Discover memorable towns throughout the United States featured in our unique travel guidebooks. We spent years criss-crossing the country, seeking independent towns far from America's big cities in the best scenic locales where recreation is abundant, people are friendly, and visitor-serving facilities are special.
Whether you're seeking a sylvan mountain setting, pounding ocean waves, or a deep-blue lake that never ends, there is a great town that can delight you. The cultural diversity of America's great towns will astonish you, as most of these communities foster independent, one-of-a-kind businesses reflective of each town's unique personality. Distinctive food types and entertainment venues showcase the diverse civic personalities that collectively celebrate America.
While the 100 great towns were selected and personally visited for the second national guidebook revision (2009), we continually revisit towns and update our recommendations of attractions, restaurants, and lodgings on a town-by-town basis to get our latest information to our readers in a more timely manner. Our most recent paperback books and eBooks cover Santa Fe, New Mexico; Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove, California; Mendocino, California; Branson, Missouri; New Braunfels, Texas; Ashland, Oregon; and Durango, Colorado.
Think you are good at identifying our great towns from photos? Try your luck at our Name That Great Town Game.
Travelers have been fascinated by Santa Fe for more than 400 years. The city's remarkable history includes distinction as the oldest capital city in America. The lofty peaks of the southernmost Rocky Mountains provide a spectacular backdrop and shelter from harsh winter storms of the Great Plains beyond. Aromatic pinon pine and juniper ablaze in kiva fireplaces enhance the idyllic setting. Today Santa Fe is an urbane blend of cultures; a culinary cornucopia featuring one of only two major indigenous food styles in America; and an acclaimed artists' mecca and opera lovers' landmark as well as a ski town and romantic getaway with a peerless collection of spa resorts. Voluptuous adobe-style architecture creates photogenic chiaroscuro light and shadows at dawn and dusk. Paths alongside a burbling creek, well-shaded by overarching trees, lead to unexpected discoveries throughout the strollable downtown and renowned Canyon Road art district. Learn more >
With incomparable beauty, the Monterey Peninsula is the only place in America where three great towns adjoin. A hike/bike path connects Monterey and Pacific Grove with flowery seascapes to within a block of famed historic Cannery Row; and the Seventeen Mile Drive is one of America’s most picturesque scenic roads. Everyone should take time to stroll among storybook cottages in downtown Carmel, and marvel at how roads always yield rights of way to noble trees. Kayaking, hiking, fishing, boating and other sports are delightful in world-class land-and-sea settings from the Peninsula through Big Sur bounding the region on the south. Lush landscapes and romantic settings have spawned sybaritic spas and romantic retreats, wineries and affiliated tasting rooms, and gourmet food. As a bonus, weather is hospitable most of the year. Learn more >
Why do we call Branson “Fun City, U.S.A.”? Branson is the ultimate vacation destination for people of all ages and all interests. Its attractions are as unique as you can find anywhere in America. Branson hosts an impressive theater strip with all genres of music, dance, and more. A major amusement park built into wooded landscapes provides a naturalized venue for rides, music, a cave, and working artisans. Lake Taneycomo provides all sorts of water recreation. Other unusual attractions offer rides, hangs, swings, or daredevil stunts. Whether it’s ziplines or coasters, or museums of all types related to history, natural science, or one-of-a-kind experiences (like a replica of the Titanic and a drive-your-own cart through a cave), diversions of all sorts abound. As a bonus, food and lodging prices are among the lowest of any major destination in the USA. Learn more >