Let’s face it: Hollywood is not the greatest place to live. With so much smog and traffic — not to mention a paparazzo hiding in every bush — it’s no wonder so many celebrities choose to abandon Tinseltown in lieu of the quieter life. Below, we’ve listed 30 charming small towns that celebrities have chosen to call home.
Allegheny County, North Carolina
He may be one of Hollywood’s busiest funnymen, but Zach Galifianakis much prefers the quiet life in North Carolina to the hustle and bustle of L.A. After growing up in Wilkesboro and attending North Carolina State University, Galifianakis purchased a 60-acre farm in rural northeastern Alleghany County, an area surrounded by lush farmland and the Blue Ridge Mountains. While he has no plans to stop his career as an actor and stand-up comedian, he does harbor the dream of turning part of his beloved North Carolina farm into a writers’ retreat.
Bruce Campbell, the actor known for his roles in cult classics like Ash vs. Evil Dead, Bubba Ho-Tep, and Army of Darkness, shunned the typical Hollywood scene as far back as 1998. Knowing that he would just have to travel for work anyway, Campbell and his wife decided to settle in Ashland, Oregon. Known as a popular vacation town for Californians and Oregonians alike, Ashland is the full-time home to about 20,000 people. Interestingly, Campbell likes Oregon so much, he bought a second home located about an hour away in the rural Applegate Valley — or “the boonies” as the actor describes it.
Myriad celebrities may own winter homes in Aspen, but this upscale ski town was chosen by Kevin Costner as his full-time residence. The famous actor owns a huge ranch just outside of town, where he can enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery, cool climate, world-class skiing and other events without the annoying paparazzi. While some of the small towns on our list are a surprising choice for big-time celebrities, Aspen — with its average home price of $1.4 million — is perhaps exactly where you’d expect to find a famous actor looking to get away from L.A.
The first of two towns in Maine to make our list, Bangor is the adopted home of bestselling horror author Stephen King. A typical New England town, Bangor boasts historic homes, a picturesque downtown, a welcoming vibe, and a vibrant local arts scene. In fact, King loves the the town so so much, the author even modeled his fictional town of Derry after Bangor. And if you think such a place sounds too, well, charming, for a person like Stephen King, consider the fact that “The King of Horror” added a custom gate — complete with ornamental spiderwebs and bats — around his Bangor mansion.
Bedford, New York
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively; Bruce Willis; Martha Stewart; Brendan Fraser; Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
The quiet and upscale community of Bedford, New York is a popular choice of hometown for celebrities looking to live the quiet life. With top-of-the-line amenities, leafy neighborhoods, and highly ranked schools, it’s no wonder Bedford is a favorite among celebrities and other millionaires alike. If you want your own little slice of Bedford, be prepared to plop down upwards of $600,000 for a modest home, as the median household income here is well over $100,000.
Big Sky, Montana
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel
Justin Timberlake and his wife, Jessica Biel, own homes all over the United States, including in two charming small towns featured on our list. The first of those towns is Big Sky, Montana. Reportedly, the couple chose Big Sky as one of their main residences due to its fresh air, beautiful natural scenery, and complete lack of paparazzi. Big Sky happens to be the perfect place to raise their young son, Silas.
Brevard, North Carolina
With a population of fewer than 8,000 people, a median income of $38,686, an average home price of $210,100, and only a few stoplights, Brevard, North Carolina may not seem like a place you’d find one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. But it turns out this laid-back small town is exactly what do-it-all star Steve Martin had in mind when he went searching for an adopted hometown. Martin even co-wrote one of this folk songs about the area, “When You Get to Asheville.”
Charleston, Mississippi is a small town of 2,000 people. Its population’s median income is somewhere around $18,000 and the average home sells for about $69,000. Oh, and it’s the full-time residence of one Morgan Freeman. Freeman has long-time roots in Charleston. The home and ranch he owns was built on land once owned by his grandparents. This small southern town happens to be the perfect place for Freeman to escape Hollywood and spend his time riding his horses, dining at local restaurants, and enjoying music at his favorite local blues club.
Jeff Daniels, the star of Dumb and Dumber and, more recently, The Newsroom grew up in the small town of Chelsea, Michigan. Daniels has always kept close ties to the town in southeast Michigan, even returning to live there full time only a few years ago. Though Chelsea is locally known as an upscale town with a higher cost of living (the average home price is $274,000), Daniels likely finds its laid-back atmosphere and many college-town amenities to be Chelsea’s biggest draw.
