It’s so easy to forget that adventure lies just outside our doorstep. Unfamiliar foods, new customs, rich histories, views for days — just a few hours from home are a dozen different worlds. To get there, you don’t need a car, you don’t need a huge budget, and you don’t even have to do the driving yourself.
Greyhound can take you to cities large and small, not far from where you live and yet still a world away. Probably some you’ve never even considered visiting, by bus or otherwise — until now. We’ve compiled a list of places that won’t be flying under the hype for very long, and in most cases, you’ll be dropped off downtown, in search of your next adventure, limited only by your willingness to dig in and explore. But really, all you have to do is hop aboard.
Once an industrial capital of the US — you’ll feel it walking between and stepping into the old brick warehouses around town — Pittsburgh now explodes with color, art, and a foodie scene that would be at home in a city much, much larger.
When you tire of walking one the country’s most impressive beach boardwalks, you’ll find a coastal city ripe with a little bit of everything: local artisans, a mean coffee scene, a storied history, and brunch options that put cities five times its size to shame.
When Hamilton chooses a city as small as Greenville, you know something’s afoot. We could attempt to describe why, but the highlights below speak for themselves.
Move over, N’awlins. This is the heart and soul of Cajun & Creole country, a side to Louisiana lacking in airs and pretense, but never, ever lacking the flavor. The Hub City is home to the Ragin’ Cajuns, bayou communities, and the second-largest Mardi Gras in the state. It’s America, definitely, but its roots run deep, deep, deep into other cultures — and thanks to its small size, that identity is still well-preserved.
Up north, California gets wild. Sacramento is a confluence, drawing those looking for redwood country, amazingly good coffee and an uber-local foodie scene (they call this America’s “farm-to-fork” capital), a Pony-Express kind of past, and — back in the day — gold. You probably won’t find the shiny stuff anymore, but it might feel like coming close.
Okay, we’re stretching the limits of “small” in applying the adjective to Jacksonville (yes, it is Florida’s largest city, and the 12th-largest in the nation), but old Jax holds on tight to the hip underbelly of the radar. Part of that has to do with its many identities — the city feels completely different depending on what neighborhood you’re in, much like the boroughs of NYC. For this stop, you’re gonna want some time.
Kansas City is a cultural beacon in a sea of grain. Jazz clubs wail into the wee hours of the morning, the BBQ never stops sizzling, and the arts and culture scene is internationally recognized. Perhaps all this is why locals don the “I heart KC” merch as much as enchanted tourists.
When three of a city’s claims to fame are chic bars, deep-fried bacon, and fighting the good fight for Civil Rights, you know you’re onto something special. Montgomery is both the first Confederate capital and the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. Home to Rosa Parks, Queen Anne mansions, and blues riffs like your grandma couldn’t follow. This isn’t a spot for some run-of-the-mill vacation — here, you have to take the world in.
Asheville may be the South’s most booming small town, but it didn’t happen overnight. The cultural and culinary institutions that make it such a hot foodie, music, and beer destination have been decades in the making. Thank the trailblazers, because now you get to enjoy it all.
Coming at you from an Old World fairytale, Savannah is as close as you can get to wandering the streets of Europe without booking that international ticket. Cobblestone streets, centuries-old cemeteries, and picturesque squares stud this highly walkable city, and the nightlife scene? Just stock up on sleep before you arrive.
This is one of those cities that manages to stay mellow despite the drama. Drama being a great beer and music scene, some really cool museums, killer chili, and a constantly evolving list of new-school restaurants. If one city on this list really surprises you, it might be right here.
It would be hard (and a bit sad) to visit Roanoke and not take advantage of its location in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, with access to 600 miles of hiking trails (including some of the most scenic sections of the Appalachian Trail), 300 miles of mountain biking trails, and tons of rivers and lakes for paddling, SUPing, and rafting. But even if you’re keeping it urban, the city has tons to keep you busy.
Tallahassee is a city all wrapped up in a small-town package. It’s super bikeable, and it won’t take long before you realize the Florida capital is meant to be experienced outside. Cycling trails, outdoor music venues, First Fridays in the Railroad Square Art Park — if it can be done outdoors, it will be.
It may be a business city on the outside, but a deeper look will show you that the weekend scene is totally mid-renaissance. West Hartford is where you’ll find the best of the city’s shopping, dining, and nightlife, but downtown is right along the Connecticut River, with — in a surprising twist — greenspace galore.
Hollywood South, or so some call it. This is the “other side” of Louisiana, the B side of the record, the kind where you find that one song you’re so happy no one else knows — because it’s all yours.
They don’t call it North Craftolina for nothing. And in Greensboro, that locally crafted mindset doesn’t start and stop at hops and suds — it includes theatre, sports, museums, and festivals.
Taste the Jubilee — where crab and shrimp flood into Mobile Bay’s shallow waters — and you’ll become a seafood snob for life. Soul food plays a prominent role here, too, and it’s not only in the food that you’ll find this unique (and tasty!) crash of cultures.
This is where city meets country. Rivers, lakes, and the Ozark Mountains will swamp you with options for hiking, boating, and fishing; three universities and a newly booming downtown set you up for the post-adrenaline come-down. If you can only choose one city, might as well choose Brad Pitt’s childhood home one that gives you a taste of both worlds.
If there’s one place where your champagne wishes and caviar dreams will come true, it’s West Palm Beach. Celebrities have been flocking here for decades upon decades, and now, in their wake, comes every walk of life. Turns out no one’s immune to the pull of endless sunshine and beautiful beaches — not even the most budget of us travelers.
Beer trails and street art — that’s the new Richmond. Virginia’s capital is a true wildcard, a dark horse gaining speed, and you heard about it here first. These are some of the best urban adventures in the US, and a single moment in the city will defy your expectations. Though a single moment will hardly be enough.