America is full of romantic and charming towns both big and small. For travelers looking for a destination perfect for an anniversary trip, honeymoon spot or just a place to help reconnect, here are 31 recommendations of charming towns in the USA from travel bloggers for a romantic vacation.
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Perhaps, one of the coziest cities in the US is Boston. The most European-looking city in the States has its own charm. Despite its 700 thousand population, it feels very cozy and quiet.
Some of the best places to visit in Boston include a nice and large park in the city center called Boston Common. A perfect place to go to in the afternoon. Another charming area is Beacon Hill. This is the oldest part of Boston that used to be the historical center of the city settled in 1625. The name for it comes from the primary purpose of the area. As a hill, it was a good place for a signal beacon, which was placed there in 1634.
Some other famous attractions of Boston include its public library, Quincy market, and Trinity church.
Roman – RomanRoams
Romantic Things to do in Boston
If you make your way to Boston there are plenty of things enjoy together. Spend some time walking together on the Freedom Trail. It starts at Boston Commons, a large park where you can relax before walking the remainder of the trail. Skywalk Observatory is another great place to visit as a couple. From the top, you can see well into the distance and is a great place to enjoy the sunset from.
San Francisco, California
It is hard to find a city as charming as San Francisco. The city is indeed extremely beautiful and lends itself well for a romantic vacation for two for an anniversary or honeymoon.
The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most famous sight in SF though it is not necessarily the most charming area (I still loved it), riding a bike along the street, however, is fun and if you want to discover more of San Francisco´s charm head to the crooked street (Lombard Street) – with its very unique shape and flower setting the street has become extremely popular amongst visitors. Head on a cable car and see the city from above – the views are lovely and so are the iconic cable cars. When packing for San Francisco, make sure you add a jacket to your San Francisco packing list since you will likely need it, even in the summer months.
Strolling the Golden Gate Park, visiting the Painted Ladies (the lovely colorful houses known from the TV-Show “Full House”), discovering the Castro area, greeting the sea lions at Pier 39, and get lost in Fisherman´s Wharf – there is a lot to do and which will convince you that the city is the most charming in the US.
Arzo Nayel – Arzo Travels
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, NC is a town about 3.5 hours north of Atlanta. It’s most famous for Biltmore Estate, America’s largest home. At nearly 180,000 square feet, with a beautiful winery to boot, it’s a great reason to visit. But it’s not the only one. Asheville is an open and welcoming city in the mountains of the Southeast. It’s history mixed with modernity. An incredible array of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, with plenty of scenic hikes and drives along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway.
One of our favorite places is the Asheville Pinball Museum. They have games spanning the history of pinball and video. Finally, one of the best things about Asheville is that it’s dog-friendly! Most restaurants have no issue with you bringing friendly dogs inside. It reminds you of restaurants and pubs in Europe.
Halef – The Round The World Guys
Once you are done exploring the town and the Biltmore Estate you can spend time exploring the great outdoors. For unique lodging, check out the fun glamping accommodations. Extend your stay a few days longer by visiting Charlotte, North Carolina before or after your stay in Ashville.
Between the warm sunshine, beautiful Victorian architecture, and a plethora of soul food, you’ll find that Savannah, Georgia has the right recipe for a charming city break in the United States. Whether you choose to dine alfresco in one of the historic 24 town squares or wait in line for some of Mrs. Wilkes fried chicken, you won’t go hungry in this town.
Be sure to break in your sneakers, because after enjoying all that southern style cooking, you want to do some sightseeing on foot. There are so many things to do in Savannah including a variety of walking tours that include a focus on architecture, history, highlights from the famous ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’. If you are looking for a bit of a thrill, try out one of the many Ghost Tours after dark. Whether you are a foodie, history buff, or adventure seeker, be sure to soak in all the southern charm and romance Savannah, Georgia has to offer.
Jeanne Harran – Pure Wander
Providence, Rhode Island
The quaint and quirky city of Providence is a historic college town with a thriving restaurant scene, beautiful architecture, great museums, and a vibrant atmosphere.
Our favorite time to visit is during the summer months during the city’s WaterFire festival: on scheduled summer weekends a series of 80 coal pits are lit in three downtown Providence Rivers. The arts festival is beautiful to witness and locals and tourists fill the streets and rivers in boats meandering around the flickering bonfires.
