What makes a great little mountain town? To us, these places have a quaint yet unmistakable charm and draw guests with the feeling of alpine seclusion while having plenty of nearby activities and attractions.
Any Global Discovery Vacations member who has been to the White Oak Lodge and Resort are not surprised to see Gatlinburg on this list. The town has the perfect setup: Take a straight-shot through downtown until you hit the infamous Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Gatlinburg finds its culture through local artisans, moonshine distilleries and old-fashioned southern hospitality. When in the mountains, you have plenty of trails, drives and rivers to play with, so enjoy the outdoors to your heart’s content (Laurel Falls, Cades Cove). Just remember to keep your distance from wild critters.
Hood River, Oregon
The coastal waters of Northern Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge help cultivate this fertile landscape of immeasurable beauty as far as you can see. The colors seem richer, the fruits fresher and the air purer. The strong winds help dub this town the windsurfing capital of the world, while the 35-mile Fruit Loop gives you a taste of the land through wineries and orchards.
We just recently featured Sun Valley, Idaho, in our “Hidden Gem Destinations” feature, and Ketchum puts you right there with as much mountainous sunshine as you can handle. The area draws skiers from all over the world who have their hearts set on nearby Bald Mountain, as well as anyone wanting a good outdoor adventure. Ketchum has a population of less than 3,000, but it knows how to treat visitors.
Read More: GDV’s Hidden Gem Destinations
Park City, Utah
The TripAdvisor article mentioned the relatively new Park City Mountain Resort, the product of two resorts coming together to create the largest ski resort in the United States. Having more than 7,000 acres of skiing is tantalizing, isn’t it?
The city itself is a nice little change of pace from the slopes, with quality nightlife and shopping options, plus you have Salt Lake City nearby. The Sundance Film Festival creates a huge tourism boom around January, so make sure you’re aware of the crowds that will ensue.
Taos, New Mexico
Here’s the second spot on this list found on our “Hidden Gem Destinations,” how about that? As mentioned in that post, Taos rolls many features into one: part historic civilization, part art colony, part ski resort and more.
The area is laced with attractions and landmarks, but once you hit the nature trails near Carson National Forest (Devisadero, Wheeler Peak), the sunburned hills and jagged landscape solidifies Taos’ place among small mountain towns. And when winter rolls around, you have Taos Ski Valley to ski.
Other Towns Near GDV Destinations
- Driggs, Idaho (an hour south of Island Park)
- Makaha, Hawaii (Big Island, Hawaii)
- Bryson City, North Carolina (an hour and a half south of Gatlinburg)
The allure of big cities can’t be underestimated, but the country is loaded with great small mountain towns that offer just as much excitement and entertainment. Try one of these destinations the next time you’re in for a hearty alpine trip with Global Discovery Vacations!
Tell us your favorite little mountain town in the comments below.