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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips. 

Small towns. They’re out there. Little road trip gems offering slower-paced escapes. We’re talking about those artsy and hip, good vibes, tasty bites, and intriguing things to do type small towns—the ones far enough from city life to make you feel off-grid and relaxed, but with enough to do to ensure a memorable trip. Ready to soak it all in? Check out this list of the 6 hippest small towns to get off-grid.

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Tubac, AZ

Dozens of brightly painted Mexican flower pots lie on their sides on display in Tubac, Arizona.

They say this community, just 45 miles south of Tucson, is where history and art meet. As a result, the culture, colors, and tastes of Southern Arizona permeate this one-time Spanish Presidio turned artists’ colony. Grab a coffee and Danish from Tubac Deli & Coffee Co., then stroll the village’s abundant locally-owned galleries and shops for colorful clayware, hand-made Native American jewelry, copper art, and clothing. Presidio State Historic Park holds the Griffin Museum, home to artifact exhibits of the town’s early history. Tubac Market’s tasty sandwiches will help fuel an exploration of nearby Tumacácori National Historical Park, especially if you hike the Anza Trail. Finally, enjoy exquisite Mexican and Southwestern dishes at upscale but affordable Elvira’s before settling in for the night at Tubac Country Inn.

Viroqua, WI

strawberries, blackberries, blueberries on retail display in farmer's market in california

For a few hundred years, Viroqua grew around farming. And like many rural Midwestern towns, its history also includes a dramatic decline. Yet today, this Driftless Region small town is once again thriving, and a must-visit foodie destination thanks to Amish, hippies, farmers and farmer-hippies, and their local, organic, small-batch food focus. Wonderstate Coffee on Main Street is a 1940s Mobil gas station-turned-coffee shop pouring hometown brew. Driftless Café, a James Beard Finalist, offers an affordable, ever-changing farm-to-table menu. Everything from cheese, honey, produce, and amazing Amish baked goods are found at the farmers market. Don’t just eat your way through town, though. Other highlights include live music and comedy at Temple Theatre, Vernon Vineyards, and Blue Dog Cycles for bike rentals, so you can hit the trails. Chill at this condo with friends in the heart of downtown.

Madrid, NM

A close-up shot of Native American turquoise rings on a man's hand.

This historic coal mining town has transformed itself into a must-visit, off-grid quirky stop along the Turquoise Trail between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. And in just a few blocks, visitors can find a little bit of everything on the eclectic side of creativity and shopping. 10 pm Studio features unique handmade steampunk creations. Rare Cerrillos Turquoise, Santo Domingo Pueblo jewelry, and even Zuni fetish carvings are for sale at Trading Bird Gallery and Gypsy Gem. Moonbow Herbs and Gifts offers holistic health remedies. When hunger hits, belly up to the longest stand-up bar in New Mexico for a green chile cheeseburger and live music at The Mine Shaft Tavern. If you want to hit some MTB trails, head to nearby Cerrillos Hills State Park.

Baker, NV

Image of cave formations inside Lehman Caves, Great BAsin National Park, Nevada.

If you’re driving west to east along Highway 50, the Loneliest Road in America, Baker is the funky little reward about 10 minutes from Great Basin National Park. It’s where land as far as your eyes can see meet dark sky wonderment, close enough to grab a soak in Spencer Hot Springs or adventure into the subterranean world of Lehman Caves, and near enough the legendary Monster Burger at the old school roadhouse, Middlegate Station, to almost taste it. In town, relish in superb food and craft cocktails at Kerouac’s, a Jack Kerouac-inspired bar and legit foodie destination. The attached Stargazer Inn has 10 comfortable and cozy rooms and a communal outdoor patio where you can keep an eye on those stars.

Crestone, CO

Decorated pottery pieces made of raku ceramic soon after they are removed from the oven.

Raku Ceramics

This funky town of New-Agers, artists, and outdoor enthusiasts is one of Colorado’s most authentic off-grid, hippie places to visit. It’s been called the Shambala of the Rockies due to accommodating a Zen center, a Hindu temple, a few Tibetan Buddhist centers, a myriad of New Age events, and a co-ed Carmelite monastery. The town is also big on sustainability and currently working on 35 growing domes. Crestone Artisans Gallery features everything from raku pottery to locally sourced wood lamps and vases. Our Food is Art offers fresh gluten-free baked goods, organic wine, and a vegan Indian-style coconut tomato soup. Nearby, 14,000-foot Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle are two of the most beautiful and challenging of the state’s iconic “fourteeners.” Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is an hour to the south, and a stay in Alamosa gets you close to the quirky UFO Watchtower.

New Cuyama, CA

Carrizo Plain National Monument - Painting With Wildflower Color

Carrizo Plain National Monument

Located in California’s Central Valley, a 60-mile drive from the coast, is New Cuyama, a small town mixed with valley locals and curious hipsters. Hiking in Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge with condors circling overhead is a spectacular experience. Rainy years bring super blooms to nearby Carrizo Plain National Monument where visitors can “hear the silence” while alone with nature.  Wine enthusiasts will love the experience at Sagebrush Annie’s 18 miles to the south on Highway 166 and 33. Tours and programs with Blue Sky will teach you about their grassroots projects in arts, design, housing, and food systems. You can also enjoy a night in one of their glamping huts. However, for a rustic, and chic night stay complete with an onsite restaurant, coffee shop, and cool roadhouse, look no further than Cuyama Buckhorn, a true hipster roadside resort in the middle of nowhere.

Tagged: Arizona, California, Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, Destinations, Types of Travel

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