We're thrilled to present our highly anticipated Coolest Small Towns list, just in time for your summer planning. We had a great time compiling this list and hope you enjoy it too! This year, we've elevated this important editorial feature and revamped our approach. Being a "Cool Small Town" is much more than just having a small population. In fact, we've included a couple of larger destinations that have a "Cool Small Town vibe" (e.g.; Franklin, TN; and Asheville, NC). Our list showcases places that offer unique culinary experiences, friendly local businesses, a sense of community, and captivating stories. Take Bisbee, Arizona, for example. This former mining town has reinvented itself as an artists' haven and a hub for cultural tourism. With its colorful architecture, quirky shops, and galleries, Bisbee offers a glimpse into the creative and eclectic spirit of the American Southwest. The nearby Queen Mine Tour offers a unique underground adventure into the area's mining history. Or, consider Woodstock, Vermont. This picturesque town, nestled in the Green Mountains, epitomizes New England charm. With its historic covered bridges, quaint village center, and scenic hiking trails, Woodstock is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. For a taste of the town's culinary scene, be sure to check out the local farmers' market or dine at one of its many farm-to-table restaurants. Our goal is not only to inform and entertain you but also to inspire you to visit these destinations by demonstrating how Cool Small Towns are both affordable and less crowded than typical tourist hotspots. By supporting these communities, you'll not only have a memorable trip but also contribute to the preservation of their cultural heritage and the growth of local economies. So why not pay these charming towns a visit? And finally, after the challenging past few years, we believe that visiting a Cool Small Town can be a fantastic way to reset and rejuvenate our mind, body, and budget in 2023. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or just a relaxing getaway, there's a small town out there waiting for you to discover it. Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in 2023Bar Harbor, MaineBisbee, ArizonaFranklin, TennesseeGrand Marais, MinnesotaPort Townsend, WashingtonSedona, ArizonaSt. Augustine, FloridaTaos, New MexicoTraverse City, MichiganWoodstock, Vermont Honorable Mention: Asheville, North Carolina Road Trip itch? Do you have a couple of months and about 8000 miles to spare? You could hit the road and visit all these places in approximately two months (6-hour trips and 4-day stays in each Cool Small Town). Here’s the ideal route: https://goo.gl/maps/YWJWViTh8V4GaoBx8 2023 Coolest Small Towns Driving Directions
119 miles north of PhoenixPopulation: 10,335 (est. 2020) Nestled in the red rocks of northern Arizona, Sedona is a popular destination for its stunning natural beauty and New Age spirituality. Visitors can hike in nearby Red Rock State Park, visit local art galleries and shops, and explore the town's many spiritual and wellness centers. Cool facts about Sedona Sedona is known for its stunning red rock formations, which are the result of millions of years of erosion and geological activity.The town has a strong New Age and spiritual community, with many vortex sites believed to have healing and transformative powers.Sedona has been the location for many movies and TV shows, including "Easy Rider," "3:10 to Yuma," and "The Brady Bunch."According to thetoptens.com, there are four vortexes located in Sedona: Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon, Airport Vortex and Red Rock Crossing/Cathedral Rock. A vortex is defined as a "whirling mass of energy" that spreads about a quarter of a mile in all directions. These masses of energy cause unusual sensations to those who are caught within their force. Also Seen in… 3:10 to Yuma Poster - imbd.com "3:10 to Yuma" (2007) - a western film that features several scenes filmed in Sedona, including the famous red rock formations and natural scenery. Best Time to Visit Best Time to Visit Sedona - Weatherspark.com The best time to visit Sedona is from March to May or September to November when the temperatures are mild and the crowds are smaller. Budget for a long weekend Budget for a 4-day getaway with hotel, one good restaurant, and one activity: $880 3 nights at the The Wilde Resort & Spa (4-star): $750 - Find more hotel deals at KAYAK!Dinner for 2 at The Hudson: $80Red Rock Magic Trolley tour for 2: $50 Note: Prices vary depending on the time of year, availability, etc. Follow on Social Media Courtesy of Visit Sedona The official Facebook Page for Sedona is a great resource for all your questions about visiting the greater Sedona area. Check out their Instagram Profile and enjoy stunning photos of the town's iconic red rock formations, its outdoor activities, and cultural attractions. #sedona Discover Sedona CARD WIDGET HERE Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in 2023 This year, we've elevated this important editorial feature and revamped our approach. Read the announcement and main article here. Bar Harbor, MaineBisbee, ArizonaFranklin, TennesseeGrand Marais, MinnesotaPort Townsend, WashingtonSedona, ArizonaSt. Augustine, FloridaTaos, New MexicoTraverse City, MichiganWoodstock, Vermont Honorable Mention: Asheville, North Carolina
135 miles northeast of AlbuquerquePopulation: 5,971 (est. 2020) Known for its unique blend of Native American, Spanish, and Anglo cultures, Taos is a charming town in northern New Mexico. Visitors can tour the historic Taos Pueblo, hike in the nearby mountains, and explore local art galleries and shops. Cool facts about Taos Taos is known for its rich history and culture, with many Native American, Spanish, and Western influences.The town is home to the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage site that has been continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years.Taos is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Rio Grande Gorge.According to science-rumors.com, Taos is known for a strange hum sound that is faintly heard by some people in the town. The hum is a constant, annoying and mysterious low frequency humming sound that has no clear source or explanation. Some people have blamed it on the government and UFOs. Also Seen in… Easy Rider Poster - imdb.com "Easy Rider" (1969) - a classic road movie that was partially filmed in Taos and featured many of the town's landmarks and natural beauty. Best Time to Visit Best Time to Visit Taos - Weatherspark.com The best time to visit Taos is from May to October, when the weather is mild, and many outdoor activities are enjoyable. Budget for a long weekend Budget for a 4-day getaway with hotel, one good restaurant, and one activity: $424 3 nights at the Inn on La Loma Plaza (3-star): $350 - Find more hotel deals at KAYAK!Dinner for 2 at The Gorge Bar & Grill: $50Taos Pueblo admission for 2: $24 Note: Prices vary depending on the time of year, availability, etc. Follow on Social Media Courtesy of Visit Taos Their Facebook Page is a great resource to decide whether your visit leads you to their historic town square or the wilds of their magnificent landscapes and natural surroundings. Scroll through their Instagram profile and discover where magic mesa meets mighty mountains. #visittaos Discover Taos CARD WIDGET HERE Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in 2023 This year, we've elevated this important editorial feature and revamped our approach. Read the announcement and main article here. Bar Harbor, MaineBisbee, ArizonaFranklin, TennesseeGrand Marais, MinnesotaPort Townsend, WashingtonSedona, ArizonaSt. Augustine, FloridaTaos, New MexicoTraverse City, MichiganWoodstock, Vermont Honorable Mention: Asheville, North Carolina