Providence is fast becoming an established mecca for food. From cheap eats like East Side Pocket and burgers at Harry’s Bar on Main Street to more formal spots like Kleos or Gracies on Washington, there is no shortage of great food. For drinks to make sure to check out the Eddy Cocktail Bar for incredible cocktails or for something more casual try The Trinity Brewhouse which is a great spot to chill out at for a few hours.
It’s a wonderful city to explore from the relaxing river walk along Waterplace Park to the bustling bar and restaurant scene. Other unmissable sights in Providence include the Rhode Island State House and the Providence Athenaeum mezzanine as well as Brown University and the parks, museums and galleries dotted across the city.
Elaine and Dave, Show Them the Globe
Charleston has to be one of the most charming cities in America. While it’s modern it still keeps its hallmark southern charm, with some men still walking the streets in suspenders. It’s common for people to say hello when they pass you on the street and locals may even stop to ask how you’re doing.
It’s not surprising that Charleston is the second most popular destination for weddings in the USA, with Las Vegas owning the crown. But a wedding in Charleston is much more of a production. There are amazing sorbet colored heritage buildings and vintage cinemas creating the perfect backdrop and fantastic downtown Charleston restaurants. It’s not surprising that the pineapple fountain anchors the waterfront as the pineapple is a sign of hospitality.
Outside the historic district, new independent businesses are popping up, with craft breweries and cool cafes making new neighborhoods great destinations to explore. A weekend in Charleston isn’t enough time to really get to know the city but will allow for a quick romantic getaway. You’ll want to return.
Ayngelina – Bacon is Magic
Portland, Oregon has the most gorgeous landscapes and winding roads but still holds the charm of a cozy town. From luscious blooms in spring to a plethora of summer activities, sensational fall foliage, and snow-capped mountains, this city has only the best to offer all around the year to couples looking for a charming town for a romantic vacation.
Walk along the Willamette River, ride a tram up to the mountain, enjoy breathtaking waterfalls or take a deep dive into American history. Spend a day exploring the many fountains in the city and the artistic Pioneer Courthouse Square. Portland has the most breweries and independent microbreweries of any city in the world. This city also houses the best street food and specialty cafes. Portland is known for its tax-free shopping so make sure to travel with enough space!
Deepika – Deexterous
Dan’s Tip – Once you have made your way around Portland, venture outside the city for a hike to a waterfall. We personally love to go to the Tillamook Factory where you can sample cheeses and eat a ton of ice cream. The Oregon coast is dotted with small towns where you can spend some time together, make a fire on the beach, go crabbing and hear the waves roll in.
Walla Walla, Washington
Walla Walla, Washington is the quintessential, quaint, small town USA. Sitting like a rural valley oasis in the middle of farmland and vineyards, surrounded by the Palouse Hills and the Blue Mountains, the setting is picturesque, to say the least.
As you approach the town proper you will pass numerous wineries vying for your attention, each with its own special style and many with award-winning vintages for tasting. The town itself is like a living movie set. The pretty tree-lined main street full of boutiques, vintage shops, art galleries, cafes and tasting rooms will draw you in to stroll, shop, sip and eat as you are greeted by the friendly locals. The surrounding streets with all the charming homes, historical sites, and heritage buildings will have you dreaming of relocating here. If you are a wine lover you will be in heaven since this is Washington’s wine country. It would take weeks to visit all of the local wineries in the area and with the beautiful scenery, you will want to linger, in nice weather, at the many lovely tasting patios.
Sarah – Discover The PNW
If the Gold Rush era, false fronts on Main Street don’t make you fall in love with it, the enchanting nature will. Skagway, Alaska is a two-mile-long city nestled between two larger than life mountains at the top of the Lynne Canal, and it’s less than 20 miles from the Canadian border. Spend the afternoon at the Yakutania Point lookout, or hike up to Lower Dewey Lake for a camp out in the Alaskan Wilderness.
