9 Affordable Mountain Towns You Can Actually Move To

published Jul 8, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
USA, Arkansas, Eureka Springs, South Main Street, autumn
Credit: Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

If you’re considering a move to a mountain town, you’ve probably noticed that many of the most famous mountain locales in the United States are quite expensive. In beautiful Park City, Utah, for instance, the average home value is over $1.6 million. Some other famous (and pricey) mountain cities include Jackson, Wyoming; Bend, Oregon; Asheville, North Carolina; Bozeman, Montana; and Taos, New Mexico — all gorgeous locations with incredible outdoor recreation and stunning views. But there are affordable mountain towns across the U.S. — if you know where to look.

We’ve compiled nine mountain towns that are more affordable than, say, Vail, Colorado. In these towns, prospective homebuyers can expect to spend a reasonable amount on a home, but still experience the incredible natural beauty that these towns are known for and enjoy a relatively lower cost of living.

What is a mountain town?

There are over 200 mountain ranges across the United States. Typically, a mountain town is either in, or at the foothills of, a mountain range, offering views of the surrounding natural beauty. Douglas Elliman agent Mia Parsons, who grew up in Woodstock, Vermont, at the foot of the Green Mountain range, knows all about mountain towns.

“A mountain town is all about the lifestyle,” Parsons says. “Whether it’s skiing, mountain biking, hiking — it’s really a demographic that is there because of these activities.” 

These types of locales often have small-town vibes, too. While there are plenty of urban environments situated within the mountains, such as Bend, Oregon, and Asheville, North Carolina, lots of people are looking for more laid-back areas with a slower pace of living. 

For those looking to move from a city to a smaller mountain town, Parsons warns that you should know what you’re getting into. “It’s a more limited environment,” she says. “There are going to be fewer restaurant options, and the grocery store might only be open until 6 p.m. These towns can be sleepy, but that’s also what makes them charming.”

Ahead are nine affordable mountain towns in the United States. 

Hickory, North Carolina

Average home value: $286,223
Median rent: $1,200

Hickory, North Carolina, is the state’s 25th most populous city, situated at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 60 miles northwest of Charlotte and 75 miles east of Asheville. Hickory has a rich cultural history of stock car racing, and is host to a variety of annual festivals such as the Hickory Hops Festival and the Downtown Hickory Art Crawl. Residents also enjoy great outdoor recreation opportunities on Lake Hickory and the Catawba River. 

Staunton, Virginia

Average home value: $286,516
Median rent: $1,360

Nicknamed Queen City of the Shenandoah Valley, Staunton, Virginia, is located in between the beautiful Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Staunton has a charming downtown with historical buildings, great restaurants, wineries, and breweries. The city is also home of the Statler Brothers and has a rich musical scene. Music-lovers will appreciate the annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival and the Staunton Music Festival, both held locally

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Average home value: $296,780
Median rent: $1,350

Located in Northwest Arkansas, Eureka Springs is a charming small town in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. The town is known for its charming historic downtown with preserved Victorian buildings and rich arts scene. Eureka Springs hosts the annual Ozark Folk Festival, the longest-running folk festival in the country. 

Chattanooga, Tennessee 

Average home value: $303,387
Median rent: $1,625

Home to over 180,000 people, Chattanooga, Tennessee, is an ideal locale for anyone looking for a mountain town vibe with big-city amenities. Nicknamed the Scenic City, Chattanooga is situated on the beautiful Tennessee River at the foothills of the iconic Appalachian Mountains. Visitors love enjoying the endless museums and dining at the incredible local restaurants. 

Bryson City, North Carolina

Average home value: $320,192
Median rent: $1,300

Beautiful Bryson City is a small North Carolina town, home to just 1,500 people. Situated along the Appalachian Trail, the town is known for being the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Residents and visitors love going to the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians to experience historic fishing gear from as far back as the 1800s. This laid-back locale is great for anyone looking for a quiet lifestyle surrounded by nature. 

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Average home value: $356,455
Median rent: $1,700

Fayetteville offers a more urban atmosphere in beautiful Northwest Arkansas. The city is the second most-populous in the state, with just under 100,000 people living in its city limits. Located on the outskirts of the Boston Mountains in the Ozarks, Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas, with Walmart headquarters located in nearby Bentonville. 

Spokane, Washington 

Average home value: $391,095
Median rent: $1,491

Home to 230,000 people, Spokane is situated between the Cascade and Rocky Mountains, and is known for its great outdoor recreation. North of the city, Mount Spokane State Park spans nearly 14,000 acres and is part of the beautiful Selkirk Mountains. Nicknamed the Lilac City, Spokane is known for its rich arts community, sustainability initiatives, and, of course, its affordability. 

Hartford, Vermont 

Average home value: $406,283
Median rent: $1,960

Located just east of the Green Mountains and situated at the confluence of the Connecticut, White, and Ottauquechee Rivers is beautiful Hartford, Vermont. This charming town is home to about 10,000 people in Windsor County, about an hour south of Stowe for world-class skiing and other mountain recreation. 

Mount Shasta, California 

Average home value: $428,084
Median rent: $1,250

Beautiful Mount Shasta, California, offers direct views of the double-peaked dormant volcano after which it was named, located in the Cascade Range. Home to just over 3,000 people, Mount Shasta is a small town that is a growing destination for vacationers looking to experience the beautiful nature that defines the locale. In addition to the endless outdoor recreation available, the town is also home to a farmers market, great shopping, and restaurants.