255 miles Northwest of DetroitPopulation: 15,559 (est. 2021) Traverse City has transformed itself into the cultural, business, and educational center of Northwest Michigan. Its downtown core has been lovingly refurbished, its historical buildings brought to a fresh sheen, making it both a spectacle and a place to shop, dine, and attend cultural events. The Traverse City area features varied natural attractions, including freshwater beaches, vineyards, a National Lakeshore, downhill skiing areas, and numerous forests. Traverse City is also known for its tart cherries and is home to the annual National Cherry Festival which draws in nearly half a million visitors every year. From the downtown beaches, you can have a good view of both the sunrise and the sunset. Cool facts about Traverse City Traverse City has over 40 wineries that are part of the Traverse Wine Coast which produce about 60% of Michigan’s winesFarm-to-fork dining has taken off in popularity in Traverse City in recent years The Traverse City area is the largest producer of tart cherries in the United States and they host the National Cherry FestivalHauntedtraverse.com has tours to learn all the ghost stories here in the Traverse City area Also Seen in… 30 Minutes or Less Poster - imdb.com "30 Minutes or Less" (2011) - This action-comedy film starring Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari was filmed in Grand Rapids and around West Michigan, including scenes filmed in Traverse City. Best Time to Visit Best Time to Visit Traverse City - Weatherspark.com The best time to visit Traverse City is from June to August when daytime highs hover in the mid-70s to 80s and sunshine is abundant. While the end of spring can be a little chilly, there’s a palpable excitement in the air as the city opens up after a long winter. Budget for a long weekend Budget for a 4-day getaway with hotel, one good restaurant, and one activity: $564 3 nights at Hotel Indigo Traverse City (3-star): $282 - Find more hotel deals at KAYAK!5-Course dinner for 2 at The Cook's House, which offers farm-to-fork artisan cuisine: $176Ghost Hunting experience admission for 2: $106 Note: Prices vary depending on the time of year, availability, etc. Follow on Social Media Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism Checkout their Facebook Page and find out why Traverse City is an incredible four-season destination and an ideal destination for an unforgettable vacation. Also head to their Instagram Profile to explore the scenery, beaches, wineries, breweries, and innovative regional cuisine. #traversecity Discover Traverse City CARD WIDGET HERE Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in 2023 This year, we've elevated this important editorial feature and revamped our approach. Read the announcement and main article here. Bar Harbor, MaineBisbee, ArizonaFranklin, TennesseeGrand Marais, MinnesotaPort Townsend, WashingtonSedona, ArizonaSt. Augustine, FloridaTaos, New MexicoTraverse City, MichiganWoodstock, Vermont Honorable Mention: Asheville, North Carolina
100 miles northwest of BostonPopulation: 3,048 (est. 2020) Nestled in the Green Mountains of central Vermont, Woodstock is a picturesque New England town with many historic buildings and charming shops and restaurants. Visitors can tour the Billings Farm & Museum, hike in nearby Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, and browse the town's many art galleries and antique shops. Cool facts about Woodstock Woodstock is a picturesque New England town with many historic buildings and charming shops and restaurants.The town is known for its covered bridges, including the famous Middle Bridge and Taftsville Bridge.Woodstock is home to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, which preserves the history and natural beauty of the area.According to woodstocktv.com, the town has a haunted history of vampires and ghosts. One of the most famous stories is about a family who exhumed their son's body in 1830 to stop him from feeding on his brother. Also Seen in… White Christmas Poster - imdb.com "White Christmas" (1954) - a classic holiday movie filmed in Woodstock and featuring many of the town's charming shops and buildings. Best Time to Visit Best Time to Visit Woodstock - Weatherspark.com The best time to visit Woodstock is from June to August when the weather is warm, and the town is bustling with outdoor activities and festivals. Budget for a long weekend Budget for a 4-day getaway with hotel, one good restaurant, and one activity: $1014 3 nights at the Woodstock Inn & Resort (4-star): $900 - Find more hotel deals at KAYAK!Dinner for 2 at the Red Rooster: $80Billings Farm & Museum admission for 2: $34 Note: Prices vary depending on the time of year, availability, etc. Follow on Social Media Courtesy of The Town of Woodstock Woodstock’s Facebook page is a window to gain local insights, get travel ideas, information, and to find out what's happening. Follow them on Instagram and get an inside look at life, locals, & lore in charming Woodstock, Vermont #woodstockvt Discover Woodstock CARD WIDGET HERE Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in 2023 This year, we've elevated this important editorial feature and revamped our approach. Read the announcement and main article here. Bar Harbor, MaineBisbee, ArizonaFranklin, TennesseeGrand Marais, MinnesotaPort Townsend, WashingtonSedona, ArizonaSt. Augustine, FloridaTaos, New MexicoTraverse City, MichiganWoodstock, Vermont Honorable Mention: Asheville, North Carolina
46 miles east of BangorPopulation: 5,089 (est. 2020) Situated on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine, Bar Harbor is a picturesque town with many historic buildings and a thriving tourist industry. Visitors can tour Acadia National Park, go whale watching or kayaking in nearby waters, and explore local art galleries and shops Cool facts about Bar Harbor Bar Harbor is located on Mount Desert Island, which is known for its rugged natural beauty and abundant wildlife.The town is a popular destination for lobster lovers, with many restaurants and seafood shacks serving up fresh lobster and other seafood dishes.Bar Harbor is home to Acadia National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the United States.According to visitmaine.net, the 1804 Coach Stop Inn has ghosts with childlike voices that lock doors and flicker lights. Also, visit the “Ghost Evidence Page” at Barharborghosttours.comfor more intriguing paranormal stories. Also Seen in… Murder She Wrote poster - imdb.com "Murder, She Wrote" (1984-1996) - a popular TV series that was set in the fictional town of Cabot Cove, Maine, which was modeled after Bar Harbor and other small towns in the area. Best Time to Visit Best Time to Visit Bar Harbor - Weatherspark.com The best time to visit Bar Harbor is from May to October, when the weather is mild, and the town is bustling with outdoor activities and festivals. Budget for a long weekend Budget for a 4-day getaway with hotel, one good restaurant, and one activity: $990 3 nights at the Bar Harbor Inn & Spa (3-star): $900, - Find more hotel deals at KAYAK!Dinner for 2 at Geddy's: $60Acadia National Park admission for 2: $30 Note: Prices vary depending on the time of year, availability, etc. Follow on Social Media Courtesy of Visit Bar Harbor Maine The official Facebook Page for Bar Harbor showcases the town's natural beauty and outdoor activities. Make sure to check out their Instagram Profile and see why visitors from around the world return again and again to enjoy its amazing scenery. #visitharbor Discover Bar Harbor CARD WIDGET HERE Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in 2023 This year, we've elevated this important editorial feature and revamped our approach. Read the announcement and main article here. Bar Harbor, MaineBisbee, ArizonaFranklin, TennesseeGrand Marais, MinnesotaPort Townsend, WashingtonSedona, ArizonaSt. Augustine, FloridaTaos, New MexicoTraverse City, MichiganWoodstock, Vermont Honorable Mention: Asheville, North Carolina
