4. Bath, North Carolina

It's just a faint blip on the North Carolina map — a mere 1.1 square miles of tree-shaded coastal green — but this tiny town has more history in its acreage than almost anywhere else in the state. Bath is North Carolina's oldest incorporated town, laid out in 1705, with colonial architecture lining oyster-shell paths and sailboats dotting picturesque Bath Creek. See the state's oldest church (circa 1734) and imagine Blackbeard sailing in from Pamlico Sound in 1718 and dazzling the good citizens of Bath with his swashbuckling ways. — Alexis Flippin

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5. Solomons, Maryland

At the tip of one of Chesapeake Bay's innumerable peninsulas sits the small town of Solomons, connected to yet another peninsula by the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge. It's only 50 miles from Washington, D.C., but life in this 1,500-person community moves to the pace of Chesapeake Bay's locals, who sail and fish year-round. Rent a boat, dip a line in the water at sunrise or sunset, or just hang at the Tiki Bar while you work up an appetite for some of the bay's famous blue crabs. — Rob Tallia

6. Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Great Lakes Michigan and Huron edge this diminutive island, population 500 or so. Most of its 3.8 square miles is state parkland, which partially explains the no-cars-allowed rule. After the ferry drops you off, transportation is on foot, by bike or in horse-and-buggy livery — just like when the Victorians vacationed here, leaving behind an assemblage of structures, from Queen Anne mansions to Stick-Style cottages. Among them is the Grand Hotel, whose rocker-lined porch stretches into forever. Tour an old fort, hike wooded trails or wander downtown to buy some fudge, a local specialty. — Laura M. Kidder

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