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
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
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
Earlier this summer, the National Trust for Historic Preservation unveiled its 2023 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, an annual ranking that spotlights significant sites of American history that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. “This year's list of the nation's most endangered historic places is a portfolio of sites that are nearly as diverse as the American experience itself,” said Jay Clemens, interim president and CEO of the National Trust. “The places on this list come in all forms, from individual residences to entire neighborhoods, and are located across the country from small communities to urban streetcorners and rural landscapes. The diversity of sites on the 2023 list—and the stories behind them—reflect the complexities and challenges that have always been part of what it means to be American but have not always received the attention they deserve. Losing any of them would diminish us all.” Since first debuting in 1988, the list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has proven to be a highly effective tool for shining a light on the threats facing our nation's greatest treasures. Due to the efforts of the National Trust and our passionate supporters, the 11 Most list has often provided the decisive force needed to preserve important cultural landmarks. Now in its 36th year, the ongoing initiative has galvanized public support behind more than 350 sites across the country with only a handful lost. Below are the 11 places that make up the list for 2023, sorted alphabetically by state. Osterman Gas Station, Peach Springs, Arizona Built in 1929, the Osterman Gas Station along Route 66 has been a focal point of the Hualapai Tribal community for generations. Extreme weather has damaged the already deteriorated building, and it needs stabilization and rehabilitation in order to continue to serve its community and the next generation of travelers. In consultation with experts, the Tribe is developing a preservation and reuse plan and raising funds to save the Hualapai-owned gas station. Little Santo Domingo, Miami, Florida Aerial view of Miami, Florida by Ashley Satanosky - Unsplash Little Santo Domingo, the cultural heart of Allapattah, is a key commercial corridor in one of Miami's oldest neighborhoods. Growing development interest in Little Santo Domingo is leading to displacement, demolition, and rising rents. The Allapattah Collaborative hopes to encourage a more balanced approach to development and preservation while protecting the neighborhood's heritage and culture. Pierce Chapel African Cemetery, Midland, Georgia Pierce Chapel African Cemetery, established circa 1828, is one of the oldest burial grounds for Africans enslaved at several plantations in Harris County, Georgia, and their descendants. However, the cemetery has deteriorated over time and suffered damage due to recent use of heavy construction equipment. The descendant-led Hamilton Hood Foundation is leading efforts to raise awareness about this significant place and preserve Pierce Chapel and its stories for future generations. Century and Consumers Buildings, Chicago, Illinois View of the Chicago skyline by Dylan Lapierre - Unsplash As two iconic early skyscrapers along Chicago's historic State Street, the Century and Consumers Buildings contribute to the architectural significance of the area known as “the Loop.” Yet they have sat vacant since the General Services Administration bought them in 2005 and are now being considered for demolition. Advocates are urging reuse options that could meet security needs of the adjacent federal courthouse while avoiding the buildings' wasteful demolition. West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana This 11-mile stretch along the Mississippi River in St. John the Baptist Parish includes historic villages, agricultural fields, and two plantations where the lives of enslaved people are studied and interpreted. But now port facility Greenfield Louisiana LLC has applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to build one of the largest grain elevators in the world amid the area's nationally significant cultural resources. A coalition of local and national advocates, including many descendants of people enslaved in the area, is advocating for the Army Corps to deny the permit or for the developer not to build the terminal. Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church (aka Perseverance Benevolent and Mutual Aid Society Hall), New Orleans, Louisiana Built circa 1880 in New Orleans' 7th Ward, this building was first home to the Perseverance Benevolent and Mutual Aid Society, with its main hall doubling as a jazz venue, and later, the Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church of Eternal Life. Impacted by repeated hurricane damage, the remaining portions of the building are threatened with collapse. Working in partnership, the pastor and congregation of Holy Aid and Comfort and the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans are seeking funding and support to stabilize the remaining historic fabric and reconstruct the rest of the building for congregational and community use. L.V. Hull Home and Studio, Kosciusko, Mississippi African American artist L.V. Hull transformed her Kosciusko, Mississippi, home into a creative wonderland that attracted visitors from around the world. Though her