Demi Moore has long loved the quiet life in Hailey, Idaho. The actress first moved to Hailey with then-husband Bruce Willis, who fell in love with the state and decided it would be a great place to raise the couple’s three young daughters. Two marriages (and divorces) later, Demi’s kids are grown but the family still calls Hailey home. The town is located near luxurious Sun Valley, another celebrity hometown to make our list.
Huelo, Maui, Hawaii
If you’re familiar with Woody Harrelson’s work (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), then it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the laid-back, slightly off-kilter actor calls a place like Maui home. Harrelson lives in Maui’s North Shore, in a small town called Huelo. Barely on the map, Huelo is the ideal place for Harrelson to enjoy a private existence with his family, to drive around the island at his leisure, and to practice yoga on the beach, all of which the actor has stated he loves to do while living in Maui.
Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart
Harrison Ford, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, and his longtime partner, Calista Flockhart, have for many years called Jackson Hole home. A popular vacation getaway spot, Jackson is known for its stunning views of the Grand Tetons, nearby Yellowstone National Park, various local ski resorts, and a laid-back cowboy culture. Fortunately, Ford and Flockhart needn’t worry about Jackson’s high cost of living, or the fact that the median home price is nearly $900,000!
Leipers Fork, Tennessee
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban; Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel; Ashley Judd
Located less than an hour from Nashville and in the shadows of Franklin, Leipers Fork is home to only 650 people. But four of those people are mighty famous. When asked why they chose this tiny Tennessee town as their hometown, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Ashley Judd, Justin Timberlake, and Jessica Biel nearly all said the same thing. They value the idea of a close-knit community, historic atmosphere, and small-town vibe. Plus, this country enclave is totally private.
Middletown, New Jersey
Jon Bon Jovi
It’s no wonder a legendary rockstar like Jon Bon Jovi enjoys living in a place like Middletown, New Jersey. This New York City suburb of just over 66,000 people is mature and established, with great schools, a solid local economy, and a healthy arts and cultural scene. Bon Jovi first moved to Middletown in 1999, after buying a parcel of land and then building his family’s dream home.
Listen to any of Toby Keith’s songs and it’s apparent that he appreciates small-town life. The popular country singer/songwriter has long resided in Oklahoma, most recently in the small town of Norman. Celebrity resident aside, Norman is a fantastic place to live, with plenty of amenities, a charming small-town feel, and a cost of living attractive to young families. In fact, Norman consistently ranks as one of the “Best Small Cities” in the United States.
North Salem, New York
Located at the mouth of the Hudson River, North Salem, New York is a charming and upscale small town that is home to just over 5,000 people — and one particularly well-known former talk show host. North Salem was clearly carefully chosen by David Letterman. The town, which boasts a quick commute into New York City plus lots of history and nature to enjoy, is so small and secluded it doesn’t even have a main street. That seems a-okay with Letterman and the rest of North Salem’s population, all of whom have spent an average of half a million dollars on their homes.
Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts
Spike Lee was in college when he decided that he would one day own a home in Oak Bluffs, a luxurious beach community in Martha’s Vineyard. Nearly 40 films later, the iconic film director is an official resident of Oak Bluffs, having built a custom home in the community back in 1992. Quaint and upscale, Oak Bluffs is well known for its mansion-like Gothic cottages, its classic coastal piers and boardwalks, and its picturesque beaches.
John Travolta and Kelly Preston
For actor John Travolta, there may be no better place to live than Oscala, Florida. While Oscala itself may be your typical middle-class coastal town, it has something really important to the actor and frequent pilot: a runway. Specifically, a runway that leads straight to the Travoltas’ $4.9 million oceanfront estate.
Paia Town, Maui, Hawaii
Owen Wilson; Willie Nelson; Don Nelson
Located on Maui’s North Shore, the small enclave of Paia Town is home to Willie Nelson, Owen Wilson, and former NBA player Don Nelson. This charming small town is the ideal place for big-name stars to live in peace and quiet. Owen Wilson is often spotted riding his bike to the local beach, while Willie Nelson enjoys spending time at the popular Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon, where he’s been known to play a surprise set. Interestingly, the three famous Paia Town residents often get together with neighbor Woody Harrelson for poker night.
Paradise Valley, Montana
John Mayer first found Paradise Valley, Montana in 2013 after undergoing throat surgery. The Grammy-winning singer/songwriter needed a calming and inspiring place to recover and Paradise Valley fit the bill. Though Montana has a ton of luxurious and wealthy communities, Paradise Valley isn’t necessarily a place you’d expect to find a famous Hollywood musician as your neighbor. Indeed, the town of 183 people has a “large” retired population, a median income of $33,125, and an average home price of just over $90,0000. But it is beautiful! Later, Mayer even wrote an album entitled Paradise Valley.
