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.
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.
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:
- America’s Top 10 Coolest Small Towns, from Budget Travel Magazine
- America’s Top 25 Small Cities, from American Style Magazine
- Best Small City Vacation Destinations, from RatesToGo
- 100 Best Midwest Small-Town Getaways, from Midwest Living Magazine
- The Best Small Towns of Spain, TripAdvisor.com
- The Best Small Towns and Villages in Southeast Asia, Frommers.com
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?