The One Must-See Small Town in Your State from The One Must-See Small Town in Your State

The One Must-See Small Town in Your State

iStock

The One Must-See Small Town in Your State

Going on a trip, whether for the weekend, a week or a month, is probably everyone’s favorite pastime. Make the most of the few vacation days you have, and don’t flock to tourist traps like New York or Los Angeles. Think outside the box. There are plenty of underrated adventure destinations in the U.S. that are worth your time. Some of them are small towns with a population of a few hundred or about 5,000.

Brian Stansberry/Wikimedia Commons

Alabama - Mooresville

This charming little town is not far from Huntsville, just about half an hour drive. It’s a nice break for people longing for a more peaceful and less hectic several days. Walk the tree-shaded streets and learn about history. The city is often referred to as “Alabama's Williamsburg.”

Dreamstime

Alaska – Sitka

Getting there is an adventure itself. Sitka is considered Alaska’s most beautiful seaside town with its views of island-studded waters and stately spruce forests reaching to the water’s edge. Visit the Fortress of the Bear, go whale-watching, and explore Alaska’s oldest national park, Sitka National Historical Park.

Shutterstock

Arizona – Sedona

The land of red rocks and intense spirituality, Sedona is not your average outdoor adventure destination. The desert town draws in artists, healers and wanderers, while the surrounding landscape brings adventurers.

Dreamstime

Arkansas - Eureka Springs

You can can have it all here – festivals, hiking, culinary adventures, and cozy spa experiences – minus all of the tourists. You can stay in a unique treehouse or a haunted hotel. Take your family for some quality time, and explore the dozens of natural springs tucked into the mountains and winding trails, small lakes and pocket parks.

Shutterstock

California – Monterey

This is one of the cheapest places to travel this summer. Monterey, inside the Big Sur stretch of California’s coast, gives you affordable access to the West Coast’s natural beauty and marine wildlife. The city also sits along the Pacific Coast Highway as well as the famous 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, two drives with priceless views.

Shutterstock

Colorado - Steamboat Springs

Skiers by winter, cowboys by summer. This is a world-renowned ski area for a good reason, but the slopes are not all there is to this charming town. The hint of cowboy culture is everywhere if you look closely.

Shutterstock

Connecticut – Mystic

This is a relaxed but also fairly well-known vacation destination of Mystic Country. Mystic Seaport, the nation’s leading maritime museum, is a must-see. Hike in the Bluff Point State Park, explore the 1,000-acre Barn Island Wildlife Management Area, and take a day trip to Mason’s Island for some swimming, fishing and lots of fun.

Shutterstock

Delaware – Colonial New Castle

The area was founded by Dutch settlers in the 1650s. The community was finally recognized in 1967 for its historical significance and was designated as a National Landmark. The most popular attractions include the Old New Castle Courthouse, the Delaware Historical Society’s Read House and Gardens, and the three museums.

Shutterstock

Florida - Mount Dora

This is “Someplace Special.” The century old historic village in Central Florida offers plenty of fun activities due to its location by Lake Dora. The town is mostly known for its annual festivals and fishing in the “Bass Capital of the World.”

Shutterstock

Georgia - St. Simons

You can reach it only by boat. The island has more than 250 types of birds, lots of wildlife, beaches, spas, hiking and kayaking opportunities.

EQRoy/Shutterstock.com

Hawaii – Paia

Set on Maui’s north shore, this artsy surf town leaves a lasting impression. The laid back vibe infects all who visit and surfing options are plentiful, as long as you don’t mind a bit of wind. Be sure to check out the local art galleries and don’t leave until you’ve had some fresh seafood.

Shutterstock

Idaho – Ketchum

Ketchum is known as the place where Ernest Hemingway is buried. His house is still standing but you can only see it from afar because it’s not open to the public. Other than skiing, people from all over go for hiking and trail riding.

Shutterstock

Illinois – Galena

Take on an outdoor adventure along the Mississippi River, or spend hours exploring the nooks and crannies of our many historic sites. Whatever you do, you will never be bored in Galena. Among the favorites is soaring the sky in a hot air balloon.

Flickr/Daniel X. O’Neil/CC BY 4.0

Indiana – Middlebury

This is where you go in the region to see and experience Amish culture. Horse-drawn buggies rattling down rural lanes, men sporting suspenders and broad-brimmed straw hats, women clad in simple dresses and modest bonnets, and tables full with fresh-from-the-farm food.

Shutterstock

Iowa – Okoboji

This is one of the most beautiful lake towns in the U.S. The biggest attractions are the glacier-carved lakes. The gorgeous chain of lakes ranges from the Minnesota border southwest several miles and covers approximately 15,000 acres.

RaksyBH/Shutterstock.com

Kansas - Dodge City

This is a destination for the perfect retreat in the Old West. There are lots of motels and campgrounds that will make you feel like you really are living back in time. Tour the farms and ranches, go fishing or hunting, or simply enjoy relaxing outdoor activities.

