Best Small Towns for Summer Retreats
Every year, U.S. News & World Report examines the small towns of America that have less than 50,000 residents. In search of towns offering attractions, restaurants and a whole lot of character, U.S. News uses a number of factors to come up with the best of the best.
The 25 best small towns on this list also make the ultimate summer vacation spots. Why exactly? The combination of outdoor activities and fewer crowds makes them particularly attractive for a summer escape.
Read on to see exactly what lures visitors to these small towns (and where you can stay if you decide to become one of them).
25: Cape May, New Jersey
Since the Victorian era, the last stop on the New Jersey Shore welcomed families from Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., who were seeking a quiet summer along the beaches.
To this day, Cape May is nothing like the MTV version of the Jersey Shore, with Victorian mansions, charming bed and breakfasts, families enjoying surrey rides, and a downtown that is closed off from motor vehicles for a small-town pedestrian shopping and dining district.
What to Do in Cape May
Trusting the thousands of TripAdvisor reviewers who have rated their stays in Cape May, here are the top five places to visit while you are here:
- Cape May City Beaches
- Cape May Lighthouse (pictured)
- Jersey Shore Alpacas
- Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
- Washington Street Mall
Where to Stay in Cape May
For more than 200 years, Congress Hall has been the leading summer resort in Cape May. Once known as the "Summer White House," Congress Hall opened in 1816. Although it originally began as a boarding house, by 1828 it became the grand dame it is today.
The hotel is located in the heart of Cape May's downtown and overlooks the beach, providing a swimming pool and multiple onsite restaurants to enjoy.
Book: Congress Hall
24: Charlottesville, Virginia
Charlottesville is a step back into the history of early America, where Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other founding fathers lived on sprawling farms in Virginia's rolling hills. In fact, one of the biggest draws to Charlottesville is a visit to Jefferson's Monticello, where you can tour the home of the former president.
If the countryside isn't covered in trees, it may be covered in grapevines, as wineries are a dime a dozen with tasting rooms available to sample the spoils of the Virginia soil.
What to Do in Charlottesville
The top five places to visit while you are in Charlottesville:
- Monticello (pictured)
- University of Virginia
- Carter Mountain Orchard
- Trump Winery
- James Monroe's Highland
Where to Stay in Charlottesville
The only four-diamond property in Charlottesville, Boar's Head Resort is owned by the University of Virginia to keep the expansive green landscape that surrounds it intact.
The resort is filled with its own hiking trails as well as a rejuvenating spa, racquet and fitness club, and fine dining establishments, all within minutes of the historic sites of downtown.
Book: Boar's Head Resort
23: Cannon Beach, Oregon
Famous for its Haystack Rock and Needles beaches, where the rocks rise from the ocean, Cannon Beach is also home to a charming small town of the same name.
Of course, nature is the big draw to the area, with state parks and beaches providing ample opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. But when day is done, the town is filled with independently owned restaurants to satiate your hunger as well as boutiques filled with artisan wares for you to take a piece of Cannon Beach home with you.
What to Do in Cannon Beach
The top five places to visit while you are in Cannon Beach:
- Haystack Rock (pictured)
- Cannon Beach
- Ecola State Park
- Hug Point State Park
- Oswald West State Park
Where to Stay in Canyon Beach
With the 9-mile beach being the town's highlight, stay at the Ocean Lodge, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the towering rocks.
The must-have rooms are those facing the sea with balconies, so you can enjoy the sunsets while sipping on wines from Oregon vineyards.
Book: The Ocean Lodge
22: Ocean City, Maryland
One of the very first seaside resort towns, Ocean City remains the quintessential beach getaway destination. Here, you'll find a 3-mile boardwalk with saltwater taffy, children's amusements and bicycle rentals while you enjoy the beach and its often jam-packed summer of live music and events.
To accommodate all of the families who descend upon the 10-mile town every year, there are lots of restaurants and shops to keep you busy when you are not playing in the sand.
What to Do in Ocean City
The top five places to visit while you are in Ocean City:
- Ocean City Beach
- Ocean City Boardwalk (pictured)
- Northside Park
- Frontier Town
- Trimper's Rides and Amusement Park
Where to Stay in Ocean City
Stay right along the beach with Dunes Manor. Every room at this Ocean City hotel is oceanfront, right next door to the boardwalk, putting you within steps of all the best the city has to offer.
