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  • The best small towns in America

    2013-03-29

    When it comes to United States travel, tourists often have a tendency to stick to the big cities. While there is certainly nothing wrong with the many appealing metropolises out there, sometimes small towns and cities have just as much to offer. With a country as big as the U.S., there are plenty of lesser known destinations to explore, and Smithsonian Magazine recently released its list of the best small towns to visit in the coming months.

    Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
    Home to an iconic Civil War battle, Gettysburg oozes history around every corner. The battlefield is one of the most visited historical sites in the country, often drawing around 1 million tourists each year. However, there is much more to Gettysburg than the legendary battlefield. You should also visit the sprawling National Military Park, which covers an estimated 4,000 acres. The Park is home to numerous memorials, not to mention some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the country. The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg is this summer, but a visit any time of the year has plenty to offer.

    "A lot of people will be here in July for the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address," town spokesman Carl Whitehall told NBC Travel. "But we do the Civil War year-round and we do it very well, so consider visiting in the late fall or the spring as well."

    St. Augustine, Florida
    Situated in the northeast corner for the Sunshine State, St. Augustine is considered to be the oldest permanent European-established settlement in the United States. As such, it should come as no surprise that the town of about 13,000 is home to plenty of interesting sites. Among its most popular destinations is the Fort Matanzas National Monument, which was originally used as a Spanish outpost in the 1740s. As for more contemporary sites, you should check out the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, which stands out as an icon of the town.

    Astoria, Oregon
    Home to less than 10,000 people, this small town located on the border with Washington is truly a gem in the Northwest. Astoria seems to have a culture all its own, something that is especially evident with the Astoria Riverfront Trolley. Opened in 1999, the trolley was designed in the mold of those used in decades past, and offers visitors a unique way to get around the town's quaint streets.

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