Technically this is Wyoming, but you may have a hard time believing it. With a median age of 32, this Western town has evolved into a mecca for mountain lovers, hard-core climbers and skiers, easily recognizable as sunburned baristas. The upside of being posh and popular? Jackson is abuzz with life: trails and outdoor opportunities abound.
Grand Teton National Park
With its jagged, rocky peaks, cool alpine lakes and fragrant forests, the Tetons rank among the finest scenery in America. Directly south of Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park has 12 glacier-carved summits, which frame the singular Grand Teton (13,770ft). For mountain enthusiasts, this sublime and crazy terrain is thrilling.
Raucous Cody revels in its Wild West image (the town is named after legendary showman William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody, who founded it). Summer is high season, and Cody puts on quite an Old West show for the throngs of visitors making their way to Yellowstone National Park, 52 miles to the west.
Many a country tune has been penned about Wyoming's state capital and largest city, though Cheyenne is more like the Hollywood Western before the shooting begins. That is, until Frontier Days festival, a raucous July celebration of cowboy fun. At the junction of I-25 and I-80, the city is a useful pit stop.
Home to the state's only four-year university, Laramie can be both hip and boisterous, a vibe missing from most Wyoming prairie towns. Worth exploring is the small historic downtown, a lively five-block grid of attractive two-story brick buildings with hand-painted signs and murals pushed up against the railroad tracks.