Labeling an American town as the smallest seems antithetical to our culture. Americans like everything big: big food, big boots, and big sky.
But looking for small things can lead to amazing discoveries.
Hit the road with us and find out more about the smallest town in America.
These are America’s Smallest Towns
Monowi, Nebraska, and Hibberts Gore, Maine, are tied for the smallest town in America. Both of them boast one official resident. And, of course, there are stories about how one person came to be the lone resident.
Hibberts Gore, Maine
Hibberts Gore sits along the southwestern coast of Maine. Surveyors left a small piece of land just shy of three-quarters of a mile wide and created the town by accident. This piece of land, called a gore, is what became Hibberts Gore.
Karen Keller, Hibberts Gore’s lone resident, moved to the town in 2010 following a harrowing marriage and divorce. According to a 2013 article in the Sunday Salon, Keller has lived a tough life and appreciates the solitude of living alone.
Monowi was briefly knocked out of contention for America’s Smallest Town in the 2020 census.
The lone resident, Elsie Eiler, corrected the reports and not for the first time. The census tried to give some privacy to residents and showed two instead of one for that reason.
Eiler, the mayor and owner of the only tavern in town, has kept her town alive in honor of her late husband. Aside from the Monowi Tavern and four stoplights, Eiler maintains the 5,000 volume Rudy’s Library for her husband, who died in 2004.
Pro Tip: Road tripping through Nebraksa? Use our Lincoln Highway Road Trip Guide.
Is There Anything To Do in Hibberts Gore, Maine?
One of the quirks of Hibberts Gore is the proximity to other towns. Hibberts Gore is just a short 100 yards from Palermo, Maine. And while the town itself has one resident, it’s far from isolated.
Rather than hanging out in Palermo, a 20-mile drive west to Augusta or east to Belfast on the coast is more likely to have what you want.
Best Camping Near Belfast
The North Atlantic coast is a gorgeous camping spot. You can find some real gems in the Belfast area.
Moorings Oceanfront RV Resort is one of our favorites, with eight direct oceanfront RV sites and many with decent views of Penobscot Bay.
Campendium user Foxtails spent two months at the park and offered some excellent details about the resort. They say kids would be bored, and the sites aren’t perfectly level. But, they’ll return for the friendly and helpful staff, lovely beach, and proximity to Belfast.
Belfast and the resort have a hometown feel if you want the Mainer experience and not a tourist trap. The rocky beach is fun to explore at low tide, and the refreshingly crisp ocean is suitable for a swim.
If you want a funkier experience on the coast, Searsport Shores Oceanfront Campground offers an artist-in-residence and lots of family activities. Campendium user Island Girl Walkabout mentions the artsy touches and even goats on the property that keep the grass mowed.
Users report the first-class amenities, wooden decks with chairs to watch the sunset, kayak rentals, and art installations. Camden is close by, and Acadia National Park is also a short drive away.
Pro Tip: Take a day trip to Acadia National Park and use our tips on How to Spend a Day in Acadia National Park.
Best Nearby Hikes
If you drive out to see Hibberts Gore, the Palermo Loop trail is a must-see. This easy loop takes you along the Sheepscot River.
A favorite for bird watching, hiking, and walking, you’re likely to be the only ones on the trail. Hikers report a network of trails along the loop to explore as well.
Are you looking for something a bit longer? Belfast Rail Trail starts at the City Point Central Railroad Museum and heads down along the river. The trail itself is well maintained and handicap accessible from the main trailhead.
You can also connect with Belfast Harbor Walk, which takes you along the harbor through downtown Belfast. Link up the trails and grab dinner or drinks along the Passagassawakeag River.
What To Do While in Belfast
Lots of fun outdoor activities await along the Harbor Walk. Belfast City Park is a gorgeous spot for a picnic on the beach. If you collect sea glass, the beach is known for it.
Is shopping more your thing? Then, the United Farmers Market of Belfast and the Lupine Cottage should be on your list. And if you’re up for a drive, the Cuckold Lighthouse is about an hour away. It’s a fascinating piece of Mainer history!
You can also shop indoors at Ambience antiques or check out the Belfast Historical Society & Museum. Winter Olympics buffs might enjoy an afternoon at the Belfast Curling Club.
And the perfect stop after bouncing around Belfast for the day is the Northport Landing Gallery and Espresso Bar.
Is There Anything to Do in Monowi, Nebraska?
The short answer is ‘no.’ There isn’t much to do in Monowi unless you just want to hit the tavern and stop at all four stoplights. The nearby campground has no reviews, and very little information is available. We suggest setting up in nearby Pickstown instead.
Best Camping Near Monowi
Across the Missouri River in nearby Pickstown, South Dakota, is the closest good camping to Monowi. North Point Campground is right on the river and a favorite with anglers and boaters.
Birders will also enjoy the diversity of avian life. This isolated campground has plenty of space on the river, and the RV sites are large. You’ll find lots of trails to explore at the campground.
Campers report the grounds are well maintained, flat, and easy to access with wide roads. There’s a two-lane dump station, and laundry facilities and showers are available.
And don’t let the flatness of the site turn you off. Massive sunsets await those in western facing campsites along the river.
Best Nearby Hikes
North Point Shore Path is a great spot to take your dog for an on-leash stroll. The 1.2-mile stretch has excellent river views and is easy enough for just about anyone. In fact, the entire recreation area has a series of trails to explore.
You won’t find a lot of hiking near Pickstown, but you’ll find plenty of places to explore if you’re willing to take a short drive.
However, 16 miles east of Monowi, you can find more adventurous trails to explore at the Niobrara State Park in Nebraska.
The Niobrara Northern Loop is a 5-mile hike along the Niobrara River, and you’ll probably have it all to yourself. Suitable for hiking, walking, running, and walking dogs on leash, you can’t beat the views of the river.
What To Do While in Pickstown
In Pickstown, the best thing to do is enjoy the river. Go fishing or rent a canoe and get away from it all. Or, if you’re keen to see Monowi, stop at the Niobrara State Park and the Niobrara Recreation Area. Both offer many outdoor options for just about any taste.
The state park has all kinds of things for travelers. Horseback rides, swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking are all favorites in the scenic park. If you visit in the summer, you can also check out their famous buffalo cookout.
Nearby, the Karl E. Mundt National Wildlife Refuge provides a habitat for the most American bird, the bald eagle.
While the refuge is closed to visitors to protect the habitat, you can still see the eagles. A kiosk below the Fort Randall Dam is perfect for viewing the national bird.
Is a Road Trip to America’s Smallest Towns Worth It?
The smallest towns may not have a lot of amenities or activities to check out by themselves. However, the surrounding areas and natural beauty give us a reason to hit the road and explore.
While we don’t recommend knocking on Karen’s door in Hibberts Gore, stop by the Monowi Tavern and have a drink with Elsie. She’s got stories to tell!
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