artwork was relocated after her death in 2008 and recently conserved by the Kohler Foundation, her unoccupied house suffers from neglect, vandalism, and weather exposure. Filmmaker and Hull's friend Yaphet Smith has purchased the house and is partnering with other advocates with a vision to create an arts campus celebrating Hull's legacy. However, they need partners and funding to restore and revive the home as the heart of this broader project, where it will tell a unique, overlooked story of a Black woman in the South who claimed a space to pursue her full artistic vision. Henry Ossawa Tanner House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Built in 1871, this North Philadelphia rowhouse was home to Henry Ossawa Tanner, an internationally recognized African American painter, along with many other Tanner family members with significant achievements. But gentrification is putting the neighborhood's Black cultural legacy and heritage landmarks such as the Tanner House—already seriously deteriorated—at risk of demolition or erasure. The Friends of the Tanner House and its partners are creating a long-term stewardship plan to reimagine the house's future. Philadelphia Chinatown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Storefront in Philadelphia's Chinatown by Ryan Favinger - Unsplash As one of the oldest remaining active Chinatowns in the United States, Philadelphia Chinatown has been a vibrant community since 1871. But with the 76ers basketball team proposing to build an arena abutting Chinatown, advocates—including the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation—are concerned that the development could further disconnect the neighborhood, discourage visitors, impact the local economy, displace residents and businesses, and ultimately contribute to the erasure of the area's cultural heritage. Neighborhood residents and leaders are encouraging arena supporters to listen to and invest in protecting the Chinatown community as they consider their options. Charleston's Historic Neighborhoods, Charleston, South Carolina Union Pier, a 65-acre waterfront site along the Cooper River in downtown Charleston, is former marshland that has been used for maritime shipping, industrial production, and port operations since the early 18th century. The pier's current owner, South Carolina Ports Authority, has proposed selling the land to a private developer for a new mixed-use district that could threaten the area's historic character, viewsheds, and climate resilience. Advocates and residents are encouraging the city government to start with a community-led vision for the site before the formal review of a specific development plan. Seattle Chinatown-International District, Seattle, Washington Storefront in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle by Jimmy Woo - Unsplash As one of the oldest Asian American neighborhoods on the West Coast, the Seattle Chinatown-International District (CID) has been a center of the city's Asian American life for more than a century. However, Seattle's Sound Transit is considering several transit expansion options that could impact transportation access and cultural preservation in the CID. Transit Equity for All, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Wing Luke Museum are part of a coalition advocating for a more transparent, equitable process that reflects careful decision-making, centers the voices of the CID, keeps the community connected to transit, and protects the neighborhood's vitality and cultural heritage for future generations. —To learn more about the places on this year's list and find out what you can do to help preserve them, go to www.SavingPlaces.org/11Most.
There are hundreds of amusement parks in America to choose from, which is why we narrowed our list down to ten of the best. From Universal Orlando Resort in Florida to Disneyland in California; discover ten incredible amusement parks in the USA. 10. Disneyland Resort, California Consisting of two iconic theme parks, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort in California is an enchanting destination that captivates visitors of all ages. From classic attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain to immersive worlds like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there’s something for everyone. The attention to detail, beloved characters, and fantastic shows make it a dream for Disney fans and anyone seeking some nostalgic fun. 9. LEGOLAND California, California Legoland California Courtesy of legoland.com LEGOLAND is an extraordinary theme park where imagination and inspiration meet through life-sized LEGO figures, thrilling attractions, and interactive activities. Explore the worlds of LEGO Star Wars or Miniland USA, where you can see the Las Vegas Strip and the skyline of New York City entirely made of LEGO bricks! With over 60 attractions and shows, as well as a water park, it’s the perfect place to spend a few days – just over an hour’s drive from Los Angeles. 