8 Best Small Cities to Visit in the US
8 Best Small Cities to Visit in the U.S.
Travelers these days are caught up in visiting only the known popular travel destinations in the US for sightseeing and to have a good time with their family or to explore new places. But travelers often overlook small cities and towns that provide greatest insights into the American culture where one can engage with locals in the best of ways.
It is said that America was built upon small towns and cities, and many of these small cities are still thriving today, both from coast to coast and top to bottom. If you are an adventurous traveler with an open mind, then you can get a taste of what it is like to live somewhere with a cultural difference in your own country. Yes, these small cities have a lot to offer for travelers. Below mentioned are some of the most beautiful and best small cities to visit in the U.S.
Eight Best Small Cities to Visit in the U.S. for a Traveler
1) Key West, Florida
Key West is an island city and part of Florida Keys, and is the southernmost point of the state Florida. Key West is roughly 90 miles north of Cuba. This small city is famous for its famed pastel-hued, conch-style houses and people with a laid-back attitude. Florida Keys being the dive capital of the world, Key West is a popular destination for diving and snorkeling along with amazing coral reefs – than for its beaches.
Key West has a population of 25,000. This is not a bustling city where the places are crowded; this place is more secluded where you can do things on your own. As a traveler you can visit most of Key West’s historic attractions by convenient public transportation, pedi-cabs, tour trains, taxis, bicycles or even your own two feet.
2) Sedona, Arizona
Sedona which is a desert town in Arizona, is surrounded by canyon walls and pine forests. The main attraction in Sedona is its array of red sandstone formations which appear to glow orange to bright red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The rocks also form the most sought out destination for activities like hiking and mountain biking trails. The place is surrounded by 1.8 million acres of national forest land, and travelers have instant access to recreational activities. In one of America’s popular magazine ‘USA Weekend’ which compiled their most beautiful places in America List, Sedona claimed the top spot.
Sedona has equal parts which are rugged and the other which is filled with beautiful resorts. This small city is regarded by the Native Americans as a sacred place and is recognized as a place of healing and spiritual renewal. Travelers mainly come to experience the vortex energy centers of Sedona and others just love to prowl more than 40 art galleries lining the streets, or to receive soothing treatments from the dozens of spa facilities in the region. The city of Sedona has many nearby vineyards and tasting rooms and has emerged as a destination for wine lovers.
3) Aspen, Colorado
Aspen in Colorado is one of the favorite resort areas in the United States. Aspen has a very small population which is close to 7000 and the city got its name as Aspen due to lot of aspen trees found in the region. The place is very popular for ski resorts and travelers will not be at a loss for activities that range from recreation on the snowcapped mountains to the arts and exemplary culinary delights. Aspen as a vacation destination is perfect choice during summer or winter season. This small city sits on the upper end of the Roaring Fork Valley and offers challenging outdoor recreation opportunities, a pleasant climate and breathtaking natural scenery.
The main reason why travelers throng this place is because Aspen is world renowned for downhill skiing. The mountain of Aspen rises imposingly from town and is one of the four ski areas in this beautiful valley. There are other skiing areas nearby such as: Buttermilk Mountains, Snowmass and Aspen Highlands all lie very close to each other and offer best skiing and snowboarding experience in the world. Aspen during warmer months offer even more surprises with abundant wildflowers in the alpine meadows, excellent hiking with amazingly breathtaking views in the summer, the golden aspen groves are a sight to behold during autumn. Aspen also beckons mountain bikers, rafters, rock climbers and kayakers to explore its wonders.
4) Napa, California
Napa is a very small city that has total area of 18 square miles in the state of California. Napa Valley is home to some of the most prestigious vineyards in the world (Michael Mondavi Family Estate, Domaine Cameros winery, O’Brien Estate and more). The weather in Napa Valley is mild throughout the year and wineries are open year round. If you are a wine enthusiast, then Napa Valley is the Holy Grail.
Napa valley is the best place for a family vacation, and the best time to visit this small city depends mostly on the type of experience that you want. Whether you want to experience the excitement of harvest or you just want to take a exclusive private tour of the valley’s popular estates. If you want Napa Valley vacation to be affordable, then visit this place after New Year’s where you can seek leisurely wine tasting experience and can avoid premium hotel price.
5) Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara known as the ‘American Riviera’ is sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains. This small city is affluent, pretty and the seaside lassitude is very reminiscent of the Mediterranean. Santa Barbara will certainly make your senses go wild with smells of orange blossoms, hyacinth and jasmine all around and is certainly one of the best smelled cities in the United States. This small city lies all along the ocean where onshore breezes and moderate temperatures result in warmer winters and moderate to cooler summers compared with places that are farther inland.
As a traveler you will fall in love with Santa Barbara, because it has some wonderful beaches and you will find some best places to surf here. Throughout the summer you will find artists who display their work on beaches here. Travelers flock this place during Whale watching seasons (Feb-Apr), where some 20,000 Gray and Humpback Whales migrate.
6) Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is the capital of the US state New Mexico. Popular magazine Travel + Leisure rates Santa Fe as #1 cultural destination in the country. Tourists flood Santa Fe more during the summer as it has a small but vibrant downtown which is walkable, and walked often, by many people late into the nights. If you want to most of the Santa Fe downtown, then consider taking a tour of downtown. There are many companies that offer an open-air tram tour, which lasts for 1.5 hours and gives you a sense of the history, culture and its architecture.
Santa Fe has some world-class hotels and resorts along with elegant and charming B & B’s. As a traveler if you are seeking rejuvenation and relaxation then there are more than 20 world class spas in the vicinity. You can also enjoy wonderful biking and hiking trails in the pristine nature of Santa Fe along with skiing and snowboarding locations during the winter.
7) Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson is a small town in the state of Wyoming, United States. This small town was originally called as ‘Jackson’s Hole’ and is now a major gateway for millions of tourists visiting the nearby Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge. Jackson has a population of close to 10,000 and rest assured travelers will find this place way quieter and one can enjoy the serene nature of this beautiful place. Jackson has some very beautiful ski resorts and challenging steep vertical slopes in the country.
Other major attractions in Jackson include: large arches of elk antlers at the four entrances to the town square, national museum of wildlife art, Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges for skiing in the winter and for hiking in the summer are popular attractions in Jackson. The best time to visit Jackson depends on your preferred adventure as a traveler. During the summer, Jackson is a peak travel destination for hiking, fly-fishing, horseback riding and mountain biking. Also the wildlife is most active during the spring months and in the winter’s travelers flock this place for skiing and snowboarding adventure with challenging steep vertical slopes.
8) Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a small seaside city in the state of Rhode Island. Popularly known as New England Summer Resort once where the place was the summer playground for high profile socialite families in the past. Newport is famous for its mansions, cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks, which create an upscale tourist kind downtown area with many shops, roadside cafes’, art galleries and great restaurants are all located along the water.
If you are traveling single or on family vacation, then Newport is best experienced in transportation modes other than a car. You will notice that most of the travelers enjoy Newport by walk, or riding small mopeds, bikes or scooters to get around the city. In Newport you can visit famous mansions, cliff walk – which is a scenic walk along the beach; Fort Adams – Here they do re-enactments of wars and tours, a fun outing for the whole family. You can end the vacation in Newport on high by having dinner on one of the best dinner trains in the US.
These 8 small cities in the United States offer great value as a tourist destination. These small cities are not only affordable but also very beautiful in their own way. America as a nation is vast and these small cities and towns offer the old world charm that travelers miss in a big city with huge population. Do let us know, which among these 8 best small cities are your favorite destination and for what reason.