90 miles southeast of TucsonPopulation: 5,575 (est. 2019) Located in southeastern Arizona, Bisbee is a charming town with a vibrant arts scene. Visitors can take a walking tour of the historic downtown area, visit the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, and browse local art galleries and shops. Outdoor activities in the area include hiking, birdwatching, and exploring nearby ghost towns. Cool facts about Bisbee Bisbee is known for its historic copper mine, one of the world's largest copper mines in the early 20th century.The town is home to the "Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb," an annual race up the town's many steep staircases.Bisbee was known as the "Queen of the Copper Camps." It was once the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco.The town has several haunted locations, such as the Copper Queen Hotel and the Oliver House. Watch TRVL channel’s show Ghost Adventures Season 6, Episode 3 and watch some Brisbee can be a great destination for ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts. Also Seen in… Bisbee '17 poster - imdb.com "Bisbee '17" (2018) - a documentary film that explores the history of the Bisbee Deportation, a controversial event 100 years ago in which over a thousand striking miners were forcibly removed from the town and deported to the New Mexico desert. Best Time to Visit Best Time to Visit Bisbee - Weatherspark.com The best time to visit Bisbee is from March to May or September to November when the temperatures are mild, and the crowds are smaller. Budget for a long weekend Budget for a 4-day getaway with hotel, one good restaurant, and one activity: $538 3 nights at the Copper Queen Hotel (3-star): $420 - Find more hotel deals at KAYAK!Dinner for 2 at The Copper Pig Restaurant: $70Copper Queen Mine Tour for 2: $48 Note: Prices vary depending on the time of year, availability, etc. Follow on Social Media Bisbee at night - Courtesy of Discover Bisbee Arizona Bisbee’s Facebook page is a source of tourist information for the proverbial traveller, photographer, film-maker, history buff or day-tripper. Also checkout their Instagram profile to get a feeling on how quirky and artsy this Small Cool Town is! #bebisbee Discover Bisbee CARD WIDGET HERE Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in 2023 This year, we've elevated this important editorial feature and revamped our approach. Read the announcement and main article here. Bar Harbor, MaineBisbee, ArizonaFranklin, TennesseeGrand Marais, MinnesotaPort Townsend, WashingtonSedona, ArizonaSt. Augustine, FloridaTaos, New MexicoTraverse City, MichiganWoodstock, Vermont Honorable Mention: Asheville, North Carolina
20 miles south of NashvillePopulation: 83,454 (est. 2020) Franklin is a charming city located in Williamson County, Tennessee. It is known for its rich history, beautiful architecture, and vibrant downtown area. The city has a small-town feel with big-city amenities. Franklin is home to many unique shops, restaurants, and attractions that make it a great place to visit. Some of the popular attractions include the Lotz House Museum, Carnton Plantation, and the Franklin Theatre. The city also hosts many events throughout the year such as the Main Street Festival and the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival. Cool facts about Franklin The population of Franklin has grown more than 500 percent since 1980 when the city began a commercial and residential boom.The small town of Franklin in 1799 was established and named for… yes! Benjamin Franklin.It has a vibrant music scene, lively festivals, and historic main street. Restorations and upgrades are happening as you read this. Most notably, there’s a major renovation of the Factory at Franklin (stores and restaurants).Local author Allen Sircy has compiled Franklin’s spookies ghost stories in his book Southern Ghost Stories Franklin, Tennessee. Also Seen in… At Close Range Poster - imdb.com "At Close Range” (1986). While the movie depicted incidents in Chester County and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, many scenes were actually filmed in Franklin, Tennessee. And yes, it also appeared in Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009). Best Time to Visit Best Time to Visit Franklin - Weatherspark.com The best time to visit Franklin is from April to June, or later in the Fall. But if you’re looking for the very warmest time, go in August for an average of 93º F and steamy nights at 70º F. Budget for a long weekend Budget for a 4-day getaway with hotel, one good restaurant, and one activity: $960 3 nights at The Harpeth Franklin Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton (4-star): $915 (however, the Hyatt Place in Cool Springs (3-star) is about $375 and only 6 minutes away). - Find more hotel deals at KAYAK!Dinner for 2 at Puckett’s Historic Downtown: $45Franklin Battlefield: A National Historic Landmark and the site of one of the Civil War's bloodiest battles: FREE, donations appreciated. Note: Prices vary depending on the time of year, availability, etc. Follow on Social Media Franklin - Courtesy of Visit Franklin Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Franklin adventurer, check out their Facebook Page for essential resources and up-to-date information about events. Their Instagram account showcases the charm, history, and people of this Cool Small Town. #visitfranklin Discover Franklin CARD WIDGET HERE Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in 2023 This year, we've elevated this important editorial feature and revamped our approach. Read the announcement and main article here. Bar Harbor, MaineBisbee, ArizonaFranklin, TennesseeGrand Marais, MinnesotaPort Townsend, WashingtonSedona, ArizonaSt. Augustine, FloridaTaos, New MexicoTraverse City, MichiganWoodstock, Vermont Honorable Mention: Asheville, North Carolina
110 miles north of DuluthPopulation: 1,340 (est. 2022) Grand Marais is a picturesque town that hugs the shore of Lake Superior and is located on the northwestern shore of Lake Superior. If you are undecided between hiking or playing at the beach, Grand Marais is for you. The Superior Hiking Trail passes near Grand Marais, and Judge C. R. Magney State Park is nearby. If you stay at the Grand Marais Campground and Marina you will be on the west side of Grand Marais Harbor. Walk around to the east side of the harbor and enjoy the Grand Marais Breakwater Trail where you can go between Grand Marais Harbor and East Bay. Cool facts about Grand Marais Prior to white settlement, the Ojibwe called this land Gitchi-Ba-Too-Biig, which translates into “Double Bay”.The location of present-day Grand Marais served as a summer village for the local Ojibwe population. The American Fur Company used the harbor area for outposts in the 1820s and 30s.Grand Marais literally translates to “big marsh” in French. A good portion of downtown sits on filled wetlands.There are ghostly rumors at two locations in Grand Marais—the Birch Terrace Supper Club and the Cook County courthouse. There have been reports over the years of unexplained noises and activities. Also Seen in… Virginia Minnesota Poster - imdb.com "Virginia Minnesota" (2018) - A film in which two young women, torn apart by a childhood tragedy, unexpectedly reunite and embark on an illuminating 24-hour journey, where they unlock memories of long-forgotten innocence and what it means to truly believe. Best Time to Visit Best Time to Visit Grand Marais - Weatherspark.com The best times to visit Grand Marais for ideal weather are July 2nd to September 9th based on average temperature and humidity. However, the busiest month for tourism in Grand Marais is April, followed by June and May. If you plan to visit during fall color season, book well in advance. Budget for a long weekend Budget for a 4-day getaway with hotel, one good restaurant, and one activity: $506 3 nights at East Bay Suites (3-star) or Best Western Plus Superior Inn (3-star): $396 - Find more hotel deals at KAYAK!Dinner for 2 at Voyageur Brewing Company: $50Attend the Grand Marais Arts Festival Donation: $60 and up. Note: Prices vary depending on the time of year, availability, etc. Follow on Social Media Grand Marais, MN - Courtesy of Barb Teahen Checkout their Facebook page to stay up to date on what’s going on this picturesque harbor village on the world’s greatest lake. Also go to their Instagram profile and decide if it is the arts and culture that inspire adventure, or vice versa. #donorthmn Discover Grand Marais CARD WIDGET HERE Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in 2023 This year, we've elevated this important editorial feature and revamped our approach. Read the announcement and main article here. Bar Harbor, MaineBisbee, ArizonaFranklin, TennesseeGrand Marais, MinnesotaPort Townsend, WashingtonSedona, ArizonaSt. Augustine, FloridaTaos, New MexicoTraverse City, MichiganWoodstock, Vermont Honorable Mention: Asheville, North Carolina
