I love to travel, but I’m intimidated by big cities. I don’t know what it is – I’m usually good at being out of my comfort zone, which I think is part of why I like traveling so much, but cities just seem to bother me. So, this summer, I’m thinking about taking a road trip through some of America’s coolest small towns. I’m asking all over the place for recommendations, and I’d love to have some from travel and vacation experts. What are America’s best small towns? How should I lay out the perfect small-town road trip?
The United States is home to some of the most famous big cities in the world, but its small towns are every bit as iconic as its skyscraper-stuffed metropolises. The unique culture of American small towns is fascinating and often comforting, and it is everywhere in our movies, our TV shows, our books, and the rest of our cultural output. Some of that is fiction, of course, but the allure of the American small town is undeniable, and your idea sounds like a great way to spend a vacation.
But where should you go? There is no shortage of expert lists of the best American small towns to live in, work in, or visit, and there is plenty of disagreement on those lists. And, of course, it depends on what you’re looking for: do you want an off-the-beaten-path small town, or one known for drawing tourists? Which region is most important for you to visit?
Still, there are some towns that pop up again and again on these sorts of lists. Let’s take a look at a few.
In the northeast, few small towns are as famous as Cooperstown, New York. Cooperstown is widely (and erroneously) believed to be the birthplace of baseball, and it is the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but you can get there by flying into neighboring cities like Albany, Binghamton, and Syracuse, say the pros at Absolute Taxi, a company that offers transportation to and from Cooperstown.
The South, meanwhile, boasts towns like Natchitoches, Louisiana – a beautiful little town that just so happens to also be the oldest in the state. Abingdon, Virginia, and Beaufort, South Carolina, also finish high on travel rankings.
Frankenmuth, Michigan is one of the Midwest’s best small towns. It’s a wonder in winter thanks to its Christmas store – the world’s largest! The Frankenmuth population’s German roots have earned it the nickname “Little Bavaria.”
Out West, you’ll find lots of small towns in Eastern Oregon and Washington. And beautiful towns speckle California’s wine country. Further south, one popular pick is San Luis Obispo, California, which provides easy access to coastal California attractions while feeling secluded at the same time.
Of course, we live in a big country, and visiting all of these small towns in one trip would be difficult – if not impossible! Perhaps your best bet would be to take one region of our country at a time. You could build your trip around the most essential small towns of the region and linger in them for longer than you could if you were in a rush. But, whatever you decide, you’re sure to have an incredible experience in America’s small towns!
“No matter what you do, someone always knew you would.” – Ami McKay