The United States is a huge mosaic of natural beauty and contrasts. With landscapes that range from the bluest oceans to vast tan-colored deserts and a smorgasbord of flowers and plants colored with all of the imaginable tones and hues, you could say the whole country is a vibrant color palette.
Having that in mind, it is not surprising to find lively colored towns and cities scattered around, almost as if their residents had taken inspiration from their surroundings or other places they have come across around the country.
Read on for a shortlist of some of the most colorful towns you can visit in the United States. All of them are a treat for creative eyes and for camera lenses ready to capture some serious eye candy!
1. Bisbee, Arizona
Perched on the Mule Mountains in southeastern Arizona, Bisbee is a former mining community that bloomed during the boom and then was slowly abandoned by its residents who moved away in search of wealth.
Unlike other mining towns that were completely deserted, though, the residents who decided to stay turned their energies toward tourism, setting up tours in the underground tunnels and restoring the hotels and saloons.
Then came the hippies during the 60s, closely followed by artists and creative types. They refurbished the Bisbee Royale Theater, created murals, and opened galleries, creating a laid-back and colorful artsy destination.
2. Key West, Florida
Founded by Bahamian immigrants in the 19th century, Key West is the last of the Florida Keys and the southernmost town in the continental United States.
Harboring gorgeous white sand beaches and the third-largest barrier coral reef in the world, Key West is a dream destination for beach revelers, adventurers, and snorkelers alike.
The colorful houses, restaurants, and shops along the coastline seem to be a reflection of the tones found in the coral reef beyond the shoreline. Small seafood eateries and swanky restaurants all showcase pinks, blues, greens, and other lively tones that make Key West look like a rainbow!
Even the Southernmost House, the Victorian mansion on Duval Street used by US Presidents as a vacation retreat, has a green and salmon facade.
3. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Dubbed “The Magic City” because of its winding streets and walkways, this town in the heart of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas has recently acquired the nickname “Stairstep Town” too.
This is due to the two staircases that were painted to enhance its mountain town charm and add a dose of color to its landscapes. One resembles a waterfall rushing down, while the other is a bright rainbow.
The colorful storefronts blend well with the stair murals, showcasing bright mood-lifting greens, reds, blues, and pinks.
4. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Lying on the shores of the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a unique gem that Californians have cherished for decades.
With a beautiful pristine beach, cute colorful chalets, clean streets splashed with lovely flowers in all shades of the rainbow, deluxe picturesque shops, and a historic Mission, it is a favorite getaway for movie stars and producers who have even shot some scenes for their movies here.
Home to a notable culinary scene, luxury resorts, and a remarkable art culture, Carmel has nonetheless managed to preserve its laid-back hip vibe.
5. Taos, New Mexico
One of the leading arts communities, Taos is full of cultural heritage sites that attract artists and creatives from all over the world.
Taos is considered ageless in every aspect, especially when you realize it has been continuously inhabited for more than 1000 years. In Taos, you’ll get to enjoy a perfect mix of the modern and the antique, the desert calm and vibrant colors, and artsy vibes like nowhere else.
While exploring, you’ll get to walk amid sandy-hued adobe buildings decorated with pastel-colored motifs. Aside from simply enjoying the eye candy that is the town itself, the main attractions here are the Hardwood Museum of Art, San Francisco de Asis Church, and the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
6. Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts
As the liveliest town on Martha’s Vineyard Island in Massachusetts, Oaks Bluffs is famous for its picturesque “gingerbread houses” built back in the 1800s. There are 300 of these quaint cottages painted in bright colors and decorated with whimsical gingerbread finishing touche!
The cottages are not the only brightly decorated features in Oak Bluffs, though. This popular family vacation area is also host to the famous Flying Horses Carrousel, which is the longest-functioning carousel in the United States since 1876!
Other must-see attractions in town for you are Inkwell and State Beach and the fishing pier on the North Bluff seawall.
7. Matlacha Island, Florida
Matlacha Island on the Florida Gulf Coast is not only one of the most colorful destinations in the country, but it also has a heart-warming story of resilience and determination.
This fantastic destination is not on many people’s radar, but it is definitely worth a visit. The coastal town’s vibrant colors and energy seem to hug visitors as soon as they approach, with locals excited for you to enjoy their picturesque village, beautiful beaches, and scrumptious seafood.
The story behind all the splash of color in Matlacha Island goes back to the 1990s when commercial fishing across the US fell into a terrible slump. Matlacha’s residents decided to do something about it and literally took to the streets with buckets of paint to turn their small fishing village into an attractive tourist destination.
The result was a bunch of colorful, picturesque fishermen shacks painted in bright colors and decorated with kitsch ornaments like polka-dotted dolphins, flowered bicycles, teddy bears, and other funky ornaments displayed all over its restaurants, bars, shops, and art galleries.
8. Leavenworth, Washington
Remodeled in the 1960s to resemble a Bavarian village, Leavenworth’s downtown is filled with multicolored restaurants and shops.
This pretty town is worth visiting year-round, especially because it has festivals and events for all seasons. During winter, delight in the Christmas Lighting Festival and winter sports, Spring will let you hike along the blooming flowers.
Come summer, warm weather festivities and sports are waiting for you, while fall brings in Oktoberfest amid turning leaves and autumn colors.
Not-to-be-missed are the blue Black Swan Shop and the green and yellow Victorian Simplicity for adorable and iconic pics.
9. Cape May, New Jersey
One of the oldest seaside resorts in the United States, Cape May features a charming historic Victorian district that brims with multi-colored buildings and tons of nature around them.
This port town set at the point where the Atlantic Ocean merges with the Delaware Bay offers stunning vistas all year long, as well as the opportunity for you to do some seriously splendorous whale-watching from March to December.
As far as colorful towns in the United States go, Holland pretty much takes the cake when it comes to variety in hues.
This charming village’s colorful Dutch architecture is enhanced by the 4.5 million tulips that blossom on the city’s street quaint streets in preparation for the annual Tulip Time Festival during the spring.
Add the spectacular vistas of Lake Michigan, the wonderful beaches, and the blissful lakefront sunsets and you’ve got more than enough to treat your eyes and your camera lens!