45 miles northwest of SeattlePopulation: 9.735 (est. 2020) Located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington, Port Townsend is a scenic town with many historic buildings and a thriving arts scene. Visitors can tour the historic Fort Worden State Park, visit local art galleries and shops, and explore nearby beaches and hiking trails. Cool facts about Port Townsend Port Townsend is a Victorian-era seaport town with many well-preserved 19th-century buildings and a lively arts scene.The town is located on the Olympic Peninsula, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and kayaking.Port Townsend is home to Fort Worden State Park, a former military installation that is now a popular recreational area.According to seattlereafined.com, Palace Hotel hosts a few permanent guests who come out at night to mingle with the living - the most famous story is the Lady in Blue. Also Seen in… Off The Map Poster - imdb.com "Off the Map" (2003) - a drama film that was partially filmed in Port Townsend and showcased the town's beautiful Victorian architecture and natural scenery. Best Time to Visit Best Time to Visit Port Townsend - Weatherspark.com The best time to visit Port Townsend is from June to September when the weather is sunny and mild, and there are many outdoor activities to enjoy. Budget for a long weekend Budget for a 4-day getaway with hotel, one good restaurant, and one activity: $528 3 nights at the Palace Hotel (3-star): $450 - Find more hotel deals at KAYAK!Dinner for 2 at Sirens Pub: $50Port Townsend Marine Science Center admission for 2: $28 Note: Prices vary depending on the time of year, availability, etc. Follow on Social Media Courtesy of Enjoy Port Townsend Go to Port Townsend’s Facebook Page to learn more about its fascinating history, admire its Victorian architecture, and maritime legacy. Their Instagram profile reflects the charm of this village-by-the-sea, its artistic soul, and world-class culinary venues. #porttownsend Discover Port Townsend CARD WIDGET HERE Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in 2023 This year, we've elevated this important editorial feature and revamped our approach. Read the announcement and main article here. Bar Harbor, MaineBisbee, ArizonaFranklin, TennesseeGrand Marais, MinnesotaPort Townsend, WashingtonSedona, ArizonaSt. Augustine, FloridaTaos, New MexicoTraverse City, MichiganWoodstock, Vermont Honorable Mention: Asheville, North Carolina
42 miles southeast of JacksonvillePopulation: 15,415 (est. 2020) As the oldest continuously inhabited city in the US, St. Augustine is rich in history and culture. Visitors can explore the historic downtown area, visit the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, and take a scenic boat tour of the nearby waterways. The town also has many beaches and outdoor activities, including kayaking and fishing. Cool facts about St. Augustine St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European-founded settlement in the United States, dating back to 1565.The town has a rich history, with many well-preserved Spanish colonial-era buildings and landmarks.St. Augustine is home to the "Fountain of Youth," a legendary spring that supposedly has the power to restore youth and vitality.According to onlyinyourstate.com, the town is home to the Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century fort that is said to be haunted by several spirits, including a Spanish soldier, a Native American woman, and a group of Seminole prisoners. Also Seen in… Burn Notice Poster - imdb.com "Burn Notice" (2007-2013) - a TV series that was set and partially filmed in Miami but features many scenes filmed in St. Augustine, including the historic Castillo de San Marcos fort. Best Time to Visit Best Time to Visit St. Augustine - Weatherspark.com The best time to visit St. Augustine is from March to May when the temperatures are warm, the flowers are in bloom, and the crowds are smaller. Budget for a long weekend Budget for a 4-day getaway with hotel, one good restaurant, and one activity: $606 3 nights at the Casablanca Inn On The Bay (3-star): $510 - Find more hotel deals at KAYAK!Dinner for 2 at The Floridian: $60St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum admission for 2: $36 Note: Prices vary depending on the time of year, availability, etc. Follow on Social Media Courtesy of St Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau Like St. Augustine’s Facebook page and realize that you don’t have to go all the way to the Caribbean islands to enjoy gorgeous beaches. You can get all that fun in the sun, art and culture, world-class cuisine and amazing history right there in St. Augustinis! Also checkout their Instagram profile to see gorgeous images & learn about events at Florida's Historic Coast! #staugustine Discover St. Augustine CARD WIDGET HERE Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in 2023 This year, we've elevated this important editorial feature and revamped our approach. Read the announcement and main article here. Bar Harbor, MaineBisbee, ArizonaFranklin, TennesseeGrand Marais, MinnesotaPort Townsend, WashingtonSedona, ArizonaSt. Augustine, FloridaTaos, New MexicoTraverse City, MichiganWoodstock, Vermont Honorable Mention: Asheville, North Carolina
There's still plenty of time left this summer to plan a great vacation, and if you didn't think you could add it to your budget—think again. Forbes Advisor recently ranked the most affordable cities in the US to take a family vacation. While popular vacation destinations like New York City, Boston, Honolulu, and West Coast urban areas are some of the worst when it comes to affordable options, that doesn't mean you have to miss out on the fun. In fact, you might even enjoy getting off the beaten path and avoiding the most crowded spots. The most affordable cities list is dominated by East Coast and Midwestern locales, but the destinations still encompass a wide variety of travel styles and activities to give families different options when planning a budget-friendly getaway. To create the list, Forbes Advisor analyzed the 100 largest US cities, excluding any cities with an average temperature exceeding 95º F during the summer months (June, July and August)—when families tend to travel. They looked at metrics like the average round-trip airfare, hotel room rates, rental car prices, and meal costs. Below are the top cities that they found when it comes to affordable family vacations this summer. #5. Wichita, Kansas Airfare to Wichita can be on the pricier side but don’t let that deter you from a trip to Wichita. Once there, costs are lower than other cities for an average overall trip cost of $3,673. As a bonus, you’ll find plenty of low-cost activities to keep your expenses down further. Nearby Kansas City, Missouri also came in at #9. Head to the Old Cowtown Museum for a look at Wichita in its booming cattle town days, complete with reenactments. Outside of town, the Strataca underground salt museum includes tram rides that kids will love. Also nearby is the Cosmosphere, a space museum with exhibits intended for adults plus a whole section called CosmoKids for the other half of your family #4. Buffalo, New York Niagara Falls at night by Vinayak Sharma - Unsplash To combine affordable prices with comfortable summer temperatures, plan a trip to Buffalo, New York, where the average family trip cost is $3,669. Summer is primetime for local festivals, with something nearly every weekend from June through August, giving you a great opportunity to add low-cost entertainment to your trip plans in addition to the city’s permanent attractions, such as the