While Radiator Springs is not a real town name, but rather one depicted in a Disney movie, it focused on a real section of the state. There are many small desert towns similar to this one in the US, with unique features, quaint charm, and sometimes remoteness. The differences lie in their wages, sizes, and home costs.
Desert towns have a special allure that no regular town can rival. Radiator Springs highlights unique hotels, restaurants, and overall buildings similar to iconic structures in other states. Here are 20 towns similar to “Radiator Springs.”
1. Tucumcari, New Mexico
There are approximately 100 public murals in Tucumcari despite its population of about 4,900. It is the closest architecturally to Radiator Springs, AZ, which is located in Arizona. There are many hotels in Tucumcari that have been around since the 1970s and 1980s, notably the Tucumcari Travelodge, which has been renamed the Value Inn.
Even so, many of the older motor inns are still family-run businesses. It’s a small desert town full of interesting buildings, just like in Radiator Springs, of course.
Either La Cita or Pow Wow Restaurant & Lizard Lounge, with its stunning architecture, offers classic cuisine you can’t afford to miss. The teepee-shaped entryway to Tee Pee Curios has become a symbol along the Mother Road because of its unique architecture.
Route 66 memorabilia you will find plenty at the shop’s eye-catching front, which draws tourists away from the road. Despite the low median property price of $89,714 in this area, residents do not consider it a safe place to live. The average family income is $26,029. Tourism and retail provide for the vast majority of local jobs.
2. Taos, New Mexico
Taos, New Mexico, has a population of 5976 and a typical home price of $368,122, making it one of the most desirable places to live in the state. In Taos, New Mexico, retail trade, health care & social assistance, and public administration make up the majority of the economy, while the highest-paying industries are mining, agriculture, fishing, and forestry.
Taos is a place where Native American ancestry and stunning displays of high art collide. Located in the heart of the high desert, this primitive adobe village is the result of centuries of human migration.
Taos Ski Valley is just a few miles outside town, but there are various galleries and studios in the area where you may admire the work of local artists. Taos, nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is about 70 miles north of Santa Fe.
The area has some well-equipped campgrounds and a lot to see and do if you’re just there for the day.
3. Sedona, Arizona
Sedona is the area to go if you want to get back in touch with nature. Home prices here are on average $841,335, with a typical income of $41,000. The lovely village has a population of around 10322 people. Health Care plus Social Assistance, Accommodation & Food Services, Administrative & Support, and Waste Management Services are Sedona, AZ’s three most important industries, respectively. Financing and insurance are two of the most lucrative professions.
Spiritual excursions and hiking have made this town a popular destination because of its proximity to a stunning array of red rock structures and gorges.
The “Vortex” can be experienced here, or you can simply explore the sandstone landscapes on any of the hundreds of hiking and riding paths. And don’t miss seeing the Sedona rock formations at sunrise or sunset, when they seem to shine and shimmer. Sedona is a small town nestled in the red rock canyons of southern Arizona, about 30 miles south of Flagstaff.
RVs can park right in the heart of town, complete with hookups and water hookups.
4. Grand Junction, Colorado
With its beautiful red rock scenery, exhilarating outdoor adventure, and cultural attractions, Grand Junction is Colorado’s Western Slope’s most popular destination for tourists. Don’t miss out on the chance to get up and personal with nature by riding a bike or horseback along local trails at the Colorado National Monument or Grand Mesa.
Skiing, golfing, rafting, plus hiking are all popular activities in Grand Junction. Several local vineyards and farmers’ markets serve restaurants and farm stands with locally grown produce and wine.
According to the 2020 census, the population of the city was 65,560. The highest-paying jobs are in Oil & Gas Extraction, Quarrying, and Mining, which are the largest, retail trade, and academic facilities industries. For every $52504 earned by a typical household, a house costs $361,276 on average.
