Best Small Towns In North Carolina For 2020


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 sixth 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 2020.

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 2020

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 4,081
Median Income: $86,593 (10th Best)
Median Home Value: $227,200 (50th Best)
More on Trent Woods: Data | Homes For Sale

Wrightsville Beach, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 2,536
Median Income: $83,417 (12th Best)
Median Home Value: $778,700 (2nd Best)
More on Wrightsville Beach: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 4,921
Median Income: $68,990 (37th Best)
Median Home Value: $244,000 (44th Best)
More on Royal Pines: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 1,536
Median Income: $161,042 (1st Best)
Median Home Value: $866,900 (1st Best)
More on Biltmore Forest: Data | Homes For Sale

Weaverville, NC

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 3,887
Median Income: $63,135 (53rd Best)
Median Home Value: $265,700 (32nd Best)
More on Weaverville: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,307
Median Income: $77,145 (19th Best)
Median Home Value: $215,000 (56th Best)
More on Avery Creek: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,130
Median Income: $125,694 (2nd Best)
Median Home Value: $373,900 (10th Best)
More on Walnut Creek: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 1,202
Median Income: $70,500 (36th Best)
Median Home Value: $461,700 (6th Best)
More on Blowing Rock: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,850
Median Income: $98,977 (4th Best)
Median Home Value: $469,100 (4th Best)
More on Southern Shores: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,298
Median Income: $72,192 (29th Best)
Median Home Value: $424,800 (7th Best)
More on Flat Rock: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 4,119
Median Income: $123,250 (3rd Best)
Median Home Value: $466,800 (5th Best)
More on Westport: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,069
Median Income: $86,875 (9th Best)
Median Home Value: $296,800 (21st Best)
More on Alamance: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,883
Median Income: $65,972 (42nd Best)
Median Home Value: $268,700 (31st Best)
More on Laurel Park: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,586
Median Income: $84,188 (11th Best)
Median Home Value: $192,600 (67th Best)
More on Northlakes: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,568
Median Income: $79,875 (15th Best)
Median Home Value: $254,400 (38th Best)
More on Bermuda Run: 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 2014-2018 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 – 284 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 284, 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. Garland
  2. Enfield
  3. Magnolia

