When nothing will do but fresh mountain air, set your sights on one of the South's best under-the-radar mountain getaways. These spots offer small-town charms and opportunities to explore in nature, but without the crowds that sometimes come with roads more frequently traveled . The best thing about a mountain vacation is that it can be whatever you want it to be. If you and your sweetie want to hole up in a cabin with nothing but a couple jigsaw puzzles and each other's company, you can do just that. The peaks through your window will provide ample daydream fuel to last you through the rest of your busy year. If you're looking for a new destination where you can bring the kiddos and grandparents for a multigenerational trip of a lifetime, a hidden gem alpine town certainly fits the bill. When the mountains start calling, these secluded spots are our favorite way to answer.
This West Texas town is situated between Marfa and Marathon and lies in the hills at an elevation of 4,500 feet. It's filled with historic hotels and charming bed and breakfasts, plus some of the best barbecue spots around. On your visit, take a drive down to Big Bend National Park or just walk outside to see the stars.
Set your sights on Missouri's Arcadia Valley for a getaway in the picturesque St. Francois Mountains and Mark Twain National Forest. Located southwest of St. Louis, it's a getaway with great mountain biking and hiking nearby. Check out Millstream Gardens Conservation Area and Taum Sauk State Park.
This small-town gateway to the Smokies is nestled in the far reaches of North Georgia. Camp, hike, and fish in the surrounding national and state parks, and turn in at an area bed and breakfast or at Julep Farms , a lovely little getaway with cottages and a restaurant that's hidden in the hills.
This Maryland mountain town is situated in the Allegheny Mountains of northwest Maryland. Surrounded by campgrounds and state parks, there's no shortage of mountain activities to be enjoyed, but the downtown area is a fun spot to explore too. Take a ride on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Trail , which is located in nearby Cumberland.
This Virginia spot is home to deep country music history. Find live bluegrass music at local venues and lots of opportunities to get outdoors and take in the mountain air. Set out on the New River Trail, a rail trail along the New River, and see waterfalls—including Chestnut Creek Falls and Foster Falls. Don't miss Grayson Highlands State Park, Mabry Mill, and other destinations along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
This scenic spot is situated in the Ozark Mountains near Buffalo National River. The charming downtown is filled with historic spots and antique shops. Don't miss the Arkansas House Inn , which was opened in 1934. On a drive through the area, you just might glimpse roaming elk, which are celebrated with the town's annual Buffalo River Elk Festival . You can even see Arkansas' Grand Canyon in Jasper.
This Alabama mountain town is summer camp central. It's located atop Lookout Mountain and is a fun hub for launching adventures in the area. Stay at cozy spots like the Mentone Inn , Cloudmont Ski Resort, or Andiamo Lodge , and enjoy meals at local restaurants like the Wildflower Café , known for their famous tomato pie.
Morganton, North Carolina
Located east of Asheville and northwest of Charlotte is Morganton, a great little mountain town with an inviting town square, historic museums, and several breweries that'll tempt you to stay awhile. There are 10 public parks in the area, as well as a greenway for walking and biking. Be sure to stop by nearby Lake James State Park, Linville Gorge, and Table Rock to see the sights.
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Find Mountain Home near the Missouri border. This mountain town is nestled between two beautiful lakes, Norfork Lake, which has 550 miles of shoreline over 22,000 acres, and Bull Shoals Lake, which stretches over 94,000 acres. You're also near the White and North Fork Rivers, all great spots for hiking and fishing in the fresh mountain air.
Thomas, West Virginia
This small town has a must-visit red-brick district fronting the North Fork Blackwater River that's filled with cafes, shops, and galleries. Don't miss TipTop for coffee, Picnic for lunch, Bloom and Santangelo for shopping, and the Purple Fiddle for live music. Wander into the neighboring Blackwater Falls State Park for waterfall watching, mountain biking, and hiking.