Road trips are as American as apple pie. But why hit the usual places when you can take the road less traveled? There are hundreds of small, often overlooked towns in the U.S. that offer unique experiences that aren’t canned or overly commercialized. We’ve traveled a lot, and these locations stick out as places where the people are friendly, the food is authentic and the attractions are as grassroots as they come.

Check out our picks for the hot new places to travel in 2014: