Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- 1. Jerome, Arizona
- 2. Bentonville, Arkansas
- 3. California's Eastern Sierra
- 4. Solvang, California
- 5. Claremont, California
- 6. Golden, Colorado
- 7. Glenwood Springs, Colorado
- 8. Ouray, Colorado
- 9. DeLand, Florida
- 10. Winterset, Iowa
- 11. Clarksdale, Mississippi
- 12. Lake McConaughy, Nebraska
- 13. Taos, New Mexico
- 14. Lake George, New York
- 15. Chattanooga, Tennessee
- 16. Cheyenne, Wyoming
Skip the crowded streets of the big cities and embark on a new kind of travel adventure in America’s best small towns. There’s something enchanting, intriguing and delightful about small towns in the United States. From off-the-beaten-path destinations to surprising suburbia, these 16 SheBuysTravel approved small towns in America are road trip and detour-worthy.
Our SheBuysTravels have traveled the world over, from magical bucket list destinations like Croatia to first class-cruising to the Baltic Sea on the Regent Seven Seas. But when the dust settles on these amazing family vacations, we love discovering equally magical small towns in the United States.
Read on for our 16 top picks of America’s Best Small Towns, from California to Colorado to New York and places in between.
1. Jerome, Arizona
Not dead yet. The famously funny line from Monty Python could be the motto for Jerome, a hilltop town near Sedona, Arizona, says SheBuysTravel . It went from boom to near doom when the mining industry closed up shop and nearly disappeared from the map. But dedicated (and quirky) residents keep Jerome alive.
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Cathy says this is one of the best small towns as it’s worth a visit for the history and to see the world’s largest kaleidoscope store.
2. Bentonville, Arkansas
A small town in Northwest Arkansas is not likely on your radar for a family-friendly vacation. Well, you should think again about adding Bentonville, Arkansas and the surrounding area to your family’s travel bucket list.
Bentonville makes the list as one of American’s best small towns for a lot of reasons. While the town square looks like something out of an old movie, the town has culture, amenities and activities you’d expect to find in a much larger metropolitan area. For art enthusiasts, the Crystal Art Museum is a contemporary gem.
SheBuysTravel Jenn Mitchel visited there in the fall for a beautiful change in foliage. She can’t wait to go back in the spring or early summer for outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, cycling and more. With a modern regional airport only 30 minutes outside of town, it’s easy to get to Bentonville from all over the country.
3. California’s Eastern Sierra
The small towns of Big Pine, Bishop and Lone Pine along US Hwy 395 in California’s Eastern Sierra offer unique experiences and incredible scenery, says SheBuysTravel Julie Bigboy. Families will enjoy Laws Historical Village and Railroad Museum, Keough’s Hot Springs, The Museum of Western Film History and Alabama Hills recreation area, all just a short drive from Los Angeles!
4. Solvang, California
Get all the charm of a European getaway without the red-eye flight. SheBuysTravel Catherine Parker says to head north out of LA to Solvang, in California’s central coast. Along its tree-lined streets, play eye spy for Denmark’s famous landmarks, like the Little Mermaid statue, or one of five authentic windmills. Saunter past traditional half-timbered buildings with blooming window boxes and thatched roofs. Learn about how the Vikings found North America 500 years before Columbus at the Elverhøj Museum of History and Art. Then, a must for readers, visit Hans Christian Andersen Museum and Bookstore, upstairs from the Book Loft.
Since Catherine sniffs out pastries like some sort of sugar hound, she recommends sampling at least a couple of Solvang’s five bakeries. Never known a kid to say no to a pancake. So skip over to the Solvang Restaurant and sample the Danish Aebleskiver, the traditional round pancakes dusted with powdered sugar
5. Claremont, California
SheBuysTravel Sarah Ricks says, “No need for a car during a weekend in Claremont, California, because everything is within walking distance in this upscale village.” Restaurants, shops, art galleries, day spas and the beautiful campus of the Claremont Colleges are all within a few blocks of each other.
“And since we stayed at a downtown boutique hotel, we got to ditch all California traffic. Because there was no need to drive.”
6. Golden, Colorado
If you’re looking for Colorado small town charm, look no further than Golden, located in the foothills about 20 minutes west of downtown Denver. According to SheBuysTravel Diana Rowe, families of all ages are welcomed to Golden with a wide range of activities from hiking, biking, tubing, cultural attractions, museums and Old West history. And many of the things to do in Golden are FREE, from a self-guided walk exploring its murals and statues to family-friendly hikes.
7. Glenwood Springs, Colorado
One of the best locales for family fun exists on the Western slope of Colorado, according to SheBuysTravel Susie Kellogg. Located in the center of the Rocky Mountains, the little mountain town of Glenwood Springs is a mecca of adventure, history and good old-fashioned fun. There are always free things to do in Glenwood Springs, especially in the summer. You can also get a taste of history by staying in the historic Hotel Colorado.
8. Ouray, Colorado
Nestled beneath dramatic Rocky Mountain’s peaks, SheBuysTravel Yvonne Jasinsk says “Ouray delivers not only fabulous views but also the charm of a well-preserved Victorian mountain town.”
The entire town is listed on the National Register of Historic Districts. Popular enough to have sufficient travel infrastructure, it remains uncrowded and welcoming. Nicknamed “The Switzerland of America” for its scenery and recreational opportunities, it is a perfect base for a fabulous vacation.
9. DeLand, Florida
DeLand, Florida is one of the Sunshine State’s best hidden gems. loves the darling Main Street community and local businesses, but the delicious food, unique shops (think vinyl and books), Museum of Art, Athens Theatre and area attractions put DeLand at the top of her list of America’s best small towns.
Tour the eloquent 150+-year-old Stetson Mansion or go skydiving at Skydive DeLand. Parents can enjoy a glass of delicious Odd Elixir Meads or cold draft beer from Persimmon Hollow Brewing, while kids can pet tortoises and watch crocodiles at Smooth Waters Wildlife Park. The street art, sculptures, and murals are interesting, too.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Enjoy yummy Key Lime pies and pie bars from Kermit’s Key West at the Patterson Avenue location in DeLand—the tasty treats are made here.
10. Winterset, Iowa
Just 30 minutes southwest of Des Moines, discover a real Americana small town, Winterset, with BIG things to do. The rolling hills of Iowa were the birthplace of Hollywood legend John Wayne, and the town honors him with a museum and trail, drawing thousands of international travelers. This region also inspired the novel and movie, Bridges of Madison County, a love story set among the area’s six covered cedar bridges.
Explore Winterset’s historic downtown town square with quaint shops, galleries, restaurants, Iowa Quilt Museum and local businesses. Visit The local variety store, Ben Franklin, with its unique souvenirs and toys. Take a selfie with the super-sized John Wayne sculpture in front of the museum named for him. On the edge of town in its City Park discover one of Iowa’s iconic covered bridges, the Cutler-Donahue and read the names and years inked on its walls.
11. Clarksdale, Mississippi
The Mississippi Delta is the birthplace of the Blues, an American art form. And the funky, friendly little town of Clarksdale, Mississippi is home to the Delta Blues Museum, nominated as one of America’s best small towns by SheBuysTravel Sarah Ricks. It’s a fabulous museum, especially for listening to snippets of music performances and video interviews. And the Museum has regular live performances. So do the several Blues clubs in Clarksdale.
She visited Clarksdale for the music, but she could have visited for just the delicious Southern food. Her favorites included Yazoo Pass Restaurant and Meraki Coffee & Roastery.
12. Lake McConaughy, Nebraska
Sometimes America’s best small towns also fall into the category of best lake towns in the United States. If you’re from the Midwest, chances are you’ve already heard of the white sand beaches of Lake Mac. This lake is SheBuysTravel Diana Rowe’s favorite family road trip for so many reasons — from its white sand beaches to a fishing paradise to endless water sports for families of all sizes.
Built on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills just 8 miles northeast of Ogallala, you’ll be dipping your toes and dropping your fishing line in Lake McConaughy with its more than 100 miles of shoreline.
13. Taos, New Mexico
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to Taos, New Mexico. Families are invited to experience its affordable four-season family vacation destination. Enjoy 300+ days of sunshine, fewer crowds and more year-round fun and family-friendly attractions in Taos. Whether you’re road tripping with the family (like we did) or flying into the nearby Albuquerque airport, one visit to Taos will make you plan your next. After several visits to this cool New Mexico town, check out the 7 best things to do in Taos, NM with kids.
14. Lake George, New York
Ready for a beautiful family-friendly destination in the Adirondacks? Lake George, New York, is where the more adventurous travelers can enjoy watersports and ziplining in summer and winter sports when the snow flies. Those who want a more relaxing family vacation can spend their day in a beach chair by the lake, wander through the shops or enjoy a nice meal overlooking the water. There’s also a variety of accommodations, from bed & breakfasts to chain hotels, making it easy to find one that fits the budget.
15. Chattanooga, Tennessee
With so many extraordinary attractions in the USA, it is easy to overlook places like Chattanooga, Tennessee. But once you visit, you will quickly realize that Chattanooga is not only an interesting destination to visit but also a great place to live. SheBuysTravel Yvonne Jasinski fell in love with this city and she thinks you will too. Check out this list of fun things to do in Chattanooga.
16. Cheyenne, Wyoming
For those who love to dig into true western experiences, Cheyenne, Wyoming should be at the top of your list of America’s best small towns. Pack your cowboy boots and hat and bring your little buckaroos. Point your vacation radar to Wyoming and its rich wild west history. From a bison ranch to gunslingers to its high energy Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo along with its outdoor activities, these are the 8 top fun things to do with kids in Cheyenne.
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