They are the atypical destinations of America that offer distinct recreational experiences, embrace stunning architecture, boast cultural diversity and lively entertainment. These dynamic downtowns have been chosen as America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations of 2011 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Dozen Distinctive Destinations program identifies America’s most authentic cities that offer rich cultural experience for travelers.

This year's Dozen Distinctive Destinations combine historic appeal and modern culture in a way that keeps visitors coming back, Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a statement.

This year’s list of top 12 “distinct” cities features Alexandria, Virginia; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Dandridge, Tennessee; Eureka, California; Muskogee, Oklahoma; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Paducah, Kentucky; San Angelo, Texas; Sonoma, California; Sheridan, Wyoming, and St. Paul, Minnesota. Check out the images.