City life can be an engaging whirlwind of pub nights, exhibition openings, and networking events, but it's hard not to imagine the life (and the house) you could have in the country. Rather than impulsively uprooting, we recommend pursuing rural tranquility the responsible way: by renting a home or checking into an inn in one of America's most vibrant small towns. Here are 10 hamlets that welcome refugees from cities and suburbs and offer visitors a chance to actively pursue relaxation.
Take Yosemite's wonders (massive granite formations, crystal-clear rivers), subtract the crowds, add a 19th-century gold rush village, and you've got Groveland. On every edge of town, dirt roads, and logging trails pick up where the pavement ends, creating a network of serpentine routes for biking and hiking the pristine Sierra Nevada foothills of Stanislaus National Forest and providing paddlers with access to granite-bound lakes, rivers, and streams.
What to Do for Fun: Daring boaters launch trips down the harrowing, Class V Cherry Creek/Upper Tuolumne, one of California's wildest stretches of whitewater. For a classic rafting experience go with Marty "Mac" McDonnell, the first person to run Cherry Creek by raft, in 1972. At night, the après scene is rowdy at the Iron Door, California’s oldest saloon, on the main drag of town.
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