8. Six Flags Magic Mountain, California Six Flags Magic Mountain in California boasts some impressive records. It holds the world record for the most roller coasters in one park, with over 19 heart-pounding attractions to choose from. Visitors flock to the park for rides like Wonder Woman Flight of Courage and X2. With its renowned reputation for extreme thrills, Six Flags Magic Mountain is a haven for roller-coaster enthusiasts. The continuous innovation and new additions make it a must-see. 7. Universal Studios Hollywood, California Get swept away by the stars of Hollywood at Universal Studios, another fascinating amusement park that transports you to new worlds. Some favorites include the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can immerse yourself in Hogwarts. And of course we have to mention Fast & Furious-Supercharged, where you can go on an exciting chase with the iconic cast, at speeds of over 118mph! Don’t miss the new SUPER NINTENDO WORLD™ as well; a colorful themed area featuring the high-tech attraction Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge. 6. Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey About an hour and a half drive from New York City, lies another top-notch Six Flags amusement park: Great Adventure. Along with tons of great rides for all ages – including the iconic Kingda Ka roller coaster – the park offers lovely shopping areas. It also has a fantastic safari adventure, featuring 1200 animals and overnight camping in the safari park. If you visit during the summer, don’t miss out on the refreshing water slides and attractions at Hurricane Harbor. 5. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida Bush Gardens by Viaval Tours / Shutterstock.com Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has an intriguing history as both an amusement park and a zoo. It’s inspired by the African continent and offers a blend of thrilling attractions and encounters with exotic animals. Some top attractions include the heart-pounding and brand-new Serengeti Flyer and the lightning-fast Cheetah Hunt. In the Serengeti Safari and Jungala, you can get up close to fascinating animals. With its thrilling rides, immersive animal experiences and captivating shows, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a must for animal lovers and thrill-seekers. 4. Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Texas Six Flags Fiesta Texas, located in San Antonio, Texas, was originally an abandoned limestone quarry, before it was transformed into the exciting amusement park we know today. The unique setting and thrilling attractions make it a must-see. The park offers a variety of rides, including epic roller coasters like Iron Rattler and Superman: Krypton Coaster. Dubbed the ‘Thrill Capital of the World,’ you can expect some of the best roller coasters in the country, including a fantastic water park to cool off in! 3. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Florida Disney magic is all around in the land of Mickey and Minnie Mouse! Part of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Magic Kingdom is a fantastic amusement park that will enchant everyone. With exciting and interactive rides for kids of all ages (including big kids like yourself), spend your days meeting Cinderella, Ariel and the family of The Incredibles, or exploring the amazing alien world of Avatar in the Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Speed enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the TRON coaster, opening in the spring of 2023. 2. Knott’s Berry Farm, California Knott’s Berry Farm in California literally began as a berry farm in the 1920s and has since become a famous amusement park. It attracts visitors seeking excitement with historic charm. The park has nearly 50 attractions, offering something for everyone. Roller coaster enthusiasts will get a thrill from GhostRider and HangTime, while families will enjoy the kid-friendly adventures in Camp Snoopy. Don’t miss the immersive experience of Ghost Town, either. With its rich heritage, diverse attractions and thrilling experiences, Knott’s Berry Farm promises an unforgettable adventure. 1. Universal Orlando Resort, Florida Universal Orlando by Craig Russell / Shutterstock.com The Universal Orlando Resort consists of three amusement parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and the water park Universal’s Volcano Bay. Immerse yourself in the magical and exotic worlds of iconic films like Despicable Me, Harry Potter and Jurassic Park. Visit the Goblins at Gringotts Bank, make like the young wizards and witches by shopping for your wand in Diagon Alley or get up close and personal with a T-Rex on the thrilling Jurassic Park River Adventure water ride! Starting from summer 2023, you can also experience the delightful world of the Minions in Illumination’s Minion Land. With so much to discover, the kids won’t want to leave…and neither will you. For more information visit Musement.
If you're looking for ghost towns, haunted houses, and creepy attractions to visit this fall, look no further than these destinations below. From dark local histories to paranormal investigative hot spots, there's something for every Halloween enthusiast looking for a perfectly frightful October getaway. Hear witchy stories in New England An autumn day in Salem, Massachusetts by Laura Michalski - Unsplash One of the most quintessentially "Halloween" towns is Salem, Massachusetts, thanks to its unique history. New England, in general, offers a great destination for fall getaways, too. Along with the autumn colors and fantastically crisp weather, this part of the country has some of the oldest buildings as well as key historic sites from early American military conflicts (a perfect combination for hauntings!). For a classic Halloween activity, Better Than Fiction's Salem Walking Tours offers tours around witchcraft as well as dark local tales beyond the infamous trials. Step back into the Old West at this ghost town A boarded up building in Kirwin, Wyoming - courtesy of Wyoming Office of Tourism Along the