James Kirkikis/Shutterstock.com

Kentucky – Bardstown

It’s part of the Bourbon Trail, which is a road trip every fan of the “American beverage” should absolutely take. Popular attractions include the Maker’s Mark Distillery, the Old Nelson County Jail and the Old Talbott Tavern. Go in September for the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, a six-day event of smooth Bourbon.

Infrogmation/Wikimedia Commons

Louisiana - Abita Springs

This historic small town used to be a popular hideaway. To learn more about that, visit the Trailhead Museum, which pays homage to the area’s past as a resort. The area’s spring waters are actually said to have therapeutic powers.

Shutterstock

Maine – Camden

This chain of three small islands in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay is quite remote. The nearest town is a long ride away, but you’ll enjoy every scenic mile of it.

Dreamstime

Maryland - Hoopers Island

This chain of three small islands in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay is quite remote. The nearest town is a long ride away, but you’ll enjoy every scenic mile of it.

Shutterstock

Massachusetts – Edgartown

The town is a nice little getaway from everything. Take the ferry to the island, rent bikes, and ride around all day. Go to Chappaquiddick to see the Japanese garden. Katama Beach is perfect for swimming in crystal clear waters – if you can brave the cold.

Michigan - Harbor Springs

This charming waterfront community is nestled along the deepest harbor in the Great lakes. The area offers an abundance of natural beauty and four seasons of outdoor activities. There are resorts, golf courses and plenty of green space.

Shutterstock

Minnesota - Grand Marais

This quaint, friendly harbor village, with about 1,300 people has several other prestigious awards. It made the Top 100 Adventure Towns by National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Biking, kayaking, fishing and whale watching are popular activities. You may even see the Northern Lights from the Lighthouse.

Calvin L. Leake/Dreamstime.com

Mississippi - Tunica

Tunica has several casinos, making it a typical gaming city. They don’t just offer slot machines and poker tables. They also schedule a lot of concerts and fun events like horse shows, sporting, stage bars and festivals. Tunica is popular for its golf courses, as well as blues clubs.

Shutterstock

Missouri – Branson

Branson may be known as a mecca for family vacations, but it is quite underrated when it comes to the solo traveling. You don’t have to be with a big group to appreciate the beauty of Table Rock Dam, go zip lining at Wolfe Creek Preserve, or have a night out enjoying dinner and show.

Pierdelune/Shutterstock.com

Montana – Whitefish

This small charming city is right at the bottom of Big Mountain and Glacier National Park. The city is pretty much giant ski village with the Whitefish Mountain Resort being the go-to place for everyone.

Shutterstock

Nebraska – Valentine

This small town offers plenty of chances for big adventures. Outdoor fans are going to have a blast. Explore the rolling sand hills and Niobrara River, go hiking and horseback riding. Canoeing, tubing, kayaking, hunting, fishing, camping—there’s never a boring time.

Dreamstime

Nevada – Genoa

It’s close to Lake Tahoe, which alone is a good reason to visit. Nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada Range, Genoa is home to Mormon Station Memorial State Park. The city of about 300 people have stunning natural beauty which attracts travelers.

Shutterstock

New Hampshire – Lebanon

Lebanon is actually one of the largest cities in the Upper Valley with about 16,500 people. Located along the banks of the Connecticut River, West Lebanon is the areas major shopping district. The city is always buzzing with activity. One of the area’s most well-known, events is the Farmers’ Market on The Green.

Dreamstime

New Jersey - Sea Bright

The city used to be the village of Nauvoo, which means “beautiful or pleasant place.” The current Sea Bright is famous for private beach clubs and gorgeous restaurants. Favorite recreation activities include boating and fishing. This is where you go for some of the finest charter boat saltwater fishing on the Atlantic coast.

Shutterstock

New Mexico – Ruidoso

Located high in the Rocky Mountains of southeastern New Mexico, this village is the ultimate escape from the city. Sierra Blanca is towering above at 11,981 feet. Ski Apache, the perfect ski resort, is not far. In the winter it is ideal for both beginning and advanced skiers.

Cllhnstev/Dreamstime.com

New York - Rhinebeck

It is home to America's oldest operating inn - Beekman Arms Inn. But this is not the only reason to visit this charming small town nestled in the Northern New York Hudson Valley. Go to see part of the regal Catskill Mountains and the mighty Hudson River.  

Shutterstock

North Carolina – Beaufort

Beaufort is the third-oldest town in North Carolina, established in 1709. It was named by Travel + Leisure as “America’s Favorite Town.” Take in some history at the Beaufort Historic Site and NC Maritime Museum and then go kayaking in Taylor’s Creek.

