9 SMALL TOWNS TO ADD TO YOUR US BUCKET LIST
In the mood for a small-town getaway? Every once in a while, I feel the need to escape my typically high-paced Dallas lifestyle. Visiting a small town always seems to hit the spot—it allows me to take a step back and enjoy the here and now. Check out these charming towns across the United States and add them to your destination bucket list!
Broken Bow is located in the southeast corner of Oklahoma and is a perfect getaway if you want to escape to the outdoors. Only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the town, the Ouachita Forest hosts plenty of hiking trails. There are water activities on Broken Bow Lake, state parks, and camping grounds—it’s the ultimate nature destination.
Alongside its rolling hills and dreamy forests, you can experience small-town hospitality when you stop by one of the local restaurants for a bite to eat. And if you’re not into camping, the area offers plenty of unique luxury cabin rentals that take glamping to a whole new level.
One of the luxury cabin rentals I stayed in had a hot tub built right into the bedroom floor and another hot tub on the deck. It rained a lot during that trip to Broken Bow, but soaking in a covered, outdoor tub while listening to the sounds of rain and nature is definitely my fondest memory from that trip.
The Texas Hill Country is arguably one of the most beautiful parts of Texas, and right in the heart of it lies the charming German-settled town of Fredericksburg. Surrounded by spring wildflowers, vineyards, and dreamy natural pools, this town should definitely be on your US bucket list!
As you walk along Main Street, be sure to explore the antique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. My favorite stops are August E’s, where you can enjoy your dinner in an art gallery setting, and make sure to hit the Above and Beyond Day Spa for a relaxing Swedish massage.
Fredericksburg offers a lovely mix of history and southern charm; you can actually stay in a historic “Sunday cottage,” named for how the early settlers would build weekend cottages to stay in after journeying into town.
This little town is about a thirty-minute drive away from Denver. With remarkable sunrises and sunsets, a lovely downtown, and easy access to both mountains and city, Golden is perfect for a getaway.
Right at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this town has roots in the gold rush and was a mining capital in the nineteenth century. These days, you’ll experience its history amidst western flair and architecture.
While you’re in Golden, be sure to stroll along Washington Avenue and hike Lookout Mountain. If you’re up for it, wake up early to watch a pink sunrise light up the sky.
Leavenworth, in the Pacific Northwest, is marked by its Bavarian architecture. About two hours away from Seattle, this mountain town will make you forget you’re in America.
Ever wish for the holidays year-round? Leavenworth feels festive all year long! Celebrate its Bavarian style by grabbing a pretzel from Rhein Haus, enjoying a carriage ride down Main Street, and stopping by the Nutcracker Museum.
If you’re looking for nature activities, there are plenty of parks, rivers, and lakes nearby. I highly recommend hiking the Colchuck Lake Trail for incredible views of a glacier lake surrounded by the Enchantment mountains. It’s a long, exhausting hike, but the view is so worth it.
This coastal city is full of small-town feels. As you drive up the Oregon coast, you’ll want to stop and stay in Newport for can’t-miss ocean views, delicious local food, and plenty of marine life activities, like whale watching and crabbing in the bay.
I visited Newport on a road trip through the Pacific Northwest and it definitely left its mark. Between the crisp ocean air and the light fog that came off the Pacific, there were relaxing coastal vibes as soon as I set foot in Newport.
Though I was just making my way up the coast looking for stunning landscapes to photograph (like Newport’s picturesque Yaquina Head lighthouse), this town captured my heart and I can’t wait to return.
Paia is a surfer town located in northern Maui with a ton of cute shops and restaurants. Here you’ll find plenty of vibrant colors and relaxing Aloha vibes.
While in Paia, dine at Mama’s Fish House (it’s actually one of my favorite restaurants in the whole world) for some exquisitely prepared, locally caught seafood. To top off the free-spirited vibes of Paia, watch surfers at the famous Ho’okipa Beach Park nearby.
Set in the Sierra Blanca Mountains, Ruidoso is home to the southernmost ski resort in the United States, Ski Apache. While the town is commonly known for the resort, there is so much more to do besides skiing!
Located in southern New Mexico, Ruidoso is full of Native American culture, scenic vistas, and is just a drive away from White Sands National Monument—a stunning natural area with fine white sand dunes and incredible sunsets.
If you’re visiting Ruidoso while there’s a show going on at the Spencer Theater, grab some tickets! The theater is a work of art in itself—hosting stunning architecture and Chihuly glass art installments throughout. It hosts world-class performances, including shows that are off-Broadway. As my friend and I toured the Spencer Theater it was easy to see why this place is a Ruidoso treasure— incredible attention to stage details and its long history of famous productions.
San Luis Obispo—a small city—is a gem along the California coast, perfectly located between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The lush greenery and farms are interwoven into the very fabric of San Luis Obispo. At many local restaurants, you’ll find fresh, locally sourced ingredients. San Luis Obispo has been doing farm-to-table before it was trendy.
You definitely want to hit the charming wineries, too. Be sure to stop by both Biddle Ranch Vineyard and Baileyana, Tangent & True Myth for a tasting.
Sundance is a cozy town near Park City where you’ll find stunning mountains, waterfalls, and one of the longest ziplines in America.
Its namesake, the Sundance Mountain Resort, is a rustic resort founded by Robert Redford at the base of Mount Timpanogos.
Skiing, hiking, and ziplining are three popular activities in Sundance. Stewart Falls Trail, a personal favorite, takes you right to the most scenic waterfall. For an even greater view, the zipline takes you soaring 2,100 feet high, the highest vertical drop of any zipline tours in America!
Jasmine Alley is a travel blogger that is passionate about exploring the world with a positive attitude. She shares thoughtful itineraries & tips from her travels.