Red Lodge, Montana
Credit: Gordon Wiltsie

Cradled in a valley just outside the northeast corner of Yellowstone, Red Lodge is base camp for exploring America's best national park. Ninety minutes southwest is the Lamar Valley – wolf country – and Specimen Ridge Trail, a tough hike through a petrified forest to a great view of Mount Washburn. In town, take a guided cruiser-bike tour down the snaking Beartooth Highway, one of America's most beautiful drives. Then get buzzed on a Broken Nail Double IPA on the sun-drenched deck at Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company, where rancher types and transplants, drawn to the town's lack of pretense, will happily dish on their favorite fishing hole or secret hike.

Getting There: Fly to Bozeman; drive three hours east.