Buffalo AKG Art Museum which reopens in June after a $230 million renovation. Only thirty minutes away, Niagara Falls is a can’t-miss add-on to your Buffalo vacation. Kids will love getting soaked on the hurricane deck at Cave of the Winds, an attraction that takes you practically to the base of the waterfalls. No passport is required for families staying on the American side of the falls. #3. Orlando, Florida Palm trees in Orlando, Florida by Drew Coffman - Unsplash Orlando is certainly a popular family vacation destination, thanks to Disney and Universal, but it may not be on your radar when it comes to cheap trips. However, a plethora of low-cost airlines and healthy competition keep flight prices reasonable. Overall, the average trip cost for our example family comes in at $3,634. Hotels, while on the higher side, often come with extra space, which might mean you can downsize to one room instead of two or make breakfast in your kitchenette instead of paying for a restaurant. While tickets to popular theme parks may be too much of a stretch, those aren't the only things to do in town. Gatorland has thrilling shows, a zipline plus off-road swamp rides. The beach and aqua park at Nona Adventure Park is the perfect summer day out. #2. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma The sun shines in downtown Oklahoma City by Karsten Winegeart - Unsplash Oklahoma City takes a prominent position on this list, in part thanks to its lower cost of hotels. Here, the average cost of a three-night trip totals $3,272. Families will find plenty to do at the Boathouse District, an outdoor recreation spot with activities for all ages. Similarly, the Myriad Gardens and Six Flags Frontier City will appeal to kids and adults alike. Nearby Tulsa also comes in at #7. Families that have time could combine both destinations with a single airfare purchase. In Tulsa, don’t miss the riverfront Gathering Place—a free park with one of the country’s largest playgrounds. #1. Toledo, Ohio A splash pad in downtown Toledo, Ohio by Cathy Holewinski - Unsplash Toledo, Ohio, comes out on top as the cheapest travel destination in Forbes Advisor's rankings. For a family of four, the average cost totaled $2,731 including economy airfare for four, three nights in two rooms at a mid-range hotel, a three-day rental car and three meals per day. Since Toledo is within a day’s drive of metro areas including Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Nashville, families may be able to save on airfare, too. Nearby towns Cleveland (#13) and Columbus (#16) also ranked high in affordability. The Toledo Zoo is an interactive experience with giraffe feeding platforms, a stingray touch tank and behind-the-scenes tours. The Imagination Station museum is equally hands-on and children and adults can hunt for corals, brachiopods, and trilobites at Fossil Park. Round out your trip with a day at Maumee Bay State Park Marina or Cedar Point amusement park, an hour away. —For more family vacation ideas, check out the full rankings at Forbes Advisor.
National parks are a national treasure—and Americans know it. In fact, the National Park Service saw 312 million recreation visits in 2022 (that’s up 15 million visitors from the previous year!), and almost half of Americans (48%) say visiting the national parks is on their bucket list. National parks help preserve and protect many of our nation’s stunning natural landscapes, so we can behold the beauty for years to come—often through one of thousands of breathtaking hikes. With all this in mind, KURU Footwear wanted to dig into data and find the top 10 best national parks for hiking to help Americans discover their next adventure. To rank each park, KURU used Alltrails to find all of the available trails in each of the 63 National Parks, and analyzed them based on the following metrics: number of trails (total), total distance of trails (in miles), average trail rating, number of annual visitors, and acreage of the national park (public areas only). Pacific Coast Jewels Giant trees and a park visitor in Sequoia National Park by Vitto Sommella - Unsplash The Sierra Nevadas are well-represented in the top 10 best parks for hiking. In 8th place overall, Sequoia National Park has an excellent 4.48 average trail rating and 1,624 trail miles total. Nearby Kings Canyon National Park comes in at #9 with 1,583 miles of trails and equally well-loved trails with an average 4.47 rating. Fourth place overall goes to Olympic National Park in Washington, with over 3,000 miles to traverse across 194 trails. Nearby Mount Rainier National Park took 12th place overall. Wild Rocky Mountain Frontiers A bull elk in Yellowstone by Harrison Hargrave - Unsplash Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming ranks as the third best for hiking. With 267 trails totaling over 3,500 miles, visitors will encounter incredible views and wildlife. However, with moose, wolves, and bears also making this park their home, hikers need to exercise extra caution and awareness when on the trail. Next door, Grand Teton National Park came in at #11, making it an easy place to visit on the same trip. In 6th place, Glacier National Park in Montana also isn’t too from away from Yellowstone. For the ultimate hiking trip, combine trails from Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Glacier. In 7th place sits Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado with 235 trails covering 1,970 miles of pristine mountain wilderness. It’s trails are some of the most-loved by visitors with an average rating of 4.5. Conveniently, this park isn’t too park from Denver International Airport, making it a little more accessible than Yellowstone and Glacier, which are only near smaller airports which often come with higher ticket prices and limited flight routes. Eastern Stand-outs Sunrise rolling over clouds in Shenandoah National Park by Taylor Wright - Unsplash The 5th best park for hiking is Shenandoah National Park, tucked along the Blue Ridge Mountains and rolling hills and valleys of western Virginia. While it isn’t too far from Washington, DC and is close to many college towns, it doesn’t make the top 10 list for most visitors in 2022, so the trails here are likely to be less crowded than many of the other parks on the list. It boasts the 4th highest number of trails and the 5th most trail miles of all parks. While Acadia National Park in Maine didn’t break into the Top 10 Best Park for Hikings (falling just shy in the #14 overall spot), it did rank as the 5th most visited park of 2022 and it also has the 5th highest number of trails. If you’re close to or local to the Northeastern US and New England, this is the park you’ll want to visit. Classic American Parks The Grand Canyon by Omer Nezih Gerek - Unsplash It makes sense that some of the most well known parks in America also top the list for hiking trails. At number nine overall, Grand Canyon National Park has 133 trails, 1,562 total miles of trails, and an average trail rating of 4.32. It was also the second most-visited park in 2022. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the highest number of trails, with 348, and took second place overall for best park for hiking. It also came in second for most miles of trails with 4,354. Overall, trails in this park average a 4.38 rating. Stretching across North Carolina and Tennessee, this park boasts the most number of visitors, and by a long shot; in 2022, it had over 12 million visitors (for comparison, the second busiest park was the Grand Canyon, at only 4.7 million). So if you're looking for seclusion, you may not quite find it here (but at least you know its a crowd pleaser!). The best of the best for hiking is Yosemite National Park; the park took the number 1 spot with 278 trails, 4,729 miles of trails (the most of any park), and a 4.56 average trail rating. Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California (along with several other ranked parks), Yosemite is known for its iconic and striking Half Dome, tall waterfalls, and giant Sequoia trees. —For more details on the rankings, visit KURU Footwear.
