55 Best Small Towns to Visit on a Road Trip of America

Many Americans have spent time traveling to large metropolitan cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles and, while these cities are great, you can miss out on experiencing a major portion of the country if you only spend time in big cities. The small towns of America are another excellent reason to travel through this great nation. Each small town has its own unique vibe that it derives from the people who live there, the history of the place itself, the natural surroundings, and its cultural heritage. If you’ve been thinking about a road trip this year, be sure to visit a number of America’s small towns. You won’t regret it. To help you get the most of your road trip, we asked our audience for the most fun, most unique, and most interesting small towns in America. So grab your road map and your packing list, and take a look:


Deadwood, SD

deadwood, south dakota Deadwood, South Dakota is the epitome of an American small town. It's rich "Wild West" history is kept alive through daily reenactments, original landmarks such as the site of Wild Bill's infamous death, and a historic Main Street full of famously named hotels and casinos. Haunted tours are available and the local Adams Museum offers a peek into the towns mining history. The town is especially interesting for history buffs given the recent television show “Deadwood.”

Deadwood also offers scenic walking and biking trails within the beautiful Black Hills. It's a great stop in between landmarks such as Devils Tower, Mt. Rushmore, and Badlands National Park, all of which are within South Dakota. It's also a great stopping point coming from somewhere like Yellowstone National Park. Deadwood offers something for both children and adults alike and is a must see on any true American road trip.

Madeline Rosenthal
Historic Deadwood

Faribault, MN

faribault, minnesotaHistory buffs will love Faribault. The City of Faribault, Minnesota predates statehood and has the state's second largest historic district, second only to the capital city of St. Paul. The town is home to several notable and unique businesses, including three that are over 150 years old.

The Faribault Woolen Mill was founded in 1865, the year Lincoln died and the Civil War ended. Faribault woolens are renowned for their comfort and quality. From providing woolen blankets for pioneers heading west to comforting our troops through two world wars, Faribault’s woolens are woven into American history.

The Cheese Cave’s AmaBlu® blue cheese recipe was created here at the caves in 1936 by Felix Frederiksen. It is the first blue cheese made and marketed nationally from the first site of American made blue cheese. Today they faithfully follow the original recipe, carefully making cheese by hand in traditional open vats and cured in sand-stone caves.

Shattuck was founded in 1858 as a military academy and functioned as such until 1974 when it merged with the girls school, St. Mary’s. Known today as Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the school created the model of 'centers of excellence' by starting a world-class hockey program, which has produced such greats as Sidney Crosby, Zach Parise, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Eaves. This 'center of excellence' model has been expanded to include soccer, figure skating, golf, pre-conservatory music, bioscience, engineering, and a vocal performance program.

The attractions don’t end there. Faribault is also the birthplace of one of America’s most iconic carnival rides, the Tilt-a-Whirl, which was invented and manufactured here for over 80 years. Two restored "tubs" (one of which was featured on the History Channel series, American Restoration) can be found in the historic downtown district for photo ops. The Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour in Faribault is the oldest cathedral in Minnesota. Built 1862–1869, it was the first church in the United States of America designed as a cathedral. If you’re on a road trip through Minnesota, be sure to make a stop in Faribault.

Tami Schluter
Historic Hutchinson House B&B

Abilene, KS

abilene, kansasNamed one of the “Top 20 Best Small Towns” to visit by Smithsonian Magazine, Abilene, Kansas is a tourist destination. Without President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Interstate System, road trips would be much more challenging. With an attendance of more than 200,000 last year, the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home continue to attract visitors of all ages. The Eisenhower Presidential Library is not only home to Eisenhower’s Presidential papers, but also his military records. As the only Five-Star General and President, Eisenhower’s legacy continues to evolve, helping him to achieve “Top 5” status in most popular presidents by CSPAN historians.

In addition to the Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum, Abilene is home to many other attractions. The Seelye Mansion was named one of the “8 Wonders of Kansas – Architecture” and has featured on the History Channel’s Mysteries at the Mansion.  The 11,000 square foot home is like a time capsule. Most of the furnishings were purchased at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair and cost more than $55,000. Frank Lloyd Wright remodeled the interior in the 1920s but the home still features the original Edison light fixtures and Tiffany fireplace. Visitors to this unique place even get to bowl on the 1905 box ball alley, which was purchased at the World’s Fair.

At the Dickinson County Heritage Center, visitors learn about Dickinson County’s wonderful history. The Center tells the stories of famous residents from C.L. Brown, whose telephone company eventually became known as Sprint, to Abilene’s former town Marshal James “Wild Bill” Hickok and Joseph McCoy who brought hundreds of thousands of cattle to Abilene in the 1860s, making Abilene into a booming cowtown at the end of the Chisholm Trail.

The Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad is another reason to visit. The train departs Abilene eastbound for a 10½ mile round trip through the Smoky Hill River Valley to the neighboring community of Enterprise, KS. In Enterprise, the train stops for riders to see the Hoffman Grist Mill, with a rebuilt working waterwheel that mills flour. The railroad is operated by volunteers, which includes engineers, conductors, brakemen, car attendants that narrate every trip and depot workers. Volunteers also take care of the mechanical and track maintenance.

Other attractions include the Greyhound Hall of Fame, 1901 C.W. Parker Carousel, Great Plains Theatre, and antique shopping. Explore the exciting world of racing in the Greyhound Capitol of the World at the Greyhound Hall of Fame. Make sure to take a whirl on the 1901 C.W. Parker Carousel, believed to be the oldest operating Parker carousel in existence. The carousel is hand-carved featuring 24 horses and four chariots. The Great Plains Theatre is the only live theatre between Denver and Kansas City. With more than 150 antique vendors, Abilene is also a great place for shopping.

Julie Roller
Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau

Quad Cities in IL and IA

quad citiesAs the largest metropolitan area on the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Louis, the Quad Cities is comprised of the riverfront cities of Rock Island and Moline/East Moline in Illinois, and Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa.  The mighty river runs east to west here and the area offers affordable adventures with a marvelous variety of things to see and do.

The Great River Road Scenic Byway is a key reason to visit the Quad Cities area. This scenic byway travels on both the east and west sides of the Mississippi River.  Follow Highways 61 and 67 for a trip along the Mississippi River in Iowa.  As the river changes course to flow east to west through the Quad Cities, this scenic byway takes you through riverfront towns and along the bluffs. Along Illinois Route 92, the Great River Road sweeps along the river. In 2009, National Geographic Traveler named the Great River Road from Minneapolis to Davenport as one of the 50 “Drives of a Lifetime.”  With the museums and attractions that have cropped up along the way, it is “not only one of the most scenic drives in the country, but also one of the culturally richest.”

The Quad Cities will keep you entertained with fun attractions including festivals, casinos, river cruises, shopping, dining, historic sites, outdoor recreation, performing arts, and more. One unique attraction is the John Deere Pavilion. John Deere is headquartered in Moline and visitors to the John Deere Pavilion are free to touch the machines, climb in the cabs, and learn about the agricultural, construction and forestry equipment offered by this storied brand. Make a point to stop in the Quad Cities on your next road trip.

Jessica Waytenick
Public Relations & Marketing Manager
Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau

Kenosha, WI

kenosha, wisconsinWhile it’s the fourth largest city in Wisconsin, it’s small by most standards (about 100,000 people) and has the friendliness, hospitality, and affordability of a small town. Kenosha is located in the southeast corner of the state on Lake Michigan, centered between Chicago and Milwaukee.

There are many great reasons to visit Kenosha. The Civil War Museum is one of only three venues featuring a 360-degree film experience in the country. Mammoths unearthed in Kenosha County are featured at the Kenosha Public Museum. Kenosha’s extensive automotive history is explored at the Kenosha History Center; there are five Downtown Kenosha museums and four historic districts in all. Kenosha’s fleet of seven authentic Electric Streetcars travel through Downtown Kenosha and along the Lake Michigan shore. Uke’s Harley-Davidson is Wisconsin’s oldest H-D dealership (1930), and one of the oldest in the world.

Kenosha has also become quite the foodie town, with a great mix of well-established and newer, locally-owned restaurants. The Food Network Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, declared that Mars Cheese Castle’s grilled cheese is one of his top-eight sandwiches in the country. The shop that opened in 1947 doubled in size this year. Other long-time shops include Tenuta’s Delicatessen and Liquors (1950) and Jack Andrea (1911). There are many locally-owned specialty shops here. Among the landmarks are: Big Star Drive-In, Brat Stop, Casa Capri, House of Gerhard, Mangia Wine Bar, The Spot Drive-In, and Villa D’Carlo. We also have Franks Diner, which is nationally known, having appeared on many TV shows including Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

The majority of the Lake Michigan shore is open to the public. Amenities and activities include a sculpture walk, fishing, paths for walking and biking, spaces for numerous lakefront events including free concerts, a lighthouse to climb, charter fishing and tall ship sailing excursions, and much more.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Manager
Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Oak Park, IL

oak park, illinoisConveniently nestled along I-290 just 10 miles west of downtown Chicago, Oak Park has piqued the interest of both local and international visitors alike with its historically significant architecture, quaint hotels, welcoming locals, and eclectic dining scene. Named one of the top ten neighborhoods in the nation by the American Planning Association, Oak Park effortlessly blends the liveliness of urban living and the cozy charm of suburbia.

