Want to make the most of the end of summer? Maximise those warm, bright hours? Why not take a trip to small town USA?
We’ve got to face it at one point or another: summer is almost over.
If you’re not a fan of summer, this might please you — after all, the end of summer means fall, cooler weather, scarves, hats, and pumpkin spice everything. But, if you’re one of the many who thrives in warm temperatures, sunny environments, and making every weekend a beach weekend, you’re probably looking to make sure that you eke out every last second of the season.
One good way to do this? Travel.
You don’t even have to go far or go big; there are tons of US small towns that are worth visiting before summer ends — idyllic places that only seem to exist in films — and most of them are accessible enough for a quick weekend trip.
Considering summer technically ends on September 20, you’ve only a few weeks before you have to wear sweaters and smell cinnamon everywhere you go. So, enjoy the last four weeks by hitting up one of these small towns while the weather is still nice and your summer Friday allotments at work are still valid.
1. Washington Depot, Connecticut
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I’m on a Connecticut road trip this weekend and am in LOVE with all of the New England charm! I’ll be posting a lot of pics over the next few days of my trip, but you can also follow along by clicking the “Connecticut” highlight story on my profile. These pictures are from Washington Depot, CT (Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls). I visited the real-life Luke’s Diner, Doose’s Market, and the Stars Hollow Bookstore. SWIPE for more pics >>>>>>> • • • #connecticut #washingtondepot #reallifestarshollow #starshollow #gilmoregirls #lukesdiner #lukes #doosesmarket #autumn #newengland #naturephotography #travelphotography #books #eastcoast #photooftheday #visualsoflife #postoftheday #gilmore #gg #fall #? #? #connecticutgram #roadtrip #instagood #potd #newyork #nyc #photography #fallfoliage
This tiny town situated in Connecticut, close to the border of New York state, might not sound familiar, but it will look familiar to fans of The Gilmore Girls: it’s the town Stars Hollow was based on. However, you don’t need to be a fan to appreciate this place’s small town charm: the beautifully designed, classic New England homes, picturesque landscape, tiny population of about 2,300 people, independently owned shops, and luxurious Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa will be more than enough to keep your attention for a weekend. Weather remains pretty warm during the summer months, so you can rest assured that you’ll be able to pack ultra-light.
2. Beaufort, South Carolina
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Coastal Southern Charm in South Carolina via @hillheady . . . . . #beaufort #beaufortsc #southernliving #southernblogger #lcdotcomloves #townandcountry #tandc #verytandc #southern #southerncharm #southernhomes #coastalliving #homeinspiration #homeinspo #ihavethisthingwithpink #pinkdoor #explorebeaufortsc #charlestonblogger #lowcountry #draperjames #theeverygirl #darlingplaces #travelblogger
With a population of about 13,000 people, Beaufort isn’t as small as some of the other suggestions on this list — but, what it lacks in lacking population, it makes up for in beauty. Its historic district, which was named a National Historic Landmark in 1973, is lined with rows and rows of buildings that feature classic antebellum architecture and tons of giant canopy trees.
3. Mystic, Connecticut
Yes, Mystic, Connecticut was the site of the 1988 Julia Roberts film Mystic Pizza, and yes, there is actually a Mystic Pizza here. The pizza is great, you should try it, but there’s more to Mystic than just cheese and tomato loveliness. This town is filled with little gems of independent shops (check out The Spice & Tea Exchange of Mystic on Main Street for some unique tea blends), classic New England harbor views, and that quiet, small-town feel people dream of finding.
4. Solvang, California
Nestled at the bottom of central California about 30 miles north of Santa Barbara lies a little town that, upon first glance, seems like it would fit in better in Europe than the sunshine state. Solvang is as close to Denmark as you’ll ever get in California, and that’s because it was founded by Danish-Americans in 1911 as a little slice of their homeland. Visit the town and you’ll be greeted by buildings built with typical Danish architecture and replicas of Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue and the Rundetårn. It’s just like visiting Europe, but without paying for a plane ticket. Win/win?
5. Breckenridge, Colorado
If you’re a snowboarder or a skier, you’ve probably heard of this little Colorado town before. Though it’s far from ski season, Breckenridge still offers visitors a lot in terms of outdoor activities. Hiking, biking, and fly-fishing are popular summer sports — and for those who want to take it a little easier, there are tons of local shops and breweries to enjoy in the town.
6. Taos, New Mexico
Situated in New Mexico’s high desert, Taos has been a haven for artists, writers, and creators for decades — and after one look at the town, it’s easy to see why. Between the Pueblo Revival-style architecture and the ton of historic landmarks, the town is perfect for anyone looking for a little inspiration to spark creativity and new ideas. Also, a note for those into the creepier things in life: some people claim to be able to hear an inexplicable, low-frequency humming sound while in the town, so much so that it’s been dubbed the “Taos Hum.”
7. St Augustine, Florida
If you’re a beach person who hates the busy-ness of larger city beaches like Miami’s South Beach, there’s no better place to celebrate (or mourn) the end of summer than St Augustine, Florida. This town of about 14,000 residents is home to some of the most historic, gorgeous beaches in the state, which are less about partying all night, more for laying out on with a good book and lots of sunscreen. The town also has a lot of offer away from the coastline: the oldest and largest masonry fort in the US, the Castillo de San Marcos, is located in St Augustine, and the city’s historic district looks like something out of an Instagram influencer’s fever dream.