Featured Photo by Visit Leavenworth WA

Best Bavarian Style German Towns Along National Rivers

Get a taste of a lively German village without leaving the United States! These U.S. towns capture the scenery, cuisine, and festive atmosphere of Bavaria and are a great place to vacation all year round. Whether you want to hit the slopes during the winter, celebrate a true German Oktoberfest in the fall, or head out on a beautiful spring or summer hike, these villages have it all. Here are a few of the best Bavarian style villages to add to your must-visit list.

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Bavarian Towns: Leavenworth, Washington

Best For Everything Bavarian
If you’re looking for all out Bavarian, Leavenworth, Washington may be the perfect Bavarian U.S. village for you. This village prides itself on having “everything Bavarian,” from German architecture and design to dining, activities, and attractions. Leavenworth is also nestled in the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest making it a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts. Here you can try authentic German cuisine and indulge in as much German style beer as you wish. Visitors enjoy stopping into the shops for German imports and gifts, and taking in all the sites and attractions around the village.

Leavenworth Trip Tips
Popular Bavarian Feature: Nussknacker Haus, Lodging: Haus Hanika, Restaurant: Munchen Haus Bavarian Grill and Beer Garden, Popular Activity: Snowshoeing and Nordic Skiing, Must-See Attractions: Everything Bavarian Itinerary, Local Tourism Guide: Leavenworth

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Bavarian Towns: Helen, Georgia

Best For Outdoor Enthusiasts
Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can explore Bavarian heritage and culture and the great Georgia outdoors in Helen. The alpine village features opportunities for enjoying arts and culture, family fun, history and heritage, German style cuisine, and, of course, the outdoors. If you want to get a taste of the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can try hiking, biking, or horseback riding through the countryside. The Chattahoochee River also draws outdoor enthusiasts for kayaking, canoeing, tubing, and fishing. After a day of outdoor fun, you can head back to the village for some authentic German cuisine. And then maybe even stop into a brewery or winery to enjoy a pint or a glass of wine. Be sure to take plenty of time to take in the beauty of Helen and explore the Bavarian architecture.

Helen Trip Tips
Popular Bavarian Feature: Hofers Bakery, Lodging: Bavarian Brook Rentals, Restaurant: Hofbräuhaus Restaurant & Pub, Popular Activity: Exploring the State Parks, Must-See Attraction: Alpine Golf and Scoop De Scoop, Local Tourism Guide: Alpine Helen/White County Convention and Visitors Bureau

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Photo by Frankenmuth

Bavarian Towns: Frankenmuth, Michigan

Best For Year Round Festivities
Known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth is one of the top travel destinations in the state. The village features Bavarian architecture, food, festivals, and attractions, making it a popular place to get in touch with German heritage. You can enjoy Frankenmuth’s busy festival season all year round with events like Auto Fest, Bringin’ Back the 80’s, the World Expo of Beer, Zehnder’s Snowfest, the Frankenmuth Dog Bowl, and, of course, Oktoberfest. Visitors also like the horse-drawn carriage rides, PedAle Trolley, riverboat cruises, zip-lining at Frankenmuth Aerial Park, and the two indoor water parks. On top of all that, you’ll be drinking German beers, eating German cuisine, and exploring German heritage at every turn.

Frankenmuth Trip Tips
Popular Bavarian Feature: Bavarian Inn Castle Shops, Lodging: Bavarian Inn Lodge, Restaurant: Bavarian Inn, Popular Activity: Pretzel Making, Must-See Attraction: Castle Museum of Saginaw County, Local Tourism Guide: Frankenmuth

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Bavarian Towns: New Ulm, Minnesota

Best For German Cuisine
What New Ulm may lack in Bavarian architecture, they make up for with their Bavarian and German cuisine and heritage. This Bavarian village is full of German heritage and charm, with many attractions to commemorate and display its history and culture. Visitors enjoy sightseeing around town, including the Hermann Monument, the Harkin Store, and the Glockenspiel. After strolling around town, you can head to the Starkeller Brewery and Taproom or the August Schell Brewery for some unique German pints and beverages. Or if you want to get a taste for authentic German cuisine and Minnesota’s best bratwurst and sauerkraut, grab a bite to eat at Veigel’s Kaiserhoff or Ulmer Cafe.

New Ulm Trip Tips
Popular Bavarian Feature: Glockenspiel, Lodging: Bingham Hall Bed & Breakfast, Restaurant: Veigel’s Kaiserhoff, Popular Activity: Shopping, Must-See Attraction: August Schell Brewery, Local Tourism Guide: Visit New Ulm, Minnesota

Content Writer and Social Media Coordinator. I paint, listen to music, and play with my dogs a lot. When I’m not doing all that, I love to read and try new things.

Maeve Miller

Writer , River Travel Magazine