Grand Lake is America's Most Authentic Town

Wood-planked sidewalks, funky Western restaurants, and friendly folks with wide smiles and cowboy hats pushed Grand Lake to the top of the list.

The most authentic town in America as rated by the World Property Journal in 2014 is on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Grand Lake, Colo., won the distinction because of its rustic downtown, natural beauty, and its residents.

“Imagine a tiny town of a few hundred, sitting on the shore of a huge alpine lake surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Then, imagine that this town has wood-planked sidewalks, funky Western restaurants, friendly folks with wide smiles and cowboy hats, fresh mountain air, craftspeople in colorful old studios, quaint bookshops and galleries, first-class live theater, and, oh, yes – the [western] entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park,” writes the Journal. “If you’re lucky, you might even see a 2,000-pound bull moose on shore.”

We at agree. And yes, we have the moose video to prove that last bit.

Above: Grand Lake Colorado in autumn courtesy of Below: Downtown Grand Lake.

What towns did Grand Lake, Colo., beat out? Here’s the line-up.

1. Grand Lake, Colo.
2. Wallace, Idaho
3. Cody, Wyo. (Another national park gateway town)
4. Floyd, Va.
5. Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho
6. Winter Park, Colo. (just down the road from Grand Lake)
7. Elkhart Lake, Wis.
8. Bryson City, N.C.
9. Fredericksburg,Texas
10. Woodstock, N.Y.