The history and architecture of the area is a great reason to visit Oak Park. Home to the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, a trip to Oak Park would be incomplete without exploring its Prairie style jewels. Discover the beginning of greatness at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio, explore the grandeur of his recently restored Unity Temple, and take a self-guided walking tour through the Wright Historic District home to 25 Wright-designed landmarks. Pay a visit to the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace, just a few blocks from the heart of Oak Park. This landmark residence, a beautifully preserved Victorian home where the award-winning writer spent the first six years of his life, showcases a mix of antique furniture and old photographs sure to thrill any literature fan. Considered one of the top historical sites in Oak Park, the Oak Park Conservatory is home to over 20,000 vibrant plants in its Mediterranean, Tropical, and Desert greenhouses. Guests can explore its collection of citrus, herbs, subtropical and exotic flowers, palms, cacti, succulents, and more – all for free, donations appreciated. Designed by George W. Maher and considered one of the earliest examples of Prairie style architecture in the country, the Pleasant Home is an opulent 30-room mansion that beautifully showcases 19th century craftsmanship. Ornate custom woodwork, vibrant art glass windows, and intricate tiling awaits at every corner.

The dining and entertainment options are numerous in Oak Park. As stylish and warm as the European jazz clubs it aims to emulate, the Little Gem Café serves up New American spins on French bistro classics. Its elegant setting, weekly live jazz, and rotating lineup of inventive cocktails are reliably crowd-pleasing. Lou Malnati’s is situated in the heart of downtown Oak Park and is the area’s premier spot for a taste of Chicago’s original legendary deep dish pizza. An energetic dining room, hip décor, and unparalleled quality are on tap at this uniquely Midwestern eatery. Transport yourself to the Mediterranean coast with Rustico’s unique take on a variety of Spanish and Italian favorites. A wide range wood-fired pizzas, authentic tapas, and seafood pastas highlight unique culinary flourishes are served up at this rustic yet cozy hotspot in the heart of Oak Park.

Shopping with a conscience has never been easier in Oak Park. Ten Thousand Villages offers handmade gifts made by artisans from more than 35 countries across the globe. Discover home décor, one-of-a-kind jewelry, striking tableware, and so much more – all the while ensuring the makers are earning their fair share. Named the best bookstore in Illinois by Real Simple, The Book Table is an independently-owned treasure nestled in the heart of downtown Oak Park. You’ll find more than 60,000 new and used titles, many of them discounted 75% from the cover price, lining the shelves of this bibliophile’s dream.

Kevin Kilbride
Marketing & Social Media Manager

Franklin, IN

franklin, inOver one hundred antique, vintage, and collector cars traverse thousands of miles across the United States for the Great Race. Franklin, IN was selected as one of the sixteen stops for the 2017 race route and for good reason. Franklin, IN has a charming downtown with numerous outdoor dining spots, like The Willard, cozy B&B’s like The Flying Frog or Ashley Drake Historic Inn. There’s a great craft brew scene, including Hoosier Brewing Company and Shale Creek Brewing. Shale Creek Brewing is located in a large building with a retractable roof for enjoying the weather.

Other attractions within and around Franklin are the River City Winery tasting room, as well as Vino Villa, a shop with hundreds of bottles of wine (and they also have a cafe to serve small plates and wine). There are numerous antique shops and local boutique shops in downtown Franklin. There’s also a farmers market on Saturdays and numerous festivals and events.

Ken Kosky
Director of Tourism
Festival Country Indiana

Hamilton, OH

hamilton, ohioHamilton, Ohio is a small community located right on the Great Miami River in southwestern Ohio. The nearest major city to Hamilton is Cincinnati, which is about 33 miles away.  

Hamilton stands apart from neighboring communities in this region because of its historical charm. While most of the other cities are suburbs that were built in the 20th century, Hamilton was founded in 1791. This makes it one of the oldest communities in the region. Recently, Hamilton has gone through a revitalization, transforming their downtown into a cultural hub for arts, dining, recreational activities and downtown living.

Integrating their historical charm with modern entertainment, the city has become a hotspot for regional residents looking to have fun, while still getting that small town feel. Below are several key places that have been extremely popular with locals and also highlight this unique combination of small town and modern entertainment.

Key places in Hamilton include:

  • Municipal Brew Works – A craft brewery located in downtown Hamilton. Enjoy locally made beer, cornhole and some food from one of the visiting food trucks.
  • Great Miami River – From kayaking and canoeing to biking next to the river, there are a variety of outdoor recreation activities in Hamilton. Take in some beautiful wildlife and enjoy the sights and sounds.
  • Donut Trail – Ohio’s first and only Donut Trail highlights small, family-run donut shops throughout Butler County (county Hamilton is in). Participating donut shops along the trail represent a combined 227 years of donut-making. Two stops on the trail are in Hamilton.
  • Neal’s Famous BBQ – This hidden gem is known for their ribs and coleslaw and has small town prices you can’t find in a big city.
  • Jolly’s Drive-In – Is an old fashion drive in that sells hot dogs, draft root beer floats, chicken sandwiches and other classic favorites. Open for 79 years this spring this place is an institution.
  • German Village Historic District – This nine-block historic district is adjacent to the Great Miami River. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the area showcases a variety 19th century architectural styles. Today it is mixture of homes, business and community gathering places.
  • Sara’s House – Located in a renovated house in the heart of downtown Hamilton, this unique business sells repurposed furniture, accessories and gifts. This business truly embodies turning something old into something new, just like Hamilton.

Amanda Ensinger
Senior Associate
Inspire PR Group

Logan, OH

logan, ohioLogan, Ohio is a wonderful small town in the Hocking Hills region of southeast Ohio, home to some of the globe’s most dazzling fall foliage. Marked by lush forests, soaring cliffs, stunning black hand sandstone rock formations, intriguing caves and rushing waterfalls, Logan offers Eco Tours at High Rock Adventures, rappelling, canopy tours, and even off-road Segway tours. The John Glenn Astronomy Park offers the chance to gaze at a spectacular sea of stars and get a detailed look at planets which are so visible here in dark sky country (the size of Logan means it is devoid of light pollution).

Logan is home to great arts, wonderful live music, and excellent food in affordable local restaurants. Here you can visit the last washboard factory in America that is still open and making washboards. The annual Washboard Music Festival draws tens of thousands every summer and features musicians adept at using the washboard as a musical instrument. The Appalachian Listening Room offers high end sodas from around the world and features songwriters, performers, and poets. Logan is also home to the world’s only Pencil Sharpener Museum.

Authentic local moonshiners, whose past includes an interesting tangle of mining labor disputes, Prohibition, and local Appalachian moonshine history, are still making great shine in Logan.  (These aren't skinny jean-wearing hipsters funded by major corporations, but real-deal hillbillies whose bootlegging families have been making moonshine in these hills for generations.) This place is rich with wonderfully friendly characters, unusual nature experiences, and interesting local culture. Make a stop in Logan on your next road trip.

Amy Weirick
Weirick Communications

Athens, OH

athens, ohioAthens, Ohio is the perfect small town to visit on a road trip. Home to Ohio University, Athens has been named one of the most beautiful college campuses in America by Expedia. It’s a town that anyone will fall in love with.

Athens participates in the 30 Mile Meal initiative, which means the majority of the restaurants in town gather their food and ingredients from farms located within a 30 mile radius. There’s also Brewed on the Bikeway, a 21-mile bike trail with award-winning craft breweries, a craft beer hall, and a cider house all accessible from the trail. The Ridges, which was formerly known as the Athens Lunatic Asylum, is a historical site for Athens and is now home to the Kennedy Art Museum and many walking trails. Athens County is also home to the Windy 9, nearly 1,000 miles of the best driving, riding and biking routes in the state of Ohio. Athens offers a variety of outdoor recreation activities and is close to Hocking Hills. There’s truly something for everyone in Athens.

Courtney Spiess
Account Coordinator
Inspire PR Group


Bird-in-Hand, PA

bird in hand, pennsylvaniaSmack-dab in the middle of Amish Country Pennsylvania is a little town called Bird-in-Hand.

The town is located 1.5 hours west of Philadelphia, 1.5 hours north of Baltimore, and 2.75 hours southwest of NYC.

Visitors to Bird-in-Hand are immersed in local culture and history in a number of ways. There are frequent auctions and “mud sales,” where Amish buy and sell supplies for their farms, in the middle of town. In the same field where the mud sales take place, the US Hot Air Balloon Team gives rides over the beautiful surrounding farmlands. Other interesting local activities include Amish horse-and-buggy rides and a farmer's market.

The food is another reason to visit Bird-in-Hand. A Pennsylvania Dutch food buffet is on offer at Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord which offers a true smorgasbord of Amish-style food, most of which comes from local Amish farmers. There is also a tour to visit these farms. Each summer there is a “Cornfield Banquet” where attendees take a hay-ride, navigate a corn maze, and eat a meal in the middle of a cornfield. Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop also offers handmade ice cream and local favorites like “Shoofly pie.”

Entertainment is easy to find as well. The Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant also has a live theatre in the basement of the restaurant that puts on shows with Amish, Mennonite, and farmland themes. All guests at any of the lodging properties receive a free 2-hour bus tour of Amish farmlands, with a stop at an Amish-owned quilt shop, Log Cabin Quilt Shop & Fabrics.

Kenn Bennett
Marketing Specialist
Bird-in-Hand Corporation

Jim Thorpe, PA

jim thorpe, pennsylvaniaJim Thorpe, PA is consistently found on national media “Best” lists and recognized among the most fun, beautiful, and romantic small towns to visit. It is ideal for both a weekend getaway or an extended stay vacation, located just 1.5 hours from Philadelphia, 2 hours from New York City and less than 3 hours from Baltimore.

Tucked in the extraordinary Lehigh Gorge of the Poconos Mountains, Jim Thorpe has become a favorite tourist destination. The area offers many opportunities to experience outdoor adventure sports like white water rafting, mountain biking, paintball and hiking. Hikers will love the trails in Lehigh Gorge State Park, with Glen Onoko Falls a popular trail destination just north of downtown.

