the Most Charming Small Towns in America

rurual America is calling wander off the beaten path

Explore the hidden gems in rural American towns. Experince a super slow down from the norm and the noise of the world and just appreciate travel stateside. From quaint shops, dining, unique histories, fun experiences, and natural beauty you can be an interesting surprise going off the beaten path in rural town America.

Who wants to go? Contact our team of vacation planners to help put together a one-of-kind specif to your specification itinerary today! 



Glasgow was established in the late 1800s as a railroad town. While in Glasgow, visit the Valley County Pioneer Museum showcasing fossils, Indian artifacts, railroad, early business, aviation and wildlife collections. The Glasgow area is full of scenic rolling plains and open farmland. Many roads lead to Fort Peck Lake through the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Bugling elk, herds of mule deer, red fox and coyotes call this place home.

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  • Cottonwood Inn & Suites

choose your adveture in Carmel, California

Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel is a world-renowned, 1-square-mile village on California's central coast. It's beloved for its fairytale-like cottages, as well as its upscale boutiques, art galleries, historic Carmel Mission Basilica, wineries and other attractions. Carmel Beach has been ranked as one of America's top beach towns. nestled along California's Central Coast.

Discover pure inspiration in a city by the sea.  nestled along California's Central Coast. enjoy upscale boutiques, fairytale like cottages, wineries, galleries and more. 

Get Lost in the Charm of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Whether you have a day – or two or three – Carmel-by-the-Sea will reward you with some of the world's finest scenery, historic sites, art galleries, restaurants, and boutique shops.

  • Enjoy a wide range of casually elegant cuisine, including a number of Wine Spectator-awarded restaurants. From sushi to Italian to hearty pub fare, Carmel has the best of everything.

  • Get a great overview of our village's history as an artist colony with a painting workshop or art tour. Then sample 80 A-List art galleries tucked into a square mile of quaint streets and alleyways.

  • Sample cheeses and other gourmet treats from around the world at The Cheese Shop, 

  • Top off the evening by watching the sunset on captivating Carmel Beach, rated one of America's cleanest and prettiest.

  • Take an early morning stroll along pristine Carmel Beach, ranked as one of the nation's cleanest and most beautiful.

  • People-watch at famed Hog's Breath Inn, the popular restaurant and bar once owned by Clint Eastwood. Enjoy a meal and drinks on the charming outdoor patio.

  • Along Old Fisherman's Wharf in Downtown Monterey, take in the sights and sounds with up-close look at our thriving fishing industry. Great restaurants and photogenic sea life abound. The adventurous visitor can enjoy a glass bottom boat tour, deep-sea fishing trip, or whale watching in season. You also can explore nearby Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary with scuba diving and kayaking, or biking along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail. Visit for details.

  • Monterey Movie Tours takes you on a luxury motor coach ride through the area's spectacularly scenic movie-making history. Nearly 200 films have been made in Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach, and Pacific Grove since 1897. Learn the inside stories as you watch iconic scenes on the coach's overhead monitors that were filmed on those exact same spots. Visit for details.

Carmel Wine Walk

Carmel-by-the-Sea has numerous tasting rooms, wine bars and bottle shops. Walk through Carmel's charming village and taste some of the region's... more

Carmel Food Tours

(831) 216-8161


You will take a leisurely stroll through the heart of Carmel, taste a specially-selected variety of foods and wines from local restaurants and... more

Discover Courtyards & Passageways

If one thing defines Carmel-by-the-Sea, it is the charming courtyards and secret passageways. The courtyards began in the 1920s, when Hugh Comstock's... more

Carmel Walks

(831) 223-4399


Delight in the special charms of Carmel on a leisurely 2-hour guided walk through secret pathways, hidden courtyards, award-winning gardens, and by... more

L'Auberge Carmel

(831) 624-8578


Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Every spring, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, celebrates its delicious berry crop with a Strawberry Festival held in beautiful, historic Memorial Park. The town is known as America's Antique City, thanks to the many restored shops in the downtown area where you can purchase antiques, handcrafted items and artwork. Wondering about the town's name? It comes from a Choctaw Indian word meaning "hair to hang," which refers to the Spanish moss that hangs from the local trees.

Ponchatoula, the oldest incorporated city in Tangipahoa Parish, is host to the popular Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival every spring. The city is northwest of Lake Pontchartrain and abundantly grows local produce including the famous Louisiana strawberries. The area offers beautiful sites in addition to tasty eats - the city derives its name from the Choctaw Indian language meaning "hair to hang" because of the abundance of Spanish moss on the ancient oak trees found throughout the area.


It's also been nicknamed America's Antique City and is stocked with numerous art, antique and hand-crafted items that you can shop for in historic buildings in the downtown area. Visitors enjoy delicious food and culture while just being outside Baton Rouge, Northshore area and New Orleans.

Even though it’s just a small town in Louisiana, Ponchatoula is famous for its Strawberry Festival. Held over one weekend every April, the festival combines entertainment, food, and fun and draws people from all over the states. Like any small town festival, there are carnival rides, game booths, and the opportunity to win prizes and raffles. On the Saturday of the festival, there is a parade, concert, and a contest for the “Best of the Best” ribbon-winning strawberries. Then, on Sunday, the festival wraps up with the “Strawberry Strut” (a 5k and 10K run), a worship service, and more games, rides, and classic festival fun like potato sack races.

Buy homemade products and taste the strawberry jams, pies, and pastries. Try more adventurous strawberry themed delights like fried strawberries and a homemade strawberry daiquiri. Handmade items sold by local merchants might include strawberry themed crafts and jewelry. Oh, and if you spot an alligator, don’t be surprised - it’s the town’s mascot.

