New York City—more specifically the neon insanity around Times Square—may be the most popular tourist destination in the United States, but travelers don’t need to navigate the Big Apple to take home a memorable experience. America’s small towns have a lot to offer tourists, from lakeside picnics to golf with a view to carriage rides through cobbled streets. While New York may have many of those options, too, there’s no need to figure out how to work a Metrocard or navigate a ride from JFK Airport in small town America.
Small towns offer a slower pace of life that translates to a truly restful vacation. Make plans for a long weekend or hit the metropolis for the big museums and glitzy theatrical productions, but tack on a side trip to a bucolic smaller city for some true relaxation in a charming environment.
Here are seven small towns to add to your domestic bucket list.