Best small towns in America, according to Smithsonian Magazine

Smithsonian Magazine released its picks for the 20 best small towns in America in the May issue, with Great Barrington, Mass. and Taos, N.M., topping the list.

Great Barrington, long a favorite summer and fall getaway destination for vacationers, has a population of just 6,800 but boasts the sophistication of a larger city, with great food, arts, and plenty of hipsters. It's also surrounded by natural beauty, with lakes, woods and the nearby Berkshire Mountains.

The magazine says the charm of Taos centers around tourists and other outdoor enthusiasts packing the plaza of the old adobe town, along with its many galleries and museums steeped in a deep Hispanic and Native American past. The small mountain hamlet is located in northern New Mexico.

Editors enlisted geographic information systems company Esri to search its data base to help in the selection. To be considered, towns must have fewer than 25,000 people and are ranked based on culture.

Also on the list are Red Bank, N.J.; Mill Valley, Calif.; Gig Harbor, Wash.; Durango, Colo.; Butler, Pa.; Marfa, Texas; Naples, Fla.; Staunton, Va.; Brattleboro, Vt.; Princeton, N.J.; Brunswick, Maine; Siloam Springs, Ark.; Menomonie, Wis.; Key West, Fla.; Laguna Beach, Calif.; Ashland, Ore.; Beckley City, W.Va., and Oxford, Miss.

For the full list visit Smithsonian Magazine