America was built upon small towns, and fortunately, many of them are still thriving today. From coast to coast and north to south, RVers can get a taste of what it’s like to live somewhere completely different or perhaps even startlingly similar to what they’re used to.
Whether you have your own RV or choose to rent one, small towns are typically best explored on road trips to enjoy the sights at a slower pace.
During 20 years of living the snowbird lifestyle, we’ve visited 25 states and camped at hundreds of RV parks and campgrounds. To kick-start your search, here are six of our favorite small towns in America. Each town earned its spot for individual reasons.
Helen, Georgia | Population: 526
The year was 1969, and Helen, Georgia, once a thriving lumber town, had fallen into decline. Jobs were scarce and the desolated main street did little to attract the attention of new investors and residents.
Just when things were at their bleakest, three local businessmen hatched a scheme to renovate the business district to inject new energy into the town. They called on a local artist who recast the town in a new alpine light and within months many of the old buildings had new German-inspired facades that began to inspire the imagination of tourists.
Almost 50 years later, Helen is the third most visited town in the state of Georgia, and yet this little piece of Bavaria in Appalachia is home to little more than 500 residents.
Keystone, South Dakota | Population: 344
You may not have heard of this little town of less than 350, but if you’re planning a road trip to one of America’s most iconic monuments, chances are you’ll drive through its winding streets or rent a room in one of its many lodges and resorts.
Located a short drive from Mount Rushmore, this former mining town has successfully pivoted to become a desirable destination for tourists, while maintaining its small town charm.
Midway, Kentucky | Population: 1,656
Located midway between Frankfort and Lexington, Historic Midway was the first town in Kentucky founded by a railroad (1832). Midway prospered along with the railroad. During the railroad’s heyday, the 1930s and ’40s, up to 30 trains a day rumbled through the middle of town. The passenger trains dwindled until the old depot was closed in 1963.
Historic Midway once again thrives and enjoys its present reputation as one of Kentucky’s favorite spots for antiques, crafts, gifts, and restaurants. Because of its special charm and small town appeal visitors always leave Midway in high spirits and vow to return. So it was with us.
Tubac, Arizona | Population: 1,191
Located on the Santa Cruz River, Tubac was originally the first Spanish colonial garrison in Arizona before the O’odham uprising. After the Spanish, Tubac was later repopulated by miners, farmers, and ranchers in the 1800s but is currently known as a converted artists’ colony.
Visit Tubac and experience the art colony created in the 1930s-1960s, where Dale Nichols opened an art school and restored some of the town’s historic buildings.
The town founded Tubac Festival of the Arts in the 1960s. Check out the art galleries and specialty shops and explore the Spanish garrison at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park.
Fredericksburg, Texas | Population: 10,886
Located smack-dab in the middle of Hill Country (think: fields of bluebonnets and local wineries), Fredericksburg is a German-influenced town that has maintained its roots.
Visit on any given summer afternoon and you’ll find a lively scene of barbecues and beer, singing and dancing.
La Conner, Washington | Population: 917
La Conner is one of those places that people love to visit—time and time again. The reasons are many, but one that stands out is that there are so many things to do in—and around—La Conner. A waterfront village in northwestern Washington, La Conner is nestled beside the Swinomish Channel near the mouth of the Skagit River.
La Conner is a unique combination of fishing village, artists’ colony, eclectic shops, historic buildings, and tourist destination. Relax by the water, enjoy fine restaurants, browse through unique shops and art galleries, and visit the beautiful tulip fields of Skagit Valley.
Note: Population is from 2014 census as provided by City-Data.com
Everything in life is somewhere else, and you can get there in an RV.