Wood River near Meeteetse and situated on U.S. Forest Service land is Kirwin, one of the most intriguing abandoned places in Wyoming. During the 1890s, Kirwin had 38 buildings and approximately 200 residents, many of whom journeyed to the settlement during its gold and silver boom. In the winter of 1907, a massive snowstorm caused an avalanche, taking lives and thus beginning the slow deterioration of the town itself. In the 1930s, the land became part of the Double Dee Guest Ranch, visited by Amelia Earhart and her husband, George Putnam. A cabin was under construction for Earhart when she disappeared during her around-the-world flight in 1937 that was never completed.If you wish to explore the ghost town and its potential haunting, you want to make sure you have four-wheel drive. You can book private tours or snag an ATV for an off-road adventure. View the remnants of her cabin, which are visible about a mile from Kirwin, as well as an old hotel, small log structures, and mining machinery at this old West ghost town. After visiting Kirwin, be sure to stop the Irma Hotel in nearby Cody, Wyoming. In 1902, Buffalo Bill opened the Irma Hotel, naming it after his daughter. Stay a night in Room 35 if you're brave—known as the Paul Stock room, it is one of the original 15 rooms in the hotel and has been the scene of the most ghost stories in the hotel. Elsewhere, down the hall in Room 16, many guests have reported seeing an apparition of Irma Cody Garlow sitting in a rocking chair in the corner of the room. She died of influenza and pneumonia in the hotel when she was 35, and just a few days after her husband and hotel manager Fred Garlow died of pneumonia. Employees of the hotel have even said they've seen Buffalo Bill wandering the hallways at night, or have heard the jangle of spurs in the bar when it's closed for the evening. Uncover Civil War haunts and more in Tennessee The sun on the horizon over Franklin, Tennessee by Josh Withers - Unsplash Just outside of Nashville, in Franklin, Tennessee, is the Lotz House. It is considered one of the most haunted places in the country, and with its history, one can easily see why. The house, which has been on the National Historic Register since 1976 is located at “ground zero” of the Civil War's Battle of Franklin. Historians describe the fighting that took place at the Battle of Franklin and in the Lotz front yard “some of the most severe hand to hand fighting during the four year long war.” Ten thousand Americans were killed, wounded or missing. The Lotz House served as a hospital for the wounded soldiers on both sides until the following summer. Book a special evening ghost tour and take a chance to experience the spirits and other unexplained phenomenon that are said to haunt the historic home. Tennessee is home to several other great spooky attractions that visitors can add to their itinerary. Nearby, in Nashville on October 27th, visitors can also plan a trip to experience The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, an interactive one-man play about the classic horror tale at The Hermitage with showings at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. In Manchester, the Manchester Zombie Walk and Halloween Faire takes place on Friday, Oct. 13 at Fred Deadman Park will feature vendors, face-painting, axe throwing, food trucks, live bands and a spooky good time. Head to New Orleans for pirates and voodoo Crescent City is full of creepy sites. This city offers the highest number of haunted hotels and ghost tours, and ranked number 5 overall in the best cities for paranormal activities. Used as a hospital during the Civil War, Hotel Provincial allegedly houses a few ghostly guests. Spirits spotted at the Old Absinthe House include infamous pirate Jean Lafitte, Andrew Jackson, and Louisiana Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau. Visit sites iconic to “The Vampire Chronicles” author on the Unofficial Anne Rice Tour. Encounter the paranormal along the Pacific Coast A graveyard in Yountville, California by Melissa Mullin - Unsplash This, Los Angeles, California was ranked the #1 city to visit for paranormal activity by LawnLove. Their metrics show that the City of Angels has the most paranormal conventions and events, the 5th most ghost tours, and the most haunted sites; interestingly, it is also the second best city to visit for witches and 4th best for vampires, according to additional LawnLove studies. California also comes in as the best state to look for UFOs. Ghosts seem to haunt the City of Angels with a dramatic flair at performance venues The Comedy Store and Pantages Theatre. Book a night at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for potential encounters with the star-studded spirits of Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift. In nearby Burbank, find oddities and interactive exhibits for paranormal activity lovers and horror fans at the Mystic Museum. Nearby, San Diego took 4th place in the best paranormal cities rankings. Book your own paranormal investigation at the Whaley House, the self-proclaimed “America’s Most Haunted House.” A short drive from Downtown San Diego, a ghost reportedly haunts the beachside Hotel del Coronado. Learn more about the phantoms haunting Downtown San Diego at the Ghosts of the Gaslamp weekly walking tour. Also in California is Willow Creek, the so-called Bigfoot Capital of the World. Learn more about the Pacific Coast Bigfoot at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, or search for it yourself in the Redwoods.