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 4,081 $86,593.0 $227,200.0
2 Wrightsville Beach, NC 2,536 $83,417.0 $778,700.0
3 Royal Pines, NC 4,921 $68,990.0 $244,000.0
4 Biltmore Forest, NC 1,536 $161,042.0 $866,900.0
5 Weaverville, NC 3,887 $63,135.0 $265,700.0
6 Avery Creek, NC 2,307 $77,145.0 $215,000.0
7 Walnut Creek, NC 1,130 $125,694.0 $373,900.0
8 Blowing Rock, NC 1,202 $70,500.0 $461,700.0
9 Southern Shores, NC 2,850 $98,977.0 $469,100.0
10 Flat Rock, NC 3,298 $72,192.0 $424,800.0
11 Westport, NC 4,119 $123,250.0 $466,800.0
12 Alamance, NC 1,069 $86,875.0 $296,800.0
13 Laurel Park, NC 2,883 $65,972.0 $268,700.0
14 Northlakes, NC 1,586 $84,188.0 $192,600.0
15 Bermuda Run, NC 2,568 $79,875.0 $254,400.0
16 Fearrington Village, NC 2,780 $57,254.0 $319,000.0
17 River Bend, NC 3,065 $67,461.0 $175,300.0
18 Whispering Pines, NC 3,221 $76,780.0 $311,300.0
19 Seven Lakes, NC 4,404 $78,246.0 $282,600.0
20 Pine Knoll Shores, NC 1,368 $73,958.0 $372,300.0
21 Forest Oaks, NC 3,683 $91,400.0 $257,800.0
22 Creedmoor, NC 4,429 $77,854.0 $163,700.0
23 Holden Beach, NC 1,012 $93,125.0 $400,600.0
24 Jame, NC 4,007 $61,107.0 $222,200.0
25 Bayshore, NC 4,696 $77,121.0 $293,100.0
26 Cedar Point, NC 1,899 $80,147.0 $320,400.0
27 Kure Beach, NC 2,271 $72,009.0 $415,300.0
28 Clyde, NC 1,129 $58,553.0 $161,000.0
29 Nags Head, NC 2,894 $58,979.0 $329,700.0
30 Cape Carteret, NC 2,376 $76,810.0 $261,300.0
31 Red Oak, NC 3,411 $71,250.0 $198,500.0
32 Kitty Hawk, NC 3,462 $64,477.0 $328,700.0
33 Claremont, NC 1,609 $61,250.0 $152,800.0
34 White Lake, NC 1,072 $54,688.0 $149,600.0
35 Mountain Home, NC 3,851 $43,571.0 $172,300.0
36 Cramerton, NC 4,312 $74,980.0 $209,200.0
37 Brices Creek, NC 4,078 $97,146.0 $242,600.0
38 Swepsonville, NC 1,844 $65,060.0 $190,900.0
39 Foxfire, NC 1,189 $68,000.0 $233,800.0
40 Boiling Springs, NC 4,598 $57,857.0 $168,900.0
41 Lake Park, NC 3,753 $74,716.0 $188,700.0
42 Southport, NC 3,585 $53,994.0 $259,700.0
43 Moyock, NC 3,717 $93,708.0 $270,100.0
44 Lowesville, NC 3,034 $75,833.0 $251,900.0
45 Northchase, NC 3,678 $49,335.0 $174,300.0
46 Valley Hill, NC 2,148 $46,220.0 $281,100.0
47 Emerald Isle, NC 3,699 $70,761.0 $363,900.0
48 Belville, NC 2,328 $57,878.0 $175,400.0
49 Atlantic Beach, NC 1,736 $52,905.0 $357,800.0
50 Rockwell, NC 1,811 $54,333.0 $123,700.0
51 Whitsett, NC 1,018 $64,583.0 $198,100.0
52 Cove Creek, NC 1,058 $47,806.0 $177,600.0
53 Highlands, NC 1,186 $55,769.0 $522,500.0
54 Mountain View, NC 3,715 $70,707.0 $113,600.0
55 Neuse Forest, NC 1,377 $67,069.0 $222,500.0
56 Swansboro, NC 3,145 $47,484.0 $198,900.0
57 Pittsboro, NC 4,098 $45,469.0 $241,000.0
58 Fairfield Harbour, NC 2,887 $63,887.0 $203,900.0
59 Bent Creek, NC 1,474 $80,313.0 $231,300.0
60 Balfour, NC 1,406 $37,955.0 $162,300.0
61 Tryon, NC 1,578 $44,231.0 $194,200.0
62 Stanley, NC 3,643 $50,179.0 $136,300.0
63 Mars Hill, NC 2,746 $47,125.0 $190,400.0
64 Sunset Beach, NC 3,826 $56,086.0 $273,200.0
65 Pleasant Garden, NC 4,814 $61,445.0 $159,000.0
66 Granite Falls, NC 4,638 $60,298.0 $155,400.0
67 Beaufort, NC 4,314 $42,549.0 $217,500.0
68 Sea Breeze, NC 1,861 $60,339.0 $278,900.0
69 Wilkesboro, NC 3,505 $33,450.0 $170,800.0
70 Stem, NC 1,048 $77,679.0 $158,900.0
71 Oakboro, NC 1,872 $57,868.0 $152,400.0
72 Fairview, NC 2,968 $71,678.0 $247,300.0
73 Dortches, NC 1,085 $61,458.0 $183,300.0
74 Pumpkin Center, NC 1,708 $59,016.0 $141,100.0
75 Horse Shoe, NC 2,362 $67,917.0 $246,300.0
76 Wingate, NC 4,078 $41,875.0 $141,600.0
77 Rockfish, NC 3,619 $63,188.0 $138,800.0
78 Carolina Shores, NC 3,944 $54,844.0 $183,800.0
79 Bethlehem, NC 4,052 $65,792.0 $199,200.0
80 Wanchese, NC 1,832 $49,954.0 $223,900.0
81 Edneyville, NC 2,478 $54,762.0 $213,400.0
82 Tobaccoville, NC 2,617 $62,404.0 $147,800.0
83 Pinebluff, NC 1,471 $51,220.0 $158,300.0
84 Randleman, NC 4,111 $42,909.0 $124,500.0
85 Surf City, NC 3,264 $70,549.0 $271,700.0
86 Midland, NC 3,499 $64,325.0 $192,400.0
87 Manteo, NC 1,852 $48,375.0 $283,500.0
88 Wallburg, NC 3,029 $61,815.0 $161,400.0
89 Newport, NC 4,624 $52,083.0 $145,100.0
90 Lake Waccamaw, NC 1,622 $50,625.0 $255,400.0
91 Mineral Springs, NC 2,956 $74,318.0 $242,700.0
92 Drexel, NC 1,789 $37,500.0 $111,900.0
93 Stanfield, NC 1,498 $73,750.0 $186,000.0
94 West Canton, NC 1,257 $37,500.0 $122,900.0
95 Lake Lure, NC 1,557 $62,228.0 $344,200.0
96 Boonville, NC 1,174 $32,075.0 $124,300.0
97 Moravian Falls, NC 1,997 $44,761.0 $170,100.0
98 Landis, NC 3,092 $53,223.0 $138,700.0
99 Stedman, NC 1,325 $61,250.0 $158,700.0
100 Granite Quarry, NC 2,955 $52,708.0 $163,300.0

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.