Travel by podcast: 9 of the best podcasts exploring small towns and their residents

round up February 5, 2023

Venture through towns around the world and meet some of their most fascinating residents with these podcasts. We’ve included a true crime staple, a fantastical sci-fi series, and a show traveling to American small towns. Learn about communities, how individuals are building their legacies, and what makes each town special.

There’s a series examining how people live in earth’s most isolated places. Comedy fans should check out “Mark Steel’s in Town,” where the traveling comedian creates stand-up routines for different townsfolk all about their town and documents his experiences on the podcast.

Welcome to Provincetown

Welcome to Provincetown

Listen to ‘Welcome to Provincetown’

Trek to Provincetown, Massachusetts and learn about the beach town that grows from 3,000 to 60,000+ residents over the summer, its vibrant residents, artistry, and serendipity on Witness Docs’ “Welcome to Provincetown.” Join host Mitra Kaboli (documentarian and producer of “The Heart” and ESPN’s “30 for 30”) as she meets some of the queer community including performers, the youth, the arts scene, and what happened to the town during COVID-19.

S-Town podcast art


Listen to ‘S-Town’

Serial presents “S-Town,” hosted by Brian Reed. This multi-layered story follows Alabama resident, John, who hates his town and is bound to shake things up. John asks Brian to examine a wealthy family’s son who brags he committed murder and got away scot-free. Someone else is found dead, and they search for the truth that spurs a feud, a treasure hunt, and mysteries are uncovered. Start this 7-part series from episode one to hear the fascinatingly tragic story.

Welcome to Night Vale image

Welcome to Night Vale

Listen to ‘Welcome to Night Vale’

“Welcome to Nightvale” is exactly what you’re looking for and nothing like you’d expect in terms of a town and its residents. This sci-fi series takes a walk on the whimsical side of things in the small desert town of Night Vale, a place where conspiracy theories are true. It’s a twice-monthly radio show by Night Vale Presents, with over 250 episodes in its archive.


Listen to ‘Townsizing’

On “Townsizing,” author/writer Anne Helen Petersen brings listeners to American small towns and chats with the people who make them extraordinary. Guests have included HGTV’s Ben and Erin Napier (who helped revive their hometown, Laurel, Mississippi), Brian Brigantti and Domonick Gravine (who shared their experiences being queer in rural Tennessee), and more who are instrumental in developing a robust community, creating legacies, and breaking small town stereotypes. This series is presented by HGTV.

Mark Steel’s in Town

Listen to ‘Mark Steel’s in Town’

“Mark Steel’s in Town” and traveling across the U.K. and beyond to meet locals and create a stand-up show for them (and podcast listeners) about the town. Tune in for hilarious takes on Paris, Newport, the Isles of Scilly, Nottingham, and more in over 60 episodes.

Rumble Strip

Listen to ‘Rumble Strip’

“Rumble Strip” introduces listeners to different folks including soccer moms, criminals, waitresses, and taxidermists as we’ll learn more about their lives. Erica Heilman examines these extraordinary stories about seemingly ordinary lives. Recent episodes covered whale behavior, went fishing with Jay Allison, and unpacked working in Hollywood.

Bundyville: The Remnant

Listen to ‘Bundyville: The Remnant’

Oregon Public Broadcasting presents “Bundyville: The Remnant.” Dive into politics, fringe religious beliefs, the Bundy family’s world, and the uprisings they sparked. The podcast examines extremist violence incited by conspiracies of an anti-government movement, who creates the violence, and the unfortunate results.

Thunder Bay

Listen to ‘Thunder Bay’

Canada’s town “Thunder Bay” has highest homicide and hate crime rate in the country. It’s the same town a mayor and his wife were charged with extortion and a police chief was on trial for obstruction of justice. Nine indigenous teenagers also died. On this podcast, Ryan McMahon investigates why all of this happens in this town. The series is presented by Canadaland Investigates.


Listen to ‘Extremities’

Wendover Productions’ “Extremities” discusses why and how people live in earth’s most isolated places and extreme settlements. Tune in for two seasons hosted by Sam Denby.

New shows we love...

Join Our Newsletter

The best podcasts to listen to next, delivered right to your inbox every week.

By clicking Submit, you acknowledge you have read and agree to our Website and Digital Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.