25 Most Stunning Mountain Towns in America
From Asheville to Whitesburg, these alpine escapes around the United States are utterly enchanting.
A dreamland set in the North Georgia Mountains, Dahlonega wows with its breathtaking scenery and rustic charm. The ambiance is authentic and welcoming—it’s not a place you have to put on airs. Sip regional wines at the tasting rooms surrounding the public square, get your fix of history at the Dahlonega Gold Museum, in the 1836 courthouse, or venture to Amicalola Falls State Park for cascades and zip lining at this mountain near you. Speaking of, check out these high-wire acts around the world.
Asheville, North Carolina
Between tours at Biltmore Estate (a château-style mansion constructed by George Washington Vanderbilt and the most famous house in the state) and The North Carolina Arboretum, you can pack a ton into a vacation to the “Land of the Sky.” A rejuvenating massage at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph Collection is always a good idea, too. This alpine paradise also touts 17 farmers markets that sell seasonal produce, fresh-baked bread, and artisanal cheeses.
Planning a Tennessee road trip? Townsend definitely deserves a pitstop. First off, it’s one of three “gateways” to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Of course, the attractions don’t end there. Tuckaleechee Caverns has underground caves, stalagmites, and stalactites while Cades Cove Cellars pours sippable vino like barrel-aged zinfandel and chardonnay. Before you go to this mountain near you, be sure to brush up on these essential wine terms.
Next time you’re in Alabama, journey beyond Montgomery or Mobile. Perched atop Lookout Mountain in DeKalb County, Mentone—which earns bragging rights as the highest elevation town in the state—is a quiet community with fresh air, chirping birds, and fragrant wildflowers. No doubt, you’ll want to get out and enjoy nature at this mountain near you—we suggest trekking to DeSoto Falls.
Bottineau, North Dakota
Nestled at the bottom of the Turtle Mountains, Bottineau is a bastion of natural beauty. Endless activities, warm hospitality, and tasty traditions (who could pass up the chance to sample the famous vanilla ice cream at Pride Dairy?) make this tight-knit community a wonderful place to visit year-round. Proximity to Lake Metigoshe is an extra perk.
Thompsonville is a tiny village with heaps of alpine action—and that’s thanks to Crystal Mountain. The year-round resort includes ski lifts, pickleball, a climbing wall, outdoor laser tag, golf, and classic digs. Don’t leave without exploring Michigan Legacy Art Park, a 30-acre preserve with sculptures, 1.6 miles of hiking routes, and an outdoor amphitheater.
Kentucky conjures images of horse races, bourbon, and baseball. Flipping the script? Whitesburg, a former coal-mining enclave with a thriving arts scene. Recently, the once downtrodden locale has seen a wave of new bars, studios, and live music venues. Travelers looking to commune with nature should head to Pine Mountain.
Custer, South Dakota
Poised on the edge of Custer State Park, the Crown Jewel of the Black Hills is akin to Disney World for outdoorsy types. At this mountain near you, there are climbs, treks, and wilderness walks galore. The town itself is full of character and history. Bonus: big-name attractions like Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, and Wind Cave National Park are just minutes away. And, yes, Mount Rushmore may be a tad overrated, but these other nearby attractions aren’t.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Whether you’re a novice or a pro skier, you’ll find slopes to suit all skill levels in Sun Valley. (Head to Bald Mountain for challenging runs and Dollar Mountain for bunny hills.) There’s also dog sledding and ice skating. Scenic strolls, golfing, and white-water rafting makes a strong case for visiting in the summer. We’d be remiss not to mention the marvelous restaurants and shops.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Originally a hub of the fur trade, Jackson Hole stays true to its Old West roots and provides an abundance of outdoor adventure. It’s the ultimate base camp for exploring the untrammeled beauty of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Ready to unpack your gear and catch some zzzs? Splurge on the Amangani or stay at Anvil Hotel, a revamped 1950s lodge in downtown. Did you know Teton County is one of the 10 places in America where people live the longest?