I have several family members who live in Lumberton, North Carolina, a rural town with a population of just over 20,000 people. After spending many summers there as a child, playing with my cousins, running around barefoot, and helping my grandmother set up for garden parties and cookouts, I’m no stranger to country living.
This weekend, my boyfriend and I drove to Lumberton to pay my family a visit before I fly to New York City for my summer internship. I’m extremely excited to spend my summer in the big apple, but having one last weekend in the country allowed me to really appreciate all the beautiful things about being in a small town rather than a city.
For the fortunate people who have enough vacation time to travel somewhere, cities are often a highly favored destination. Millions of people travel to to New York to see Broadway shows or Orlando to cram their vacation with as many bustling amusement parks as possible. While these types of vacations are definitely fun, they aren’t always the best way to de-stress.
Busy vacations in populous locations can leave you feeling twice as exhausted at the end of the trip because of the planning, the inclination to pack every day with tons of activities, and the crowded areas. If you’re looking to take a vacation that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated when you head back to work or school, you might want to consider a small-town spot instead.
In small towns, you may have the option of staying in a bed and breakfast or Airbnb where your host will take care of you, plan your activities for you, or give you tips for finding the best local spots. You won’t have to worry about getting pushed around on busy streets or losing your child in a crowd. You can rejuvenate your body by eating fresh fruits and vegetables produced by local farmers rather than eating fatty street foods and breathing in smog. Most importantly for a lot of us, most small-town vacations will save you money when compared to a trip to a city.
If you’re wondering what you can do in a small town, it really depends on where you go and what types of activities you most enjoy. If you like nature, you could try a place like Estes Park, Colorado, where you can hike, go horseback riding, or take an ATV tour. If you’re a history buff, you can go to Williamsburg, Virginia, to see interesting reenactments and sites like Historic Jamestowne. If you’re looking to do something classy and undoubtedly Instagram-worthy, check out the vineyards in Walla Walla, Washington.
If you have no idea what you really want to do with your vacation time, you can try vacation spot lists like these at Fodors.com or Travelandleisure.com . As someone who has had trips to busy spots like the party-goer filled beaches in Los Cabos and conversely quieter mountain towns like Gatlinburg Tennessee, I’ve always felt more relaxed sipping sweet tea on a balcony and looking at the stars. If you want to make the best use of your time away from your desk so you can come back to work refreshed, you might want to give the slow-life a try.