San Luis Obispo County, also known as "SLO CAL," is located along the coast of California, roughly equidistant from San Francisco and Los Angeles. Not only does this location make for easy access from major cities and a great option for weekend or day trips, but it is a perfect year-round destination that averages 315 days of sunshine annually. Between the gorgeous beaches, rolling countryside, and small-town charm, SLO CAL has something for everyone. Here are five ways to explore the area sustainably. Sip sustainably-made beer The top beer producer in SLO CAL is “brewing for the future.” Firestone-Walker has been a leader in clean craft brewing since it opened back in 1996. For the 500,000+ barrels of beer it brews annually, Firestone-Walker uses renewable energy via a 10-acre solar array that moves with the sun. This alone offsets 3,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually. They order nearly all of their grains in bulk to eliminate packaging waste, and repurpose or recover 10,000 tons of spent grains each year, primarily by feeding local livestock. And while it's true that brewing beer requires a lot of water, Firestone-Walker does so as sustainably and responsibly as possible. The company invests in local reservoir sourcing, recycles water through a custom water reuse system, and treats water onsite to return to the local aquifer — conserving more than 40 million gallons each year. Visitors to the Firestone-Walker campus in Paso Robles can taste a wide array of the company's pioneering brews in the Taproom, along with a satisfying menu of elevated pub grub. Book a tour to see the inner workings of the operation, including plenty of behind-the-scenes areas that highlight Firestone-Walker's commitment to sustainability. Enjoy fine dining at its greenest Rolling hills in San Luis Obispo by Jason Moyer - Unsplash While MICHELIN awarded The Restaurant at JUSTIN Winery a coveted star in 2022, it also awarded a MICHELIN Green Star, which honors restaurants that meet the highest standards of sustainability. That makes JUSTIN the only winery in the United States to receive both stars — and a bucket-list experience for anyone interested in dining well and dining responsibly. Chef Rachel Haggstrom and her team source an overwhelming 95 percent of ingredients for the restaurant from their own property and from local purveyors. They pull from a 26-acre estate garden that includes 150 fruit trees, edible flower fields, vegetables, herbs, and an apiary. Doing so keeps the challenge fresh for Haggstrom, who crafts her multi-course menu based almost solely on what's available. Each dish can be paired with JUSTIN's legendary Bordeaux-style wines, made from grapes grown exclusively in SLO CAL. See a carbon-neutral film at the Palm Theatre The Palm Theatre - courtesy of SLO Film Fest and SLO CAL Sit back and enjoy the finest in solar-powered entertainment. The three-screen Palm Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo has been a beacon of arthouse and alternative cinema in SLO CAL since the 1970s, in addition to film festivals and special events. In 2004, owners Jim and Patty Dee harnessed the sun's energy by installing 98 solar panels on the roof of the theater, making it the first cinema in the United States to operate fully on solar power. In the projection room, the Palm has converted fully to digital media to minimize wasting energy and other resources. Audiophiles love that the Palm has 5.1 Dolby sound in all three screens. (Earth-lovers also appreciate that they partner with Dolby, a company that intends to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.) The Dees have also added white roofing to minimize energy consumption, which passively stabilizes its temperature and keeps the theater cool and comfortable, even on hot days. Don't forget the popcorn! The Palm offers the best deal on popcorn anywhere in SLO CAL. It tastes even better knowing it's made with free energy. Savor wine from the eco-friendliest producers Of the 250 wineries that make up SLO CAL wine country, 50 properties are certified sustainable. Whether the winery has a Regenerative Organic certification, Biodynamic certification, is certified organic or LEED-certified, these 50 businesses prioritize their commitment to sustainability. Consider choosing your wine-tasting destinations based on eco-friendliness. Good spots to hit include Tablas Creek Vineyard & Winery in Paso Robles, a pioneer in the regenerative farming movement who employ goats to graze down their cover crops, chickens to fertilize, and biodynamic solutions for keeping the vineyard healthy. In the SLO Coast Wine region, Chamisal Winery in San Luis Obispo has made huge strides to reduce its carbon footprint and play to the strengths of its natural resources. In 2020, the winery planted a rapid-growth Miyawaki forest to sequester carbon emissions; Chamisal also maintains a healthy population of predatory birds to manage unwanted pests, and has completely ended its use of herbicides in favor of using cover crops and biodynamic measures. And at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery in Arroyo Grande, a strong ecosystem includes water reclamation, compost re-use, and providing owl boxes for natural predators of pests. The company also ensures that all employees receive comprehensive benefits packages (which are, sadly, not the norm for many agricultural workers) to steward their human resources as well as their natural ones. Buy from eco-conscious artisans SLO CAL Crafted Maven Leather - courtesy of Acacia Productions and SLO CAL If you really want to support green-minded leaders in SLO CAL, shop small. Every dollar you spend in the community of SLO CAL Crafted businesses goes right back into the local economy. Chances are, those artisans care about protecting natural resources, too! Check out Life Elements in Atascadero, a bath and body shop whose products are wrapped in mushroom-based packaging. At Maven Leather in Cayucos, founder Emma Thieme fashions handbags, wallets, belts, guitar straps and journals from scraps called “rescued hides,” which would otherwise go unused. WildHouse Paper based in San Luis Obispo sources paper that meets a variety of high sustainability standards, and plants a tree for every order made. And at Morro Bay Oyster Company, fighting climate change is a necessity for the future of the business; the company combats both haste and waste by harvesting only after 12 months, and by hand sorting every oyster before it reaches the customer.
With summer travel in full swing and families traveling to enjoy Broadway experiences this season, Hilton New York Times Square has unveiled an Aladdin's Times Square Palace suite complementing the hotel's close proximity to Disney's Aladdin the Musical on Broadway. Perfect for families enjoying a staycation or traveling in for their first Broadway adventure, the immersive suite draws inspiration from the timeless musical ballads and venturous storylines from the hit Broadway musical and has been masterfully transformed to welcome guests into “A Whole New World” within the tale's Arabian desert kingdom known as Agrabah. Located just feet away from the New Amsterdam Theatre, Hilton New York Times Square guests will feel seamlessly transported to Aladdin's city of mystery with only a one-minute walk between the production's intricate Cave of Wonders set and the elaborately designed Aladdin's Times Square Palace suite. Genie lamp decor - courtesy of Hilton New York Times Square “Our location in Times Square offers an exceptional homebase for travelers and families visiting New York City for Broadway, with the hit show Aladdin the Musical at the New Amsterdam Theatre just steps away from our doors,” said Thomas Caska, general manager, Hilton New York Times Square. “We're thrilled to partner with this incredible musical to transport our guests to the fictional world of Agrabah where guests can embrace the magic of the show, creating an exclusive, memorable stay at our property in the heart of the Big Apple.” Aladdin's Times Square Palace Suite View of the Aladdin palace suite - courtesy of Hilton New York Times Square Designed by Broadway's top dressing room designer for its most legendary stars, Devin Sparkles Design, the spacious one-king bedroom studio corner suite complete with a pullout couch allows for “High Adventure” in the magical world of Agrabah while taking in wall-to-wall views overlooking Manhattan. As guests step into their desert oasis, they'll encounter a selection of show prints adorning the wall along with costume and scenic design sketches. Agrabah-inspired furnishings include bedding, Moroccan wall sconces, a selection of magic carpet Moroccan rugs, Jasmine-inspired silks throughout, a magic genie lamp light, lago-inspired bird light, and bright curtains that truly transform the suite into Agrabah. The “Cave of Wonders”-style washroom features gold mirror and bath accents including vases and gems. The Aladdin's Times Square Palace suite experience includes two “Genie-tini” cocktails and two Magic Mocktails, a lively wake-up call from the Broadway musical's Genie himself, Michael James Scott, Aladdin coloring materials for kids, complimentary breakfast for up to four guests and complimentary parking. Guests that book the enchanted suite will also receive up to four complimentary Premium Orchestra tickets to see Broadway's Aladdin the Musical and show merchandise upon arrival to the theater. 'Aladdin the Musical' Hotel Experiences Try a Genie-ini at Pinnacle Bar & Lounge - courtesy of Hilton New York Times Square Available through October 31, 2023, guests can visit the hotel's website or call (212) 913-9488 to reserve the suite. Rates for the Aladdin's Times Square Palace suite and tickets start from $599 per night and must be booked 72 hours in advance. If the price of a night in Agrabah seems a little too much, there's good news: any Hilton New York Times Square guest can enjoy magical experiences including a genie lamp photo opportunity, “Genie-tini” cocktails and Magic Mocktails served at Pinnacle Bar & Lounge, a Genie wake-up call upon request, and Aladdin coloring activities. For more information about Hilton Hotels & Resorts, visit Stories.Hilton.com.