You’ll enjoy the walkable downtown’s accommodations. Teeming with history, Jim Thorpe features unique Victorian architecture and is also a popular travel spot for railroad buffs. The town is home to the Asa Packer and Harry Packer historic mansions. Asa Packer was the founder of Lehigh Valley Railroad and Lehigh University and Harry was his son. The Asa Packer Mansion is also a museum and has been providing tours since Memorial Day of 1956. The Harry Packer Mansion is a bed and breakfast and inspired the Haunted Mansion ride at Walt Disney World in Florida. Come see the town for yourself and make Jim Thorpe your “Best” getaway!

Diane Prokop
Innkeeper at Times House B&B
Board member at large, Jim Thorpe Tourism Agency

Yardley, PA

yardley, pennsylvaniaYardley, PA is an excellent place to visit on a road trip. The Continental Tavern is a historic building that, legend has it, is haunted with spirits from its Underground Railroad past. During a 2007 renovation, construction crews found a basement accessible only through a trap door behind the bar. This dirt-floored basement was littered with rare antiques and artifacts, and became the site of a full archaeological dig.

Another great pit stop is Vault Brewing Company for a quick pint. Another nearby historic landmark is Washington Crossing Historic Park, the spot where George Washington famously crossed the Delaware River to win the Battle of Monmouth during the Revolutionary War.

Great River Road, known for being one of the best driving roads in America, runs straight through Yardley. It’s very scenic, running alongside the Delaware River. Yardley is located between NYC and Philly, making it a great stopping point for a longer road trip.

Alexa Johnson
Public Relations Manager

Hawley, PA

hawley, pennsylvaniaA great American small town to visit is Hawley, PA, one of the winners of Benjamin Moore's Main Street Matters in the USA. It is a borough located in Wayne County, PA with a population of 1,211 (as of the 2010 U.S. Census). The town is situated on the Lackawaxen River and has a wealth of walking trails, scenic beauty and a lovely town park.

History buffs will love the historic buildings on offer in Hawley. The Settlers Inn, Teeter's Furniture, Penny Lane Candies and Candles, Hotel Belvidere, and Bellemonte Silk Mill are a few of the historic attractions in town. According to the Huffington Post, “If you are a fan of the English Arts and Crafts movement, you’ll love The Settlers Inn.  Common areas, rooms and the excellent in-house restaurant are all dressed in Stickley-like finery – an unusual motif for a full-service boutique inn.” Teeters' Furniture is a family-owned furniture store that, since 1849, has served customers in Hawley and the surrounding area with low prices on products and impeccable customer service. Penny Lane Candies and Candles is housed in a gorgeously restored 1890 Victorian building and features over 500 different kinds of candy, including rare nostalgic candies. The Hotel Belvidere is a historic landmark hotel that has been located at the intersection of Main Avenue and Church Street since 1902. Bellemonte Silk Mill, also known as Welwood Silk Mill and Sherman Underwear Mills, is a historic mill originally built in 1880-1881. It is a long and narrow bluestone building featuring a High Victorian Gothic style and is considered to be the largest bluestone building in the world.

There are a number of other great reasons to visit Hawley. The Hawley Harvest Hoedown takes place every October and includes games, brews, contests, demonstrations, family activities, crafts, as well as an evening Hawley Hoedown Bluegrass & Folk Concert. The Hawley Farmer’s Market takes place every week in Bingham Park and features fresh food from 20 farmers and six producers. The annual Wally Lake Fest takes place on Lake Wallenpaupack and includes sailboat rides, a boat parade to an open market fair, and a tour de towpath bike ride. Another great entertainment option, The Ritz Company Playhouse is a community theater offering musicals and strait shows during the summer months and holidays. Be sure to make a stop in the unique small town of Hawley, PA on your next road trip.

Sarah O’Fee
Director of Marketing
Settlers Hospitality

Gettysburg, PA

gettysburg, pennsylvaniaThe town of Gettysburg, PA is ultimately known for its history and battlefields, however, what this town has to offer goes well beyond that.

For the history buffs, there are plenty of museums and ways to tour the battlefield- self guided auto tours, iPad tours and licensed battlefield guide tours, by bus, horseback, bicycle, Segway and carriage to name a few.

Beyond the battlefield, discover the charm and culture of Gettysburg offers rarely found in a town of its size. Visitors can shop at the boutiques that line the sidewalk, eat at a variety of restaurants that boast a high culinary excellence and sample some local flavor at one of the downtown store wineries.

Ghosts aren't the only spirits in Gettysburg. Adams County is known for apples, but is slowly making its mark on the wine, cider and spirits world. There are a number of wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries in Gettysburg and just a few miles outside of town. Don’t let the distance deter you from visiting these places because the rolling hills and quaint countryside of Adams County makes for a scenic drive.

Whether it’s touring the battlefield and immersing yourself in the history, taking a stroll downtown and sampling some tasty treats along the way or getting out in the countryside and visiting the orchards and wineries, you’re sure to leave inspired.

Carl Whitehill
Director of Communications
Destination Gettysburg

Bristol, RI

bristol, rhode islandBristol, Rhode Island is a beautiful small town located 30 minutes from Providence and Newport, an hour from Boston, and three hours from NYC. Steeped in history, Bristol is a quintessential New England town. The well-preserved district contains shops, buildings, churches, and mansions that tell the story of Bristol since its founding in 1680. With charming accommodations and activities throughout the holiday season, it is a must-experience for families.

The town is a perfect waterfront vacation with classic New England foliage included. Visitors can take a seal watching kayak tour on Narragansett Bay which offers mind-blowing views of the natural beauty of Colt State Park, a 464-acre historical park with hiking trails, picnic groves, boating, an observation town and an open-air Chapel-by-the-Sea. Mount Hope Farm, a 127-acre historical site, also offers events throughout the season, including walking tours, geological discoveries and a Farmfest with games, Native American storytelling, live music, hayrides, farmer’s market and more.

If traveling the East coast, the reasons to visit Bristol are truly numerous and varied. A benefit of being a bayside town includes the fresh seafood and waterfront cuisine on offer. The rich history and striking architecture are complemented by a walking-friendly downtown area.  Other highlights of Bristol include 18 parks, nine museums, including Herreshoff Marine Museum, and numerous independently owned shops.

Elsbeth Pratt
Account Supervisor
Lou Hammond Group

Newport, RI

newport, rhode islandNewport, Rhode Island is considered the crown jewel of New England’s captivating coast.

For more than 375 years, Newport has been welcoming visitors from near and far, which is how this charming coastal enclave earned its moniker, America’s First Resort. Perhaps best known as a Gilded Age playground with legendary lavish mansions built for our country’s titans of industry, today, Newport and its surrounding coastal communities is a destination for seekers of art and culture, rich history, unspoiled beaches, miles of scenic trails, distinctive shops, critically-acclaimed restaurants, one-of-a-kind accommodations and world-class events. It’s our past and our present that make this place extraordinary.

During the Colonial period, Newport was a thriving city as it served as one of the foremost ports in the colonies. Today, there are more than 80 Colonial Era buildings throughout the city-- one of the largest, most extensive and well-preserved assortment dating from the early and mid-18th century. Visitors and especially architecture aficionados appreciate the authentic and very-much unchanged cityscape here, and there are many walking tours that explain in more depth about the history of these centuries-old buildings, the architects and more.

Other things visitors love to see and do:

The International Tennis Hall of Fame
Newport Mansions
12 Meter Yachts
Chinese Tea House at Alva Vanderbilt’s Marble House Grand
SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, is a full-rigged tall ship
Audrain Automobile Museum
Newport Storm Brewery & Newport Distilling makers of Thomas Tew Rums
Fort Adams: A National Historic Landmark
The Jane Pickens Theater & Event Center, a Classic Theater
The ca. 1916 Newport Art Museum
Eisenhower House, the Summer Retreat of President Dwight D. Eisenhower Three Stunning Vineyards

Also, for drivers especially, Newport is conveniently located 90 minutes south of Boston and 3 hours north of New York City.

Andrea McHugh
Marketing & Communications Manager
Discover Newport

North Conway, NH

north conway, new hampshireNorth Conway, NH has been named among the top winter ski towns, fall foliage towns and sports adventure towns over and over again by readers of National Geographic, USA Today and TripAdvisor.  Why? Because of the breadth and scope of the many things to do, places to stay and scenic beauty there and accessible within the surrounding Mt Washington Valley, NH.

It’s surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest, filled with fabulous hiking, biking, waterfalls and seemingly endless scenic beauty that varies each season. Within 30 minutes of North Conway, you’ll find 13 ski resorts and XC centers, with Cranmore Mountain Resort located right in the heart of North Conway. For non-skiers, Cranmore’s Adventure Center offers plenty of ways to get down the mountain in the winter with its Mountain Coaster and Tubing Park too.  The Mt Washington Valley Ski Touring & Snowshoe Foundation’s Whitaker Woods trails are also located right in North Conway offering perfect XC ski, snowshoeing, fat biking, mountain biking and hiking trails.

There are 11 golf courses surrounding the town with the North Conway Country Club’s 18-hole course and the White Mountain Hotel’s 9-hole course right in the center of North Conway. For rock and ice climbers, North Conway is a Mecca, and considered by many to be among the best training locations in the country. There are two renowned rock and ice climbing schools – the Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School and the International Mountain Climbing School.  In addition, no small town has as many guides, guiding programs and outfitters as North Conway.

It’s a hotbed of great tax-free shopping. There are more than 100 outlets, shops and boutiques in North Conway alone and another 100 or so within the surrounding Mt Washington Valley, making this a great place to come to shop. And a new mall, called Settlers Green Streetside has opened this fall. With its quintessentially New England town green, called Schouler Park, flanked by a beautifully preserved antique railroad station, you can’t deny the wonderful scenery here too. It offers views of Mount Washington – the tallest peak in the Northeast.

Other fun things to do include:

Marti Mayne
PR Manager
Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

Nyack, NY

nyack, new yorkTucked away on the west shore of the Hudson river, the Village of Nyack is a thriving artistic community rich in history, culture and small town charm.  A must for those with a bohemian side.  Only 20 miles north of New York City, this is a perfect destination for a day trip or weekend getaway during the Fall.  A scenic drive along the Palisades Interstate Parkway or via Route 9W will provide beautiful views of the Hudson Valley combined with spectacular, sweeping panoramas of the changing autumn colors.

Nyack is steeped in both cultural and natural beauty. It is the home of the painter Edward Hopper and visitors can tour his home, which has been transformed into an arts center dedicated to the artist.  Nyack boat charters are available from Nyack Marina, with options of 2 hr, ½ day, and full day excursions.  The Rockland Center for the Arts in nearby West Nyack is another reason to visit, where you’ll find intimate galleries, a modest sculpture park and hiking trails. 

Nyack also offers diverse dining options to satisfy every palate.  A local farmers market and eclectic shopping venues add to the mix. Maria Luisa is a boutique shop and local favorite specializing in “fine, handmade, fair trade and eco-friendly merchandise produced in the USA and around the world.” Entertainment comes in the form of neighborhood theater, film and live music venues, including a Halloween festival and parade not to be missed.

If you plan to stay overnight, the Time Hotel is a great option.  A converted old factory warehouse, this modern boutique hotel has successfully bridged the gap between the old and new. Interesting and well-designed décor, a great restaurant and lounge, along with comfortable rooms add to the experience. It is also conveniently located to all regional points of interest.

Outside of town, be sure to visit nearby Seven Lakes Drive and Bear Mountain State Park to enjoy some spectacular moments in nature. Seven Lakes Drive is must if you’re looking for gorgeous landscape vistas.  The scenic drive is surrounded by rustic, undeveloped woodland areas and passes by seven beautiful, pristine lakes (hence the name) at various points along the way.  There are several spots which offer fantastic views and are perfect locations to stop for a picnic or a barbeque.  For those who want to spend more time, there are a number of hiking trails to choose from.

Bear Mountain State Park is an idyllic retreat which offers even more hiking trails along with stunning perspectives of the Hudson Valley. The lake and mountain views accessed from various designated outlook points are quite spectacular. For those not wanting to hike, the park has some added features: a museum, zoo, and outdoor skating rink are just some of the activities available.  Plan a full day here to fully enjoy your experience, because the park is expansive. Arrive early to be sure to get access to good parking.

Denise Foley
Aspiring Travel Writer

Stockbridge, MA

stockbridge, massachusettsA staple amongst the Berkshire community since 1773, The Red Lion Inn of Stockbridge, MA has been welcoming travelers with its small-town America atmosphere for more than two centuries. Travelers are immediately immersed in history while driving into town along the North Berkshire Mohawk Trail route, once used for Native American trade. Along the way, views of golden, apricot, and maroon patchwork fall foliage are aplenty.

Once in town, visitors take a step back in time at historic attractions such as Jacob’s Pillow Farm, a crucial pit stop on the Underground Railroad, and the Norman Rockwell Museum, a testimony to Rockwell’s hometown-muse for 25 years. Many of Rockwell’s paintings hang in the permanent collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum, including the notorious Main Street at Christmas painting, in which The Red Lion Inn is featured.

If the outdoors are more your speed, you can hit the white water rapids by raft or kayak at Crab Apple Whitewater. With skiing, multiple golf courses, and plenty of woodland trails available, you’ll never need to spend a dull moment in Stockbridge. However, if you want outdoors, and lowkey, consider taking in a wine tasting tour at Berkshire Vineyards.

Stockbridge is well-stocked with restaurants as well. Everything from the fresh Italian of Michael’s Restaurant, to the European bistro-styled Once Upon a Table, to the romance and French-inspired Rouge, you’ll feel like you can travel the world without ever leaving this eccentric hamlet. Give yourself plenty of time if you make a pitstop in Stockbridge, you just may never want to leave.

Catie Gehlert

Northampton, MA

northampton, massachusettsAn incredible stop for a summertime road trip is Northampton, MA. Located a scenic hour north of Harford, CT, this beautiful city is home to festivals galore! Yearly festivals include an annual New Year’s Eve party, and Transperformance, and event where the locals take on the personas of famous musicians and put on a show. If you come out for Transperformance, you may even see the mayor of Northampton playing her bass guitar.

Northampton’s adorable downtown area with shops, murals, street art, and vegetarian-friendly dining will have you entertained for hours. The Smith College Museum of Art is not to be missed. This museum features an impressive collection of over 25,000 works of art. Plus, you'll be within a short driving distance from hiking mountain trails with gorgeous scenery. This cultural hub of Western Massachusetts is also home to the Academy of Music which stages a variety of shows each year. This idyllic and picturesque town is one of Massachusetts’ most recognizable small towns.

A bastion of farmers markets, there are ample opportunities to sample and taste Northampton’s wealth of locally grown foods. And don’t forget the dining! Sylvester’s Restaurant on the aptly named Pleasant Street serves an absolutely legendary breakfast and brunch. And while the sign hung outside of Jake’s Restaurant states “No Frills Dining”, the elegant plating and attention to detail is sure to surprise and impress. If you’re winding your way through Massachusetts, you’ll be glad you stopped in Northampton.

Lauren Yakiwchuk
Travel Blogger
Justin Plus Lauren

Plymouth, MA

plymouth, massachusettsPlymouth, MA, home to the Pilgrim and Wampanoag story that gave us the most American of Holidays, Thanksgiving, is the largest small town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In area, Plymouth has more acreage than any other city of town but it is surely a small town for visitors.  Ninety percent of its attractions are walking distance from the 5 downtown/waterfront hotels.

As the site of the colony founded in 1620 by the Mayflower Pilgrims, where New England was first established, the area is steeped in American history. Located in Pilgrim Memorial State Park, visitors will want to visit Plymouth Rock, the traditional site of disembarkation of William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Plymouth’s most visited attraction, aside from Plymouth Rock, is Plimoth Plantation, the living history museum of 17th-century Plymouth complete with a 17th-century English Village with costumed educators that role play the original residents, the Native Wampanoag Homesite with Native American staff who tell tales both past and present, and changing indoor exhibits in their Visitor Center.

Plymouth also features the Pilgrim Hall Museum where the story of the Pilgrims, the Native Wampanoag and the Mayflower journey is told with artifacts that came over with then Pilgrims including a narrated 15-minute video and a variety of changing exhibits. Other attractions include 17th-century Pilgrim descendants homes that still exist, the General Society of Mayflower Descendants headquarters, the Plimoth Grist Mill, and history and lantern ghost tours.

Those who are eager to experience the natural beauty of the waterfront should check out Capt. John Boats for Spring or Fall whale watching, a ride on the Pilgrim Belle Paddle Wheeler, and Plymouth to Provincetown transportation.

Mayflower II, the reproduction of the original ship that carried 102 passengers to Plymouth in 1620, normally berthed at State Pier and a well-visited attraction is currently undergoing extensive renovation so that she can return ship shape in the spring of 2019 to begin the Plymouth400th commemoration of the landing of the vessel in 1620.

Spring, summer and fall offer a variety of activities, with cranberry harvesting in October (offered by A.D. Makepeace Company and Flax Pond Farms) and Thanksgiving celebrations being some of the most well-known. For the past 22 years the weekend before Thanksgiving offers visitors the America's Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration with a major Parade on the Saturday morning. On your next road trip, be sure to visit Plymouth, the only place in America that owns the pilgrim story.

Paula Fisher
Director of Marketing & Group Services
Plymouth County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Newburyport, MA

newbury, massachusettsNewburyport is a historic seaport, rich in maritime history.  The city is nestled along the shore where the Merrimack River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The area is great for boating and kayaking; with an expansive waterfront housing a fantastic boardwalk which offers spectacular scenic views of the river and surrounding landscape, perfect for leisurely strolls. Named a ‘seaport for all seasons’, there are many diverse things to do in Newburyport: year-round ice skating, biking, and horseback riding are just a few of the outdoor activities available. 

Just 45 minutes north of Boston, Newburyport feels like another world. Though the 17th-century architecture has been updated with shops and restaurants, an old-world charm remains in this former port town. The quaint downtown and historic districts are not to be missed: wander along the streets to view the charming Federal-style redbrick buildings, saltboxes and Victorian homes, stop to admire the many window boxes and hanging flower baskets that fill the city along the way. Shop amongst the multitude of unique, diverse boutiques, poke around local antique shops and visit the abundant number of art galleries. Other points of interest include the Maritime Museum (a great spot for history buffs) and the Firehouse Center for the Arts, which features engaging films, music and stage productions. The city also holds literary and music festivals, as this thriving community is home to many renowned artists, writers, musicians and performers.

Denise Foley
Aspiring Travel Writer

Rockport, MA

rockport, massachusettsRockport is a seaside village that sits at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean.

Rockport boasts a thriving artist community. With its magical light, some of the most widely painted sea and landscapes in the world have been conceived here.  It is home to over thirty galleries as well as the Rockport Art Association and Museum. In addition, to being a great place for the visual arts, the Shalin Liu is an outstanding performing arts center located in Rockport that hosts shows year round.

