Home Value: $465,200 (5th Best)
More on Southern Shores: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,127
Median Income: $77,000 (29th Best)
Median Home Value: $314,700 (19th Best)
More on Alamance: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 4,117
Median Income: $132,870 (2nd Best)
Median Home Value: $466,900 (4th Best)
More on Westport: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,666
Median Income: $83,049 (15th Best)
Median Home Value: $264,300 (33rd Best)
More on Bermuda Run: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,903
Median Income: $82,969 (17th Best)
Median Home Value: $290,000 (23rd Best)
More on Seven Lakes: Data | Homes For Sale

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,867
Median Income: $71,307 (42nd Best)
Median Home Value: $328,100 (15th Best)
More on Fearrington Village: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,680
Median Income: $73,598 (35th Best)
Median Home Value: $270,800 (30th Best)
More on Laurel Park: Data | Homes For Sale

Kure Beach, NC

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,124
Median Income: $71,319 (41st Best)
Median Home Value: $453,500 (7th Best)
More on Kure Beach: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,163
Median Income: $80,231 (22nd Best)
Median Home Value: $455,600 (6th Best)
More on Blowing Rock: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,509
Median Income: $81,875 (19th Best)
Median Home Value: $210,100 (63rd Best)
More on Northlakes: Data | Homes For Sale

How We Determined The Coolest Towns In North Carolina

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent data from the Census's 2015-2019 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Higher is better)
  • Highly Educated Adults (Higher is better)
  • Insurance Rates (Higher is better)
  • Commute Times (Lower is better)

We looked at places with populations lower than 5,000 people and greater than 1,000, of which, there were a lot - 286 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 286, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in North Carolina. Top of that list -- Trent Woods. You can download the data here.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 15 best small towns in North Carolina.

Science Can Tackle Any Issue, Even Small Ones

We said it once and we'll say it again -- this list: it's just science. We did the research, we crunched the numbers, and it turns out, these 15 small towns in North Carolina are the best, in which to live.

And who can argue with that?

If you're curious, here are the worst small towns in North Carolina:

