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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.

RELATED: The best one-tank road trips from 5 top metro areas

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

Most hot springs are believed to have therapeutic and healing properties. Combine that with amazing scenic settings, and it’s easy to see why so many people seek out these natural waters. If you feel like you need a relaxing soak, here are five of the most beautiful natural hot springs you can enjoy right now.

RELATED: 8 great state park alternatives to popular National Parks

Travertine Hot Springs: Bridgeport, CA

Whether you’ve just hiked an Eastern Sierra peak and need to soothe some sore legs, or you’re looking for a geothermal soak with million-dollar views, Travertine Hot Springs is your spot. These rustic, natural mud floor “tubs” are located a few miles off Route 395 just south of Bridgeport, making them easily accessible to all visitors. If the first pools are taken, fear not: Your private outdoor oasis awaits you in a grassy meadow just a short walk to the east. Check in at the Walker River Lodge in Bridgeport, then visit these springs for a relaxing sunset soak while Sawtooth Ridge erupts in an Insta-worthy alpenglow.

Trail Creek Hot Springs: Cascade, ID

Picture this: Pillow-soft flakes silently fall around you, painting the surrounding rocks and towering pines in a fresh snowy blanket as you bask in a soothing hot spring. Sound like something from a dream? Well, it’s not because this dreamy destination is real, and it’s only 20 miles from Cascade, Idaho. Simply park your car in the lot along Warm Lake Road, then traverse the short trail to Trail Creek Hot Springs, and you’re there. Once you arrive, immerse yourself in the 116° waters in either of the two rock-walled pools. Pick the right time and you may just find yourself alone, making the decision to go out of your way for this soak deep within the Idaho wilderness worth the effort. At night, sip hot chocolate in front of your room’s fireplace at the Ashley Inn back in Cascade.

Valley View Hot Springs: Salida, CO

With eight different pools ranging from 93° to 107° to choose from, Valley View Hot Springs is the perfect spot for a relaxing soak, not to mention some pretty spectacular views of Colorado’s San Luis Valley. The top ponds are the most remote, taking about 20 minutes to reach via a steep trail, and offer great night sky views if you’re out after dark. If you spent the morning sandboarding at Sand Dunes National Park, a water massage underneath the falls at Waterfall Pond is the way to go. Stay the night in a private cabin here, or drive north to Salida for a tasty dinner and a good night’s rest at Browns Canyon Inn.

Deep Creek Hot Springs: Hesperia, CA

Hiking the difficult and steep two-mile trail from Bowen Ranch to Deep Creek Hot Springs is best done in the winter when the Mojave Desert is much cooler. But for those who brave the journey (and paid $10 per person for a day pass), your reward of ruggedly beautiful desert scenery, sweeping views and three natural soaking pools that range in temps from 96° to 102° await. Test your balance while slacklining, mix it up with a dip into the frigid river, or simply soak the day away in the rejuvenating waters of this desert retreat. The 900-foot trudge back up to the car is strenuous, but the comfortable beds at Springhill Suites in Hesperia will help you get a good night’s sleep.

Spence Hot Springs: Jemez Springs, NM

Chances are that if you’ve spent time in New Mexico, you can list off some of the most scenic locations in the American West. Add to that list as you soak up the views from the 100° waters of Spence Hot Springs overlooking Jemez Canyon. A short half-mile hike off Highway 4 north of Jemez Springs is where you’ll find this gem, and once you’re there, the small yet beautiful pools surrounded by trees and lush mountains might make this your new favorite spot in the state. If you’re spending the night in Santa Fe, check out Pueblo Bonito Bed and Breakfast Inn. This cozy spot is just four minutes from the historic Santa Fe Plaza.

Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, Destinations, Seasonal, Top 10 list, Types of Travel

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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Cheap of the Month gives a snapshot of a cheap weekend getaway each month.

Albuquerque International Balloon Festival. Courtesy of a4gpa.

Albuquerque International Balloon Festival. Courtesy of a4gpa.

Born from Pueblo Indian culture and shaped by a mixture of Spanish influence, oldwest culture, Route 66 travelers and Bugs Bunny references, Albuquerque is a great deviation from the hum-drum, sick-of-winter lives we’re all living elsewhere.

Courtesy of ABQ Museum Photoarchives.

Courtesy of ABQ Museum Photoarchives.

Plane, train or automobileAlbuquerque has two airports and is a major Amtrak stop between Los Angeles and Chicago, so getting there shouldn’t be a problem. Check Cheaptickets.com for some hotel and flight packages under $500. Bring a friend and split the hotel costs.

Bus leaving ABQ station. Courtesy of Brett VA.

Bus leaving ABQ station. Courtesy of Brett VA.

Cheap local transit – Once you’re there, grab a pass for the ABQ bus system to get you around town. Adults ride for $1, or opt for the unlimited three-day pass for $6 to cover you for the whole weekend.

Sandia Mountain sunset. Courtesy of John Fowler.

Sandia Mountain sunset. Courtesy of John Fowler.

Sunset in the Sandia Mountains – “Sandia” means watermelon in Spanish, and historians believe the mountain range that lies to the east of the city was named for the pink hues it takes on at sunset. Hike the Sandias in the day for a free activity, but make sure you’re back in time to catch the sunset.

Old Town shopping. Courtesy of Michael D Martin.

Old Town shopping. Courtesy of Michael D Martin.

Old Town Albuquerque – This section of town today hosts about 10 blocks of shopping and other tourist destinations, but this is where the city began in 1706. The historic adobe buildings are situated around a plaza in true Spanish nature, and many old homes have been converted to shops and restaurants. Check out San Felipe de Neri Church, built in 1793. 

Breakfast burrito with green chiles at Java Joe's. Courtesy of ammanteufel.

Breakfast burrito with green chiles at Java Joe’s. Courtesy of ammanteufel.

Green chiles galore – Albuquerque’s culinary scene is dominated by green chiles and new Mexican food. Head toward the University of New Mexico for some authentic and reasonably-priced grub.

Rio Grande Valley State Park in the fall. Courtesy of littlemoresunshine.

Rio Grande Valley State Park in the fall. Courtesy of littlemoresunshine.

Picnic along the Rio Grande – The famous river that cuts through the city offers some greenery in an otherwise arid climate. Rio Grande Valley State Park is free to enter and offers access to trailheads and the river. Rent a kayak and take float.

Pillow fight. Courtesy of Jan Papas.

Pillow fight. Courtesy of Jan Papas.

Pillow fight anyone? Word on the street has it that some Albuquerqueans are looking to take part in International Pillow Fight Day on April 5. I’m sure your hotel won’t mind if you borrow a pillow.

UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico. Courtesy of Frank Pierson.

UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico. Courtesy of Frank Pierson.

Take to the road – If you’re staying for more than a weekend and feel like a little day trip, drive an hour north to experience the culture of Santa Fe, or three hours southeast to check out Area 51 and the aliens at Roswell.

 

Tagged: Cheap of the Month, Cheap Tips, Destinations, Food & drink

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.