Picturesque, with miles of lovely beaches and boulder-strewn paths for meandering, you can also opt to visit the charming harbor. The harbor remains home to an active fishing fleet, offering visitors a unique chance to observe lobstermen hauling their traps alongside artists at work on their chosen craft.

A short walk away from the harbor, the area known as Bearskin Neck is a quaint stretch of old fishermen and lobstermen shacks which have gradually been turned into restaurants, boutiques and galleries. Further along is Rockport’s historic Main Street, where you will find more enticing gift shops, galleries, restaurants and candy stores alongside extraordinary cultural venues. Be sure to visit Rockport on your next road trip!

Denise Foley
Aspiring Travel Writer


Bowling Green, KY

bowling green, kentuckySituated in the heart of the bluegrass state, Bowling Green, KY is a must-see on any Southern road trip, offering visitors a quaint and homey feel. Road trippers can enjoy a variety of unique activities, including visiting the longest underground cave system in the world at Mammoth National Park; checking out the National Corvette Museum, home to over 70 of America’s favorite sports car showcased in periodic settings; and family-friendly Beech Bend Amusement Park, boasting many different water rides and roller coasters.

For those looking for some foodie fun, Bowling Green is the perfect place – here you can indulge in many locally-owned, farm-to-table restaurants to give you a true Kentucky experience. A few crowd favorites include Home Café and White Squirrel Brewery – and of course, don’t miss the pies from the “Pie Queen of Bowling Green” at the Boyce General Store.

Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Strasburg, VA

strasburg, virginiaStrasburg is on the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley. Although steeped in history with sites such as Belle Grove Plantation, the Cedar Creek Battlefield, and Hupps Hill Civil War Park, Strasburg is also emerging as an arts destination. Five (soon to be 6) outdoor murals adorn buildings along downtown’s King Street and not just serene landscapes of nearby mountain views but paintings by world class artists whose other works can be found in cities like Philadelphia and Berlin.

Strasburg is also a destination for great cuisine with farm to table restaurants like Cristina’s Café who grows their own vegetables out back and raises their own pork on nearby Cerdonia Farms. Strasburg’s latest lodging addition, Holliday House Bed & Breakfast also has an emphasis on great food offering guests a 5 course dinner and morning breakfast.

Visitors can enjoy a stroll along Strasburg’s River Walk to take in the Shenandoah River or hike nearby Signal Knob which offers outstanding views of the Valley and was used as a lookout point for invading troops during the Civil War.

Jenna French
Director of Tourism & Business Development
Shenandoah County Tourism

Woodstock, VA

woodstock, virginiaJust south of Strasburg, the town of Woodstock may not be the one everyone recalls from that little festival in the 60s but Woodstock, Virginia holds the claim as the original Woodstock being founded in 1752. Highlights to Woodstock include the Historic Courthouse Museum & Visitor Center housed in the original courthouse built in 1795. This town is also home to where famed Revolutionary Peter Muhlenberg made his fiery speech declaring a “time to pray and a time to fight” and encouraging his congregation to join him in fighting for the revolution. Just east of the town of Woodstock is the Woodstock Tower which offers spectacular 360 degree views of the Shenandoah Valley. On a clear day, visitors can see to Shenandoah National Park to the east and all the way to West Virginia towards the west. This is also the perfect place to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the unique “seven bends” of the Shenandoah River in the valley below. Woodstock is also close to several vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley including Muse Vineyards and North Mountain Vineyards as well as home to the Woodstock Brewhouse and Ridge Runner Farm Brewery.

Jenna French
Director of Tourism & Business Development
Shenandoah County Tourism

Edinburg, VA

edinburg, virginiaEdinburg, Virginia is located just 6 miles south of Woodstock but offers Victorian charm untouched by commercialized business. The Shenandoah Valley Cultural Heritage Museum is a must stop for anyone traveling through this town and is also home to a fabulous wine and cheese shop. The Museum is housed in the historic Edinburg Mill which is one of the few pre-Civil War era mills to escape “the burning” by Sheridan in 1864. Fishing enthusiasts can also take a lesson from famed fly fisherman, Harry Murray or purchase flies from Murray’s Fly Shop located on Main Street. Just next door is Sal’s Italian Bistro which offers the real deal, Italian cuisine. Guests can almost surely bet on owner Sal making an appearance to ensure that the meal is top notch and the experience even better. Bean’s BBQ also offers up some of the best barbeque in the Valley!

Jenna French
Director of Tourism & Business Development
Shenandoah County Tourism

Mount Jackson, VA

mount jackson, virginiaVisitors to Mount Jackson can enjoy a quick drive through Meems Bottom Covered Bridge, the last publicly maintained covered bridge in Virginia that is still accessible to vehicles, on their way to nearby Route 11 Potato Chips. Watch as chips are cut, fried, and bagged before your eyes and sample fresh flavors hot off the lines.

Just around the corner is Shenandoah Caverns and American Celebration on Parade. The Caverns are home to what National Geographic Magazine described as the most realistic “bacon formations” as well as other natural wonders and breathtaking formations. Bacon formations are officially known as layered flowerstone and they occur when variations in rainfall flow over the same route over many years – creating a pattern that looks like a delicious strip of bacon.

Their sister facility, American Celebration on Parade offers an up close and personal look at parade floats from some of our nation’s most famous parades including Presidential Inaugurals, Rose Bowl Parades and Thanksgiving Day Parades.

Jenna French
Director of Tourism & Business Development
Shenandoah County Tourism

New Market, VA

new market, virginiaNew Market, Virginia is a town steeped in history and home to the Virginia Museum of the Civil War.  This museum tells the story of the Civil War’s effect on Virginia and focuses on the Battle of New Market where 257 cadets from the Virginia Military Academy in Lexington, Virginia, marched and fought to support the losing confederacy at battle on May 15, 1864. The town also offers a historic walking tour where visitors can see a shell struck post and other historic buildings. Be sure to also stop in Chickadees Pottery Studio and Gallery for local, handmade gifts. New Market also offers a wonderful hike for families and people with mobility issues. Nearby Story Book Trail is handicap accessible but offers some of the best views in the Valley looking east over Page Valley towards the neighboring town of Luray.

Jenna French
Director of Tourism & Business Development
Shenandoah County Tourism

Massanutten, VA

massanutten, virginiaFrom breathtaking mountain views to live entertainment, Massanutten has it all. When you bring your family to stay for a weekend at Massanutten, you will enjoy scenic rolling hills, parks and pools, along with an easy drive to the Spa, Woodstone Meadows Golf Course, VA BBQ & Pizza Co., or the Indoor/Outdoor WaterPark. Massanutten also has live music at the Base Camp Bar & Grill every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.

The Massanutten Resort offers many unique amenities including the Indoor/Outdoor WaterPark, the new Escape Room, Mountain Bike and Adventure Park area, including zip lines, summer tubing, and our very own Kids’ Adventure Course. For those who wish to relax, the resort offers two fantastic 18-hole golf courses, farm-to-table dining experiences, shopping and recreation options, along with a day spa for complete relaxation and rejuvenation.

Nothing builds an appetite like an active Massanutten vacation, and our dining options have got you covered. From BBQ and salads, to burgers and pizza, to pub fare and to-go meals, we offer something for every taste, every season, and every occasion.

A true Blue Ridge experience, the mountain accommodations offer year-round breathtaking views and the natural wildlife are sure to enhance each and every one of your vacation experiences.

A spectacular property, Massanutten Resort features 6,000 acres of mountain fun at its very best. Unique in both its size, variety of amenities, and outstanding condo and hotel accommodations, Massanutten has secured its spot as one of the premier all-seasons resort destinations on the East Coast.

Marissa Andrick
Marketing & Media Specialist
Massanutten Resort ®

Smithfield, NC

smithfield, north carolinaSmithfield happens to be at Exit 95 on I-95 in the eastern part of North Carolina. Exit 95 has a large outlet mall with brand name stores that draw travelers off the highway and there are multiple hotels to choose from. Abundant hiking and biking trails span this quaint village and line the nearby Neuse River. In addition, Smithfield prides itself on its plentiful geocache locations. Geocaching is a great afternoon team building activity, and it can even be a great pass-time for a solo hike.

The town is uniquely home to film star Ava Gardner and both her museum and her grave are just a few miles off the interstate in Downtown Smithfield. Gardner starred in many MGM films during Hollywood’s Golden Age, and was listed among The American Film Institute’s 25 Greatest Female Starts of Classic Hollywood Cinema. The museum is wonderfully curated to tell the story of Ava's early years, career, romances, and friendships.

Within walking distance to the museum are locally owned restaurants Simple Twist and SoDoSoPa as well as the Simple Twist Tap Room and many boutique shops. Simple Twist offers fresh takes on classic offerings like burgers, sandwiches, and even steak and salmon, while SoDoSoPa specializes in barbecue and comfort foods. Plus, you can try shrimp and grits and either restaurant. So if you’re on your way to Smithfield, be sure you bring your appetite.

Ashby Brame
Marketing and Public Relations Manager
Johnston County Visitors Bureau

Mountain View, AR

mountain view, arkansasMountain View, Arkansas, the Folk Music Capital of the World and one of National Geographic Adventure's Top US Adventure Towns, makes a great choice for a getaway!  Home of the The Ozark Folk Center State Park Craft Village, you can spend your time within a community of over 21 artisans and musicians, auditoriums, restaurant, and lodging.

More music and live performances can be found all over town at places like Cash's White River Theater, Jimmy Driftwood Music Barn, Backstreet Theater, and the Ozark Folk Center. Fishing, canoeing, horseback riding, and disc golf – there’s no end in sight for fun activities you can enjoy in Mountain View.

