The cities and towns of the United States provide a wide range of diversity. There are large metropolitan areas such as New York and small, out of the way places tucked in the hills and valleys. If you live in a big city, you may find the pace of life in smaller cities or towns to be a welcome relief of peace. Once you visit a small town and sample its less complicated lifestyle, you might want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city and settle somewhere in the quiet countryside.
If you’re looking for a small town with all the big cities amenities, then head to Breckenridge, Colorado. This ski town has quaint coffee shops, high-end restaurants, a Lululemon store, and easy access to some of the best ski mountains in the Rockies.
But when you go home, you’ll be in the middle of the woods, with moose and other wild animals walking about in your backyard. Breckenridge is about a 2-hour drive to Denver, so if you’re missing city life, you can always hop in a car drive there.
Gold was discovered east of Breckenridge in the late 1850s, and the town was established to serve the miners of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. The gold mines are no longer operational, but they are open for tourists to visit.
Breckenridge Ski Resort, constructed in 1961, made Breckenridge a popular skiing destination. Don’t care for snow? In the summer, you can enjoy such outdoor activities as hiking, fly-fishing in the Blue River, mountain biking, boating on Lake Dillon, white water rafting, three alpine slides, and a roller coaster. You have many opportunities to spend money in the many shops and restaurants on Main Street. Bring all your credit cards.
Bar Harbor, Maine
You’ll love Bar Harbor, Maine, if you love fog, damp Atlantic winds, and gray skies. This small coastal town has all the New England charm you’ll want, along with seafood restaurants serving delicious lobster. You’ll also be able to wander along hiking trails in National Forests if you enjoy early morning strolls in the woods.
Acadia National Park is jabot 2 miles southwest of downtown Bar Harbor. The park includes Cadillac Mountain, the highest point within twenty-five miles of the coastline of the Eastern United States.
Acadia National Park, after being renamed a few times, is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the area as a national park in 1916 and is the only national park in the northeast United States.
Bar Harbor has a population of about 4,000 but is visited by hundreds of thousands of people during the tourist season from May through October. Almost 250,000 of its visitors arrive by ship. Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport provides year-round direct flights to Boston, Massachusetts.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is nestled in a small valley in Wyoming. The little ski town of Jackson is a destination for the Manhattan jet-set in the winter. The powder snow in the Jackson ski areas is comparable to that in Aspen, Colorado, but Jackson is far less crowded.
If skiing isn’t for you, you can always do other winter sports. You can go for a Grand Teton National Park tour.
Just north of Jackson is Yellowstone National Park. If being in the wilderness is your goal, Jackson Hole has all the wilderness you will ever need.
Jackson Hole Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Wyoming. The Jackson Hole Airport is also the only airport in the US located inside a National Park. However, it becomes difficult to fly in the winter months. Major airlines serve the valley with jet service, some of which are seasonal (summer and winter).
Lake Tahoe, California
Those beautiful pictures of Lake Tahoe that you see online are not nearly as beautiful as the real thing. This lake sits on the border of California and Nevada, tucked into the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There are plenty of winter sports available, but summers in this small resort town are equally memorable.
The Truckee River is the lake’s only outlet. It flows through Reno, Nevada, into Pyramid Lake, which has no outlet. It accounts for one-third of the water that leaves the lake, the rest evaporating from the lake’s surface. The Lake Tahoe Dam controls the flow of the Truckee River and the lake’s height.
You can go paddleboarding or kayaking on the lake or spend your mornings surrounded by water so calm that it looks like a mirror. In the fall, the surrounding mountain trees turn beautiful shades of orange and yellow.
Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California. Snow and ski resorts are a significant part of the area’s economy and reputation. The Nevada side also offers several lakeside casino resorts, with highways providing year-round access to the entire area.
Juneau is the second-largest city in Alaska, it’s still in Alaska. You won’t find streets crowded with people, and you can easily drift off into the Alaskan wilderness. You can explore glaciers, go on hikes in the national parks, or sit outside and enjoy the peace and quiet.
At night, you may even be treated to a display of the Northern Lights. There are no light polluting skyscrapers or neon signs around, so you can actually see the stars at night, weather permitting.
Juneau is nestled at the base of Mount Juneau and across the Gastineau Channel from Douglas Island. Douglas Island has the only sand beach in the Juneau area. The beach is a result of tailings from the Treadwell gold mine on the island. Douglas Island and Juneau are connected by a bridge.
The city and the surrounding area have a population of around 35,000 making it the second-most populous city in Alaska after Anchorage. Juneau has a daily influx of about 6,000 tourists from cruise ships between May and September.