Fake a European Vacation Without Leaving the States

Portugal: Lisbon, Connecticut

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It might not be a bustling Portuguese capital, but Lisbon, Connecticut, offers serene New England countryside and plenty of COVID-friendly activities for the whole family.

Take a hike around historic Yantic Falls, walk the eclectic wings full of fine art and fashion at the Slater Memorial Museum, or marvel at classic New England Colonial architecture at the Leffingwell House Museum.

In between seeing sights, you can rest and relax at this sprawling 10-acre lakefront estate, complete with a peaceful patio, firepit, and pond. Ahhhhh.

Serbia: Belgrade, Montana

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Serbia is still in the process of joining the EU, but after taking one look at the commanding landscape of Belgrade, Montana, we had to include it in our list of Euro-American hot spots.

Although it might be difficult to leave this unbelievably picturesque cabin nestled in a lush Rocky Mountain valley, there are plenty of things to do in and around this small Montana town.

Take a quick drive over to Bozeman to visit the American Computer and Robotics Museum or hike to the stunning, 80-foot-tall Palisade Falls. In the mood for a scenic drive? Yellowstone National Park is only an hour and a half away.

Austria: Vienna, Illinois

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Southern Illinois was once a prehistoric, tropical sea, then the locale of a vast Shawnee civilization. Today, southern Illinois is a mecca for nature-lovers and history buffs.

A short drive away from Vienna is the impressive (yet still easily accessible) Garden of the Gods, waterfalls, springs, and hiking trails, all ripe for exploring. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, be sure to stop by the Vienna Diner, a classic local haunt that serves just about any type of food you can think of.

Afterward, retreat to your rustic lakeside cabin for the evening and bask in all the natural beauty southern Illinois has to offer.

Spain: Cadiz, Kentucky

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Tucked away in the green hills of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, Cadiz, Kentucky, is a peaceful small town with much more to offer than first meets the eye.

Cadiz has something for everyone: antique malls, intimate art galleries, nearby bourbon distilleries, and of course, 110,000 acres of woods, shorelines, and sparkling lakes to explore in LBL.

Continue to enjoy the lake long after you’ve shopped 'til you dropped with this unique AirBnB stay, featuring panoramic views of the lake, a private shoreline, and a nearby boat ramp.

France: Paris, Tennessee

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Just a short drive away from Cadiz, Kentucky, is Paris, Tennessee. The small town of Paris might have a different je ne sais quoi than the French capital, but it does have an Eiffel Tower and is home to the world’s largest fish fry.

Paris is another great home base for exploring the 60,000 Tennessee acres of Land Between the Lakes, revisiting history at Pilot Knob, or sampling sweet wine varieties at the Paris Winery.

Kick your feet up after a long day of exploring in this spacious wooden cabin situated on a hobby farm with goats, chickens, farm-friendly dogs, and mousing cats. It doesn’t get much more Midsouth than that.

Italy: Naples, Florida

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The Italian Naples predates its Floridian sister city by a handful of centuries, but the coastal town of Naples, Florida, has plenty to offer and a far less gritty reputation.

Get up close and personal with nature on a Manatee Sightseeing Tour, mosey through a tropical paradise at the Naples Botanical Garden, or revel in Florida’s signature, swampy landscape at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Still need something a bit more European? Visit Naples’ world-class opera house.

And good luck ever wanting to leave Naples, FL, after one night in this chic, modern beach house with private beach access and enclosed swimming pool.

Greece: Athens, Georgia

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Athens, Greece, might be the home of Aristotle and Plato, but Athens, Georgia, is the home of the B-52s, REM, and of Montreal—not too shabby of a hometown line-up if you ask us.

Additionally, Athens, Georgia, is home to the 313-acre State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Oconee Rivers Greenway, and if you or a travel buddy are into football, the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

Enjoy the city and northern Georgia’s mountainous, wooded countryside simultaneously in this light and airy bungalow. The nightly cost is so affordable; you won’t feel bad about that spur-of-the-moment shopping spree at Five Points.

Czech Republic: Carlsbad, New Mexico

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Named after Karlovy Vary (in German, Karlsbad), a spa town in the Czech Republic, Carlsbad, New Mexico, has far fewer springs and a lot more desert.

Home to the world-famous Carlsbad Caverns National Park, you can also observe desert wildlife at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park or visit a real-life desert oasis at Sitting Bull Falls.

This homey, bohemian Airbnb in the heart of Carlsbad keeps you close to creature comforts in between short drives to local parks and recreational areas.

Germany: New Braunfels, Texas

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Known for its strong German-Texan heritage, New Braunfels, Texas is nestled between the live music capital of the world, Austin, TX, and the sprawling metropolis of San Antonio. This puts New Braunfels in proximity to popular Texas attractions like the Alamo, Gruene Historic District, and Texas hill country gems such as Canyon Lake.

New Braunfels has plenty of kid-friendly attractions as well, including Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort, Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo, and the McKenna Children’s Museum.

There is certainly a lot to see in the New Braunfels area, and there’s no better place to unwind, decompress, and re-laaaax than this incredible Airbnb. Set on a cliff above the Guadalupe River (pronounced Gwad-a-loop), Guadalupe Blanca features a private cliffside pool and hot tub, gorgeous interiors, and beautiful views of Texas hill country from the spacious deck.

Denmark: Copenhagen, New York

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Compared to the Danish capital, Copenhagen, New York’s under-1,000 population seems unfathomably small. But what it lacks in size, this snowy New York village makes up for in natural beauty and charm.

Hike, ski, or sled your way through Tug Hill State Forest or stay cozy with a Cabernet at Tug Hill Vineyards. For a less strenuous hiking option, consider the Poors Island Trails. When in season, the Black River Drive-In offers another fun, nostalgic, and COVID-friendly activity in the area.

This affordable Airbnb minutes away from Copenhagen is so cozy, you’ll feel like you’re right at home as soon as your bags hit the floor.

Belgium: Brussels, Wisconsin

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Founded by four Belgian immigrant families in 1858, Brussels, Wisconsin, is known for its rich history and Belgian ancestry. Today, some residents still speak Walloon, the native language of the original settlers.

Get in touch with your Belgian side at the annual Belgian Kermis festival, get a bird’s-eye view on a Grizzly Scenic Air Tour, or visit the Midwestern wonder, the Niagara Escarpment.

While visiting Brussels, you can stay in this quiet, quaint cottage along the bay of Green Bay. The Scandinavian design and breathtaking views will leave you wondering why you hadn’t considered Wisconsin a prime vacation spot sooner.

Ireland: Dublin, California

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We end our European fake-ation in "Ireland," or more accurately, the San Francisco Bay Area, in Dublin, California. This suburban East Bay city was incorporated in 1982 and is nicknamed “the Crossroads of the Bay Area.”

Hike over Dublin Hills Regional Park's velvety ridges or get weird and quirky at the interactive Click Art Museum. Toast the end of your Euro-American adventure with a tour of one of America’s oldest vineyards, the award-winning Concannon Vineyard.

Of course, the City by the Bay is just a train ride away. Take the San Mateo Bridge (CA-92) across the bay to spend the day taking in the Pacific Ocean at Half Moon Bay.

This luxe modern home provides a sleek, serene area to relax and unwind.