You can also climb high into the trees at Loco Ropes, which has been listed as one of five Cool Things to Do in Arkansas by National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas, and in 10 Excellent Outdoor Adventures for Families by USAToday Travel.  Here, you can spend the day climbing, repelling, and zipping through the beautiful Ozark woodland.

Judy Cox
Founder/Executive Manager
Loco Ropes!
Ozark Folk Center State Park

Ocean Springs, MS

ocean springs, mississippiKnown as the City of Discovery by locals and visitors alike, this historic coastal town is the perfect place to relax. A quaint, cottage Main Street community nestled on the scenic shore of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Ocean Springs invites visitors to experience its rich history, artistic flair, lush landscape and small town appeal.

Colorful and sophisticated, the community is known for its arts and festivals.  It is home to the Ocean Springs Art Association representing more than 300 local artists, the largest fine arts festival in the state, Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival presented by Blue Moon, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art and Shearwater Pottery.

With over 200 independent shops, galleries, restaurants and nightlife, this community captures the small town charm with its walkability, white sand beaches, and year round activity. Ocean Springs has three entertainment districts where patrons may leave restaurants and bars with “go-cups.”

Anna Roy
PR/Media Manager
Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast

Greenwood, MS

greenwood, mississippiGreenwood, Mississippi is a wonderful overnight stop for those on a road trip. Several car clubs from the Bentley Driving Club in the UK to the Austrian Mustang Club have visited Greenwood on their tours of the US.

Greenwood, MS features attractions like the Mississippi Blues Trail and the Civil Rights Trail. The Mississippi Blues Trail markers provide the history of notable bluesmen and women. The sites along the trail include everything from “city streets to cotton fields, train depots to cemeteries, and clubs to churches.” The Mississippi Freedom Trail is another highly educational attraction that history buffs will love. It honors the men and women from around the country who contributed to the Civil Rights Movement.

As far as accommodations go, the Alluvian is a boutique hotel in Greenwood featuring a spa, a wonderful steakhouse called Giardina's, and also the Viking Cooking School. If road trippers are looking for an authentic Delta experience, travelers love staying at the Tallahatchie Flats. Just three miles outside of town, these cabins offer modern day amenities with stunning views of the miles of flatland and farming fields as far as the eye can see. It's also just down the road from one of Robert Johnson's three grave sites, as well as Bryant's Grocery which was the location that sparked the Civil Rights movement.

Greenwood Convention & Visitor's Bureau
225 Howard Street
Greenwood, MS

Bay St. Louis, MS

bay st. louis, mississippiConsidered “a place apart,” this quaint seaside town has been named one of the ‘Coolest Small Towns in America’ by Budget Travel (2013) and was also recognized as a top 10 small beach town by Coastal Living Magazine (2010). From friendly folks to historic buildings, this unique city embraces the heritage of the region. Bay St. Louis was tested in 2005 when it was hit by Hurricane Katrina but the resilient residents of this community came together to rebuild and recapture the inimitable essence of this wonderful town.

Bay St. Louis is located 90 miles east of New Orleans and is a great destination for beach lovers, road trippers, and anyone with an easy spirit who enjoys small towns. The Old Town area in Bay St. Louis features a number of interesting attractions. Here you will be able to browse books at the Hancock County Library System or check out the aesthetically pleasing offerings of Maggie May’s art gallery or Gallery 220, an artist co-op. The Buttercup on Second Street restaurant is a quaint sidewalk café with a cheerful vibe. Another local favorite, established in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and sometimes called the Living Room of the Bay, the Mockingbird Café serves great food and coffee. Other Old Town attractions include Tree House Yoga for those looking for a quick workout and the newly remodeled Century Hall for art, antiques, and retail shops.

Fans of Sydney Pollack’s 1966 film This Property is Condemned will enjoy a walking tour of the film’s locations. Primary locations used for the Robert Redford film’s fictional town of Dodson, MS are actually all in Bay St. Louis, and they’re just as pretty as you remember them.

Anna Roy
PR/Media Manager
Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast

Darien, GA

darien, georgiaDarien, Georgia, also known as The Gem of the Golden Isles, is steeped in history and natural beauty, from the picturesque squares to the Tabby Ruins.

The town has a vibrant history and culture. There is a strong Gullah-Geechee cultural influence as well as a Scottish Highlander heritage. Fort King George Historic site provides background on the history of the town with live historical demonstrations and a look into the lives of early settlers to the area. The Old Jail Art Center and Museum displays a wonderful collection of local artisans and their works. Local legends thrive here as well. Darien’s legendary celebrity, the Altamaha-ha, is a mysterious creature that has supposedly lived along the Altamaha River for hundreds of years. The stories of this creature are rooted in Native American legend.

Natural beauty is an integral part of Darien. Kayakers, fishermen, and water enthusiasts enjoy the coastal waters year-round, while hunters, hikers, and cyclists take advantage of the winding rural roads and fantastic scenery. Darien is also a birder’s dream. Sitting midway along the Colonial Coast Flyway, birders can experience hundreds of species of birds that make their annual migrations along this route.

The charm of the small town is on display in the eclectic shops and restaurants located in its downtown area. The town’s award-winning restaurants specialize in both fresh caught seafood and local southern favorites. You will not find better shrimp anywhere and will also find excellent fish, blue crabs, oysters, or even alligator tail.

Another reason to visit Darien is Sapelo Island which is one of many barrier islands located just off the coast. A short ferry ride allows visitors to experience Hog Hammock where Gullah culture still thrives. Here you can tour the R.J. Reynolds Mansion or experience the beautiful pristine beaches of the island. Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge serves as a premier nesting, foraging, and wintering habitat for many species of wildlife.

Jan Chamberlain
Blue Heron Inn

Lakeland, FL

lakeland, floridaLakeland, Florida deserves more attention than it gets.  It’s perfectly situated on the southern peninsula.  It’s almost at the center of Florida – north to south and east to west.  In addition to sitting between two popular tourist destinations – Orlando (55.6 miles northeast) and Tampa (35.6 miles southwest).  The City of Lakeland has its own appeal and charm.

Lakeland, Florida has dozens of picturesque lakes.  Most of Florida’s most famous theme parks are less than a one hour drive from Lakeland.  The gorgeous beaches of the Gulf of Mexico are west of Lakeland. Some of the most famous Atlantic beaches are less than two hours northeast from Lakeland.

Lakeland, Florida is where visitors can stay to be in the middle of everything, yet secluded from it all.  Anyone who wants to experience the best that Florida has to offer should make Lakeland their vacation headquarters.  It is one of Florida’s hidden treasures.

Tangela Walker-Craft
Family and Parenting Blogger
Simply Necessary Inc. - Navigate Life with Tangela


Muskogee, OK

muskogee, oklahomaThe Jefferson Highway was the first north-south interstate in America with construction beginning in 1916. The Jefferson Highway in Oklahoma is Highway 69 and traverses the Native American state from Missouri at its northeast corner to Texas just north of Dallas in a pleasant four-and-a-half hour drive.

Muskogee sits at the midpoint of the Jefferson Highway in Oklahoma.  This town of 40,000 is called "the Indian Capital" and offers visitors a host of native heritage sites such as the Five Civilized Tribes Museum, Ataloa Lodge and Bacone College.

A number of other interesting venues make a stop in this town well worth the drive. Muskogee is particularly beautiful in spring when it holds its annual Azalea Festival. The festival runs for the month of April and brings over 150,000 visitors to Honor Heights Park. The park is also decorated with millions of Christmas lights from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

With four museums, a Music Hall of Fame, historic old movie theater, walking tours and dozens of live music venues, Muskogee can provide a full week of activities. And that doesn't even mention a nearby restored fort, Civil War battlefield and a dry-docked submarine.

Muskogee, in the Ozark foothills of northeastern Oklahoma, sits on the navigable Arkansas River and is surrounded by several lakes.  It is within an hour's drive of eight different state parks.

Muskogee was named a Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Its downtown is enjoying revitalization with a thriving arts district and plenty of antiques shopping. It is well-known for its beautiful city parks, fully paved rails-to-trails walking/biking path, small, family-friendly water park and live music every weekend.

Its location on the Jefferson Highway gives Muskogee easy access with many hotel and restaurant options, both local and chain. Three charming bed & breakfast inns are quite popular as well.

Jonita Mullins
Okie Heritage Tours & Step-on Guide Service

Truth or Consequences, NM

truth or consequences, new mexicoTruth or Consequences is an affordable, relaxing and unique spa town which hosts a population of 6,411 people. The town was originally called Hot Springs, but changed its name to “Truth or Consequences,” the name of a popular NBC Radio game show. The area gained national recognition as a health center throughout the 1920s–1940s when people came from near and far for healing soaks. Today, it is still well known as the place to escape stress and sooth everyday ailments, making it a relaxing addition to a road trip.

The therapeutic benefits of hot springs include relaxation, reduced stress, improved blood flow, pain relief, improved skin conditions and better sleep. Truth or Consequences is home to several hot springs, including hot springs lodges and spas, as well as mineral bath houses. Visitors can expect to soak in natural waters with temperatures around 98 to 115 degrees that are full of minerals and promote natural healing.

Travelers can experience the full benefit of the waters in luxury at the Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa owned by media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner. Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa rests upon a natural geothermal spring that heats the Spa’s numerous pools. The Spa offers holistic treatments that include centering bodywork, muscle-soothing massages, skin conditioning wraps and polishes, as well as custom facials, all enhanced by the area’s hot spring waters.

In addition to natural hot springs, there are many options for art lovers, outdoor activities, and great places to stay and eat. It is also home to Spaceport America, described as the first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Make a stop in Truth or Consequences on your next road trip through the American Southwest.

Jamie Dickerman
Griffin and Associates

Nicole Powell
Senior Account Executive
WEILL (Geoffrey Weill Associates, Inc.)