An outdoor pool and the hotel veranda provide more ways to enjoy the coastline and catch the views.
Book: Dunes Manor Hotel Court Suites
21: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Continue farther along the coastline to South Carolina, where Myrtle Beach is a similar beachfront community. This family-friendly destination is also renowned for its golf courses, boardwalk amusements and providing a laidback vibe.
Along the boardwalk and across town, find mini-golf, kiddie rides and tons of family-friendly attractions — there's plenty to do when you're not whiling away on the beach.
What to Do in in Myrtle Beach
The top five places to visit while you are in Myrtle Beach:
- Broadway at the Beach
- Myrtle Beach (pictured)
- Myrtle Beach SkyWheel
- Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach
- Myrtle Beach State Park
Where to Stay in Myrtle Beach
Just a mile from the beach, Francis Scott Key Family Resort aims to give guests a home away from home, without costing an arm and a leg. Rooms are outfitted with kitchenettes and can sleep up to six people.
The property features two pool areas: one to make it feel like the Caribbean any day of the year (being inside), while the other features a combination of outdoor pools, splash zones and a water-themed playground.
Book: Francis Scott Key Family Resort
20: Destin, Florida
Between Pensacola and Panama City Beach, the Florida Panhandle's powder-white beaches create a riviera for the south. The largest city found between the two is Destin, where restaurants and shopping outlets are surrounded by golf courses.
State parks offer biking trails through the dunes, and kayaking along the marshy inlets is a popular pastime when visitors aren't letting their feet sink into the pristine soft sand. Catching a sunset over the emerald green Gulf Coast waters may get you a glimpse of the dolphins that call this area home.
What to Do in Destin
The top five places to visit while you are in Destin:
- Henderson Beach State Park
- Destin Harbor Boardwalk (pictured)
- Village of Baytowne Wharf
- Crystal Sands Beach
- Grand Boulevard at Sandestin
Where to Stay in Destin
The largest resort in Destin is Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, featuring a number of high-rise condo-style accommodations overlooking the beaches and resort golf courses and swimming pools.
The resort spans 2,400 acres with four different areas in which to choose. Tennis, a spa, children's programs, water sports, and live events and cultural attractions provide plenty to do when visiting the area.
Book: Sandestin Gold and Beach Resort
19: St. Augustine, Florida
On the opposite side of the state, St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the United States. Discovered by the Spanish almost 500 years ago, the Spanish influence remains an important part of the culture, as does its pirate-filled past.
Ponce de Leon searched for the Fountain of Youth here, and you may find it in the charming historic old town, the beaches or museums.
What to Do in St. Augustine
The top five places to visit while you are in St. Augustine:
- St. Augustine Distillery
- St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum
- St. George Street
- Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (pictured)
- St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
Where to Stay in St. Augustine
Located along Matanzas Bay, the Bayfront Marin House Historic Inn is a quaint inn with the amenities of a hotel but services of a B&B.
Just a short walk from the museums, art galleries, historic sites and locally owned shops and restaurants, you'll easily get to enjoy St. Augustine and its waterfront at this inn.
Book: Bayfront Marin House Historic Inn
18: Hilton Head, South Carolina
If you haven't noticed yet, there is a theme to the best small towns in America: beaches and oceans! South of Myrtle Beach is another great South Carolina town that seems to have been set in yesteryear.
Hilton Head prides itself on maintaining a one with nature, keeping high rises out of the view and the trees and natural growth thriving around the community. Alligators and dolphins can be spotted as you kayak in the ocean or its marshy inlets, while much more wildlife can be spotted from the miles of paved bike trails that beckon you to ditch your car on your vacation.
What to Do in Hilton Head
The top five places to visit while you are in Hilton Head:
- Hilton Head Island Bike Trails
- Coligny Beach
- Coastal Discovery Museum
- Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge (pictured)
- Sea Pines Forest Preserve
Where to Stay in Hilton Head
Hilton Head is popular among vacation home rentals, but should you prefer the luxuries of a hotel, the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa will surely cater to your needs.
