Maybe it’s snobbery.  Friends from Coeur d’Alene ragged on me a couple of years ago when I spent a summer vacation in Wallace.  The two communities both have exits off Route 90 and share similar weather.  The place with the French name attracts big money, has massive hotels and is filled with shops and restaurants.  Also, there’s the business of a very large and scenic lake. 

Wyatt Earp and Lana Turner are among the names who once called the place home.

Wallace has fewer than 1,000 people, the highway is elevated above town and the best place for dinner is a pizza shop (a really good one, I might say).  There aren’t many mansions and many of the homes are relics of the communities mining past.  Wallace also had another infamous industry.  The last brothel closed 35-years-ago!  There’s a museum dedicated to the oldest known vocation.  It’s just one of several museums along a few compact blocks.  Whereas, I visited a museum in Coeur d’Alene with an impressive name.  It was two rooms of old household goods and it felt like I got ripped off.

By midweek in Wallace, everyone at the local breakfast stop knew I was from Twin Falls and what I did for a living.  Some were telling me I needed to buy a nearby radio station and settle in town.

I’d go out every morning for a walk just as the sun was coming up.  The only sound I could hear was that of my feet on pavement and the occasional car or truck on the Interstate.

I just love the place and I’m not alone.  Smithsonian Magazine rates Wallace as among the 15 best small towns in America.  Wyatt Earp and Lana Turner are among the names who once called the place home.  And, of course, Dante’s Peak featured the best of downtown.

Possibly it’s an age thing.  I don’t need a swinging nightlife and sushi bars.  Just some good neighbors and a short trip for groceries and some streets safe to walk.

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.