5 Small Towns Worth a Visit

5 Small Towns Worth a Visit

Take a tour of 5 small towns from Texas to Oregon as you imagine your next getaway.

By: Robyn D

Small Town, America is where I have my roots. If you’ve lived in small towns, you know the close-knit community that can be found there. Things change with the times, and yet they’re always just the same. Those who call the place “home” can be welcoming and friendly. They’re ready to share a little piece of their world with anyone who finds their way there—even for a short visit.

From coast to coast, our country is dotted with these small towns, and making them a part of your family vacation plans will make more of an impression on you than you might realize. While the list of small towns to visit could easily number in the thousands, here are five standouts worth seeing.

Hico, Texas: Where Everybody is Somebody
As the northern gateway to the Texas Hill Country, the charm of this small central Texas town begins with the scenic drive before you even arrive. Step back in time as you stroll down Main Street, visiting the charming series of shops within historic buildings.

Legend has it that Billy the Kid retired to Hico and lived out his life as Brushy Bill Roberts. Decide for yourself as you tour the Billy the Kid Museum. Don’t leave town without a slice of pie from the Koffee Kup, truffles from Wiseman House Chocolates, or one of the many flavors of popcorn from Hico Popcorn Works to enjoy on the road. Hico also hosts several sporting and rodeo events and festivals throughout the year, including the Old Settlers Reunion dating back to the late 1800’s. So check the local calendar or call the Chamber of Commerce to add even more fun to your visit.

Cooperstown, New York: Believe It or Not, This is Cooperstown
Home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Doubleday Field, Cooperstown, New York, is a small town treasure for baseball fans. Touring the museum and taking in a game in season is reason enough to visit Cooperstown, but for non-sports fans, this quaint village offers even more.

Curious how farming would have been done in the mid-19th century? The Farmers’ Museum showcases a working farm, Historic Village, carousel, and plenty of activities and fun for the family. Head down to picturesque Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard for an old-fashioned apple cider, and a day that all ages will enjoy. Round out your visit with a ride on the historic Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad, and you’ll become a Cooperstown believer, for sure.

Seneca, South Carolina: City of Smiles, City with Style
If your family enjoys being outdoors, then head to the northwest corner of South Carolina and find the small town of Seneca. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s a short drive to Oconee Station State Historic Site.

This part of the South Carolina State Park system showcases two historic buildings dating back to the late 1700’s. There’s also a fishing pond and a hiking trail that take you through Sumter National Forest to the majestic Station Cove Falls.

Back in town, don’t miss Ram Cat Alley, a historic street that’s home to several boutique shops and restaurants, and, in season, Thursday night “Jazz on the Alley” outdoor entertainment. From Cruzin’ on Main to Seneca Fest, this little town hosts several special events, so check out their community calendar before you plan your visit.

Jacksonville, Oregon: Always a Good Time
Originally established as a Gold Rush town, Jacksonville, Oregon, still exudes the excitement of this time in our country’s history. Check out the antique shops, historic buildings, or choose between a Trolley or Segway Tour to learn more about the race for gold.


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Jacksonville is home to several wineries, but get the most sights in one stop by visiting Caprice Vineyards. It’s also home to the beautiful animals of Rolling Hills Alpacas. Pair the wine visit with a lesson on cheese making at Rogue Creamery. Enjoy the cool summer weather with some nearby fishing in the Rogue Valley, an outdoor summer concert, or 20 miles of hiking trails. And don’t leave Jacksonville without a visit to the Goodbean Coffee Company and The Candy Shoppe. Just as this little town claims, you’ll leave having had a good time.

Put-in-Bay, Ohio: Celebrate Island Style
When you think of having an island vacation, Ohio isn’t likely at the top of your list. But the 138 residents of Put-In-Bay might argue that it should, though!

This resort town, located on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, just south of the Canadian border, truly has something for everyone in the family. Golf, water sports, history, fishing, cave tours, gem mining, antiques, and shopping are just a few of the activities available to vacationers. From Historic Weekend to Zombie Fest, Founder’s Day to Pyrate Fest, Put-in-Bay finds plenty of reasons to celebrate with those who venture on their shores. Bicycles and golf carts are the standards for transportation on the island, so leave cars behind and enjoy a few days at this small-town vacationer’s paradise. Celebrate island style…in Ohio.

Tips for Visiting Small Towns
As mentioned above, contact the local Chamber of Commerce or check local community calendars to find out about any events that might be happening during your visit. Go ahead and chat up the locals! Residents of small towns love to tell you about their little corner of the world and just might tip you off to something extra special.

Many small towns are rich with history, and celebrate that history with modern-day fun. See the creative ways the communities have been able to keep their small town from disappearing from the map. Remember: If you have your heart set on visiting a particular store or taking in a certain event that you’ve found online, call ahead to make sure the website information is up-to-date and accurate.

Whatever small town your travels take you through and to, spend a little time getting to know the community. Stay a couple of hours or a few days; you’ll be all the richer for it.

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Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.

Robyn writes for Hilton Mom Voyage. She fell in love with travel before kids and has found it even more wonderful since her two boys, now ages 7 and 5, joined the family. Robyn lives in a small community in central Texas where the country life blends with the city conveniences not far away. She is committed to showing her kids the world. To date, they have mostly traveled within the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean but are preparing to explore more continents soon.

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