  1. South Henderson
  2. Franklinville
  3. Robbins

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In North Carolina

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Value
1 Trent Woods, NC 4,050 $90,119.0 $237,800.0
2 Wrightsville Beach, NC 2,565 $109,013.0 $798,700.0
3 Biltmore Forest, NC 1,473 $180,781.0 $910,400.0
4 Royal Pines, NC 4,759 $83,012.0 $260,300.0
5 Weaverville, NC 3,940 $66,179.0 $280,800.0
6 Southern Shores, NC 2,899 $96,553.0 $465,200.0
7 Alamance, NC 1,127 $77,000.0 $314,700.0
8 Westport, NC 4,117 $132,870.0 $466,900.0
9 Bermuda Run, NC 2,666 $83,049.0 $264,300.0
10 Seven Lakes, NC 4,903 $82,969.0 $290,000.0
11 Fearrington Village, NC 2,867 $71,307.0 $328,100.0
12 Laurel Park, NC 2,680 $73,598.0 $270,800.0
13 Kure Beach, NC 2,124 $71,319.0 $453,500.0
14 Blowing Rock, NC 1,163 $80,231.0 $455,600.0
15 Northlakes, NC 1,509 $81,875.0 $210,100.0
16 Avery Creek, NC 2,675 $79,729.0 $242,300.0
17 Forest Oaks, NC 4,108 $94,974.0 $257,900.0
18 River Bend, NC 3,051 $65,083.0 $169,200.0
19 Flat Rock, NC 3,328 $90,887.0 $424,600.0
20 Cramerton, NC 4,359 $84,598.0 $206,300.0
21 Valley Hill, NC 1,927 $66,659.0 $261,700.0
22 Kitty Hawk, NC 3,490 $70,726.0 $348,900.0
23 Pine Knoll Shores, NC 1,343 $75,313.0 $387,600.0
24 Whispering Pines, NC 3,288 $79,943.0 $318,900.0
25 Brices Creek, NC 4,342 $102,171.0 $265,300.0
26 Red Oak, NC 3,445 $71,780.0 $197,900.0
27 Emerald Isle, NC 3,703 $78,194.0 $378,500.0
28 Creedmoor, NC 4,501 $78,330.0 $169,400.0
29 Holden Beach, NC 1,137 $96,875.0 $417,300.0
30 Cape Carteret, NC 2,403 $81,923.0 $261,600.0
31 Boiling Springs, NC 4,565 $71,532.0 $183,600.0
32 Bayshore, NC 4,496 $86,197.0 $287,100.0
33 Nags Head, NC 2,923 $65,968.0 $327,900.0
34 Jame, NC 4,148 $60,814.0 $219,600.0
35 Swepsonville, NC 1,939 $64,559.0 $195,000.0
36 Cedar Point, NC 1,874 $78,646.0 $322,600.0
37 Northchase, NC 3,614 $52,717.0 $190,400.0
38 Lake Park, NC 3,798 $76,267.0 $197,400.0
39 Lowesville, NC 3,208 $87,882.0 $262,300.0
40 Mountain Home, NC 4,173 $51,384.0 $165,000.0
41 Atlantic Beach, NC 1,747 $48,289.0 $383,600.0
42 Swansboro, NC 3,217 $48,922.0 $202,000.0
43 Moyock, NC 4,210 $92,854.0 $278,000.0
44 Bent Creek, NC 1,666 $83,324.0 $245,900.0
45 Clyde, NC 1,160 $61,181.0 $161,300.0
46 Fairfield Harbour, NC 2,770 $66,716.0 $207,700.0
47 Foxfire, NC 1,434 $63,810.0 $245,400.0
48 Sea Breeze, NC 1,785 $71,500.0 $297,900.0
49 White Lake, NC 1,000 $53,958.0 $144,000.0
50 Wingate, NC 4,258 $50,583.0 $146,700.0
51 Pleasant Garden, NC 4,837 $65,614.0 $171,700.0
52 Highlands, NC 1,164 $54,226.0 $538,600.0
53 Horse Shoe, NC 2,368 $73,843.0 $258,000.0
54 Tryon, NC 1,482 $50,133.0 $198,300.0
55 Southport, NC 3,739 $52,917.0 $252,600.0
56 Pittsboro, NC 4,195 $44,399.0 $255,100.0
57 Rockwell, NC 2,119 $57,471.0 $124,600.0
58 Wanchese, NC 1,732 $55,799.0 $218,500.0
59 Shallotte, NC 4,090 $58,480.0 $218,900.0
60 Granite Falls, NC 4,628 $62,522.0 $159,900.0
61 Stanfield, NC 1,264 $77,188.0 $202,700.0
62 Wallburg, NC 3,053 $63,555.0 $170,500.0
63 Stanley, NC 3,679 $55,733.0 $141,100.0
64 Holly Ridge, NC 2,421 $73,250.0 $211,600.0
65 Oakboro, NC 2,004 $60,833.0 $161,300.0
66 Pinebluff, NC 1,664 $56,563.0 $160,900.0
67 Drexel, NC 1,862 $42,703.0 $115,000.0
68 Carolina Shores, NC 4,163 $63,048.0 $193,100.0
69 Neuse Forest, NC 1,536 $75,114.0 $218,900.0
70 Belville, NC 2,504 $57,167.0 $177,600.0
71 Stem, NC 1,177 $80,375.0 $160,000.0
72 Lake Lure, NC 1,498 $63,802.0 $338,600.0
73 Fairview, NC 2,878 $59,796.0 $283,300.0
74 West Canton, NC 1,256 $48,289.0 $139,100.0
75 Lake Junaluska, NC 3,307 $65,899.0 $237,600.0
76 Balfour, NC 1,216 $32,411.0 $162,800.0
77 Hoopers Creek, NC 1,088 $54,284.0 $199,900.0
78 Banner Elk, NC 1,332 $55,781.0 $311,600.0
79 Granite Quarry, NC 2,989 $50,396.0 $167,400.0
80 Wilkesboro, NC 3,495 $38,136.0 $176,900.0
81 Advance, NC 1,158 $81,250.0 $245,000.0
82 Claremont, NC 1,643 $56,473.0 $155,500.0
83 Surf City, NC 3,449 $75,556.0 $275,700.0
84 Eastover, NC 3,710 $53,526.0 $183,900.0
85 Sunset Beach, NC 3,901 $57,265.0 $267,900.0
86 Youngsville, NC 2,003 $50,956.0 $242,600.0
87 Bethlehem, NC 4,227 $69,044.0 $215,700.0
88 Valdese, NC 4,410 $58,350.0 $118,700.0
89 Moravian Falls, NC 1,802 $46,782.0 $166,400.0
90 Mount Pleasant, NC 1,757 $69,519.0 $193,900.0
91 Hemby Bridge, NC 1,978 $73,125.0 $144,200.0
92 Landis, NC 3,099 $69,083.0 $140,800.0
93 Randleman, NC 4,101 $48,871.0 $125,200.0
94 Boonville, NC 1,077 $34,865.0 $137,000.0
95 Tobaccoville, NC 2,634 $67,500.0 $152,700.0
96 Fairview, NC 3,768 $63,365.0 $253,400.0
97 Midland, NC 3,622 $68,125.0 $210,500.0
98 Lake Royale, NC 3,485 $57,750.0 $209,800.0
99 Beaufort, NC 4,343 $40,926.0 $229,900.0
100 Newport, NC 4,606 $58,438.0 $146,000.0

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About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.