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Red Lodge, Montana - Coolest Small Towns 2022

By Budget Travel Editors
September 30, 2021
Beartooth Highway, Red Lodge Montana
Laura Brown

If Red Lodge didn’t have you at “Gateway to Yellowstone,” consider that the drive from Red Lodge to Yellowstone National Park’s northeast entrance takes you over the Beartooth Highway, perhaps the most beautiful, dizzying, surreal, and thrilling drive in the world, reaching an elevation of nearly 11,000 feet above sea level at the top of the pass.

But whether Red Lodge serves as your gateway to the wonders of Yellowstone or as your first stop back in the “real world” after exploring the park, the town is legit cool all on its own, with its own outdoor recreation offerings, family activities, authentic culinary traditions, and much more.

Spend some time getting to know the town’s arts and culture — art galleries like the Clay Center, unique shops, Pride Park, and walking tours of historic downtown (once said to have a “saloon on every corner,” but nowadays decidedly more sophisticated) will keep you busy.

And while catching a fleeting glimpse of wildlife in Yellowstone depends very much on luck, it’s an everyday occurrence at Red Lodge’s Yellowstone WIldlife Sanctuary, a few blocks from downtown and home to “non-releasable” mountain lions, wolves, bears, bison, eagles, hawks, and many other native Montana animals.

More about Red Lodge

Red Lodge, MT
Red Lodge, MT

Red Lodge, Montana - Gateway to Yellowstone Park via the beautiful Beartooth Highway. Come and experience true western hospitality in this quaint, historic, mountain town. Keep Reading...

Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022:

Cedar Key, Florida
Fredericksburg, Texas
Morro Bay, California
Nisswa, Minnesota
North Adams, Massachusetts
Red Lodge, Montana
St. Simons Island, Georgia
Tarrytown, New York
Telluride, Colorado
Thibodaux, Louisiana

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Nisswa, Minnesota - Coolest Small Towns 2022:

Nisswa, in central Minnesota, offers a true small town experience — the pace is leisurely, the people are friendly, and visitors can “choose their own adventure,” at whatever pace they like. In summer, turtle races are all the rage here. For real. If you prefer something more active, the Paul Bunyan Bike Trail beckons, and the region is defined by its many lakes, offering an array of watersports, boating, fishing, and more. On the other end of the seasonal spectrum, winter in Nisswa means skiing (downhill and cross-country), ice fishing, snowmobiling, and even dog sledding. Downtown is characterized by cozy shops and eateries serving up comfort food and artisanal candies, and it’s also a good place to purchase hearty winter outerwear. Up here, folks know how to dress for the cold! More about Nisswa Nisswa, MN Nisswa, Minnesota, nestled in the heart of the lakes area. Has been a destination for visitors for more than a century. Generation after generation comes to the area that many call their second home. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

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Telluride, Colorado - Coolest Small Towns 2022

If you really want to get away from it all, Colorado is an excellent choice — the state’s jaw-dropping mountains, wildlife, and independent thinkers have been attracting escapees from the rat race for decades. Telluride (and its close neighbor, Mountain Village), in the San Juan Mountains in the southwestern corner of the state, is firmly in that tradition. Once a boomtown thanks to local mining, the town transformed itself into a skiing mecca in the mid-20th century and today ranks as one of the most dense concentrations of great food, art, nature, and much more. Want to hike? Bike? Ski? The trails that wind in and around town will keep you busy for days, weeks — did we mention that some folks just up and run away to Telluride for good? And, like many popular ski areas, Telluride transforms in the “off-season” (what summer destinations call the “high-season”) into a paradise for hikers, skate boarders, cyclists, and water enthusiasts. Music and arts festivals abound, and we're particularly fond of Telluride’s unique Nothing Festival, in which cyclists ride in the nude. Remember what we said about attracting free thinkers? More about Telluride Telluride, CO If you really want to get away from it all, Colorado is an excellent choice — the state’s jaw-dropping mountains, wildlife, and independent thinkers have been attracting escapees from the rat race for decades. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

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Thibodaux, Louisiana - Coolest Small Towns 2022

Most folks already know that Louisiana is at the crossroads of American history and culture — but you might say that Thibodaux, in Bayou country, near the Gulf of Mexico, is at the very center of those crossroads. Here, people from France, Spain, and West Africa met Native Americans and French Canadians, known then as Acadians and now known as Cajuns, and a rich cultural stew began to simmer. Visitors to Thibodaux can’t help but dive into local history: From the E.D. White Historic Site, dedicated to a Bayou Lafourche family that produced a governor and a U.S. Senator, to the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center (part of the multisite Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve), the region wears its multicultural heritage with pride. A visit to Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center delivers immersive presentations via film, exhibits, performances, and boat tours of the Bayou. Visitors can also take a guided tour of downtown led by a National Park Ranger. Whether guided or not, you should definitely stroll Thibodaux’s historic downtown for a taste of Cajun cuisine — dishes such as boudin sausages, gumbo, and jambalaya, that bear the influence of the Bayou’s varied settlers. More about Thibodaux Thibodaux, LA Thibodaux’s backstory is linked to French, Spanish and African peoples who arrived in the region in the early 18th century, and French-Canadian immigrants — known as Acadians (or Cajuns) — who settled here in the mid-1700s. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

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St. Simons Island, Georgia - Coolest Small Towns 2022

Sure, not everybody remembers that Georgia — renowned for its inland forests and mountains and urban centers like Atlanta and Savannah — has drop-dead gorgeous beaches. St. Simons Island, on the state’s southern coast, is a good place to get acquainted with the watery side of the Peachtree State. (St. Simons is one of Georgia’s four “Golden Isles,” barrier islands that also include Sea Island, Jekyll Island, and Little St. Simons island). Here, you’ll find a number of quaint villages that boast one-of-a-kind shops and museums. Explore historic sites such as St. Simons Island Lighthouse (dating back to 1872), Fort Frederick National Monument, and Christ Church. Then hit the waterways in a kayak, take a sunset bottlenose dolphin cruise, ride in unique open-air trolleys (which also offer an after-dinner Ghost Tour!), go on a cycling tour, or spend the day fishing with the help of an experienced local guide. Tuck into a plate of shrimp and grits at one of the island’s eateries,like Crabdaddy’s Seafood Grill, or stop by the Public House for exceptional pork chops. More about St. Simons Island St. Simons Island, GA St. Simons Island, GA is home to fabulous beaches, golfing, charter fishing, spas and salons, and a variety of restaurants, fun events and entertainment for everyone. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

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