The paradox of big-city travel is that you never really get a break. You ditch work in New York, LA, or Chicago to go visit your buddies in New York, LA, or Chicago; come Sunday night, you’re exhausted, and why did blowing $250 a day on cocktails and sushi and cabs seem like the smart move?
Say this for small American towns: They know how to slowwww dowwwwn. They’re ideal for young kids and retirees, two groups who favor the chiller things in life: short walks, sunny parks, uncrowded beaches, unhurried conversations. Small-towners also dig on taffy, chicken-fried steak, old-timey train stations, historical markers, quirky festivals, driving barefoot, free parking everywhere, $7 pitchers of Bud heavy, nodding hello to strangers, and other things that never really go out of style.
We searched for small towns with populations under 60k where you can get a glimpse of the good life after the rat race, eat well, see actual stars at night, and still find plenty of activities to keep boredom at bay. Would you want to live there? Probably not -- if everyone did, there’d be a whole city there by now. But do you want to step out of your life for a couple of long, languid days? Yeah, you definitely could stand to visit one of these gems.