Music festivals are a great excuse to plan a vacation and take advantage of the great summer weather with outdoor performances. While events like Bonnaroo and Burning Man typically draw the most crowds and attention, there are plenty of other great gatherings across the country with less-pricey tickets, smaller crowds, great food, and amazing artists. If you're looking for a more low-key experience to round out your late summer plans, check out some of the events below. AVL Fest (Asheville, North Carolina) Asheville shines as a music destination for being the home of luminaries – like Nina Simone, Bill Monroe and Robert Moog – a trove of storied venues, and an abundance of music and record shops. This summer is poised to go down in Asheville music history, as the inaugural AVL Fest kicks off on August 3rd and goes through August 6th. The three-day music festival features local and national acts, performing at more than 20 venues across town. Make a whole trip out of it and go hiking in the mountains, plan a bike ride, tour the Biltmore, and catch great food and drinks in town. Farmstead Roots Creek Dinner Series (Leiper's Fork, Tennessee) Going on this summer until October 7th, the Farmstead Roots Creek Dinner Series at Wines in the Fork are multi-course meals prepared by local chefs paired with wine under the stars, cocktails and cigar-rolling. While the star of this festival is local cuisine, dinners are accompanied by live music and local artisan demonstrations. The location also makes for an excellent addition to any country music lovers trip, as Leiper's Fork is just a short drive outside of Nashville. Add in plans to see a bigger concert in town, tour the historic Ryman Auditorium, and take a stroll through the Country Music Hall of Fame to round out this low-key getaway to Music City. The Colonial Oak Music Park Concert Series (St. Augustine, Florida) Sailboats at sunset in St. Augustine, Florida by Kristin Wilson - Unsplash The Concert Series at The Colonial Oak Music Park in St. Augustine, Florida continues through the summer and into the fall. These free concerts feature local musicians and improv actors at an exceptional music venue. Music acts range from country, rock, pop, and dance. Improv shows rely heavily on audience participation, so come ready with some ideas. Tucked away on St. George Street, The Colonial Oak Music Park features towering oaks and plenty of space to dance or relax. Food and beverage from the adjacent St. Augustine Seafood Company is available during all events. Concerts are free and offered weekly, from Thursday through Sunday. Glenville Festival's Commemoration of Hip Hop's 50th Anniversary (Cleveland, Ohio) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland - courtesy of Destination Cleveland Beyond being known as a rock 'n' roll city, Cleveland has a deep history with hip hop. The trailblazing Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Kid Cudi and Machine Gun Kelly hail from The Land. MC Chill became Cleveland's first hip hop star in the 1980s, and, today, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honors hip hop artists and their contributions to the artform. This summer, Cleveland offers multiple experiences to explore various genres and attend signature music events. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's new exhibit commemorates 50 years of hip hop with never-before-seen and “new school” artifacts from artists like DJ Kool Herc, Roxanne Shante, The Sugarhill Gang, Salt-N-Pepa and Jay-Z. An annual neighborhood event, Glenville Festival, takes on a hip hop theme this year on August 12th with a lineup of local hip hop artists and a DJ battle. The neighborhood is where Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and other Cleveland hip hop artists started out, and the event is known for live music and surprise headlining artists. Blossom Concert Series (Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio) The renowned Cleveland Orchestra returns July 1 - September 9 for a summer lineup at Blossom Music Center inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The 2023 Blossom Concert Series features a diverse array of musical performances and special guests, including Beethoven's Ode to Joy, music from Final Fantasy, Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings, as well as Sibelius' First Symphony and an evening with six-time Tony award-winning artist Audra McDonald. For the Culture KS Fest (Topeka, Kansas) A new first-of-its-kind festival celebrating African American culture and heritage is coming to Kansas’ capital city this summer. “For the Culture KS Fest” (FTC KS Fest) will run July 28-30, 2023, in Topeka, Kansas and include musical performances and vendors, as well as networking and panel sessions focused on professional and personal growth for Black individuals. The three-day event will feature several musical performances from local artists: Kansas-native Justin Aarons, a Top 8 contestant on The Voice; saxophonist JahVelle, who recently performed at the NFL Draft; Topeka-native rapper Brandon “Bizzy” Evans, and more. Discussion panels, hosted by a diverse group of experts, will range from business development to personal wellness. Additional activities include a choir hour with participation from five different churches; a two-hour African American history bus tour led by local Topeka historians Sherri Camp and Donna Rae Pearson; an art exhibit at the historic Jayhawk Theater; and scholarship giveaways of $1,000 to three local high school students. “We wanted to create a sustainable art and cultural initiative for the state of Kansas that celebrates the positive influences in our local communities,” said co-founder Rodney Harmon, a Department of Justice - Bureau of Prisons retiree living in Topeka who has since dedicated his time to community volunteering and mentoring. “We’ve never seen Black culture represented on this scale before, and we wanted it to be more than a music festival. This is why we sought to include activities focusing on more than just performances, bringing together the intersection of art, business, health, and history of the African American community.” Sunflower Blues & Gospel Festival (Clarksdale, Mississippi) Close-up of a microphone by Israel Palacio - Unsplash Taking place August 11-13, the Sunflower Blues & Gospel Festival is one of the oldest festivals celebrating authentic blues music since 1988. This event is free to the public and located inClarksdale, in Coahoma County, often referred to as the “Birthplace of the Blues.” Visitors will want to be sure to add a visit to the Delta Blues Museum and historical sites that were significant to the history of blues music such as The Crossroads, W.C. Handy’s home, Muddy Water’s home, WROX Radio Station, the Riverside Hotel, and the Blues Alley Railroad Depot. Hop Country Music Festival (Yakima, Washington) Hop Country Music Festival returns on September 15 and 16 this year, and features multi-Platinum sensation Neal Mccoy joined by stars Chris Janson and Easton Corbin. Chinook Fest has partnered with SOZO Sports of Central Washington to bring the thrilling festival back to the playing fields. Hop Country Music Festival is a new event for Central Washington with all proceeds going toward putting more youth on the field. For one weekend in September, country music stars will be at the complex for a festival filled with music, food, and fun! Find the full 2023 lineup here.