There are tons of hiking trails for the adventurous spirits, wild salmon specialties all around town for foodies, and a Craft Brewery with Spruce Tip Ale on tap. You’ll feel a million miles away from the busy world, and the closest you’ve ever felt to your wild side. This “Garden City” of Alaska celebrates the Summer Solstice with up to 20 hours of sunlight and a rhubarb festival. See who measures up in the largest rhubarb contest…
Gabby & Adam – LocalNomads.com
Once thought of as a sleepy cow town, the secret is out about Denver. Over the past decade, the Mile High City has become one of the hottest destinations in the United States — and it’s no wonder why. With one of the largest network of parks in the country, a blossoming restaurant scene, and more microbreweries than you can count, Denver oozes charm.
If the spectacular sunsets against the Rocky Mountains aren’t charming enough for you, you’ll fall in love with this city exploring the recently renovated Union Station, a century-old train station that’s become the cultural nerve center of the city. Browse the many boutique shops in the station, grab a cocktail at the aptly-named Terminal Bar, or play some table shuffleboard in the middle of the station’s grand hall.
The best part about Denver? The 300 days of sunshine a year! With all that sun, you’re sure to be in a good mood while exploring all that Denver, Colorado has to offer.
Nate Hake – Travel Lemming
Dan’s Tips – Go on a Denver Food Tour while you are there to get some history, a tour of a portion of the city, and most importantly some of the best bites of food. Denver is home to serveral sports teams, so make sure you check the schedules before you go. We went to a Denver Nugget’s game when we went and found the tickets affordable.
San Diego, California
It’s not an accident that San Diego is often called “America’s finest city”. Why? Because it’s just true! During my three months there I realized how amazing the city is – in almost every aspect. What I loved the most was the relaxed atmosphere: People of San Diego know how to have a good life. Whether it’s having a great day at one of the many beautiful beaches with some surfing or volleyball or going out at night – in San Diego you can find everything to have a great time.
And you didn’t even hear the best part yet: San Diego has probably the greatest weather possible, with comfy temperatures all year. Especially due to its location close to the Mexican border you can also enjoy tasty Mexican food for affordable prices – and if you’re up to it even explore another country just in front of you.
What you certainly shouldn’t miss when staying in San Diego is La Jolla, where you can see seals in their natural habitat.
Michael Gerber – mscgerber
I had long heard about Park City, but since I’m not a skier, I never made the effort to visit. After a recent trip with friends, I now understand the popularity of this town. Park City has it all–great art galleries, impressive restaurants, fabulous ski resorts and miles of hiking and snowshoe trails.
The charm of this city comes from Main Street which still reflects its history as a flourishing silver mining town. Many of the buildings on Main Street are the originals or have been refurbished to look like the originals. The Park City Museum gives visitors a glimpse of the old fire station and prison while a few of the galleries kept the vaults used by the previous banking occupants. There are many mining towns in the West that have attempted to keep the old-fashioned charm of the downtown area, but I have never visited one that has done this as successfully as Park City, Utah.
Wendy Lee – Empty Nesters Hit The Road
Dan’s Tips – Go during early winter season to get a great deal on your accomidations. For a romantic, cozy meal, try out Glitretind restaurant.
New Orleans was the last stop of our 7 week USA trip at Christmas when we decided we would visit New Orleans I was determined to stay in the French Quarter. It’s definitely more expensive to stay in, but worth it considering the oldest area of the city and has the most character and French influence. The French Quarter has all the atmosphere and during the evening the area really comes alive and it has something for everyone.
Bourbon St is party central and is full of pubs and clubs and pumping music. We walked through Bourbon St and the atmosphere was electric especially on a weekend. However, we had our 3 kids with us so a walk through was enough! Royal St runs parallel to Bourbon St and has many restaurants, boutique shops, and cafes.
Jackson Square is located in the center of the French Quarter and is dominated by St Louis Cathedral circa 1720, the cathedral was declared a world heritage site in 1960. Surrounding the square outside St Louis Cathedral is alive with activity including street performers, fortune tellers, street artists and street brass bands that you can enjoy for a small donation.