Farmington, NM

farmington, new mexicoFarmington is a great place for active families and outdoor lovers to explore and enjoy wonderful cultural attractions, history, hiking, biking, fishing, watersports and more. The area is extremely affordable and offers a range of lodging options, including hotels, camping, and B&B's.

Farmington is also the gateway to national parks, including Aztec Ruins National Monument, Chaco Cultural Historical Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Hoven Weep National Monument and Natural Bridges National Monument. The area is home to five lakes for fishing–Lake Farmington, Navajo Nation Lakes, Jackson Lake, Cutter Reservoir, and Morgan Lake–and the Animas River for river rafting or kayaking. Visitors can also enjoy a fly fishing adventure along the famous San Juan River Quality Waters.

The town has plenty to explore with trading posts, museums, and parks. Farmington is a highly interesting stop within the Four Corners region and has unique scenic offerings as well as a plethora of cultural and outdoor activities.

Jamie Dickerman
Griffin and Associates


Pagosa Springs, CO

pagosa springs, coloradoLook toward Pagosa Springs, in southwest Colorado for a great stop on a road trip. Surrounded by the Weminuche Wilderness and the San Juan National Forest amid the majestic San Juan Mountains in Southwestern Colorado, Pagosa Springs offers visitors a rich geological and cultural history to explore. Known for its world-famous hot springs, “Pagosah” is the Southwestern Ute word for “healing waters.” With its official designation as the “Deepest Hot Springs Aquifer in the World,” the Mother Spring fuels three downtown hot springs locations. In addition, the soaring cliffs, ragged peaks, magical alpine pools, undisturbed wilderness, and cascading rivers reveal a dramatic geological history that invites voyagers, young and old, to venture into Pagosa Springs’ backcountry.

The reasons to visit Pagosa Springs are many and varied. Surrounded by hundreds of miles of wilderness and recreational land for hiking, biking, ATV riding, fly fishing, and camping, the area is great for outdoor recreation. You can also soak in one of three local hot springs, and Pagosa Springs hosts the Guinness World Records’ World’s Deepest Geothermal Hot Spring. Star gaze at Chimney Rock National Monument’s Night Sky program and learn about the history of the ancient Puebloans. The San Juan and Piedra Rivers run directly through town and are perfect for rafting or lazy river tubing. Wolf Creek Ski Area is a local resort known for affordable prices and the highest concentration of snowfall in the state. Grab a beer at one of Pagosa’s local breweries, including Riff Raff and Pagosa Brewing Company. Finally, Pagosa Springs is great for wildlife viewing. See animals native to the Rocky Mountains at the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park.

Savannah Nelson
Communications Coordinator

Telluride, CO

telluride, coloradoNestled in Colorado’s western San Juan Mountains, Telluride was founded in 1878 as part of Colorado’s turn-of-the-century gold rush. Named after the element tellurium found in gold ores, Telluride has a population of 2,325 and is located at 8,750 ft, overlooking forested cliffs dotted with old, abandoned mining operations.

Nearby are scenic hiking trails and Bear Creek Falls, which tumbles down into Telluride’s box canyon. Attractions include the Telluride Historic District, which is named to the National Register of Historic Places. Built by European immigrants from the Trentino-Alto Adige and South Tyrol regions of Italy and Switzerland, the town still holds traces of their rich cultures.

Located only two minutes from Telluride’s storied Main Street, Dunton Town House, which opened in November 2016, is a historic 5 room bed and breakfast, charmingly decorated with custom furnishings, Tyrolean antiques, Austrian ceramics, and imported fabric from Tyrol. The property is located just steps from the gondola up to the mountain resort with its dozens of ski trails, as well as the best restaurants and shopping in the village.

If you’re feeling puckish, head down to The Cornerhouse Grill. You’ll feel right at home in this sports bar and grill, possibly because the building used to be a home. This historic house on the corner is as quaint and picturesque as Telluride itself. This Colorado tradition has been a meeting ground for locals and visitors alike to eat and drink side-by-side for generations. With a menu that features Mexican food as well as classic bar food, this spot will harken you back to when “pub” really meant “public house.”

With so much to do and experience, be sure to stop in Telluride on your next road trip.

Nicole Powell
Senior Account Executive
WEILL (Geoffrey Weill Associates, Inc.)

Cody, WY

cody, wyCody, WY is often overlooked as the town you go through to get to Yellowstone NP, but has significant historical treasures (the Irma Hotel, Old Trail Town and Heart Mountain Interment Camp), an amazing museum (Buffalo Bill Center is the West) and a rodeo every night during the summer, not to mention the natural beauty of the National Forest and Park nearby.

Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel is a truly historic place. Buffalo Bill built the hotel in 1902, naming it after his daughter, Irma. Today you can still visit the hotel and stay in the very rooms that Old West figures like Frederic Remington, Annie Oakley, and Calamity Jane once stayed in.

The Old Trail Town was created by disassembling historic buildings from locations in Wyoming and Montana and carefully reassembling them in Cody. The history of the American West is preserved in these structures with authentic furnishings from the Frontier period. Here you will find the cabins used by Old West outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a saloon that was frequently visited by Butch Cassidy’s “Hole-in-the-Wall Gang,” and the log cabin home of “Curley,” a Crow Indian army scout who aided in guiding George Armstrong Custer and his cavalry to the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

These are just a few of the sites you can visit when you make a stop in Cody. Visit the small town of Cody, Wyoming on your next road trip to be immersed in a truly authentic “Old West” experience in the heart of Yellowstone Country.

Grant Sinclair
Travel Blogger
Our Wander-Filled Life

Mona Mesereau
Mesereau Travel Public Relations

Reno, NV

reno, nevadaThe ultimate under-traveled tourist destination in the West, where America’s largest alpine lake meets “The Biggest Little City in the World,” lies Reno Tahoe. Stop in Reno’s hip Midtown District and spend a long weekend experiencing unique attractions such as the Nevada Museum of Art, the Guinness Book of World Records’ World’s largest rock climbing wall at the Whitney Peak Hotel, and multiple local craft breweries and one-of-a-kind restaurants.

Speaking of restaurants, right along the Truckee River you’ll find Campo. This comforting Italian eatery makes everything completely from scratch – that means completely homemade pasta, salami, and even croutons. With so many Americanized Italian restaurants in the US, many Americans have never even tried made-from-scratch Italian food, making Campo a truly unforgettable experience.

Travelers can continue the journey by driving just 40 minutes into North Lake Tahoe, where they can take advantage of various water and snow sports, depending on the season – Reno Tahoe is a destination for adventure. With all the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, but with a more manageable crowd, Reno’s casinos will be exciting, and potentially profitable. Combine that with the beautiful nature in North Lake Tahoe, and you’ll feel like you’ve really seen it all in one short trip.

Ryan McWilliams
Account Coordinator
Decker/Royal Agency

Ely, NV

ely, nevadaLocated right in the Heart of the Golden West, White Pine County and the City of Ely, Nevada are located in east-central Nevada, at the crossroads of U.S. Highways 50, 93 and 6. Ely was founded in the 1870's as a trading post called Murry Station, but would become one of the country's major copper mining regions. 1906 marked the arrival of the Nevada Northern Railway.  This new railroad was needed for development of the copper industry and was instrumental in the economic growth of Ely, McGill and Ruth. Now, the well-preserved short-line railway draws visitors from all over the world to ride on its queens of steam and historic diesel engines.

Ely is the regional center for commerce and business for much of Eastern Nevada and a mecca for tourists visiting Nevada's Scenic Wonderland - Great Basin National Park, Cave Lake State Park and Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park. Make a stop in Ely on your next tour of the southwest.

Jenny Kendrick
Managing Partner
East River Public Relations

Sandpoint, ID

sandpoint, idSandpoint, in the northern tip of Idaho, is no ordinary vacation destination. Located on magnificent 43-mile-long Lake Pend Oreille, surrounded by the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains, and with Schweitzer Mountain ski resort minutes away, Sandpoint is blessed with outstanding natural attractions in all seasons.

The beautiful downtown strip in Sandpoint generally has ample street-side parking, and even public parking lots for your RV. In fact, Sandpoint even offers free day-use boat parking right at the heart of their downtown area at their Windbag Marina or City Beach Marina. You can sail into town, or just sit and watch as the other boats come in.

The town itself is exceptional. Home to a thriving arts community, the historic Panida Theater, features a busy events schedule. There are aslo excellent restaurants and breweries, fine lodging, unusual shopping and abundant recreation. In fact, Sandpoint has been named the “Most Beautiful Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today. Visit Sandpoint on your next road trip.

Annie Kuster
Communications Specialist
Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce

McCall, ID

mccall, idahoLocated two hours north of Boise, McCall is made for both summer and winter road trips. Following the Payette River Scenic Byway from Boise to McCall is a breathtaking trip that includes great stops at the Cascade Reservoir, Historic Rosebery and Ponderosa State Park.

Once in McCall, you will be blown away by all this town has to offer:

Whatever the season, one of the best parts of McCall is the fact they have a major ski mountain right in town. Brundage Mountain overlooks the town, and offers some of the best powder in the country for those who love to hit the slopes. In summer, mountain bikers take their bikes on the ski lift and head back down.

For those more interested in flatland activities, Payette Lake in McCall — a 5,330 acre expanse of clean, glacial water - is the prime hub of activity in summer months, with activities like Payette Lake Cruises offering daily tours to marinas with every water toy you could imagine. Added bonus: Half of the lake is protected as part of Ponderosa State Park, which also offers over 1000 acres of natural wilderness, camp sites, hiking trails and unspoiled beauty on the peninsula jutting out into the center of Payette Lake.