The town lies on the Western Slope of Colorado. The State Park, which provides biking paths, lakes, wildlife, and river entry, is renowned as the heart of Colorado’s wine country. Prehistoric pottery and weaponry from the nineteenth century are on show at the Museum of the West. Colorado National Monument, full of canyons and beautiful red sandstone structures, is located to the city’s west.
5. Overton, Nevada
Despite its reputation as a dangerous city, it is a wonderfully gorgeous desert town. Residents here make an average of $61,730 a year while living in a house costs on average $290,000. With a population of 5,510, Overton, Nevada is a relatively tiny town.
Both blue- and white-collar jobs are represented in the workforce of Overton. In general, Overton is a town of experts, service providers, as well as salespeople, and administrative staff. Overton is home to a large population of people that work in education, office services, and retailing.
If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway, head to the Valley of Fire State Park, the Lost City Museum-Archaeology, and countless other beautiful spots in the area.
Residents of Overton must deal with daily commuting of approximately 30 minutes a day getting to and from their jobs. When it comes to public transit in a little town like Overton, there is none to speak of.
6. Moab, Utah
Nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Moab, Utah, is surrounded by red rock desert. Colorado, as well as the Green Rivers, have sculpted a wide range of sandstones here, rendering it a hotspot for off-roaders, cyclists, and rock hounds alike.
Moab, like all great American desert towns, has a bustling (but charming) central business district. The streets are lined with local breweries and restaurants. After a long hike, nothing is more pleasant than a cool beer.
Moab, a town of 5,268 people, is located about 100 miles SW of Grand Junction, Colorado. On average, residents make $41,531 and spend $493,628 on their homes.
Just stopping by? Stay at Portal RV Resort and enjoy opulence at its finest! The park is divided into two distinct areas, each with first-rate features. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting, & Mining, Public Administration, and Educational Services are the highest-earning businesses, followed by Retail Trade and Health Care & Social Assistance.
7. Amarillo, Texas
The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, is a famous attraction along Route 66 and is known for its delectable sirloin challenge. The Don Harrington Discovery Center, as well as the Space, are additional prominent attractions among the city’s theaters and art exhibits.
Amarillo has a population of 198,955 people, with an average age of 34.2. At $71,124 per year, Amarillo’s average yearly household income is much above the national average.
The people in this city are polite, helpful, and hardworking. There are fantastic first responders in Amarillo and a supportive community! One of the most affordable places to live in Texas! With its low unemployment percentage, Amarillo is a great place to live and work!
8. Marfa, Texas
El Cosmico, a 21-acre site with yurts, trailers, tents, a camper, and the slightly less rustic Hotel St. George are the best options for lodging in the city of Marfa. If you’re interested in seeing some truly eerie lights, head to Marfa Lights.
An annual salary of $41,719 and a home value of $168,100 are both typical for residents in Marfa. This settlement in the desert has a population of 1,831 residents.
Marfa, Texas, has become a popular tourist destination and a hub for minimalist art in recent years. In addition to the Chinati Foundation and the Marfa lights, other points of interest in the area include historical architecture, the Chinati Foundation, the iconic Building 98, and artisan stores.
In Marfa, Judd’s minimalist style is woven into the fabric of the town, making it ideal for art lovers who appreciate his work. Those who are drawn to deserts and who enjoy hiking have an advantage. If that’s the situation, put your ego radar on low sensitivity as well as arrange an excursion.
9. Cottonwood, AZ
Cottonwood, Arizona is a small yet charming town with a population of 11,959. While Sedona’s red rocks are only a short drive away, Cottonwood has its attractions. You can start with exploring the picturesque Old Town area before venturing out to explore the verdant Verde River banks and the surrounding historic villages of Jerome and Clarkdale.
An average of $37,146 a year is what residents in Cottonwood can expect to earn while living in a densely populated suburb with a median property price of $370,000. Cottonwood has a large number of seniors, and its citizens tend to be conservative. Cottonwood’s public schools are among the best in the state.
