Chattanooga HotelTop 10 articles are a dime a dozen and often quite subjective. We wanted to create a top 10 list of the best small city road trip destinations that would be fair and worthy of being on such a list. So, we enlisted the world’s most road tripped man, Mike of MikesRoadTrip.com, to give us some of his favorite road trip destinations. From there, the public had a month to vote on their favorite small city road trip destination. With over 2,500 votes, these are the places YOU voted as the 10 best small city road trip destinations in the U.S.

I have road tripped all over the U.S. As a matter of fact I’ve been to 49 of the 50 states, only the last frontier of Alaska eludes me. Needless to say, I’ve had an opportunity to visit many amazing small cities around the country. This list will absolutely inspire a road trip; each destination featured has its own unique attributes. So rent a car and join me on an amazing road trip adventure!

In order to make the list, each of the cities had to possess much of the following criteria:

  • Combination of high-end and unique lodging options
  • Fantastic restaurants
  • Cultural significance
  • Good selection of amenities
  • Awe-inspiring sights or scenery
  • Some level of uniqueness and/or be remarkable
  • Outdoor and indoor activities

 

#2 Chattanooga, Tennessee (16% of the vote)

Chattanooga, like many historic towns across the country, has gone through a re-birth over the past couple of decades. The preface of Chattanooga’s revitalization can be attributed to the development of a world-class aquarium that spawned a downtown renaissance. What has followed is a thriving art scene, including gastronomy, lots of live music and annual events. There is also a cornucopia of outdoor activities, such as the flight park for hang gliding, rock climbing/bouldering, kayaking and mountain biking.

Just outside of town is Lookout Mountain where there are a number of major attractions, from Ruby Falls (a waterfall deep inside a mountain cave), Incline Railway (a thrilling 1-mile train ride up the mountain) to one of my favorite attractions in all of Chattanooga, Rock City. Resting at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and alongside the Tennessee River, Chattanooga is absolutely one of the best small city road trip destinations in the country.

Closest Major City: Atlanta, Georgia (118 miles)

Closest Major Airport: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (127 miles)

Lodging Recommendations: The Dwell Hotel, The Read House Historical Inn & Suites.

Restaurant Recommendations: Broad Street Grill for sophisticated dining, Public House for hip and upscale, and The Flying Squirrel for eclectic Southern comfort food.

Don’t Miss: Rock City, an amazingly unique botanical garden. The Tennessee Aquarium, one of the best in the country.

Top 10 Small City Road Trip Destinations in the U.S. for 2018:

  1. Walla Walla, Washington
  2. Chattanooga, Tennessee
  3. South Lake Tahoe, California
  4. Port Orford, Oregon
  5. Bozeman, Montana
  6. Durango, Colorado
  7. Charlottesville, Virginia
  8. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
  9. Leavenworth, Washington
  10. Jackson, New Hampshire and Fairhope/Point Clear, Alabama

 

Published online on April 15, 2018: Written by Mike Shubic