Make sure you visit the French Market, divided into two sections, an upriver side collection artist stalls and food stands to showcase some excellent local crafts and amazing New Orleans cuisine and a downriver side flea market, where you can find all kinds of souvenirs and trinkets ranging from cheap sunglasses to giant belt buckles to African wood carvings. Make sure you stop in at the famous Cafe du Monde for their famous beignet, a sweet pastry you should enjoy with a coffee. Be warned though, expect to queue in the afternoon and on weekends.
Sally Lucas – Our3KidsVTheWorld
The town of Carmel in Central California is actually a city, but the historic area is more of a town and oozes so much character and European style charm. With brick and stone facades, old-world cottages, you get a flavor of a European styled village but with California aesthetics meaning local arts and crafts galleries, California cuisine restaurants and wine bars featuring local wineries in the area. You’ll love exploring the main drag on Ocean Avenue to check out all the cool stores and galleries. For more things to do and see check out this weekend getaway to Carmel post for more inspiration to visiting.
Tip – make sure that you walk down all the way to the beach and preferably late afternoon to sunset because the coastal views are quite spectacular and make for a romantic walk.
Noel Morata – Travel Photo Discovery
The California coastal town of Santa Barbara ranks way up there in my list of charming places in the United States. For starters, its location, between the Santa Ynez mountains and the Pacific Ocean, is simply stunning.
Santa Barbara is often called the American Riviera. With its red-tiled roofs, Mediterranean climate, beautiful beaches, and lovely homes gracing the mountainsides, it does indeed feel a lot like you’re in the Côte d’Azur when you visit this California beauty. But while it is every bit as beautiful as Cannes or Nice, Santa Barbara also has a unique Californian charm that is entirely its own.
So what are the sights and experiences that will charm you into visiting Santa Barbara over and over?
Stroll State Street, the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, with its multitude of shops, restaurants, cute cafes, galleries and museums. Pose for an Instagram-worthy photo at the colorful Spanish steps at Paseo Nuevo. Take in art exhibits at one of the many galleries. Enjoy a wine tasting and some California farm-to-table cuisine. Pop in for ice cream at McConnell’s, which has been serving up delicious natural flavors since 1949!
Venture farther, to experience the serenity and quiet simple beauty at the historic Santa Barbara Mission. Then move on to explore the famous Stearns Wharf and the lovely harbor for some fun and more fabulous food. Team up with friends to work off some calories by riding a four-seater surrey bike on the waterfront boulevard alongside East Beach. Soak up the sun at one of any number of beautiful beaches. Catch a fiery West Coast sunset as you sip a sundowner at a waterfront restaurant.
My top pick? Climb to the top of the Clock Tower at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, for magnificent 360-degree views of the red rooftops and the tall palms that define this pretty coastal town. The interior of the Courthouse isn’t too shabby either, with a beautiful full-wall mural and lovely Spanish tiles.
Once you’ve experienced the California coastal charm of Santa Barbara, I guarantee you’ll want to return again and again!
Dhara – It’s Not About the Miles
While it may be getting harder to find glimpses of “Old Hawaii” on Maui, Lahaina manages to meld historical charm with a solid visitor infrastructure in a spectacular tropical oceanfront setting. Located on the west coast of Hawaii’s Valley Isle, 19th-century Lahaina was the Kingdom of Hawaii’s capital, as well as a notable port for whalers. Thousands of sailors and hundreds of whaling ships made port here during the boom era. Today, the whales are still hunted, but with cameras in thrilling encounters during the spawning season which runs roughly January through March. Lahaina’s millions of annual visitors flock to its historic Front Street, a hub for shopping and entertainment. Don’t miss Banyan Court Park, on the site of a 19th-century fort reconstruction, home to the largest banyan tree in the United States, Lahaina Cannery Mall, the Sugar Cane Train, and the “5 o’clock rainbow” which appears in the West Maui mountains almost every day. Lahaina is your gateway to the popular Kaanapali Beach area, West Maui golfing venues, and hosts events such as the annual Halloween celebration, the Maui Invitational college basketball tournament, Friday “Art Nights” and Second Fridays – a monthly street celebration with food vendors and musical entertainment.
