Lonely Planet Writer

Plan your next trip to one of the coolest small towns in the US

If walking the busy streets of New York or driving through the endless traffic of LA is no longer your desired way to travel, then perhaps it’s time to plan a trip somewhere a bit smaller. Budget Travel has released a list of the coolest small towns in the US, so you can start planning your perfect low-key getaway. Each town has a population of under 20,000, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to keep even the most avid explorer occupied. See the top five here:

Main Street, Beacon, city located in Dutchess County, New York, United States. Image by Barry Winiker/Getty Images

Beacon, New York

Only a day trip from New York City, this tiny town still offers up all the art and culture you need. The “vibrant, forward-thinking” town is packed with artisans, craft breweries, restaurants and more.

Sonoma, California City Square. Image by ©johnrandallalves/Getty Images

Sonoma, California

Wine lovers will find themselves well at home in vineyard-packed Sonoma. The beautiful town is only a short drive from the San Francisco Bay Area, and you will still find plenty of culinary diversity so you can sample Mexican, BBQ, Asian restaurants and more.

Sunset at the Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA. Image by ©Sean Pavone/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, the “gateway to the Smokies”, is already the classic stopping point as you venture to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the most visited in the US. But it’s more than just a place to fill up the tank – Gatlinburg offers up history, culture and of course, Southern comfort food, so there is plenty to do even for those who don’t love the outdoors.

Durango, Colorado

This old Colorado mining town brings you near to the San Juan National Forest and within reach of an incredible list of activities like skiing, biking, rafting, zip-lining and more. If you’re looking to try something different, you can even take a ride on the historic Durango Train.

Ephraim, Wisconsin

Located on the Door Peninsula in Lake Michigan, Ephraim is a historic town that was first settled by Norwegian Moravians. Visitors can enjoy the historical sites before heading out into the harbour to enjoy boating, kayaking, paddle-boarding and more.

If these are sparking your desire to head to a small town, chill with the locals, and explore, you can check out the full top 10 list at Budget Travel.