Have the Ultimate Girls’ Trip in These Gorgeous Small Towns
Cities are great for a wild time with friends. But sometimes, all we want is to get away from the noise and chaos to relax with the people we love the most. For these trips, small towns rule.
Contrary to what many people think, there are plenty of things to do in small towns — if you choose your destination correctly. Whether you want to do extreme sports, head out into nature or relax in remote spas, there are plenty of small towns from which to choose.
These 30 destinations with fewer than 10,000 residents provide beauty and fun away from the big city. Grab your besties and plan the ultimate girls' trip.
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Despite competing with wonders like the Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, Sedona brings in visitors seeking to hike the surrounding red rocks. The town is also known as a premium spa destination and for having a lively local art community. Come here if your friend group wants to follow up on active adventures with relaxing spa sessions.
Where to stay: South West Inn
Black Mountain, North Carolina
Stay in Black Mountain for access to some of North Carolina's best hiking trails. There are also numerous boutique shops and, of course, local breweries. And if you and the gals feel like going somewhere bigger for the night, you can be in Asheville in 20 minutes.
Where to stay: Black Mountain Inn
The salmon capital of the world is one of Alaska's prettiest spots. Enjoy proximity to the inner passage as well as numerous hiking trails within the mountains. Despite its size, Ketchikan is quite lively, with shops, restaurants and bars that draw in the crowds.
Where to stay: The Landing Hotel & Restaurant
Miami is great, but if you don't feel like dealing with traffic and rowdy tourists, set your sight farther south in the idyllic Florida Keys. Located halfway between Key West and Miami, you'll find Islamorada, a tranquil little town where you'll spend your days going out on boats, eating fresh seafood and relaxing in the sun.
Where to stay: Limetree Bay Resort
Joshua Tree, California
The gateway to one of California's most beautiful national parks, Joshua Tree is a place to go when you want to disconnect and recharge. The remoteness, quietness and beauty of the place are conducive to bonding with your girlfriends on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Where to stay: Autocamp Joshua Tree
Taos, New Mexico
Taos is one of the most unique destinations in the U.S., even compared to big cities. As one of the country's oldest continuously inhabited places, the town boasts adobe dwellings that have been used by the Pueblo people for centuries. Come to see living history in the desert and for a girls' trip unlike any other.
Where to stay: Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa
Boasting one of the darkest skies in the lower 48, Alpine is a small Texan town that has been ignored by travelers for way too long. Follow the road-less-traveled and discover a destination that provides easy access to Big Bend National Park. Try to book a group tour for the Theatrical Walking Ghost Tour, which will thrill you while teaching you about the area's history. Plus, the tour raises funds for theater scholarships.
Where to stay: Hampton Inn Alpine
Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor is Maine's most popular destination for a reason. The town is as pretty as it gets. Its gorgeous waterfront is decorated with stilted houses and boats. Sit by the water while enjoying Maine lobster, visit historic lighthouses and plan excursions to Acadia National Park.
Where to stay: ThePrimrose
Oak Bluffs, Massachussetts
Oak Bluffs is the most popular town in Martha's Vineyard. Its historic pastel houses have a magical feel, and its harbor provides views of the Atlantic Ocean. This is also the best place on the island for dining and shopping, whether you want seafood or state-famous donuts.
Where to stay: Harbor View Hotel
Montana has plenty of charming small towns, but Bigfork is definitely one of the best. You'll never lack things to do, no matter what time of year you visit. Flathead Valley provides lakeside fun in the summer and skiing in the winter. While fall blankets the area in colorful robes, spring fills it with fresh air and wildflowers.
Where to stay: The Inn on Bigfork Bay
Isle of Palms, South Carolina
Bike around town to get to soft sand beaches that never feel crowded in this wonderfully relaxing town. This is a destination for people who want a vacation where the highlight will be spending time with friends in a beautiful place. You'll be doing a lot of swimming, tanning and watching sunsets from the pier.
Where to stay: Wild Dunes Resort
Gatlinburg is the most popular gateway into the majestic Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Everyone who visits is looking to spend time in the forested mountains that also hide waterfalls and streams. In town, plan to break bread with friends — and to wash it down with Tennessee whiskey.
Where to stay: The Park Vista, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
Crystal River, Florida
Florida is known for its perfect beaches. But if you want something out of the typical, go to its pristine springs instead. Crystal River is home to several of them, where people can swim, tube, snorkel and dive in clear turquoise water. This is the Florida most people don't know about.
Where to stay: Plantation on Crystal River, Ascend Hotel Collection (Note: This hotel was built in 1962 and was not a real plantation.)
Less than 20 minutes away from Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a fairy-tale town brought to life. You'll have access to beautiful beaches in the Pacific, a wonderful dining scene and plenty of boutique shopping. For a perfect activity with the girls, book a wine-tasting tour at one of the nearby vineyards.