Betsy Wuebker – PassingThru Enterprises
Newport Beach, California
The city of Newport Beach, just outside of LA in Orange County, is a charming place and worth a visit. The long and beautiful beach boardwalk with its pier in the Pacific Ocean makes Newport Beach perfect for a relaxing getaway from busy LA, and the harbor give you the chance to go for a sailing or boat trip. Newport Beach is one of the wealthiest regions in California and it’s amazing to see the beautiful and luxurious mansions in the hills behind the coast.
Especially in modern pop culture, Newport Beach became famous as a dream destination for the rich and beautiful – the town received worldwide popularity as home of the characters of the teen show The OC. Further, the spin-off of MTV’s reality show Laguna Beach took place in Newport Beach and focused on the life of high school students in the town, broadcasting everything people associate with southern California.
One of my favorite experiences when traveling around California was driving from LA to San Diego and stopping at all the beautiful beach communities, such as Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach and you should certainly visit some of these towns.
Patrick – German Backpacker
Chicago is a special gem of a city with friendly locals, a beautiful skyline dotted with skyscrapers, amazing architecture as well as miles of parks, beaches and lakefront. Visitors should not miss the lakefront or the Chicago Riverwalk (a pedestrian walkway along the Chicago River) which offer incredible city and water views and are great spots to stroll, jog, bike or just sit back and relax. Another must do is to take an architecture river cruise which is the best way to enjoy the magnificent architecture and city skyline. If you enjoy being on the water, you can also rent a sailboat or join a cruise on Lake Michigan. Downtown Chicago also has tons of green space including several large well known parks (Grant Park, Millennium Park and Lincoln Park). However, you don’t have to spend all your time outdoors to enjoy the beauty of the city as Chicago is home to many renowned museums and cultural institutions- especially the much-lauded Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago is an amazing city that has something for every visitor no matter what your interests.
Patti – The Savvy Globetrotter
Bozeman, Montana, just might be the perfect clash of cultures: a ski town with a cowboy history and a little bit of West Coast hipster thrown in for good measure. It’s an outdoor lover’s paradise, situated near access points for four rivers and surrounded on three sides by towering peaks.
Summers in Bozeman are best spent hiking the innumerable trails, floating down the Madison River, or fly fishing one of the nearby Blue Ribbon streams. Winters are when the town really shines, though, with great downhill skiing just twenty minutes away at Bridger Bowl – one of the few co-op mountains that have been able to retain a little bit of old-school flair. The Bozeman, Galligator, and Sourdough Trails weave their way in and around the town’s southeastern edge, providing several miles of a winter wonderland for cross-country skiing. In the evenings, you can’t beat Montana Aleworks for a delicious meal served inside an old railway depot. To cap off the night, either make your way to Plonk for a carefully crafted cocktail or fine wine or head to Bozeman Brewing Company, where the craft beers come with free popcorn.
Jennifer Ambrose and Ryan Victor- Passions and Places
West Michigan was my calling as a little girl growing up in the state. Saugatuck is a charming town that is only a 45-minute drive away from Grand Rapids. The city offers visitors a completely laid back art scene on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan.
Many people head to Saugatuck in the summer. There are many festivals, romantic restaurants, quirky shops, and art galleries to venture into. The beaches are stunning and provide the perfect temperature even during the summer.
Saugatuck also has one of the most open LGBT communities in all of Michigan and is considered pretty progressive.
Saugatauk should be on any Michigan itinerary. You will be blown away by just how clear the water is and how white the sand!
Natasha & Cameron – The World Pursuit
Mendocino is a charming seaside town right on the scenic California 1 Highway. This coastal town has so much to offer for nature lovers. Camping or Glamping here is the best way to enjoy everything in this cute place.
When you are not hiking in peaceful woods and enjoying nature, you would be lapping up the ocean breeze at one of its numerous gorgeous beaches. If the skies are clear, you can gaze at myriads of stars at night!
Van Damme state park in Mendocino is one of the places you should definitely explore. Do not forget to check out the Pygmy forest here. There are many other state parks here like Jug Handle State Nature Preserve, Mendocino Headlands, Mackerricher state park and Russian Gulch state park.
The famous Glass Beach of Fort Bragg is just 10 miles away too. Point Arena lighthouse, B Bryan Preserve, Mendocino Botanical Gardens are other places to enjoy around this town.