Overall, the Strawberry Festival is a classic small town experience that you won’t want to miss 

Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Ponchatoula/Hammond

727 West Pine Street, Ponchatoula, Louisiana 70454


What do you want to explore? The choice is yours in this interactive video series that allows you to choose your adventure by the topics that most inspire you.


And even better, our local Louisiana ambassadors are your personal tour guides. This group of passionate locals are ready to show you what they love about Louisiana. They're here to share some of the best things to do throughout the state.


*Please confirm hours of operation before making travel plans.


Get ready for your personalized #OnlyLouisiana adventure!

gator tour

african American museum tour

strawberry festival

brewery tour




Essex, Connecticut

Often called a "storybook village," Essex, Connecticut, is a little-known treasure on the Connecticut River. This historic seaport town has a quaint main street filled with the restored homes of sea captains, galleries and boutique shops. Don’t miss the Connecticut River Museum, housed in an 1878 steamboat warehouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s the only one of its kind still on the river. Train enthusiasts can catch the only steam-train-to-riverboat ride in the U.S. here


Decorah, Iowa

Explore your Norwegian heritage in Decorah, Iowa, population 8,127 and home to an annual Nordic Fest and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Even if you're not of Nordic descent, you'll want to ride the popular Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that loops around the community, or visit Decorah to fish for trout, shop for fresh produce at the local farmers' market, and buy heirloom seeds at the famous Seed Savers Exchange.


Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis, is located where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. This quaint river town is known for its limestone bluffs, which make it one of the best spots in the U.S. to see bald eagles. Every January and February, the town kicks off the eagle-watching season with the Alton Audubon Eagle Ice Festival. Alton is reportedly one of the most haunted small towns in America; at least 10 spirits are said to inhabit the McPike Mansion.


Lindsborg, Kansas

The small town of Lindsborg, often called "Little Sweden U.S.A.," is located off Highway I-135 in Kansas. Stop downtown to explore the fine art galleries and unique shops, or stay for a weekend and see how many colorful dala (Swedish folk-art figures of horses) you can find. Plan to visit during a festival to enjoy live Swedish folk dancing.


Kennebunkport, Maine

Once a shipbuilding center, Kennebunkport, Maine, became a summer retreat by the late 1800s; affluent vacationers flocked to the grand hotels and mansions along its coastline. Visitors still come each summer to relax on the beaches and stroll around the town. Don't miss Dock Square, a popular shopping area in a village setting, and a drive along Ocean Avenue for spectacular coastal views.


Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lays just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.


Nantucket, Massachusetts

The seaport of Nantucket, Massachusetts, lays just 26 miles south of Cape Cod. Visitors come to stroll its cobblestone streets and weather-beaten wharves and explore its charming Main Street, known for its fascinating architecture, boutiques and shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The entire 50-square-mile island is a National Historic Landmark. Sailors once called it the "Little Grey Lady of the Sea," and National Geographic has ranked it as the world's best island. Shown here: a view from Cliffside Beach Club.


Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri, celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2019. Author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in this Mississippi River town as a boy. In his honor, it offers a variety of shops, museums, riverboat rides and other experiences, many based on his characters. A week-long Tom Sawyer Days Festival is held each year. A new Big River Steampunk Festival has been drawing visitors, too, many of whom dress in Victorian-era costumes.


Whitefish, Montana

National Geographic once named Whitefish, Montana, one of the "Top 25 Ski Towns in the World," but this small town on the shores of Whitefish Lake offers even more to do and see. Visitors come to snowboard, hike, boat, bike and enjoy live, professional theater and fine dining. For nature lovers, Glacier National Park is a short drive away.



Nebraska City, Nebraska

Home to the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center, and a former station on the Underground Railroad, Nebraska City, Nebraska, is especially lovely in the fall. The changing colors of the trees, u-pick apple orchards and cozy lodgings draw visitors. Don't miss Arbor Day Farm, where you can take a ride through the trees, and stop to pick apples at Kimmel Orchard to eat fresh or turn into pies.


Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a small gem of a town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Known for its historic adobe architecture and Taos Pueblo, a village continuously inhabited for more than a thousand years, it's rich in Hispanic and Native American history. Look for regional artwork in the town's many galleries and museums.


Skaneateles, New York

Celebrities and former presidents discovered charming Skaneateles, New York, years ago. Like other visitors, they’ve come for live performances at the gazebo on Skaneateles Lake, the farm-to-table restaurants, tour boat cruises and racetrack, and to admire the beautiful waterfalls and restored buildings dating back to 1796. This four-season destination hosts festivals, art shows and other events throughout the year.


Oxford, Mississippi

Book lovers know Oxford, Mississippi, as the home of world-famous author William Faulkner. It was also once the home of contemporary author John Grisham. Nicknamed the "Cultural Mecca of the South," Oxford attracts artists, musicians and prominent chefs like James Beard Award winner John Currence. The town square, with its decades-old bookstore, boutiques, vinyl record shop and more, is a must-see.


Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Residents of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, like to say their town is the "cure for the common beach." The beach is accessible by ferry and sits beside Silver Lake, a scenic harbor. It's popular for its shops and restaurants, historic British cemetery, and its light station, the oldest still operating in the state. Like a good scare? Take a ghost walk with a descendant of Blackbeard's quartermaster, or catch a short boat ride to Portsmouth Island's so-called ghost village.


Jacksonville, Oregon

Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, is in Southern Oregon's wine country and a gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Come in the summer to enjoy the Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts event, or explore the town's independently owned shops, restaurants and hiking and biking trails year-round. Jacksonville has been called one of America's 10 "coolest small towns."


La Conner, Washington

Visitors often come to La Conner, Washington, a small town on the water