Amazing food options abound from James Beard Award-nominated Rupert’s at Hotel McCall to lakeside dining at Shore Lodge huge pancakes at McCall Pancake House and delicious gingerbread cookies at Stacey Cakes. You will not be disappointed.

Christina Lenkowski
Southwest Idaho Travel Association

Port Angeles, WA

port angeles, washingtonAs the gateway to Olympic National Park, the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, and Cape Flattery, Port Angeles is a driver's paradise of protected natural surroundings. You can visit alpine mountains, wild Pacific beaches, the quietest square inch of temperate rainforest, or the Western hemisphere's longest natural sand spit within a short, but beautiful, drive--and all in the same day.

A number of fun attractions and unique activities make Port Angeles a must stop on any road trip. Visitors to Port Angeles Fine Arts Center can experience art installments in a hilltop gallery that also offers awesome marine and mountain views. After the arts center, you can take a stroll through Webster’s Woods, an outdoor museum with artwork interspersed in the natural surroundings of the wooded trail. Wildlife lovers will have a blast with the Port Angeles Whale Watching Company, which guarantees whale sightings on every whale watch tour from May through November. If you want to learn more about the local wildlife and get up close to sea stars, crabs, scallops, anemones, fish and a giant Pacific octopus, visit the Feiro Marine Life Center, which hosts highly informative public exhibits representative of the marine life inhabiting the Strait of Juan de Fuca. For a bird’s eye view of the Olympic Peninsula opt for a hot air balloon ride from Morning Star Balloon Co.

These are just a few of the many reasons to visit Port Angeles. Make a stop on your next road trip through West Coast.

Stephen Fofanoff
Domaine Madeleine

Murphys, CA

murphys, californiaMurphys, CA, located in the Sierra foothills of California, is an historic gold mining town with an Irish flavor.  There are over 25 wine tasting rooms on the little three block Main St. and they feature an assortment of Sierra Foothill handcrafted wines. There are also vineyards to visit along Highway 4. The town has festivals, theater, excellent restaurants, a summer concert series at 3 different wineries including big name events at Ironstone Amphitheater, and outdoor activities like hiking in Big Trees State Park nearby.

Courtwood Inn is a custom log home bed and breakfast inn that features a wine and tennis theme and is an excellent place to stay on a road trip stop in Murphys. Along with fantastic Sierra foothills views from every room, there are also 2 tennis courts available for guest play and lessons. In the spring, the inn hosts 2-night adult wine camps and also tennis getaways for 3 or couples/teams.

Chris and Larry Parker
Courtwood Inn and Wine Tasting Tours

June Lake, CA

june lake, californiaSet in a horseshoe-shaped canyon at the foot of the dramatic Eastern Sierra, the quaint mountain town June Lake offers stunning scenery, adventures for all appetites, excellent food and drink, and lodging for any adventurer – from rustic camping to luxury living. Driving on the scenic June Lake Loop, you’ll see the crystal clear waters of June, Gull, Silver, and Grant Lakes, as well as dramatic peaks like Carson Peak and June Mountain.

With events a-plenty, you can spend the summer in June lake for the June Lake Theatre Festival or the June Lake Loop Mountain Music Festival. And if you find yourself out in September you can watch or compete in the Graniteman, the 3-Day Adventure Race. No matter what time of year you find yourself in June Lake, you’ll have plenty of food and drink options to choose from. Available options include the classic Americana of Tiger Bar to the find dining selection at Eagle’s Landing Restaurant.

Beer lovers will want to move in when they sample the amazing microbrews at June Lakes Brewing. And if you’re looking for something to nosh the food truck Ohana’s 395 is often parked right outside serving up hot and fresh Pacific Island-inspired dishes. Cabins and full hook up RV parking spots are available at the Silver Lake Resort, and a luxury spa resort is available up in the mountains at Creekside Spa and Fitness Center.

Jenny Kendrick
Managing Partner
East River Public Relations

Buellton, CA

buellton, californiaWith a population of only 5,000 people, Buellton, California is a hidden gem and makes a great stop on a California road trip. Known for its starring role in the Academy-Award winning film Sideways, this charming town offers visitors a memorable experience. Buellton is located just north of Santa Barbara in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country and just 10 miles from the beautiful Pacific Ocean on Highway 101.

Buellton is home to the Mendenhall Museum, a personal collection of cool gas station/automobile memorabilia and other antiques. The museum has one of the largest petroliana collections on the West Coast, including gasoline pumps, globes, and porcelain gas, oil, & road signs. There are also race cars, racing memorabilia, license plates, gas & oil items, and other miscellaneous antiques. This collection was started over fifty years ago by the late Jack Mendenhall and is carried on today by his son and daughter in law, Mark and Vickie. Tours are available.

Whether you prefer wine, beer or spirits, you can find it in Buellton. There is a wine for every taste bud and a tasting room around every corner. Buellton is also part of the craft beer movement with two award winning breweries getting their start here: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. Brothers Spirits and Ascendant Spirits offer yet another option. Ascendant was the first distiller in the Santa Ynez valley since prohibition. Located in the heart of wine country, there are a number of wine tasting rooms for visitors and locals to explore. From Alma Rosa’s hip tasting room to Standing Sun, which also delivers art and music to its patrons.

Wine enthusiasts will love the new restaurant Bottlest because they offer vintage wine by the glass thanks to a bottling system they use. For a more casual restaurant, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. opened up a restaurant, The Kitchen, in their tasting room, serving tasty burgers and salads. For breakfast, try local favorite Ellen’s Danish Pancake House and order the Swedish pancakes.

Well known for the pea soup at Pea Soup Anderson’s hotel, Buellton has much more to offer including a number of annual events like the Buellton Wine & Chili Festival and Buellton Brew Fest. From the lodging accommodations to the array of wine and beer tasting options, Buellton is an awesome small town delivering a large punch for a town of only 5,000 people.

Jennifer Ortega
PR Assistant

San Luis Obispo, CA

san luis obispo, californiaIf you are doing a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway, a stop in San Luis Obispo is a must. Simply called SLO or San Luis by locals, the city is the cultural, commercial and entertainment hub of California’s scenic Central Coast. It's anchored by one of California's historic missions, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, one of the best-preserved examples of 18th century Spanish architecture. Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on historic Highway 1, SLO enjoys year-round sun, a warm Mediterranean marine climate, a world-class wine region, thousands of acres of protected open space, an award-winning downtown filled with charming shops, restaurants and hotels tucked into turn-of-the-century mercantile buildings, and an engaging night life and cultural scene. Though the census currently reports roughly 46,000 residents, this two-college town has a much larger, more substantive feel.

A vibrant college town, SLO boasts one of the highest rates of college educated residents in the state. California Polytechnic State University and Cuesta College adds not only a youthful, creative and active vibe but also provides cultural excitement in the form of numerous musical and performing arts groups and venues that regularly host major touring shows. There has to be something said for the small town that regularly attracts Willie Nelson, Snoop and some of the top classical music acts in the country. San Luis Obispo has kept a relatively low profile compared to other California cities and remains a destination that is true to its roots as the outdoors and arts focused and easy-going lifestyle that in-the-know visitors return to again and again.

Molly Kern
Director of Communications & Business Education>
San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce

Cambria, CA

cambria, californiaCambria is a small seaside town located about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA along Highway 1. Cambria has a lot to offer visitors including beaches, shopping, antiques, hiking, biking trails, a winery, and excellent dining spots. Moonstone Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the area, named for the colorful moonstones found amongst the sand. Fiscalini Ranch Preserve is a scenic place for an ocean-side walk or hike.

If you enjoy quirky local attractions, Nitt Witt Ridge is an absolute must. Nitt Witt Ridge is a house built from found objects by a local eccentric named Arthur Beal. Those interested in history can visit the Cambria History Museum to find out more about the local history and pick up a map of local historical buildings. Cambria is also a short drive from San Simeon, where you'll find the popular Hearst Castle built by William Randolph Hearst and the Pierdes Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery.

Jessica Norah
Travel Blogger
Independent Travel Cats

Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

carmel-by-the-Sea, californiaCarmel-by-the-Sea. Is there a more elegant name for a small town? The Spanish explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European to experience the sands of Carmel Beach in the mid-1500s. In 1771, Father Junipero Serra established the Mission San Carlos de Borromeo on a bluff overlooking the bay. In recent times, it has been frequented by writers, artists, and celebrities who value its pristine beaches and the fairy tale quality of its cottages, courtyards, and natural beauty.

The wine scene is a major draw for the area with many lush vineyards situated throughout the Carmel Valley. Visitors can participate in a Carmel Wine Walk which includes visits to any nine of the 15 tasting rooms in the area. Caraccioli Cellars offers exceptional Brut Cuvee, Brut Rose, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. Galante Vineyards is well known for Cabernet Sauvignon wines but also features Malbec, Petite Sirah, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. A neat historical fact about Galante Vineyards is that owner Jack Galante's great grandfather, J.F. Devendorf, was the founder of the town of Carmel.

Visitors to Carmel-by-the-Sea should certainly take time to experience the natural beauty on offer here. One of the best parts about this quaint town is the Scenic Bluff Path, a gravel pathway that parallels the white sand beach. It's perfect for a run or leisurely stroll. Be sure to make a stop in Carmel-by-the-Sea on your next tour of the West Coast.

Courtnie Nichols

We hope this guide has given you plenty of ideas for your road trip wish list. We know that we here at Auto Accessories Garage have certainly stuck some pins in our road maps. We’d like to thank all of our contributors for sharing what makes their cities and towns so unique. Before heading out, don’t forget to double check our Road Trip Checklist. And remember, there’s always time to take the scenic route!