Fair warning: These Halloween celebrations are not for everyone. With screams, (fake) blood, and surprises worthy of a Hollywood thriller, these haunted attractions are perfect for those who like to be scared out of their wits at least once each October. 1. Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA Delirium at Halloween Nights - Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary A weekend or overnight to Philadelphia this time of year may offer the most terrifying Halloween thrill in America. Eastern State Penitentiary was closed long ago for its horrific treatment of inmates, and the fright fest they put on each fall is even scarier the that. With 5 different hauntings from Creepy clowns to vampires and even a 3D haunting - be prepared for a sleepless night! 2. 13th Hour Haunted House, Wharton, NJ 13 Hour Haunted House - Courtesy of 13thhour.com This haunted house in New Jersey gets high marks for re-creating the feel of an actual run-down old house. You don’t feel as if you are visiting a theme park attraction, and that makes the ghosts, ghouls, and zombies all the more terrifying. 13th Hour offers a variety of experiences, including one in which you throw hatchets in the dark with glow in the dark hatchets and targets. And, 13th hour is also famous for its “escape room” experience. 3. Blood Manor, Tribeca, NYC Blood Manor - Courtesy of BloodManor/Photo Credit BPS Productions You don’t have to leave NYC to experience a haunted house. Blood Manor, in TriBeCa, is one of the hottest tickets in town. Some of the ghouls and zombies have a decidedly "downtown" goth vibe and look as if they shop at the iconic Trash & Vaudeville punk/both boutique in the East Village to be honest. Be sure to check out Lights Out, where you explore the manor in complete darkness with nothing but a glow stick to light your path. This is only offered on 2 nights so be sure to book tickets. Other attractions are a wake for a character named Baby Face, and a Killer Clown room that I, for one, will not be entering. 5. Reapers Revenge, Blakely, PA The Lost Carnival at Reapers Revenge - Courtesy of Reapers Revenge This haunted house will torture you with five intense attractions featuring clowns, cannibalistic mutants, and hayrides that will have you sweating with fear as you venture deeper into the realm of Reaper’s Forest. Consistently voted one of the top 10 haunted attractions in the US every year. After experiencing these nightmares you will want to sleep with the lights on for a long time!
Pioneers in small ship adventure cruising, UnCruise Adventures, recently unveiled their latest 'Aloha Days' Hawaii deals, where every booking is a step towards supporting Maui recovery. For every new booking made during 'Aloha Days' until September 28th, a portion of each deposit will directly contribute to Maui Strong, an initiative to rebuild and rejuvenate Maui and Lahaina town. UnCruise Adventures itineraries are deeply woven with the communities and lands they touch. This is especially true for Hawaiian adventures. The real essence of Hawaii lies not just in its breathtaking landscapes but in its people, traditions, and the stories they share. With the recent events affecting Maui and Lahaina town, this is a reminder of the profound interconnectedness of our adventures with the wellbeing of these communities and the importance of supporting them. The sun shines on the horizon in Kona, Hawaii by Peter Luo - Unsplash “Aloha Days' is not just about offering unbeatable seasonal offers to our guests. It's about embodying the true spirit of Aloha. By supporting a return to travel we can also contribute to the recovery and discovery of the very essence that makes Hawaii so special,” commented UnCruise Adventures, Owner and Captain Dan Blanchard. “Come, join us, and let's make a difference together. This itinerary comes from my heart and each time I visit I'm reminded of why I created this adventure.” The current campaign offers deals on cruises including: Waived Single Supplement: Solo adventurers come aboard. No single supplement on select dates for all Hawaii 2023 sailings and early 2024 sailings. Group Incentives: For every group of 12 paid guests, one sails free. Combine with other savings for even more benefits. Some restrictions apply. Valid for all Hawaii 2023 sailings and early 2024 sailings. Unbeatable Cabin Savings: Get $1,500 off per couple or $750 off per person. Stack this offer with other select savings. Some restrictions apply. Valid for all Hawaii 2023 sailings and early 2024 sailings. Double Kids in Nature Savings: Receive $1,000 off per child, with two paying adults. Normally $500 per child. Can be combined with selected offers. Some restrictions apply. Valid for all Hawaii 2023 sailings and early 2024 sailings. Jellyfish near Molokai in the Hawaiian Islands by Jake Houglum - Unsplash These seasonal offers apply to the 7-night Hawaiian Seascapes Adventure that explores from Kona to Molokai or reverse, Molokai to Kona. The 2023-2024 season runs from Nov 18th, 2023, to May 4th, 2024. This includes Hawaii's breathtaking landscapes, volcanic wonders, and rich culture. Guests embark on multi-activity adventures daily, from hiking volcanoes to swimming with manta rays. The all-inclusive week-long itinerary embarks on the Safari Explorer, a 36-passenger vessel built for adventure. Enjoy fresh cuisine, no extra onboard costs, no lines, no crowds, and plenty of adventure.