9 Best Small Towns in Wyoming For A Weekend Escape

Nothing is better than escaping the city for a weekend and retreating to the calmness of the great outdoors. If you live in the United States then there are many places you can go to experience this but there is arguably no place that has more untouched wilderness than the great state of Wyoming. One of the least populated states in the union, Wyoming is perhaps the only place where glimpses of the frontier lifestyle are still alive and kicking. Whether it is the mighty Rocky Mountains or the Great Plains, Wyoming has a never-ending supply of jaw-dropping beauty.


A welcoming signboard at the beautiful city of Buffalo
A welcoming signboard at the beautiful city of Buffalo. Image credit Cheri Alguire via Shutterstock

Nestled into the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains is the sleepy town of Buffalo. Its most notable contribution to popular culture is that it was the backdrop to Longmire, a successful cowboy drama that kicked off in 2012. 

Aside from its time on the big screen, Buffalo has tons to offer those looking to escape from their day-to-day lives. Buffalo has tons of small-town charm, all of which is only further amplified in its robust historic downtown. Here you can find the 130-year-old Occidental Hotel along with the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum. This town has hosted the likes of US President Teddy Roosevelt and Butch Cassidy and it could host you as well if you are daring enough. 


Downtown street in Cody, Wyoming
The downtown strip of Cody. Image credit Jillian Cain Photography via Shutterstock

First formed in part thanks to the Western legend that is William Cody (Buffalo Bill), the town of Cody deeply respects and cherishes this unique and fascinating origin. Cody is also home to the Buffalo Bill Historical Centre. Here you are able to find out all you need to know about this larger-than-life figure of American history. 

Cody is well known for its fast and exciting rodeos too. The self-proclaimed rodeo capital of the world, you can be sure that you are going to see something spectacular at any rodeo in Cody. Cody is a little larger than some of the other towns on this list with a population hovering around 10,000 but still has plenty of charm.


Bighorn rams (Ovis canadensis), Whiskey Mountain, Wind River Mountains, near Dubois, Wyoming.
Whiskey Mountain, Wind River Mountains, near Dubois, Wyoming.

If you plan on visiting the town of Dubois it is important to note the pronunciation of the town name is Doo-boys, not Du-bwah. As counterintuitive as this might seem there is a good story behind it. During the early settlement, the name of the town was changed to Dubois (with the proper French pronunciation) by the postal service. This upset the townsfolk to such a degree that they have been purposely mispronouncing the name of their own town ever since. 

Aside from the funny story about the name, Dubois is one of the best places to go hiking and horseback riding in the entire state. The locals are more than welcoming too.


Giant white Native American teepee house at the Vore Buffalo Jump archaeological site of northeast Wyoming in Sundance
Traditional Native American lodging at Sundance. Image credit MollieGPhoto via Shutterstock

Sundance gets its name from the kind of dances performed by the Native American that once controlled these lands. Despite the dispossession of the native inhabitants, Sundance is still very much in tune with its Native American roots and influence.

Just outside of town is the famous Vore Buffalo Jump. This is a spot where the Great Plains tribes would herd buffalo off the sides of cliffs during great hunts. A visit here is a great way to gain a new and interesting understanding of their culture and previous way of life. With the famous Blackhill Mountains nearby there is a shortage of outdoor activities for those wanting to take a visit.


The view over main street, Sheridan, Wyoming
The downtown core of Sheridan. Image credit Ems Images via Shutterstock

The first thing people notice when visiting Sheridan is the stunning mountains in the background, making it one of the most beautiful cities in Wyoming. Situated just north of Buffalo, Wyoming, close to the Montana border, Sheridan is the ideal spot to explore the Bighorn National Forest. Sheridan has done a remarkable job of looking after and preserving their Western heritage with countless buildings and monuments to appreciate on your weekend escape. Taking a long walk down the main strip of Sheridan will make you feel transported back in time to the Old West.


High angle landscape of a river and multi-colored travertine cliff at Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis, Wyoming
The natural springs located at the center of town.

While its name might conjure up images of ancient empires going to war, the easygoing town of Thermopolis, Wyoming is a far cry from a battlefield. This town's claim to fame is much more peaceful and relaxing. Thermopolis is home to one of the largest natural springs on the planet. The largest part of the springs is in the center of town within a designated building with both an indoor and outdoor section.

However, if you are feeling adventurous you are more than welcome to find your own in the nearby hills and plains that stretch out past the town's limits. Either way, you are in for a good time.


Heart Mountain in winter near Powell
Heart Mountain in the distance.

Powell is the perfect place to go if you are wanting to experience one of the most welcoming and genuine getaways there is. The local residents of this town are some of the friendliest and heartwarming people around. Powell's economy is heavily agricultural. This farming base has given this town the reputation of having some of the freshest and most delicious produce and meat in the state. Farmers' markets and other local businesses all sell local goods. 

Aside from the caring townsfolk, the outskirts of Powell are some of the most picturesque around. The countless hikes and horse trails will make your head spin.

Rock Springs

Aerial view of Rock Springs, the 5th Largest Town in Wyoming and a Stop on a Passenger Train Line
Downtown Rock Springs. 

The fifth largest town in Wyoming, Rock Springs has a surprisingly robust and impressive restaurant scene. With plenty of flavors arriving over the years from all around the world, there are great places to eat no matter what kind of food you are craving. 

Rock Springs was originally settled as a coal mining town in the 19th century but has since transitioned into other forms of energy. Like much of Wyoming, the rodeo still plays a large part in this town's identity. If you arrive here on a weekend there is a good chance you will be able to catch some bull riding and rodeo clowns.


Famous Antler Arch at Jackson Town Square, with Cowboy Bar and ski slopes in the background
A wooden ranch on the outskirts of Jackson. Image credit VDB Photos via Shutterstock

Embracing both the old and the new, the town of Jackson has done an amazing job at retaining the Old Western feel of the town while also being open to modernization within the bounds of class and good taste.

Considered one of the many gateway towns into the legendary Yellowstone National Park, Jackson can be a great place to serve as a base of operations for those wanting to take a peek into one of America's most celebrated parks. If you do stumble across Jackson make sure you take time out of your day to take a trip on the ariel tram. It will be an experience that will last you a lifetime.

Wyoming is the perfect place to escape into the wilderness even if it is only for a weekend. The time that you spend in these small towns is going to be one of the most unforgettable times of your life if you have never experienced something similar. Embrace your inner cowboy and dawn your best plaid shirt. It is time to give Wyoming the change it so desperately deserves.


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