Shutterstock

North Dakota – Garrison

Go for a summer visit so you can fish and hunt – it is mostly what Garrison is known for. Year-round recreation opportunities keep people happy and active. Have fun in the city parks, Fort Stevenson State Park, or the Sportsmen's Shooting Ranges.

Lynne Neuman/Shutterstock.com

Ohio - Chagrin Falls

The small town is all about preserving its history and uniqueness. Take the Chagrin Falls Historic Home & Garden Tour to spend a day see homes that part of the important architectural heritage of the village and to see its beauty.

Shutterstock

Oklahoma - Medicine Park

The little town of Medicine Park is just a three-hour drive northwest of Dallas. It used to be a resort community with plenty of places to camp under the stars. It has evolved since then but it’s just as charming and cozy. People go to fish, boat and swim in the waters of Medicine Creek.

Shutterstock

Oregon – Astoria

Historic Astoria is home to stunning views, beautiful beaches, a variety of museums, and the Ecola State Park. Explore Indian beach, a little-known beach popular among beachgoers and surfers, famous for its tide pools and gorgeous scenery. Visitors will enjoy views of spectacular rock formations off Ecola Point to the south.

Shutterstock

Pennsylvania – New Hope

New Hope is a small town with a big city feel. It was even named one of "America's Favorite Towns" by Travel + Leisure. Go antique shopping or have brunch at Logan Inn, which was established in 1722. Catch a performance at the historic Bucks County Playhouse or go for a walk on one of the trails at the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve.

Shutterstock

Rhode Island - Block Island

Beautiful and naturally wild, Block Island is an understated destination with tons to offer. Lush green hills meet towering coastal bluffs and 17 miles of beach meet the Block Island Sound on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.

Shutterstock

South Carolina – Beaufort

Consider the lesser-known but equally charming Beaufort for your romantic holiday. At least visit for the day; it’s a quick stop from Savannah or Charleston. Whatever you imagine southern charm to be, Beaufort has it – Antebellum architecture, moss-laden oak trees, parks, Civil War-era homes...

Nagel Photography/Shutterstock.com

South Dakota – Deadwood

This is historic landmark you should visit at least once in your life. You’ll literally get a chance to walk in the footsteps of Old West legends like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock. This 1870s gold rush town offers many concerts, casinos, museums, historic sites, spas and parades.

Flickr/QuesterMark/CC BY-SA 4.0

Tennessee - Leiper's Fork

The delightful village of Leiper’s Fork is perfect for a nice weekend trip if serenity is on your mind. It is a homegrown mix of scenic backdrops, culture, and Southern feel. The village draws a lot of artists. Antiques lovers and collectors will have a blast, too.

Shutterstock

Texas – Alpine

Alpine is a desert oasis with everything you need to unwind and relax, including nightlife and cozy guest houses. The town was rated by Texas Highways readers as one of their favorite destinations in the state, according to VisitAlpineTX.com.

Dreamstime

Utah – Moab

If you’re a scenery lover, you are sure to love Moab. Bring your camera, the red rock landscape in Arches National Park is stunning. Take a hike, camp out, bike ride around, backpack and rock climb your way through one of the most amazing parks you will ever experience.

Cllhnstev/Dreamstime.com

Vermont – Woodstock

Woodstock is a charming, year round destination on the banks of the Ottauquechee River and the Crossroad of Vermont Scenic Byway. Located in the Green Mountains of Windsor County, the town boasts the only national park in Vermont, agricultural landscapes and many unique lodging cabins.

Larry Metayer/Dreamstime.com

Virginia – Abingdon

Visitors will love the outdoors. After all, you will be surrounded by the regal Blue Ridge Mountains. They are basically you playground, but a massive one. Rivers, lakes, trails for biking and hiking, the Appalachian Trail…

Dreamstime

Washington - Gig Harbor

The harbor town becomes alive in the summer. Warm breezes, fresh air and clear blue skies come in place of the heavy rain. This is where you’ll find most Seattle residents on the weekends.

Shutterstock

West Virginia – Summersville

This beautiful town is surrounded by cool and pristine waters flowing from mountains. They are the perfect destination for world class outdoor recreational activities, including more adventurous ones such as whitewater rafting on the Gauley or New rivers, boating on Summersville Lake, and hiking along the Muddlety Creek Trail.

Keith Bell/Shutterstock.com

Wisconsin – Ephraim

This is a small picturesque village located in the heart of the Door County Peninsula on the serene shores of Eagle Harbor. Bring your significant other and learn about the place’s Scandinavian roots, see its carefully preserved historical sites, 11 of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.

milosk50/Shutterstock.com

Wyoming – Cody

This is the “Wild West way into Yellowstone” located just 50 miles from the east entrance and 80 miles from the northeast entrance of the majestic Yellowstone National Park. Visit the small but fun town to see nightly rodeos, gun fight re-enactments, and listen to cowboy music.

The One Must-See Small Town in Your State