Home Uncategorized Why and how to choose a small city for your family’s big vacation

Why and how to choose a small city for your family’s big vacation

by Shelly Rivoli
Published: Last Updated on
The small city of Nerja in the south of Spain, as seen on an evening stroll

My camera, enjoying an evening stroll through the pedestrian streets of Nerja, Spain.

Even if you start your next adventure in a big city—as you’re likely to do if flying in to a major airport, you may be able to extend your family’s vacation by staking a claim for short while in a small town off the beaten path. And it could be well worth it, for more reasons than one.

Think about it: For what you might pay for two nights in Paris or New York City, you might afford to stay a week in an apartment in a smaller city or a cottage in a lesser-known village.

SIlverton Coffee Station in Silverton, Oregon

Stroll over a covered bridge on your way to the Silverton Coffee Station in one of America's Top 10 Coolest Small Towns.

Does that mean you’ll have a less interesting or worthwhile vacation? Not if you play your cards right. Especially with small kids along for the adventure, smaller towns often offer a more relaxed pace and better chances to acquaint yourselves with the culture and locals in residence.

Take Spain as an example, and the small town of Nerja on the Costa del Sol. This April, a 2-bedroom, 1.5 bath apartment where we stayed is 450 Euros for one week (yes, that’s two bedrooms, with more than one toilet, full kitchen, and a washing machine). Surrounded by Andalucían charm? Yes. Walking to any of three beautiful beaches on the Costa del Sol? Yes. Strolling to shops, cafes, and (inexpensive) groceries? You bet.

Pushing the stroller down a cobbled street in Antibes, France.

Want a small town with big culture? Antibes, France is home to one of the best Picasso museums in the world - and it's a quick train ride to Cannes. Did I mention the beach?

Which reminds me of another reason you  might prefer small cities to big for that next break: Walking to most locations vastly simplifies vacations with a baby or toddler. No loading and unloading and reloading the car, no navigating a crowded subway. Just push that stroller along the street to the next cafe or park.

So how can you find the perfect small city for your family’s next vacation? In addition to these few I’ve highlighted, check out these links:

In addition, you can find out more about Nerja in these related posts, and discover one of America’s Coolest Small Towns in this post on Silverton, Oregon.

Do you have a big crush on a small town you’d love to visit again this year?

Know of a great little city you’d recommend for travelers with kids?

This is the fourth post in the “Fit more travel into your family’s new year” series this month. If you missed the earlier posts, you can start here.

Safe journeys,
Shelly Rivoli

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