With its beachfront setting, the hotel features an oceanfront pool with cabana service. Kids can enjoy scheduled activities and programming in the Westin Family's Kid's Club, and the on-property dining and spa services will spoil the adults during vacay.
Book: Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa
17: Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Off the coast of Cape Cod, a summer retreat for New Englanders, Martha's Vineyard island has welcomed presidents and dignitaries during the warm-weather months. From the Victorian charm of Vineyard Haven to the celeb-spotting Edgartown, the island feels like one giant town of its own. Crisscrossing the island are 100 miles of bike paths and waterway trails to enjoy, as the surrounding beaches vary from privately owned to quiet hidden spots to large, public beaches for all.
Within the island's three main villages are a treasure trove of boutiques and restaurants, not to mention ice cream shops, as no summer getaway is complete without ice cream cones.
What to Do in Martha's Vineyard
The top five places to visit while you are on Martha's Vineyard:
- Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge
- Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association
- Edgartown Lighthouse (pictured)
- South Beach
- Flying Horses Carousel
Where to Stay in Martha's Vineyard
Choose between the Historic Building, the Roxana or the Captain's Cottage for the accommodations of your liking at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown. Each provides a signature New England seaside style, with some of the best ocean views.
Enjoy the beaches surrounding the hotel as well as the resort's heated outdoor pool. If you don't venture out to one of Edgartown's amazing restaurants, sample the fine dining at the property.
Book: Harbor View Hotel
16: Sanibel Island, Florida
Seemingly lost off the coast of southwestern Florida, Sanibel Island is so remote you may not spot another soul while walking along its seashell-covered beaches.
The white-sand beaches are ripe with sea turtles nesting and are connected to island parks for families and visitors to enjoy bike rides and bird watching. The island is simply all about relaxation, and you won't find much to do besides chilling.
What to Do in Sanibel Island
The top five places to visit while you are on Sanibel Island:
- J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge (pictured)
- Bowman's Beach
- The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
- Sanibel Causeway
- Sanibel Island Farmer's Market
Where to Stay in Sanibel Island
While a vacation cottage is a great option for this small island, there are still properties that cater to the hotel-preferring traveler. Condominium accommodations provide kitchens, living spaces and dining areas at the beachfront Sundial Beach Resort & Spa.
The property also features multiple swimming pools, tennis, kid's activities, a spa and a marketplace to stock your fridge. Three restaurants, a grab-and-go cafe and the pool beach bar also provide plenty to eat during your stay.
Book: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
15: Breckenridge, Colorado
The first small town to appear on the U.S. News' list that isn't located near the ocean is Breckenridge, a landlocked mountain getaway. A ski lover's paradise in the winter, the former mining town is a four-season destination, with mountain biking and hiking trails offering much of the summertime fun.
Other adventures include whitewater rafting, 4WD tours, hot-air ballooning and more — if it can be done outdoors, it can be done in Breck.
What to Do in Breckenridge
The top five places to visit while you are in Breckenridge:
- Main Street
- Boreas Pass Road
- Vail Pass Path
- McCullough Gulch (pictured)
- Sapphire Point Overlook
Where to Stay in Breckenridge
At the base of Peak 7 is Crystal Peak Lodge, where one- to four-bedroom condo accommodations await. Outfitted with full kitchens and fireplaces, you'll feel right at home on the mountainside.
Complimentary shuttles take guests to town to enjoy the shops and dining available, although the lodge also provides full access to the bowling alley, aquatics center and pool table at neighboring One Ski Hill Place.
Book: Crystal Peak Lodge
14: Sonoma, California
The beaches aren't the main draw in the northern California town of Sonoma either. Instead, it's home to the renowned wines of Sonoma County, bordering its more famous sister, Napa.
When not sampling the wine at one of the many wineries available, Sonoma is surrounded by state parks with towering redwood trees and hiking trails that will make you feel a million miles away from people. And, if you want a beach, the Pacific Ocean is just about an hour's drive away.
What to Do in Sonoma
The top five places to visit while you are in Sonoma:
- Sonoma Valley (pictured)
- Sonoma Plaza
- Jacuzzi Family Vineyards
- Gundlach Bundschu Winery
- Cline Cellars
Where to Stay in Sonoma
In the heart of wine country sits the Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa, which will give you a chance to participate in winemaker dinners, tastings and lectures during your stay.
