Special Report

40 Charming Small Towns to Visit This Fall

1. Jasper, Arkansas

Located where the country’s first National River, the Buffalo, begins to flow, Jasper is described as a charming town surrounded by scenic nature. Once popular for its theme park Dogpatch, USA, which closed in the 1990s, it now draws visitors for activities ranging from watching the elk in the Buffalo National River Valley to motorcycle tourism. Check out the views along Scenic Byway 7 in Arkansas, the state’s first state-designated scenic byway or the Ozark Moonshine Run, which is a “motorcycle highway.” You can also tour the Mystic and Crystal Dome Cavern. In town, experience some unique shopping at Emma’s Museum of Junk, which promises an “ever changing inventory of forgotten treasures.”

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2. Calistoga, California

Beyond wine, visitors have been coming to Calistoga for over 100 years for its spa experiences, including hot springs and mud baths. Those looking for a wine-tasting experience, however, can’t miss Castello di Amorosa, an authentically styled Tuscan castle and winery. The area promises a full itinerary, whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, girls’ weekend, or family-friendly vacation. There are also options for dining and shopping, including the West End Antiques District. Visitors can enjoy nature by walking through the redwoods at the Petrified Forest or take a dog-friendly rafting adventure on the Russian River.

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3. Mount Shasta City, California

A challenge for climbers, Mount Shasta rises to 14,179 feet. This towering mountain, which is actually a volcano, and the surrounding alpine lakes, add up to an area ideal for outdoor lovers, no matter your age or experience level. Visitors travelling to Mount Shasta City can stay at a luxury resort or get back to nature by camping in the wilderness. There are hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, or you can try fishing, horseback riding, golfing, and more.

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4. Telluride, Colorado

In contrast to the towering Rocky Mountains that surround it, Telluride is small — only eight blocks wide and 12 blocks long. The town was named a National Historic Landmark District in 1961, and is known for its colorful Victorian homes and other historic buildings that sit among modern shopping and dining options. Known for its skiing and winter sports, Telluride is a great place to visit in the fall — its “Gold Season” — when leaves color the area. Check out the scenery on a gondola ride, the first and only free public transportation system of its kind in the country, to see mountain views, waterfalls and the town. Seasonal outdoor activities include fly fishing, hiking, mountain-biking, golfing, and horseback riding.

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

5. Washington, Connecticut

Described as a “leaf-peeper’s dream,” the area offers fall foliage that can be explored on one of its many scenic roads, hiking trails, or state parks. Visitors can also celebrate the harvest at a local farm or try their hand at apple picking. The town of Washington is composed of five charming towns to explore, with shopping, restaurants, museums, and historic houses. Fans of the show “Gilmore Girls” can have their own unique experience exploring Washington, the model for the TV show’s fictional hometown of Stars Hollow. There is even a guide to the spots that inspired places from the show.