The temps are rising — and your happy hour game should be, too. It is rooftop bar season, after all. There's nothing quite like taking in the stunning views atop the Philadelphia region's best drinking and dining establishments with a bite to eat and a drink in hand. Philadelphia's skyward hospitality reaches impressive heights with the bird's-eye views at places like Victory Brewing Company's taproom on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Bok Bar in South Philadelphia and El Techo in Rittenhouse Square. Below are some great spots to catch a few rays over bites and brews during what is arguably the best time for alfresco eating and drinking. Just don't forget your sunglasses and sunscreen. Assembly Rooftop Lounge Alfresco drinks and small plates nine floors up. Where: 1840 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Modern luxury is what it's all about at Assembly Rooftop Lounge at The Logan, Philadelphia's Hotel. Far beyond your average hotel bar, Assembly is situated nine floors above street level, is open year-round, and offers plenty of seating nests and firepits. As if picturesque views of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway aren't enough, craft cocktails (frozé, anyone?), charcuterie, fondue and more add to the appeal. South Broad Street in Downtown Philly by Heartbreak G - UnsplashAttico Rooftop Lounge A stylish rooftop bar with prime balcony seating. Where: 219 S. Broad Street Perched on the 16th floor above the Cambria Hotel on Broad Street, Attico offers Center City views from dozens of feet over the street. The stylish year-round outdoor balcony is the perfect spot for epic parties, including brunch parties (arguably the best kind of party), as well as happy-hour selections like $2 oysters, $3 shrimp cocktail, and $6 baked ham and cheese, or eggplant toasts.Bok Bar A bustling rooftop beer garden in South Philly. Where: 800 Mifflin Street Each spring, summer and fall, the rooftop of South Philadelphia's former Bok High School turns into a spacious beer garden with stellar skyline views. The seasonal watering hole serves a variety of drinks (including a mostly local can list) alongside bites from monthly chefs in residence. Even better? No reservations are required, so drop in whenever you'd like to feel the wind in your hair and a cold drink in your hand. Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia by Ethan Hoover - UnsplashThe Continental Mid-town Retro rooftop vibes in Rittenhouse Square. Where: 1800 Chestnut Street Just off Rittenhouse Square, Stephen Starr's classic eclectic restaurant features a retro rooftop lounge — the spot's pièce de résistance. With its 1960s vibe (think comfy sofas and firepits), the rooftop is partially enclosed so that it's serviceable year-round. The lush deck area is uber popular during warmer months, particularly with the Saturday and Sunday brunch crowd. El Techo Rooftop tacos and tequila in Center City. Where: 1826 Ludlow Street Queso fundido, tacos, frozen cocktails, oh my! Add in the smattering of downtown skyscrapers peering overhead and you've got yourself the whole package at El Techo. Condesa's taqueria spans the 11th floor and offers rooftop dining all year long thanks to a retractable glass roof. Reservations aren't mandatory, but it's smart to have one — especially for brunch. Irwin's Sicilian tastes and vino with a view. Where: 800 Mifflin Street Bok Bar's more formal counterpart, chef Michael Vincent Ferreri's Irwin's — named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appétit — serves Sicilian cuisine paired with natural wines — that are best enjoyed on its eighth-floor rooftop terrace. The outside space — open May through September — isn't available to walk-ins, so be sure to make a reservation. The Schuylkill River and Philadelphia Art Museum by Chris Murray - UnsplashLark Rooftop romance in Bala Cynwyd. Where: 611 Righters Ferry Road, Bala Cynwyd The rooftop terrace at this restaurant offers stunning views of the Schuylkill River. On the menu: seafood-forward cuisine such as striped bass ceviche or squid ink chitarra decked out with mussels, black truffle, preserved tomato and chili. Liberty Point Wind down on the waterfront. Where: 211 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard Billed as the city's largest restaurant, Liberty Point has enough space to seat 1,400 people across three indoor-outdoor levels. The Delaware River waterfront-located establishment boasts multiple elevated outdoor deck areas for dining, dancing and live entertainment — perfect for views of the river while vibing and sipping. Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti Elevated Italian eats. Where: 212 Walnut Street Positano Coast's Italian eats taste even better from the elevated seating on the spot's second floor. While taking in great views of Old City — and admiring the restaurant's stylish new renovations — diners can enjoy tasty snacks such as seafood boards and burrata paired with fine wines or signature cocktails from the bar. Christ Church in Philadelphia by Dan Mall - UnsplashRevolution House For comfort food and creative cocktails overlooking the Historic District. Where: 200 Market Street On warmer nights, patrons of Old City's Revolution House take advantage of the spot's roof deck, offering a prime view of Christ Church's steeple. (Christ Church is where Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross and many other colonial notables worshiped.) The restaurant's full menu of comfort food and creative cocktails are all available from the higher perch. Stratus Rooftop Lounge A posh spot atop the Hotel Monaco. Where: 433 Chestnut Street The trendy Stratus Rooftop Lounge sits on the 11th story of the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia. A curated cocktail menu pairs perfectly with light bites and shareable snacks. Adding to the ambiance: leather seating, low lighting and a “green wall” that serves as an Instagram-friendly backdrop. Sunset Social A high-altitude hangout in West Philly. Where: 129 S. 30th Street High atop West Philly's Cira Center, Sunset Social offers drama and relaxation in equal measure. The fast-casual menu includes a selection of bowls, burgers and fries, plus beer, wine, and frozen and bottled cocktails that patrons can enjoy along with the epic view. Vango Lounge and Skybar Rendezvous with a view all year long. Where: 116 S. 18th Street Drinks, hookah and rooftop views: There's little else you need at Center City's Vango Lounge and Skybar. The restaurant and hookah bar keeps its third-story deck open all year round for eats, drinks and high style. Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Catherine Kerr - UnsplashVictory Brewing Company What's better than craft brews with a view? Where: 1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway As if its 14,000-square-foot interior wasn't enough, Victory Brewing Company taproom on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway boasts a rooftop patio with panoramic views of the Parkway. In addition to all the Victory beers you could ever imagine, guests can fill up on brisket meatballs, kebab naan, smoked chicken pot pie and more. XIX (Nineteen) French Renaissance rooftop vibes. Where: 200 S. Broad Street High above the city streets, this spot on the 19th floor (hence the name) of The Bellevue Hotel features a balcony overlooking Broad Street. Enjoy pre-dinner drinks at XIX (Nineteen) with a view, or get gussied up and grab a few friends for a picture-perfect happy hour.