Priyadarshini Rajendran – Glorious Sunrise
Marietta, Ohio lies right at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers in Southeast Ohio. Marietta was founded in 1788, the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory. The vibrant past of Marietta adds to her appeal- the downtown is walkable, with numerous dining options and two historic hotels. Visitors can watch the sunrise over the Ohio River bridges and then walk to breakfast via an old railroad bridge.
For outdoorsy couples, Marietta was voted one of America’s Best Adventure Towns by National Geographic. The Ohio and Muskingum Rivers afford plenty of opportunities for putting your boat, kayak, or canoe to good use. There’s a picturesque bike trail that follows those same rivers for over 3 miles. Marietta has 30+ miles of hiking and mountain bike trails and, Washington County (where Marietta resides) is also home to 9 covered bridges.
Leah Yoder – Yoder Toter Blog
Laguna Beach, California
The coastal city of Laguna Beach is an interesting mix of SoCal Luxury and laid back artistic beach life. Enjoy the Pacific sunsets from the many luxury resorts along PCH or on the rooftop bar at the “La Casa El Camino” hotel with a cocktail in hand. You’ll find the best sunsets during the Fall/Winter months when the crowds die down. During the summer months, enjoy the best of the local arts by spending an evening at the “Pageant of the Masters” or “Sawdust Festival” near Laguna Canyon. If you’re here in the summer, be sure to take advantage of the free shuttle during the summer or enjoy the scenic drive through Pacific Coast Highway with your own car. Whether you’re looking for a casual day at the beach or an upscale evening out, Laguna Beach has a little something for everyone.
Vy – 7 Crossroads
Big Bear Lake, California
One of the most charming places we have visited in the USA has to be Big Bear Lake. Located in San Bernardino County in California and a couple hours drive from LA it is the perfect escape from city life. It is also the perfect destination all year round. If you visit in the winter, it becomes a playground for skiers and snowboarders, whilst in the summer it is all about the hiking and the fishing. We recommend taking a picnic basket with you as you walk around the lake. There are so many scenic places to just stop and breathe in the great outdoors.
Walking through the main village itself is a charming experience, as you will find some amazing restaurants and quirky shops. The moment you arrive in Big Bear Lake you notice a change in pace and the way of life, which is in stark contrast from the nearest big city, LA. Maybe it is the mountain air but you feel so much more relaxed. If you do visit, try and rent a cabin or a lodge just to add that bit of extra charm. We booked a room in a resort by the lake and in our opinion nothing beats sipping wine on your balcony as you look up at the stars.
Lizzie & Dave – Wanderlust and Life
Kitty Hawk and the other Outer Banks towns in North Carolina are the definition of small-town charm, decked out in gorgeous lighthouses, beautifully weathered wooden houses, and delightfully sunny beaches. This is the kind of place where you fill your pockets with taffy and your cooler with Shasta. And maybe underneath the Shasta, parents have hidden their layer of Bud Light and a few craft beers for the fancier relatives.
Kitty Hawk is the quintessential summer town, coming alive as soon as Memorial Day Weekend gets underway. Of course, the town also has its important cultural and historic spots, including the Wright Brothers National Historic Monument, where they flew their first flight. Other important places to see include the Kitty Hawk Pier and Jockey’s Ridge State Park. If you’re planning a trip though, don’t forget to check out the important sites up and down the Outer Banks, as one small town blends into the next, creating a delightful strip of beach town fun that runs for miles.
Stephanie Craig – History Fangirl
Orange Beach, Alabama
With city mottoes “Small Town, Big Beach” and “Life is Better Here”, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are two beautifully charming coastal towns on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. To experience the best of these cities, plan your visit on shoulder season when you’re less likely to spend your time fighting traffic and more likely to experience the laid back atmosphere. The beaches are amazing and big. Think miles and miles of white sand that makes the perfect base to sink your toes (and anchor your umbrella).
The Gulf State Park has a nice collection of bike trails with a couple of play structures along the paths and numerous places to stop and have a scenic picnic lunch. Orange Beach’s waterfront park is a nice spot to walk and enjoy glass-making, pottery, and a local art gallery. The restaurants are good and locals are friendly. For the most interactive experiences check out the mullet wrapper and get involved. From large music festivals to unique date night activities – there is always something fun going on. If you’re wanting low key just take a stroll down the beautiful beaches. My favorite activity – renting a boat and island hopping. Be sure to bring your cocktail and stay for the sunset.
