USA Today survey picks best small towns in U.S.

Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:02pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If the hustle and bustle of big city life has you stressed out, chill out in one of America's best small towns identified by a survey of USA Today newspaper and map maker Rand McNally.

The "Best of the Road" contest sent five teams of scouts on road trips that covered 25,000 miles over three weeks to find friendly people, stunning sights, terrific tastes, patriotism, and fun.

Known for its wine, Walla Walla, Washington was named the friendliest town by contestants who also visited Lake Havasu City, Arizona; Mount Airy, North Carolina; Nacogdoches, Texas; Valdosta, Georgia; and Woodward, Oklahoma.

Sandpoint, Idaho provided the most beautiful vistas of the list of 30 towns visited. A city of just over 7,000, Sandpoint offers mountains and the scenic Lake Pend Oreille.

For good down-home, small-town eats, they chose Lafayette, Louisiana which features Cajun cuisine with all the fixins.

If you want to recharge your sense of patriotism, visit Rapid City, South Dakota, home of Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial and Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Glenwood Springs, Colorado was named the most fun for its large outdoor hot springs, paragliding and zip-lining.

(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Greg McCune)