10 Beautiful Mountain Towns to Visit in the U.S.

 10 Beautiful Mountain Towns to Visit in the U.S.

With peaceful vibes and serene natural beauty, just about any town can be enhanced by the presence of giant rocks (aka mountains) in the background. Some of those mountain towns, however, stand out a bit more above the rest. 

With some inspiration from Thrillist, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the best mountain towns (based on activities, festivals, bar/restaurant scene, and something called “mountain feel”) as you put together your travel plans. 

Check out the list below (and please let your RV Lifestyle Fellow Travelers know about your favorite in the comments below, especially if it's not on the list):

Taos, New Mexico

What the Sangre de Cristo Mountains surrounding this New Mexico adventurer's paradise lack in size, they more than make up for in character. Choices of activities abound: fly fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, hot-air ballooning, river rafting, hot springing, and more…and a stunning mountain view is almost always in sight. The town itself is an artists colony replete with more than 80 art galleries (don’t miss the Taos Fall Arts Festival). 

Lake Placid, New York

Check out this peaceful Adirondack town best known for the “Miracle on Ice” because the 1980 Winter Olympics were held here. Use the town as a base for adrenaline-junkie activities like climbing the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks or bobsledding the Olympic Complex. Or no one's gonna give you trouble for simply walking the trail around Mirror Lake. Other activities include a gondola ride, scenic railway, and plenty of perches for lakeside drinking and dining like The Cottage at Mirror Lake Inn.

Telluride, Colorado

The beauty of Telluride might just stop you dead in your tracks. Stroll through this charming Old West town face-to-face with the massive, snow-capped San Juan peaks rising up from its box canyon location to get a taste of the sheer awe-inspiring power of mountain living. Telluride, which Thrillist named Colorado's best small town, is also famous for hosting a number of top-tier music festivals including the Telluride Bluegrass Fest, Telluride Blues & Brews, and The Ride. 

Mountain towns in Bend, Oregon

Not only are there gorgeous views of Mount Bachelor to be had from Todd Lake in Deschutes National Forest, but there are also volcanoes, waterfalls, buttes, caves, and more. Plus, the Les Schwab Amphitheater is among the best outdoor venues in the West. Fans of beer will love Bend, which has been affectionately nicknamed Beer Town USA. Start at Deschutes Brewery and work your way through the Bend Ale Trail.

Truckee, California

Of course, Lake Tahoe is on this list! Try avoiding the touristy lodges and casinos that steal a bit of South Lake Tahoe's soul, however, and consider a visit to the North Lake Tahoe town of Truckee. One of the world's premier ski/snowboard destinations, what really makes Truckee a top mountain spot is a lively yet laid-back action in the historic downtown — plenty of opportunities to get a bird's-eye view into the fine art of clean mountain living.

Park City, Utah

If you’re visiting in the summer or early fall, a must-stop is the Park Silly Sunday Market, arguably one of the best open-air markets in the country. It features local musicians and farmers and is eco-friendly (and great for kids).  In addition to all the mountain-town staples like biking, hiking, river-rafting, and horseback riding, Park City delivers the extra-fun activities of Utah Olympic Park — including one of the longest bobsled rides in the world, and one of only two in the U.S. you can ride.

10 Beautiful Mountain Towns to Visit in the U.S. 1
Park City, Utah. Photo by Olivia Hutcherson on Unsplash

Lewisburg, West Virginia

Lewisburg has something for everyone. History buffs will love the General Lewis Inn, which is sort of part-hotel, part-museum. Tour the Lost World Caverns, or go for an early-morning hike and get lunch at a local cafe. Lewisburg has not one but two food festivals — one of which is chocolate-specific — and a Saturday farmers market during the summer. On the first Friday of every month, starting at 5 p.m., visitors will find food and art vendors plus live music gathered downtown.

Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

Named for the region’s sugar maple trees, Sugar Hill is just about the tiniest of tiny towns. Check out the Sugar Hill Sampler Shop (for souvenirs), Harman’s Cheese & Country Store, and the award-winning Polly’s Pancake Parlour, whose level of celebrity you'd associate with much larger towns. As a bonus for RVers, there’s an excellent campground. In the summer, Sugar Hill’s blossoming lupine flowers are so breathtaking they merit their own festival that draws visitors from all over New England; in the fall, that gives way to delightful seasonal open-air artisan markets. 

Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock is great for both skiing and snowshoeing, but you can also enjoy other quintessential small-town-New-England features like a very photogenic covered bridge and the must-see Billings Farm & Museum, once owned by Rockefellers. It hosts all manner of events year-round. Check out mesmerizing glass-blowers, visit a farmers market that takes giving back to its community seriously, and unwind with a craft beer at Worthy Kitchen. Mountain Creamery is a very solid bet for ice cream and more. Like to swim? Hit up the nearby Silver Lake.

Mountain towns in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

With historic Victorian architecture and winding streets, you'd be hard-pressed to find a town as distinct as this little Ozark gem, which Thrillist named the best small town in Arkansas. The entire city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Available activities include zip-lining, cave tours, boat excursions on the lake, and postcard-perfect foliage in the fall.  Consider making a trip to the nearby Thorncrown Chapel, a jaw-droppingly beautiful glass chapel in the woods.

 

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Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

1 Comment

  • Bend, OR is not a mountain town, however nearby Sisters, OR is worthy of the mountain town designation. Telluride, CO is pretty, but I would add Ouray, CO to the list. It’s beautiful. And I know you have to limit your list, but Aspen, CO, and Crested Butte, CO, are very worth of your visit.

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