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1. La Conner — Washington
This sleepy coastal town comes alive in spring with the La Conner Daffodil Festival, where thousands of colorful flowers bloom in fields near Mount Baker. Once you’re done exploring the local boutiques, cafés, and restaurants, it’s only about a 30-minute drive to the San Juan Islands ferry, from which you can spot orcas between April and October.
2. Oxford — Mississippi
Oxford is a surprisingly cool ~cultural hub~ in the South, beloved by writers and artists. A walk around the small downtown area isn’t complete without a visit to the main square, where you’ll find a decades-old bookstore, a charming record shop, and countless cute boutiques.
3. Sanibel Island — Florida
This probably isn’t a place you’d pass by on a regular road trip, but it’s one that’s worth going out of your way to visit. Accessible by causeway, the serene and secluded Sanibel Island is a far cry from the rest of Florida. It’s got pristine beaches and around 25 miles of bike trails to explore, and 60% of the island is preserved from development. Definitely an excellent place to chill out and disconnect for a few days.
4. Eureka Springs — Arkansas
A peaceful town in the Ozarks, Eureka Springs is a historic spot filled with old Victorian mansions built on hilly streets. It’s a wonderful place to stroll around and explore on foot, admiring the architecture and discovering the downtown area’s shops and galleries.
5. Whitefish — Montana
This small town by Whitefish Lake was named one of the New York Times’ top 52 places to visit in the whole world. It’s an absolute must-stop for nature lovers in both summer and winter. You can ski and snowboard or hike and bike your way around the nearby Glacier National Park before enjoying the lively atmosphere of the town once the sun sets.
6. Fredericksburg — Texas
Set in an area known for its German history and peach orchards, Fredericksburg is the perfect destination for wine lovers. The town is smack-dab in the middle of Texas wine country, with over 50 wineries and cellar doors you can visit. If you’re into camping, drive north for about 20 minutes to Enchanted Rock, an International Dark Sky Park with some of the best stargazing in the state.
7. Jim Thorpe — Pennsylvania
This small town with fewer than 5,000 residents was formed in the 1950s and named after the legendary Native American Olympian, who started his sports career in nearby Carlisle. The town’s 19th-century architecture and majestic mountain views kinda make you feel as if you’re in a Swiss Alpine village. It’s small but a good place to wander around for an afternoon — most visitors come for the nearby adventuring opportunities like hiking and whitewater rafting.
8. Three Rivers — California
Located conveniently close to Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, this is a prime stop-off village before one plunges into the nature activities the area is known for: whitewater rafting, cave exploration, redwood gazing, and waterfall hikes. Check out Three Rivers Brewing Co. for an afternoon drink — there’s also an old-timey sweet shop, a gift store full of handmade goods, and a great Mexican joint.
9. Montclair — New Jersey
Less than an hour from New York City, Montclair is an ideal spot for a short getaway without getting too rural. The town has a vibrant local community with world-class dining — minus the New York City price tags. There’s even a swanky rooftop bar at the MC Hotel with impressive views of the region and the Manhattan skyline off in the distance.
10. Kanab — Utah
Kanab is right near Zion National Park, Lake Powell, and the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, so it’s popular among explorers looking for some R&R between hikes. The small town has a bit of a Western feel to it, thanks to the architecture and the dramatic mountains in the distance. Be sure to stop at Big Al’s for one of their famous burgers.