This summer, probably more than ever, we all dream about a peaceful vacation, away from crowded beaches, museums, city centers and other tourist hotspots that see thousands upon thousands of people each day. And what better places to enjoy fresh air, outdoor adventures and unspoiled nature than America’s charming mountain towns?
Mountain towns are the perfect destinations for nature enthusiasts who also want comfort, pampering and good food and to experience a change in lifestyle during their holidays. You can hike and climb as much as you want to, but at the same time you don’t necessarily have to spend the night in a tent. On the contrary, you could check in to a charming inn and spend your afternoons at a spa.
America’s mountain towns allow visitors to immerse themselves in their tranquil rhythms and learn about their fascinating local culture and particularities. Here, in no particular order, are 10 of the most beautiful mountain towns in the US you should visit this summer. And, should one of these charming destinations convince you to move there for good, we have also added info about local self storage options – very useful in case of relocation.
1. Park City, Utah
Park City, located in the Rocky Mountains at an altitude of over 7,000 feet above sea level, is known for its sprawling winter sports resorts and as being the host of the famous Sundance Film Festival. With only a little over 8,000 inhabitants, Park City’s tourist population vastly exceeds its permanent residents for the most part of the year.
The town has the largest area for skiing in the United States, created by the merger of two resorts, Park City Ski Resort and Canyons Resort, and it features 17 slopes, 14 bowls, 300 trails and an impressive 22 miles of lifts.
The Sundance Film Festival takes place annually, at the end of January / beginning of February, gathering actors, movie directors, other creators involved in the film industry, and fans, from all over the world. So, if you want to do a little bit of skiing while brushing shoulders with your favorite movie stars, Park City is the place to be.
Summer can be equally fun in Park City. You can go hiking, horseback riding, golfing, or fishing, to name just a few of the activities available. The town’s main historic district also offers plenty of opportunities for dining, shopping, or relaxing in luxurious spas.
See storage options here: Park City self storage.
2. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
With only a little over 2,000 residents, the miniature Eureka Springs is, in its entirety, on the National Register of Historic Places due to its unique Victorian architecture. Surrounded by rivers, lakes and forests, and nestled in the middle of the Ozark Mountains, it’s the ideal holiday destination, combining pristine nature with history, art and fine dining.
The town’s historic streets are lined with upscale restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and museums. Hiking, camping in the woods, trout fishing and mountain biking are outdoor activities that will delight those with an adventurous streak.
3. Bend, Oregon
Although not as diminutive as the other places on this list, Bend, Oregon, still has that small-town feel that makes for a peaceful vacation. The nearby Cascade Mountain Range provides plenty of opportunities for camping, hiking, climbing, mountain biking and fishing. It’s an interesting area to visit for anybody passionate about botany, as the Ponderosa forest, located in the Cascade mountains, presents the transition from pine forest to high desert.
The downtown area is scattered with entertainment venues, such as cafes, restaurants and art galleries. Bend has a very active art scene and, in the summer, there are many outdoor events like art fairs, concerts and festivals.
Check out the storage options in the area: Bend self storage.
4. South Lake Tahoe, California
South Lake Tahoe stands at an elevation of almost 6,240 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is located next to Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America. In other words, there’s plenty to do in the area.
In the summer, water activities like sailing, boat tours or parasailing on Lake Tahoe attract many people. There are also helicopter and balloon tours. However, if you prefer more uncomplicated pleasures in the middle of natural surroundings, you can simply go hiking, camping or fishing on the lake.
The Lake Tahoe region is equally delightful in the colder seasons, with several winter sports resorts located here. The town itself is a fun touristic destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, spas, boutiques and cafes.
See your options for storage in South Lake Tahoe.
5. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Coeur d’Alene is a popular mountain town that grew significantly in the last few decades, mostly due to tourism. The Bitterroot Mountain Range and Lake Coeur d’Alene provide a gorgeous natural setting, but you can also enjoy several theme parks and waterparks in the area. In addition, the town is a good destination for golf aficionados and, if you want a little bit of pampering, pay a visit to one of the many spas and wellness centers available.
Live events centered around street fairs and great food and music are organized almost every weekend. During the cold season, you can practice winter sports and also visit the indoor water park to take part in many winter-themed festivities.
Find your storage unit in Coeur d’Alene.
6. Ojai, California
Ojai is a small, charming town of about 8,000 residents in the scenic Ojai Valley, next to the Topatopa Mountains and a mere 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean. While here, you can enjoy natural reservations such as the Ojai Meadows Preserve or climb the spectacular Rose Valley Falls Trail. Ecotopia, a park located near the town, is famous for having hot springs located right next to a cool river, a place where you can take refreshing hot/cold baths.
A particular feature of Ojai is that chain stores have been banned from the town from 2007, which allows small family businesses to thrive. You’ll find plenty of unique gourmet stores, boutiques and libraries to visit. The area is well-known for olive oil, which you’ll be able to taste at the source, from the farm where it’s made.
See your options for self storage in Ojai, California.
7. Boulder, Colorado
Located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, at an altitude of over 5,300 feet, Boulder is a well-known winter sports paradise, but it’s actually a great destination for all seasons. Boulder’s backdrop is the scenic, unique Flatirons, a massive rock formation consisting of slabs of orange sandstone. There are multiple hiking trails to enjoy in and around the Flatirons.
The town is a great destination for foodies, with plenty of farmers’ markets to visit and a lot of restaurants adopting the farm-to-table philosophy.
Find a storage unit in Boulder, Colorado.
8. Sisters, Oregon
The town takes its name from the Three Sisters Mountains located nearby, each being more than 10,000 feet in elevation. The mountain range contains glaciers and very diverse flora and fauna, and borders the Willamette and Deschutes national forests, which you can also visit while in the area. All three mountains, but particularly the South Sister, are popular destinations for climbing and hiking. Sahalie and Koosah Falls are definitely worth a visit.
This idyllic town is scattered with shops and restaurants, and its architecture is reminiscent of the Old West.
Check out your options for self storage in Sisters, Oregon.
9. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Situated in the middle of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is a recommended destination for dedicated mountaineers, offering great access to a large variety of hiking routes and climbing spots. There are around 800 miles of trails, so you’ll be able to take as many nature walks as your heart desires. The Little Pigeon River, which runs straight through Gatlinburg, is an excellent fishing spot. Rafting and ziplining are also options, and winter sports can be practiced during the cold season.
The town itself is quaint and peaceful, and you can visit some historical sites — part of the Tennessee Heritage Trail — such as the Ogle Log Cabin, the Museum of Salt and Pepper Shakers and the Tsali Monument.
10. Estes Park, Colorado
Estes Park is surrounded on all sides by the peaks of the Rocky Mountains and the pristine Ponderosa Forest. There are plenty of activities to enjoy, including horseback riding, fly fishing, whitewater rafting and simply exploring the scenic beauty of the area through hikes or drives.
You can book private tours and trips that are a great way to enjoy the natural attractions in a safe and comfortable manner. The town also has some good cuisine on offer and a host of charming cafes and bistros.
See your options for self storage in Estes Park, Colorado.
Did you enjoy living in any other mountain town that you’d recommend to others? We’d love to hear about it.