The rapper Eminem has long been honest about his upbringing amongst the roughest neighborhoods of Detroit. Knowing his background, perhaps then it is surprising that the Grammy winner has chosen to remain in Michigan, in the Detroit suburb of Rochester. While not every house in town is a $4.8 million mansion like Eminem’s, Rochester is known for being relatively upscale, with a vibrant arts and culture scene and easy access to both Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
Lots of celebrities and professional athletes have made their home in tony Marin County, located across the bridge from San Francisco. While Marin County ranks as one of the most expensive zip codes in the state, the small town of Ross ranks as one of the most expensive towns. Star Wars-creator George Lucas is one of Ross’s approximately 2,500 residents (as were, once, Sean Penn and Robin Wright). Think you might like living in a place like Ross? Be prepared to come up with the $2.86 million that is the current average home price!
Daniel Day Lewis
Those familiar with Daniel Day Lewis shouldn’t be too surprised that the eccentric actor stays away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. Instead, Lewis and his family split their time between Ireland and the small town of Roxbury, Connecticut. With a population of only 2,300 people and little more than a post office, a gas station, and a grocery market, there is not much room for a paparazzo or traffic jam to hide. Interestingly, Marilyn Monroe also called Roxbury, Connecticut home at one point.
Despite an impressive career as one of the busiest actresses in Hollywood, Meryl Streep actually spends very little time there. Instead, the 21-time Oscar nominee is a long-time resident of Salisbury, Connecticut. Small, picturesque, and typically New England, Salisbury is home to approximately 3,600 residents who collectively boast a median household income of $53,051. Though it’s located within easy commuting distance of New York City, Salisbury is situated in the midst of lush natural surroundings, and people here are known for enjoying the great outdoors.
When you’re as big a star as Glenn Close, there’s no need to live in Hollywood full time. The award-winning actress therefore lives in Scarborough, Maine, a coastal resort town situated between Old Orchard Beach and Cape Elizabeth. In Scarborough, Close and her family are surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural scenery in North America, plus all the charm of a a small town, local historic sites, and absolutely no traffic or paparazzi.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson; Clint Eastwood; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet
With beautiful natural scenery and located only a short flight from California, Sun Valley, Idaho has long been “beloved by billionaires” — and apparently, famous Hollywood elites. Actor Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson own a home in Sun Valley, and while they don’t live there full time, they spend as much time as possible away from Hollywood, traffic, and the paparazzi. Plus, they have neighbors like Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mark Zuckerberg with whom to socialize.
Taos, New Mexico
Julia Roberts made headlines when she announced she was leaving the hustle and bustle of Hollywood for a quieter life in New Mexico with her husband and three children. Now, the family spends most of their time in this artsy town which has long catered to the boho type. Nestled into the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains, Taos offers its residents a fun and laid-back summer atmosphere, skiing opportunities come winter, and quick flights to Los Angeles when necessary. Fun fact: Julia Roberts’s Taos farm was once owned by Donald Rumsfeld.
Westerly, Rhode Island
Taylor Swift owns multiple homes, including her main residence in New York City. But when the popular singer/songwriter needs to get away, she heads to her home in tiny Westerly, Rhode Island. Located at the head of Narragansett Bay, this waterfront town has a population of just under 23,000 people. Swift almost certainly enjoys Westerly’s charming downtown and vibrant local arts scenes, but we’re guessing it’s the stunning ocean view she values the most. They don’t have that in New York City.
Melissa Joan Hart
After a lifetime — literally! — spent in Hollywood, Melissa Joan Hart was eager to move her family away from the business of Los Angeles and to a quieter existence in Westport, Connecticut. The former star of shows like Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch was almost certainly drawn to Westport’s friendly local population, easy access to New York City, and top-rated school district for her three young children. It doesn’t hurt that Westport is an upscale community, with an average home price of $1,097,200 and a median household income of just over $150,000.
Yellow Springs, Ohio
Nicknamed “Ohio’s Hippie Enclave,” Yellow Springs is a small suburb of the city of Dayton. It’s known for its colorful buildings, myriad murals and art installations, and politically liberal local population. It’s also affordable, with the average home price hovering right around $220,000. Comedian Dave Chapelle has called Yellow Springs home since 2006. Yellow Springs locals report that Chapelle keeps a pretty low profile, though he has been known to lend his voice to a few community activism events.