With non-essential travel off the table right now, vacation wish lists are mostly on hiatus. For the time being, people have been advised to stay at home when they can, but this doesn’t mean you can’t plan for the future.
If international travel isn’t in the cards for you (or if it’s a long-term aspiration), try visiting these small American towns named after your dream European destinations. Can you check all of these US cities off your travel bucket list?
1. Amsterdam, Pennsylvania
Have you ever wanted to visit the Netherlands? Did you know there’s a closer Amsterdam, and it’s only an hour drive from the Pittsburgh International Airport? That’s right. The majority of the town’s early settlers were from Holland, which might explain how this place got its name.
While you won’t experience the famous canals or Red Light District, you can stop for a beer at Big Rail Brewing
. Then, buy a souvenir at Hardisky’s Wooden Wishes
inside Prairie Daze Schoolhouse. After all, you’ll need to prove that you were there.
Nearest Airport: Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
Now, you could create another bucket list of cities named Amsterdam alone -- There’s one in Georgia, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Have you ever seen a Twitter bio that says, "I’ve visited eleven Amsterdams without leaving the United States?" It could be fun.
2. Athens, Ohio
While you won’t get the same experience you would in Greece, you’ll create unique memories. The home of Ohio University, Athens offers the state’s best mountain biking, so bring your bicycle. Fun fact: Athens is where Midget Motors Corporation, creators of the King Midget
If you like US history or art, you will probably love it here. You’ll find numerous museums to check out, including the Southeast Ohio History Center
. Be sure to check out the Kennedy Museum of Art
as well, which is located in an old asylum for an interesting vibe.
Nearest Airport: Mid Ohio Valley Regional Airport (PKB)
In case you’re interested, there’s an Athens in Georgia as well.
3. Berlin, Wisconsin
You might not make it to Germany any time soon, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to see Berlin. This Wisconsin town in Green Lake County was named after the capital of Prussia (now the capital of Germany) in the 1800s.
This little town has two cemeteries, Oakwood and St Stanislaus. An afternoon of stone rubbing, anyone? If that’s too creepy, you could always visit the Berlin Museum of Local History
or The Berlin Tannery
instead. Be prepared for a paranormal experience if you make this trip.
Nearest Airport: Austin Strobel International Airport (GRB)
Believe it or not, there are towns named Berlin in Georgia and New York too.
4. Budapest, Georgia
As you might expect, the founders of this now unincorporated community were from Hungary. What was once a landscape of vineyards is now basically just a cemetery and a 6,000 square foot mansion built by one of the town’s first residents, Father Janisek.
If you are willing to take this journey, check the weather in advance, bring a camera, and wear comfortable and durable shoes. The flora is probably overgrown as there are no groundskeepers for miles.
Nearest Airport: Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
5. Copenhagen, New York
Maybe you’ve always wanted to see Denmark. If so, you might want to put this Lewis County, New York village at the top of your list. In all fairness, your experience will be nothing like a visit to the original Copenhagen in Europe. That doesn’t mean you won’t have an enjoyable time.
The population here is tiny: under 1,000 tiny. Still, the Old Mill Ice Cream Shop
might have the best strawberry milkshake you’ve ever had. As you can imagine, The Amish Connection
has remarkable-quality furniture, decor, and gifts.
Nearest Airport: Watertown International Airport (ART)
6. Dublin, California
This bucket list idea won’t lead you to the green, rugged hills of Ireland. But, it will take you to the suburbs. Dublin, California is the "crossroads of the Bay Area," according to the official city website
. Alamilla Springs is a historical landmark where travelers used to change horses and freshen up on long journeys.
On a mild day, walk or ride your bike along the Iron Horse Trail
to get a street view of the town while you decide which landmarks you want to stop and see.
Nearest Airport: Metropolitan Oakland International Airport (OAK)
For extra credit, after you check Paris, Texas off your list, make the three and a half-hour drive to Dublin, Texas as well.
7. Florence, Alabama
Built next to the Tennessee River, nowhere the Arno, Florence, Alabama is a sight to see. Experience southern living at its finest. A drive downtown will reveal stunning historical homes. Don’t pass through town without visiting Harrison Plaza at the University of North Alabama
Other notable sights are the Pope’s Tavern Museum
and the Florence Indian Mound and Museum
, both kid-friendly. Then, bring the family, including dogs, for a walk through Deibert Park
Nearest Airport: Northwest Alabama Regional Airport (MSL)
If you prefer the western US coastline, take this city off your list and replace it with Florence, Oregon.
8. Paris, Texas
They say everything is bigger in Texas. But, that doesn’t apply to this city. The population of Paris, France is greater than Paris, Texas by a couple million. But, this American town had a movie
named after it, so there’s that.
There’s also a second-edition Eiffel Tower
. The south’s version stands proud, but not so tall, at 65 feet, and wears a cowboy hat. It’s a fraction of the size. In reality, it looks like the original Eiffel Tower meets an oil-drilling tower with a Texas twist. If you haven’t seen it yet, you must.
Nearest Airport: Dallas Love Field (DAL)
There are towns called Paris in Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, and Missouri as well.
9. Warsaw, Illinois
Bordered to the northwest, by the Mississippi River, Warsaw, Illinois is known for its Warsaw Brewery and historic downtown. While much smaller than it’s Poland namesake, you can find unusual things to do here. For example, the Muddy Hog Fest
boasts country-style fun and mud pits.
Originally open for a century starting in the mid-1800s, the Warsaw Brewery
reopened in 2006 as a bar and microbrewery. Stop in for a drink when you’re in the neighborhood.
Nearest Airport: Southeast Iowa Regional Airport (BRL)
Alternatively, you could check out Warsaw in Indiana or Missouri instead.
10. Zurich, Kansas
It’s no Switzerland, but Zurich is just fun to say. The Kansas town is another small American community worth checking out. In the late-1800s, the Union Pacific Railroad was routed just south of town.
In 1918, most of the township’s business district was destroyed in a fire. While commerce never fully recouped, there are still things to see. Landscape photographers and Instagrammers could have a hay day. Bring a drone for one-of-a-kind aerial farm photography
Nearest Airport: Salina Municipal Airport (SLN)
So, will you add any of these cities to your perfect travel bucket list? No matter where you decide to visit, you should look for the best deals. You can count on The Parking Spot for savings on parking near 22 major airports
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