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th until October 15th—and it just so happens, that the fall season is one of the best times to visit western North Carolina. The Latinx community is the fastest-growing demographic in the Asheville region, including more than 20 Latin American cultures represented. This Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize, honor, and celebrate the many contributions of the Latinx/Hispanic community. Here are a few recommendations for new and notable ways to celebrate Hispanic heritage in Asheville this month and year-round: Explore art, dance, and music There's plenty of Latinx art to see in Asheville - courtesy of ExploreAsheville.comEl Mercadito, the newest gallery addition to The Refinery AVL, is a collection of drawings, sculptures and mixed-media artwork by Luis Alvaro Sahagun centered on Latinx narratives. As the grandson of a curandera, or healer, Sahagun calls his artmaking “a mystical instrument” that forges a spiritual connection to heal wounds of conquest, colonization and capitalism. Visitors can check out El Mercadito and The Refinery's 20 artist studios every first Friday of the month. Upcoming first Fridays: October 6 and November 3. A bright purple mural celebrating Latinx heritage debuted this summer across a wall along Coxe Ave., near downtown. The artwork, titled “Eres Un Orgullo Latino” (which means “You Are Latin Pride”), was designed and painted by Leslie Reynalte-Llanco as part of Buncombe County's Creative Equity Mural Project.Every Friday and Saturday night, Ritmo Kultural transforms Citizen Vinyl into a Latin dance party. DJ Malinalli and DJ Manukaru spin cumbia, salsa, and reggaeton records, and the cafe kitchen serves up fresh tacos from 7-11pm. In West Asheville, DJ MTN VIBES presents Latin Night at One World Brewing every Wednesday. The evening kicks off at 8:30pm with an all-levels dance lesson, and open dance continues on until midnight.Interdisciplinary artist and rapper Bocafloja will screen the documentary “Bravado Magenta,” followed by a performance and afterparty at Citizen Vinyl. Hosted by Ritmo Kultural, September 30. Doors open at 7pm, program starts at 8pm. Attend special events The Latin Business Council is putting on a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in the River Arts District. The event at Black Wall Street features discussions, Latinx vendors, food and Zumba. October 14, from 12-4pm. The Weaverville Community Center is hosting a Día de los Muertos fundraiser for Asheville sister city committees in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas and Valladolid, Yucatan. The event includes a procession along Lake Louise honoring the deceased, a photobooth, and a large ofrenda or altar. Ticket price includes a traditional Dia de los Muertos meal, think cochinita pibil and mole negro, and a glass of wine or beer. October 19, 4-8pm. Eat amazing cuisine from Hispanic-owned restaurants Chef Santiago Vargas creates Peruvian-fusion dishes at Mikasa Criolla - courtesy of ExploreAsheville.comLittle Chango – Owner Iris Rodriguez runs this small eatery in South Slope that specializes in arepas honoring food traditions and flavors from across Latin America. The cardamom-infused tres leches cake is not-to-be-missed. Pupuseria Patty – Patty Saenz' menu is a reflection of her heritage that straddles two countries – Nicaragua and El Salvador. Patty's generously-sized pupusas are served with homeland curtido (fermented cabbage) and are made to order with a variety of fillings, like black beans, chicken, and loroco – an edible flower. Mamacita's – This family-run taqueria in downtown Asheville is a local favorite, consistently voted best burrito in town. Their soft corn tortillas are made fresh daily, and their seasonal taco specials ensure no two visits are the same. Guajiro Cuban Comfort Food – A red food truck anchored in the River Arts District serving classic Cuban fare, like lechon asado and pastelitos. Guajiro is the childhood dream of owner and founder Christian Barroso, a second-generation Cuban American who grew up cooking authentic Cuban meals with his grandmother, Nana. Mikasa Criolla – Chef Santiago Vargas is passionate about sharing food traditions from his native Peru, to include Chinese and Japanese influences from a wave of migration in the 19th century. Mikasa pairs Peruvian classics, like aji gallina, and Santiago's unique creations, like shrimp and grits empanadas. Located inside the S&W Market. —For more information on Latinx businesses, events and dining in Asheville, be sure to check out this guide.