The Very Best of Small Town America… for Roadtrips

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by on July 13, 2013

Country storeWhen planning a vacation, consider Smalltown, USA. You won’t have to travel far; odds are, you’re already pretty close to one of the best small towns in America. And if you love road-tripping, hop in the car and trek across this great land to unearth these best-kept secrets:

Wisconsin Dells, Wisc.

Wisconsin Dells may have a small population (less than 2,500), but it’s the waterpark capital of the world—that’s right, the world. That’s reason enough to visit this small-but-shining crown jewel of the Midwest, but the area offers much more than pools and waterslides. Festivals and events mark each season of the year at the Dells: summer features the Taste of Wisconsin Dells, a downtown BBQ festival with stage performances and microbrew tasting, and fall brings the Autumn Harvest Festival, with its good old-fashioned hay rides, farmer’s market and down-home entertainment.

Jackson Hole, Wyo.

If you’re looking for the adventure of the Wild West, it lives on in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The charming community was established in 1920, and while the population has grown to nearly 9,500 today, that’s small potatoes compared to most cities. Minutes from Yellowstone National Park, there’s always plenty to do right in Jackson, from hiking and camping to white water rafting, golfing and horseback riding. Yet for all its Old West appearances and early 20th-century quaintness, Jackson Hole boasts some of the best restaurants in the country, including the legendary Gun Barrel. And the "Hole" is home to a number of Western art galleries, proudly showcasing the brilliant works of talented painters and sculptors from all over the world.

Taos, N.M.

For an inspirational journey, explore the high-mesa town of Taos, N.M. No one knows whether it’s the altitude or the latitude and longitude that draws artistic types from all over the world, but you’ll recognize the indescribable phenomenon that grips your very spirit when you visit the Land of Enchantment. There’s always a celebration going on, from festivals to book signings, wine tastings to art shows, and you’ll never lack for something enjoyable to do in this small town. The county itself is much larger, with more than 32,000 citizens, but the town is still small and quaint, a tribute to the original 1934 settlement. You can enjoy Taos year-round, with snowshoeing and skiing in the winter and hiking and rafting in the summer.

Watkins Glen, N.Y.

The Big Apple is so yesterday—everyone’s been there. Instead, take a little detour to Watkins Glen, N.Y. At a population of 1,859, it’s a true small town that offers a lot of big-city fun, including the Watkins Glen International, a speedway that plays host to NASCAR, sports clubs and classic car organizations. Not into cars? That’s OK—Watkins Glen is a haven for antique-ers and farmers market aficionados alike. Or, take a hike along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and stop at any of the 50 wineries to sample the best of what the Glen has to offer.

These are just a few reasons to abandon the bright lights of the big city on your next trip in favor of the laid-back surroundings and entertaining activities of a small town. Don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to look up real estate listings and start looking at schools while you’re there. Small towns are the next big thing, you know.

Guest post by: Gloria is a stay-at-home mom and part-time fashion blogger. She’s originally from the East Coast.

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