I have thought of a few different places to talk about that are, lets say, a little off the beaten path.
Sure, places like Orlando, Las Vegas, New York get most of the attention when thinking about places to visit in the US, but there are other hidden gems that lie away from the hustle and bustle of what these places bring. This list looks at these “diamonds in the rough.”
For me, traveling consists of really 3 things: (1) destination (2) how to get there (3) what to do when I get to said place. Of course, there are other factors to consider, but for the most part, it really only comes down to these things. When faced with these questions, I have always had a knee jerk reaction to pick the more “known” places. Whether it be Orlando, Las Vegas, Boston – these places have held their weight when it comes to tourist welcoming spots. We all know that we are going to find loads of things to do in these places without really too much effort.
Top 5 small cities to consider for your next holiday
Below is a list of places that I thought might take a little bit more imagination but are equally as enjoyable – and educational.
West Monroe, Louisiana. I know, only show in town is in New Orleans, but if you’re tired of all the crowds pushing their way into the next bar on Bourbon street, this might be a nice spots. Situated on the Ouachita River, West Monroe boasts a population of just fewer than 14,000, but this small town has a big town feel. The Antique Alley is incredible, restaurants serve up some great Louisiana cooking and the bars are much cleaner without the pushing and shoving. If you’re in the mood for a little football, then you’re in luck – the highly ranked West Monroe High School Rebels make their home here.
Cloverdale, California. One thing to remember about vacationing to small towns, is to make sure there is a big town close by in case your travel plans change. In Cloverdale, you many not need it, but San Francisco is a mere 85 miles south. This place has it all; located in Sonoma County (or wine country for all your aficionados), Cloverdale is everything that a small town should haveâ€¦old run down buildings that keep their same appeal as they did when they were booming and they have a Citrus Fair every year! Like hamburgers? Check out Pick’s as they have some of the best in the business.
Stuart, Florida. This pirate town has come a long way from when it was first incorporated as a town back in 1914, but has never relinquished its history. These little pirate towns have always fascinated me, and Stuart gives you the sense that you are aboard pirate Pedro Gilbert’s ship as he waited for unsuspecting prey off the coast. Not to far from Stuart is Hutchinson Island where you can visit The Elliott Museum and the House of Refuge which is the last remaining shipwreck life savings station on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. If more nautical adventure is what you want; Stuart is also the Sailfish Capital of the World.
Boulder City, Nevada. After the bright lights of Las Vegas have you seeing Elvis, spinning around the ceiling, take the 20 mile journey to Boulder City, Nevada to clear the cob webs. The Hangover gang may have thought that spending the night in Vegas was a good idea, and for those of us that watched the movie, it certainly was entertaining; but for the rest of us, it’s a good idea to simply enjoy what Nevada has – other than green felt and spinning slot machines. Stroll down Main Street and pop into any of the many antique stores – or if a more heart racing activity is something you crave; take a nice desert hike along any of the marvelous trails. On top of all of this, the Hoover Dam and all its grandeur is just a few miles away.
Belfast, Maine. If you’re looking for a little piece of Americana, it might be hard to beat the feeling that this little town fills you with. Located about 100 miles from Portland, Belfast has become somewhat of a haven for artists of all genres. The tourists just haven’t found this place, but its residents know a great location when they see it. Lines of bed & breakfasts wait to engulf you with the enticing aroma of maple syrup. As small as this place is, its still on the Maine Coast and, having said that, lobster is all the rage. The Lobster Pound is the best place to enjoy this delight.
Of course, there isn’t any science behind picking a small town to make a holiday of it. There are more and more small towns that are popping up on vacation goers more and more. Maybe it’s the state of the economy or the release of stress from city slickers who just need a break. Or, maybe its something more then that. Maybe its just that the traveler has finally figured out that some of these small cities have something that not too many big cities have – a welcoming and at home feeling.
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