10. Ojo Caliente, New Mexico
There are 520 inhabitants in Ojo Caliente, where the median household income is $52,988 per year and the median house price is $280,204. Its hot springs make it a popular tourist destination just north of Santa Fe. As one of the first health resorts in North America, Ojo Caliente has a rich history.
According to Tewa folklore, these pools were gateways to the underworld. There have been three generations of Mauros working at the company since Frank purchased it in 1932. These structures are listed as historic on the National Register.
In this village, everything goes hand in hand, from toddlers swimming near the spa to people riding horses, hiking, and even a racetrack nearby. It’s a quaint and historic town.
11. Palm Springs, California
In the early 1900s, when it was discovered that the dry heat of the desert could benefit people’s health, Palm Springs, a town known for its numerous mid-century contemporary dwellings, blossomed into a popular tourist destination. As the health tourism sector grew, a new industry for hot springs, as well as bathhouses, emerged.
There are a lot of jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry in Palm Springs. Over 25% of the city’s workforce is employed by the industry. Every year, it receives around 1.6 million visits. At least a dozen bed-and-breakfast lodging options may be found throughout the city.
L.A. celebrities eventually found Palm Springs’ charm and purchased it as a second residence in the desert. Nowadays, a new generation pursues the allure of this spectacular region, organizing huge performance events within the Coachella Valley.
Situated 100 miles east of Los Angeles, Palm Springs has a population of 47,897. The median property price in this arid town is $657,171, with a median household income of USD 53,441.
12. Palm Desert, California
In the Coachella Valley of California, Palm Desert is a city of around 52,575 residents. Country clubs, golf courses, and retail establishments can all be found here. The shops on El Paseo, located in the heart of the district, are home to a variety of high-end retailers, restaurants, and art galleries.
In the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, cheetahs and camels from throughout the world are kept in captivity. At the McCallum Theatre, you’ll find a wide variety of performances ranging from dramatic to comedic to musical.
The median yearly income in Palm Desert is $59,977, making it a good place to raise a family. It costs an average of $536,358 to buy a home. There are a plethora of parks and recreational activities for children to participate in.
Since there are so many gated communities, crime is at a minimum. 90% of the year is sunny, and it’s a new development. Real estate, hotels, retail healthcare, and construction are the primary industries.
13. Boulder City, Nevada
Hoover Dam, the Boulder City / Hoover Dam Museum, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the Black Canyon, the Colorado River, and beyond are all within a 30-mile radius of this southern Nevada town, which is a hub for history and outdoor adventure.
Health Care & Social Assistance and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation are the three most important industries in Boulder City, Nevada. Public administration, on the other hand, is the highest-paying profession.
There is a 2% difference between Boulder City’s housing costs and average household income, which are $455,683 and $64,329.
One of the greatest places in Nevada to live in is Boulder City, which has a low cost of living, a low crime rate, a wide range of neighboring attractions, and a low unemployment rate, as well as excellent housing and climate conditions.
14. Silver City, New Mexico
SmartAsset, a prominent online financial service, has placed Silver City, New Mexico, among the top three cities across the state for retirees with its population of 9,627. Taos and Placitas were the top two retirement destinations in New Mexico, with Silver City just edging out Santa Fe as the best of the rest.
More tranquil than many American cities and with a thriving historical downtown, an active art scene, and a slew of annual festivals and events, Silver City is a hidden gem in New Mexico’s SW region. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is also accessible via this road.
The median household income is $31,620 and the average house price is $198,265 in the United States. Silver Springs’ economic development has been fueled mostly by the Education & Healthcare, Natural Resources & Mining sectors.
15. Bisbee, Arizona
Bisbee, Arizona, has a small yet lovely population of 5,203 people. Many people have gone to this place repeatedly, and it’s always been the most beautiful place for them. The location is ideal for creative sorts who want to travel or take trips with their closest pals.
In Bisbee, the average home price is $174,122; the median household income in Bisbee is $34,452. Public administration, retail trade, and healthcare are the three main businesses.