Tasteful dishes that pull the flavor from the local wines are provided at the property's restaurants, and guests may enjoy their wine outside at the courtyard and pool.
Book: Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa
13: Laguna Beach, California
This small town in Southern California is big on beauty. A coastal destination flanked on one side by mountains for hiking and the Pacific for beaching, one may say it is the perfect small town.
Here, the beaches are the main draw for visitors, with a lovely marina for sailing and swimming as well as a small, yet charming aquarium the kids will love.
What to Do in Laguna Beach
The top five places to visit while you are in Laguna:
- Heisler Park
- Crystal Cove State Park (pictured)
- Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters
- 1,000 Steps Beach
- Crescent Bay Point Park
Where to Stay in Laguna Beach
Although Dana Point and Laguna are considered two separate towns, they adjoin and blend into one with their beauty. At the top of a cliffside overlook awaits the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.
Visitors can surf and sample eco-adventures, swim at the pool and enjoy fine dining with some of the best views in Orange County.
Book: Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
12: Juneau, Alaska
Surprised to see an Alaskan town on the list? Don't be. Gold prospectors first created Juneau, the state's capital, with a free-spirited, outdoor-loving vibe.
Its location beside a mountain and the channel that takes boats out to sea means there is plenty to do in the great outdoors, especially during the summer months. Consider whale watching near the glaciers for one of the most unique vacation activities.
What to Do in Juneau
The top five places to visit while you are in Juneau:
- Mendenhall Glacier (pictured)
- Tracy Arm Fjord
- Nugget Falls
- Mount Roberts Trail
- Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway
Where to Stay in Juneau
In the heart of downtown, the Juneau Hotel is within walking distance to great dining, shopping and museums.
The all-suite hotel provides guests with laundry facilities and kitchens in every suite to make a getaway to the Alaskan wilderness feel a bit more like home.
Book: Juneau Hotel
11: Stowe, Vermont
Another paradise for those who enjoy time with Mother Nature, Stowe is one of New England's best ski destinations in the winter.
But in the summer? Well, then you have waterfalls, hiking trails and bike paths, not to mention its brewpubs and spas galore. And it helps that the town is quintessentially New England, complete with white-steepled churches.
What to Do in Stowe
The top five places to visit while you are in Stowe:
- Moss Glen Falls (pictured)
- Stowe Recreation Path
- Mount Mansfield
- The Alchemist
- Smugglers North State Park
Where to Stay in Stowe
Did you know the Von Trapp family of "The Sound of Music" fame escaped Austria to settle in Stowe? You can stay in the Trapp Family Lodge for an Austrian chalet getaway during your visit.
The 2,500-acre resort and its restaurants bring Europe to the mountains of Vermont, and you can learn more about the real-life family, even sampling family dishes in the restaurant.
Book: Trapp Family Lodge
10: Moab, Utah
This small town is the gateway to two of Utah's best national parks, Arches and Canyonlands, and it's full of kitschy boutiques and restaurants that visitors can frequent after a day in the surrounding red rocks.
To visit Moab and skip the national parks would be a crime. The town is filled with outfitters aiming to assist you in getting the most out of the parks, with ATV, biking and aerial tours.
What to Do in Moab
The top five places to visit while you are in Moab:
- Arches National Park (pictured)
- Hell's Revenge
- Canyonlands National Park
- Dead Horse Point State Park
- Corona Arch
Where to Stay in Moab
Aptly named for sitting at the base of 2,000-foot cliffs, the 220-acre Red Cliffs Lodge is a rugged resort with added adventure.
Guided horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking tours of the parks are available as well as rafting along the Colorado River and ATV rides.
Book: Red Cliffs Lodge
9: Williamsburg, Virginia
You'll step right back in time with a visit to Williamsburg, home to Colonial Williamsburg, a live re-enacted village where costumed characters and historic buildings put you in the heart of colonial America.
While more history can be found in nearby Jamestown, there's also something for thrillseekers who may enjoy the crazy coasters at Busch Gardens, and nature enthusiasts will love sailing, biking and hiking in this unique small town.
What to Do in Williamsburg
The top five places to visit while you are in Williamsburg:
- Colonial Williamsburg (pictured)
- Historic Jamestowne
- Jamestown Settlement
- Jamestown-Scotland Ferry
- Governor's Palace
Where to Stay in Williamsburg
Stay in the heart of 18th-century America at the Williamsburg Inn, part of the Colonial Williamsburg offerings. The historic, yet elegant hotel overlooks the village, providing packages for the attractions.
Within the stately hotel is a spa, swimming pool and high-end dining options, and multiple golf courses are within reach.
Book: Williamsburg Inn
8: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Another Colorado town found in the Rocky Mountains is Steamboat Springs. While it's definitely a ski town in the winter, it also converts into a lush summer playground beckoning hikers, bikers and those looking to enjoy some fishing.
With the spring thaw, waterfalls cascade into mountain pools to keep you cool in the peak of summer.
What to Do in Steamboat Springs
The top five places to visit while you are in Steamboat Springs:
- Fish Creek Falls
- Steamboat Ski Resort
- Strawberry Park Hot Springs
- Yampa River Botanic Park (pictured)
- Yampa River Core Trail
Where to Stay in Steamboat Springs
The Steamboat Grand gives you immediate access to the outdoor fun as well as a free shuttle into Steamboat's town center, which is just over a mile away.
Rooms are available as part of the resort, condo rentals and villas, allowing you to accommodate a group of any size and have as much privacy as you'd like in the mountains.
Book: The Steamboat Grand
7: Monterey, California
Stroll along Fisherman's Wharf to take in the scenic water views and spot some of the marine life that call the Monterey Peninsula home. (We bet you spot a seal or two!)
Kayak the waterways or bike along the 17-mile coastal trail that takes you through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach. When you are famished from your day, dine in one of the many water-view restaurants serving up the daily catch.
What to Do in Monterey
The top five places to visit while you are in Monterey:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium (pictured)
- 17-Mile Drive
- Monterey Bay
- Dennis the Menace Park
- Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail
Where to Stay in Monterey
Located right along Cannery Row and Fisherman's Wharf, you'll be in the heart of the action with at stay at Monterey Plaza.
All rooms at this hotel face the ocean, with a seafood restaurant and spa enticing you to stay a little longer.
Book: Monterey Plaza Hotel
6: Gatlinburg, Tennessee
The gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, is nestled into the mountains and forests, once again providing ample outdoor activities for its visitors.
But Gatlinburg is so much more, providing a wealth of attractions within its borders as well as those found in its sister town of Pigeon Forge. Shops, restaurants, indoor and outdoor fun? There is something for everyone, which is why Gatlinburg is one of the most visited small towns in the U.S.
What to Do in Gatlinburg
The top five places to visit while you are in Gatlinburg:
- Sugarland Distilling Company
- Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (pictured)
- Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
- Tennessee Homemade Wines
Where to Stay in Gatlinburg
This rustic wood-frame Lodge at Buckberry Creek in the Smokies rests on 26 acres and gets you firsthand access to the mountain's trails.
Within the resort are suites with up to three bedrooms, kitchens and fireplaces. Guests can enjoy a swimming pool, porches with rocking chairs and all the comforts of a cabin in the woods.
Book: Lodge at Buckberry Creek
5: Bar Harbor, Maine
A 19th-century summer retreat, Bar Harbor is a small town completely surrounded by Acadia National Park. Located on Mount Desert Island, the New England marina town still features its early-beginning architecture.
Stroll through Bar Harbor, and enjoy the galleries and boutiques, then choose between the ocean or land. You can bike, kayak, sail, hike — the sky's the limit, literally, as you can even take helicopter tours!
What to Do in Bar Harbor
The top five places to visit while you are in Bar Harbor:
- Acadia National Park
- Mount Desert Island
- Shore Path
- Land Bridge to Bar Island
- Ocean Trail (pictured)
Where to Stay in Bar Harbor
Built as an exact replica of a former grand hotel from Bar Harbor's original heyday, the Bar Harbor Grand is centrally located within steps of the town's plentiful shops and restaurants.
With an air of romance in the old-fashion Grand, guests have access to free breakfast, a heated pool and front-porch rocking chairs, where you can say hello to other visitors passing by.