Where to stay: Quail Lodge & Golf Club
Cape May, New Jersey
Forget everything you think you know about Jersey Shore. Cape May has nothing to do with the party image that this part of the East Coast has earned. On the contrary, this is the perfect place for a chill vacation on the beach, where you'll be sipping wine and cocktails in cute lounges more than throwing back shots at dingy bars.
Of course, if you do want to do that one day, there are nearby towns you can visit for a night before going back to the calmer side of Jersey Shore.
Where to stay: La Mer Beachfront Resort
Telluride is a stunning mountain town that draws people in because of its location within the Rocky Mountains. Though mining was once the bread and butter of the town, it now lives off its good looks. Book a girls-only ski trip for time on the slopes and a great après-ski scene.
Where to stay: The Hotel Telluride
Though Stowe and Montpelier are more popular destinations in Vermont, Arlington is the perfect off-the-beaten-path getaway. Bring your friends here for biking or hiking in the mountains, indulging in Vermont maple syrup and laid-back vibes. The town is four hours or less from New York and Boston, so it's great for a weekend getaway.
Where to stay: The Arlington Inn
Go to Germany without crossing the ocean by visiting Leavenworth. Inspired by traditional Bavarian villages, this West Coast town will have your group feeling like you're on a grand European adventure without the accompanying price tags.
Where to stay: HotelPension Anna
Lake Placid, New York
One of New York state's most scenic lake towns, Lake Placid is a popular summer and fall destination. Water sports are the main draw, but you can also hike around the surrounding mountains or enjoy the foliage in the fall. Although the town is tiny, its popularity has helped it develop a restaurant scene that satisfies even the pickiest of New Yorkers.
Where to stay: White Pines Lake
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Treat yourself to a weekend dedicated to rejuvenating your body and soul. Soak in natural hot springs until you feel like an entirely new person. And if you want to be active but not leave the water, tube or paddle board down the nearby San Juan River.
Where to stay: Healing Waters Resort & Spa
Cannon Beach, Oregon
The otherworldly Cannon Beach is famous for the giant boulders that rise from the cold Pacific Ocean. There isn't much to do in town, but nobody minds since everyone wants to spend as much time as possible at the beach. And if you're with a great group, you really don't need much to keep you entertained.
Where to stay: Inn at Cannon Beach
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Definitely Delaware's best destination, Rehoboth Beach is known as a gay party destination. Come during the summer for giant beach parties or any other time for a quiet seaside getaway. Either way, you'll get to enjoy craft brews and delicious food.
Where to stay: The Bellmoor Inn & Spa
St. Michaels, Maryland
Maryland, as a whole, is a thoroughly underappreciated state. So, take advantage of it and head to St. Michaels for a vacation that breaks clichés. Set on Chesapeake Bay, it is under two hours from Washington, D.C., so it makes for an easy weekend escape from the city. Visit the town's maritime museum, go on a cruise tour and visit wineries, distilleries and lighthouses.
Where to stay: Wades Point Inn on the Bay
Located on the shored of Lake Michigan, this town was once a thriving artists' colony. Now, it's a popular lakeside getaway that is best enjoyed in the summer, when the weather is pleasant and the water is nice and inviting.
Where to stay: Serendipity Bed & Breakfast
Magnolia Springs, Alabama
Tiny in size but big in personality, Magnolia Springs is a peaceful getaway that'll make you feel far away from your troubles. The town is known for its abundance of oak trees, which arch over streets to create a protective and scenic canopy. Expect Southern hospitality and delicious food.
Where to stay: Magnolia Springs Bed & Breakfast
Create everlasting memories with a trip to some of Utah's most astonishing places. Set along the Scenic Byway 12, Escalante provides easy access to Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and Zion national parks. But besides this, it has other natural wonders that get fewer visitors, including natural bridges and waterfalls in the midst of arid land.
Where to stay: Yonder Escalante
If Napa Valley is too overdone for you, head to Middleburg instead. This lesser-known wine county is ideal for a girls' weekend. Sip wine while you enjoy views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in this remote part of the state.
Where to stay: Salamander Resort & Spa
If you're heading to Lake Tahoe, forget about staying anywhere other than Stateline. The teeny-tiny town has managed to fend off the overtourism that plagues other parts of this lake. You'll still have to share it with other people but not so many that it impedes you from enjoying this mesmerizing body of water.
Where to stay: Edgewood Tahoe Resort
People go to Bayfield mainly for one reason: to visit Apostle Islands National Seashore. This gem of Lake Superior is known for its sea caves, which the wind and water have carved out over time. The park is a beautiful kayaking spot that also has great hikes. And the best part is that its remoteness guarantees that large crowds stay away.
Where to stay: Old Rittenhouse Inn
If you want our honest opinion, you should skip Oahu and head to Maui instead. The Valley Isle is less touristy, so beaches are never as crowded. Stay in Kapalua, a tranquil town that'll give you easy access to some of the island's most tranquil beaches as well as the West Maui Forest Reserve.
Where to stay: Napili Kai Beach Resort