Tourists flock to Bisbee because of its historical significance and the remnants of the Old West that it has preserved. The Copper Queen Mine, which produced eight billion pounds of copper, fueled the town’s rapid growth at the turn of the century.
16. Virginia City, Nevada
The 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode and the following windfall brought about 15,000 people to this mining town with Victorian architecture, just 25 miles to the south of Reno, in its peak years (billions in gold and silver). Now it has less than a thousand residents.
With classic saloons, dusty graveyards, wooden boardwalks, plus historic landmarks such as Piper’s Opera House, the city’s historic core has been added to the National Register of Historic Places in recent years.
The average home costs $556,638 while the median household income is $69,414 per year. Accommodation and food services, public administration, and retail trade all rank well in Virginia City.
In addition to gold panning, stagecoach rides, and exploring historic mines, a ride on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad is an excellent way to take in the stunning high desert scenery. Take advantage of the zany ostrich and camel races that take place in the fall.
17. Borrego Springs, California
Borrego Springs is forever linked to its local plants and animals, like its namesake sheep (Borrego is Spanish for “bighorn sheep”), rattlesnakes, golden eagles, and kit foxes. It is the only town in America encircled by state parkland.
Borrego Springs has a population of 2,145 people, with an annual average household income of $69,852 and a median household income of $48,570. A bachelor’s degree is held by approximately 11.39 percent of the population. Manufacturing, construction, education, health, and social services make up the majority of the workforce.
Every spring, the park’s vast collection of desert wildflowers bursts into vibrant life, and for stargazing it is possibly the most beloved of California’s state parks. With its exceptionally beautiful evenings and its second recognition as an International Dark Sky Community, the local government even passed legislation to prevent light pollution.
18. Terlingua, Texas
Big Bend National Park, located in the southwestern region of Texas, is enormous and extremely diversified. It comprises a spread of the Chihuahuan Desert adjacent to the Rio Grande that comprises canyons, stark deserts, and the Chisos Mountains, Stark desert, and canyons.
Terlingua is the sole human settlement for what seems like hundreds of miles, having been a mercury-mining town in the 1890s before becoming a typical post-boom ghost town. The main sector is tourism, which generates a median yearly income of $65,712 and houses averaging $235,275.
From now on, you’ll find hippies and thrill-seekers, who travel to Santa Elena Canyon for whitewater rafting as well as two important November festivals: an international chili cook-off inaugurated in 1967 and a Dia de Los Muertos event at the town cemetery.
19. Yakima Valley, Washington
Yakima, a sweltering desert town located two hours south of Seattle in the Cascade Mountains, defies belief when you see it bathed in sunlight. Crisp apples and whopping three-quarters of all hops grown in the country may be found in the nearby agricultural regions.
Pioneers faced a hostile sagebrush desert, which has since been conquered thanks to a system of clever irrigation canals that utilize fresh mountain runoff to bring the fertile volcanic soil to life.
More than 100 wineries produce an array of wines, from Rieslings and Chardonnays to Merlots and Syrahs to sweet ice wines, in Yakima, a city with a population of 93,413 today. The typical home costs $334,896 while the median household income is $44,950.
20. St. George, Utah
Mormon settlers desiring hot weather to grow cotton founded St. George in Utah’s southwesternmost corner in the 1860s, quickly earning it the nickname Utah’s Dixie. This city, located roughly 120 miles from Las Vegas and with a population of 84,500, was able to thrive despite the failure of the cotton program.
Residents earn an average of $53965 while the average home price is $534,991. Industries in this area include anything from construction to mining to oil and gas to farming. Overall, Utah’s education system is excellent.
Another popular attraction in the area, Zion National Park, bears its name from a biblical location of peace and refuge. The settlers of the area also had a hand in naming it. Zion’s unique scenery of sandstone cliffs, arches, and slot canyons attracts rock climbers, horseback riders, hikers, and mountain bikers (and families).