Lori Fitzgibbons – Fitz 5 On The Go
Salem, famous for its witchcraft trials of the late 1600s, is a charming New England town. To spend a romantic day in Salem, first visit all the sites that highlight that dark history where girls and women were charged with witchcraft, put on trial, and put to death. There are many places to go to immerse yourself in this morbid yet fascinating history, like the house and burial site of the witchcraft trial judge, Nathaniel Bowditch or the Salem Witch Museum, the Witch walk, the Dungeon Museum and much more. Then shake off all those stories and spend some time enjoying lunch and the seaside or maritime history of this quaint town, especially walking along the wharf and the Maritime National Historic Site where the Friendship is docked. Take a trip up to Salem, Massachusetts and enjoy a great weekend.
Corinne Vail – Reflections Enroute
Hannibal, Missouri is known for being Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home, as well as the site where his most popular books take place. The city built a tourist industry around these famous residents decades ago. However, unlike many long-time tourist towns, Hannibal somehow maintains it’s authenticity, and the attractions add to the character.
The primary must-see site in Hannibal is the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, which are done in a no-frill way. They fit right into the old-fashioned downtown. Touring the homes, walking the streets, or perusing the shops and galleries, all give a sense of stepping back in time. A drive through “Millionaire’s Row” gives an essence of what “the good life” used to be. Hannibal incorporates the Mississippi River landscape into its attractions as well, so riding the trolley or the steamboat are relaxing ways to soak in both the natural beauty and old-time atmosphere.
As in every US tourist town, there is a degree of kitsch. On the weekends you may run into Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, or maybe even Mark Twain himself. But it will all seem to be good fun, and in Hannibal, it does not overtake the old-time charm!
Roxanna – Gypsy With a Day Job
Perhaps the most charming town in California is Solvang, a Danish village about 45 minutes away from Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley. So how exactly did a Danish colony pop up in the middle of California? In 1911, a group of Danes who wished to be far removed from the treacherous midwestern winters, traveled west to establish their own Danish colony. Solvang was incorporated as a city in 1985 and has now become a major tourist attraction with over one million visitors a year.
Aside from spending the day walking incredibly charming streets and staring at beautiful windmills, there are tons of bakeries, wineries, and shops to frequent on your visit. Speaking of bakeries, you must try the Danish waffle pastry filled with buttercream and raspberry jam! It is beyond delicious. There are plenty of tasting rooms in Solvang if wine is your thing, or you can go to the vineyards in the surrounding towns of the Santa Ynez Valley. If you have seen the movie Sideways, you will have a great appreciation for this particular wine country. There is live festival theater, an annual event called Danish Days, and three museums. Solvang is the perfect day trip, overnight, or pit stop on a road trip up or down the California Coast.
Jennifer – World On A Whim
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan is the main city of Puerto Rico, and you’ll most likely have your base here while exploring the island. It’s an old colonial styled city with lots of charming cafes, restaurants, and shops. In addition to that, you also have some classic historical tourist attractions and authentic Puerto Rican food.
One of my favorite things to do in San Juan is to go to a local bar, have a cerveza, and just chat a bit and indulge the atmosphere. As a European, I was quite surprised when I landed in Puerto Rico because it was so different to New York. It was like I had taken a flight to a different country, but I was still in the United States.
San Juan is truly one of the most charming cities in the USA thanks to its laid-back vibes and latino culture along with the beautiful colonial buildings. Strolling around the cobblestoned streets and admire the architecture is not something you can do in every American city.
From San Juan you can also do day trips to rainforests, tropical islands with paradise beaches or ride a zip line over the jungle just to mention a few things.
Alex – Swedish Nomad
I love Moab, Utah not just for the town itself, but for the breathtaking national and state parks all around it. There are camping sites all over the vicinity, including the dreamy Moab Under Canvas, as well as Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point for sunset, and the famous Mesa arch for Sunrise. For those who love the desert and the outdoors, it doesn’t get much better.
Kristin Addis – Be My Travel Muse