Over the course of 2017 we were fortunate to visit over 100 unique communities. Exploring local culture and tradition is one of our favorite aspects of full time RV life.
As 2017 wraps up, we look back on our travels to create this list of our Top 10 Towns in the USA. The word “towns” is probably better understood as “communities” because population size varies greatly. The largest of these towns has a population of 500,000 and the smallest 1,000.
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10. Sedona, Arizona
Our Experience: Sedona is full of great hiking, biking and beautiful scenery. We camped in the National Forest for free and were just a short drive from town. Theres lots of great shops and restaurants in Sedona, but plenty of free activities to do as well. We highly recommend hiking to Devil’s Bridge and taking a short drive to Jerome to check out the old mining town.
We really liked how the buildings and architecture blended in with the red sandstone scenery. There is a rich artistic and spiritual community there and the area is well known for its energy centers or vortexs, which some believe to have healing and spiritual properties.
9. Oceanside, California
Our Experience: Oceanside has the most classic southern California vibe to us. The weather is perfect, the ocean is calling and all the surfers are out waiting to catch the perfect wave. We took a daily walk along the strand to stretch our legs and soak up some sun and it always seemed like thats what everyone else was doing too. It’s a beautiful area and we dreamed of living in the oceanfront homes we passed.
There are lots of shopping and eating options in town and in the surrounding area. We enjoyed walking down the pier to watch people fish and families play along the beaches. Theres also a couple food stands and shaved ice shops along the beach, as well as a really nice park for kids to play. Everything just felt really relaxed and low key there.
8. Tucson, Arizona
Our Experience: Tucson is a really cool place to explore. We’ve had some really amazing food there and enjoy the vintage shops and thrift stores. It seems to have a little something for everyone. You can visit the high end shops and bars, check out the hippy shops in another part of town or immerse yourself in the hip college scene.
The Saguaro National Park is located nearby and worth a trip, the area also has tons of museums and hiking trails to explore. We visited the Mission San Xavier del Bac and loved the carved woodwork and history. Tucson has such a rich culture; I’m sure we only skimmed the surface.
7. Hot Springs, Arkansas
Our Experience: Hot Springs holds a special place in our hearts as the first stop along our route as full time RVers. Its situated in the Ouachita Mountains and is known for its many natural hot springs and turn of the century bath houses. We stayed at the Hot Springs National park our first time there and its the oldest park managed by the National Park System. There were hiking trails right from the park that we had fun exploring.
It’s really fun to walk through town and visit the shops and bath houses. We had the best pizza of our life at Deluca’s pizzeria and we think of it often.. On our latst visit to Hot Springs we did a interview with the local radio station KUHS 97.9 with Aaron & Todd of The Record You Need to Know and it was so much fun! They gave us lots of tid bits about the area and we shared our story of how we started full timing and what inspired our album.
6. Fairhope, Alabama
Our Experience: We may be a bit biased on this one because its our hometown, but it really is a beautiful place. Fairhope is all about supporting local – whether its art, music, seafood, farmers markets or businesses. We take pride in our community and what we create. Downtown is full of little shops, restaurants and boutiques and its all a short walk from Mobile Bay. The view from the bluff overlooking the rose garden, the fountain and the pier is kind of iconic where we’re from. You can see families playing on the beach or fishing on the piers.
Whenever people ask wheres the one place we would ever settle down, we always say Fairhope. Not just because its where all our family and friends are, but its really just a great area to be from.
5. New Orleans, Louisiana
Our Experience: New Orleans is great for so many reasons. We love the culture, the jazz, the cajun food, and the diversity. It’s full of people who march to their own beat and they take Mardi Gras very seriously. They always to it big in NOLA and theres no shortage of things to do.
We went during halloween one year and did a haunted tour, where we walked around city and learned all the creepy history and visited the house of the famous voodoo queen Marie Laveau among others. We stayed at The Bayou Segnette state park and appreciated how well maintained it was and that theres free laundry machines.
4. Julian, California
Our Experience: We took a day trip into Julian from the steamy Borrego Springs desert and were pleasantly greeted with pine trees and crisp cool air. It’s located in the Cuyamaca mountains, just an hour east of San Diego. It’s a historic mining town and home to the famous Julian apple pie.
Everything was decorated for the holidays and we had to have tried everything apple we could get our hands on. We stopped at The Julian Cider Mill and bought some apple cider and apple butter to take home and it was delicious. Kyle ate a slice of pie and confirmed that it was also delicious. For lunch we grabbed a great veggie panini at The Candied Apple Bakery and Bistro and then walked through all the gift stores and antique shops.
3. Moab, Utah
Our Experience: Moab is so great for exploring and hiking. Whatever outdoor sport you prefer, theres something for you. Its a short drive to both Arches and Canyonlands National Park, which are both ridiculously amazing and beautiful. Theres also tons of trails in the surrounding area for hiking, biking and offroading, and the Colorado River is nearby for kayaking and rafting.
The downtown has some great shops for gear and souvenirs as well as great restaurant options. The town can be a little pricey, but its worth it. We always enjoy our time there and discover something new and exciting we didn’t see before.
2. Taos, New Mexico
Our Experience: Northern New Mexico really took our breath away, we had no idea how beautiful it is. Taos is located in an area called the enchanted circle – an 83 mile loop through the mountains and valleys, all centered around the highest point in the state Wheeler Peak. The drive was beautiful and aptly named.
The town is full of rich culture and art and a popular ski destination. The area had a very relaxed open feel to it, that made us feel right at home. We enjoyed the local breads, coffee and cuisine. Dried New Mexico Chiles adorned the town and we went home with our very own ristra. The Native American community is vibrant and their culture is celebrated by many dances and events throughout the year.
1. Durango, Colorado
Our Experience: We really got know Colorado a bit more this year and we fell in love with Durango. The leaves were changing and the weather was perfect. The town had lots of shops and restaurants and theres even a coal powered train that takes you to Silverton. We drove the Million dollar highway to Ouray and it was so gorgeous! Silverton and Ouray have their own charm and are worth a trip too.
We loved the food and live music in Durango. We must have eaten at Gazpacho 5 times in our 2 weeks there. The Tamales were so good and Kyle really loved the veggie burger. The town was just the right size for us, big enough to have stuff to do and good shopping options, but small enough to not be crowded and overwhelming. They have a wonderful walking trail in town that goes along the river and the scenery is so beautiful. We highly recommend visiting in the fall to enjoy those lovely autumnal colors.
Check out our other Top 10 lists
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