Meet the 10 Nicest Places in America

These are the 10 Nicest Places in America, from tiny Hayesville, North Carolina (pop. 371) to the city of Providence, Rhode Island, you can find kindness all over the U.S.

Tatiana Ayazo/rd.comWith America more divided than ever, where can you turn to meet nice people who treat each other with the respect and civility that we all deserve? As Reader’s Digest recently found out in its nationwide search for the Nicest Place in America, lots of places!

In a recent poll, 75 percent of Americans called incivility a “national crisis.” Well, we found nearly 300 places where that’s just not the case–and here are the top 10!

1. Gallatin, Tennessee

church-choirPhotograph by Glenn GlasserGallatin is our winner for Nicest Places in America 2017. Aside from winning our online popular vote, Gallatin separated itself from the pack among our judges, who felt that the town’s story of racial reconciliation and grace through hardship really showed what “nice” is made of. It’s easy to be “nice” when things are going well. It’s much harder when folks face challenges. (Read more about Gallatin and why it’s the Nicest Place in America in 2017.) 

2. Pflugerville High School near Austin, Texas

kidsCourtesy Sara HerreraPflugerville High is a special place. High schools aren’t exactly known for their random acts of kindness, but Pflugerville is different. In an era when kids get trolled for being different, the student body at Pflugerville High goes out of its way to be accepting to all. (Read more about the unique ways that Pflugerville students make all welcome.) 

3. Rock Hall, Maryland

seniorsPhotograph by Erin Patrice O'brienRock Hall is the kind of place you visit and think, “I should move her.” On Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, this town treats strangers like neighbors and neighbors like family. “Nice” is even part of this 310-year-old town’s motto: “Nice People Live Here.” (Read more about why Rock Hall is one of the Nicest Places in America.) 

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4. The Doak’s House in Waterford, Ohio

elderlyCourtesy Janelle Patterson/Marietta TimesRoger and Shirley Doak are the kinds of neighbors we wish we all had, and for one weekend a year, they show us all how we should behave every single day. Encapsulating the best of small-town America, the Doaks turn everyone into family– especially on Apple Butter Weekend. (Read more about this special tradition.) 

5. Oriole Park in Baltimore, Maryland

baseballScott Taetsch/CSM/Shutterstock

Professional baseball isn’t just our national pastime, it can also be a force for good in the world. By holding its powerful spotlight at the right angle, Oriole Park has gone beyond its role as America’s best ballpark to help big-hearted Baltimore honor its most important heroes. (Read more about how OPACY isn’t merely America’s best ballpark.) 

6. KidsCycle: NS in Shorewood, Wisconsin

familyPhotograph by Jim WielandSometimes something small can turn into something big. In Shorewood, Wisconsin, a tiny online group built for families to swap gently used goods has turned into a social movement. This town outside of Milwaukee created a Facebook page to ensure that all of its citizens are looked after. (Read more about what makes KidsCycle special.) 

7. Providence, Rhode Island 

Olivia-StephensonAP Photo/Charles Krupa

Here’s all you need to know: The Good Night Lights project will absolutely melt your heart when you read about it. It melted ours.  (Read more about Good Night Lights and why Providence is one of the Nicest Places in America.) 

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8. Franklin, Nebraska

cowboy-cowgirlCourtesy Jill ChristensenWhen the darkness of cancer closes in around you and your family, where can you turn for help? For the residents of Franklin, a tiny town of 1,000 in Nebraska, to each other. Nobody circles the wagons like the folks in Franklin, who band together to face challenges big and small, leaving no one behind. (Read more about Franklin and its resilient community.) 

9. Hayesville, North Carolina

firefightersCourtesy Hinton CenterWhat would you if your town was surrounded by wildfires? Call in the Hotshots, of course! This federal firefighting crew was parachuted into the tiny hamlet of Hayesville when it was surrounded by 10,000 acres of fires. Through weeks of some of the toughest firefighting these heroes had ever experienced the townspeople worked night and day to make them feel welcome and cared for. It’s a potent reminder of the power of gratitude. (Read more of the inspiring story of the Hayesville Hotshots.) 

10. South Whidbey, Washington 

Macey-BishopPhotograph by Justin Burnett

On an island, even if you don’t agree with your neighbors about everything, you have to live with them. That’s why on South Whidbey the residents have learned to stay civil and respectful even when they have disagreements. It’s something all of America could learn from. After all, on an island, like in America, you have more in common than the things that divide you. (Read more about civil discourse on South Whidbey.) 

 

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