Make the most of your stay in these lesser-known cities and towns

Las Vegas and Austin are two of the more enduringly popular (and often-cited) U.S. destinations for international travel. But for those who already visited both locations, there are still more worthwhile destinations that need to be put on your list of to-dos. One such destination is Durango, Colorado, which has barely been visited in recent years. For weeks, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad — which runs through this picturesque Rocky Mountain town — has been running on a month-to-month schedule. Check this site on airfare prices for May, when prices are historically lowest, to get the jump on booking travel now. During the winter months, when temperatures average 40-50 degrees Farenheit, the city becomes a ghost town, complete with snow and cold.

For top-notch drinking, you won’t find it anywhere more than in the slow-talking “gold-rush towns” of the “Bitter Root,” where locals settle down after time away in the cities. Now’s the time to check them out. Will Town, for instance, is home to only a few brick and mortar businesses and an army of eateries that keep the old-school vibe alive in this frontier town of less than a thousand people, which was settled in 1877. A visit to one of Will Town’s 12 “Main Streets” is in order.

If slow cooking is more your thing, Sturgis — a town with a population of more than 10,000 — is home to the biannual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (perhaps the most epic motorcycle rallying event on the planet), which is held over 10 days. Every part of the town is under construction on that first day, leading to a fun and wild look at Sturgis that includes four-wheeling and off-roading, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and more.

If you live in a major city, or just haven’t been in a while, you can stop by Parc Sans-Souci, which has been open to the public since 1995. With just over 3,000 residents (mostly Europeans), it’s a unique oasis in the middle of a city; a local executive told me it’s better known to locals as “the ancient market.” With a never-ending stream of entertainment to choose from, from parties to music to art exhibits to just hanging out and exploring, there’s something here for everyone.

And finally, a word about taking pictures. Walking around a charming old European city, there’s a good chance you’ll hear nearby conversations about which pic was the best. But in Dallas, you may be more than a little hesitant to ask a stranger to take a photo of you! The potential of getting rejected is just as powerful as the joy of knowing that your photo is the best one of a place you’ve never been to. So here’s a tip: better to email than to ask!

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