Book: Bar Harbor Grand
4: Sedona, Arizona
In Arizona's desert landscape, amidst red rock formations and canyons, Sedona serves as an oasis. The town is basically built right into the rock, with some buildings such as the Chapel of the Holy Cross, literally being built into the landscape.
Like many of the towns on this list, Sedona is especially beloved by those who enjoy hiking and biking in the natural landscape.
What to Do in Sedona
The top five places to visit while you are in Sedona:
- Chapel of the Holy Cross
- Bell Rock
- Cathedral Rock
- Devil's Bridge Trail (pictured)
- Oak Creek Canyon
Where to Stay in Sedona
Perched above Oak Creek, this rustic, yet luxurious inn is just one Sedona building that melds with the serene environment. Guests will enjoy the views from oversized hammocks and private decks.
While staying here, you'll be close to the ancient native ruins, rock formations and the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village.
Book: The Inn Above Oak Creek
3: Lake Tahoe, California / Nevada
Boasting 300 days of sunshine per year, Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains that straddles the Nevada-California border, although the South Shore features the lake's largest city, South Lake Tahoe, California.
In the winter, it's a sunny yet snowy ski town. But in the summer, the lake becomes the perfect playground for boating, kayaking and swimming. And no matter the season, the Nevada-side's casinos and nightlife light up the night.
What to Do in Lake Tahoe
The top five places to visit while you are in Lake Tahoe:
- Sand Harbor
- The Gondola at Heavenly
- Cascade Falls Trail (pictured)
- Emerald Bay State Park
- Thunderbird Lake Tahoe
Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe
Enjoy a glamping-style retreat with 31 cabins that provide all the modern amenities of a traditional hotel. Complete with kitchens or kitchenettes, the cabins give you your own space before joining with the community for complimentary breakfast and nightly campfires with s'mores.
An eco-friendly lodge on the lake's North Shore, Cedar Glen Lodge has garnered awards for being environmentally friendly. And when you aren't enjoying nature, the lodge is close to many restaurants, from casual to fine dining.
Book: Cedar Glen Lodge
2: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
While the majority of the towns on this list are beachfront, the top three are winter ski destinations that transform into summer playgrounds in the mountains. Jackson Hole is next door to Grand Teton National Park and is within a short car ride to Yellowstone National Park.
Jackson Hole's downtown is also charming, with an array of restaurants and shops to enjoy when leaving the elk and wildlife behind. But you don't have to get dirty to enjoy the spoils, as Jackson Hole resorts offer spas and multiple golf courses, too.
What to Do in Jackson Hole
The top five places to visit while you are in Jackson Hole:
- Town Square (pictured)
- National Elk Refuge
- National Museum of Wildlife Art
- Laurance Rockefeller Preserve
- Jackson Hole Rodeo
Where to Stay in Jackson Hole
Speaking of golf courses and spas, you'll find both at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole. The resort wants to cater to your every whim, with tantalizing dishes from its restaurants, rooms with mountain views and a variety of activities.
Choose to bike, raft, hike, fish — whatever your heart desires. The Four Seasons will spoil you while you truly enjoy your outdoor vacation.
Book: Four Seasons Jackson Hole
1: Telluride, Colorado
The best small town in the U.S. is also the third located in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. Telluride, of course, is a skiing hotspot. But in the summer, the cool mountain air complements the summer sun.
You'll find remnants of the town's former gold rush days now filled with artisan shops and restaurants. (You can learn more about the history of Telluride at its historical museum.) And, when you hike through the hills, visit Colorado's longest free-falling waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls.
What to Do in Telluride
The top five places to visit while you are in Telluride:
- Telluride Mountain Village Gondola
- Bear Creek Falls (pictured)
- Main Street
- Black Bear Pass
- Blue Lakes Trail
Where to Stay in
Enjoy your balcony or deck that looks onto the mountains at the Hotel Telluride. In the winter, it is a ski-in/ski-out destination, but in the summer, lace up your hiking books and find trails outside your door.
The lodge-style hotel offers warm and inviting rooms and restaurants and provides guests with complimentary gondola lifts to the mountain top and bike cruisers to explore the town.
Book: Hotel Telluride