12 Most Charming Small Towns in California


California is understood for its stunning seashores, wonderful amusement parks and thrilling massive cities similar to Los Angeles and San Francisco. But California can also be dotted with a slew of attention-grabbing and wonderful small cities.

Many of those little hidden gems are the favored getaway locations for Californians. Want to see the locations the locals have found that the remainder of the world hasn’t fairly discovered but? Then you’ll need to try these charming small cities in California for your self.

12. Solvang


If you have been to bump into Solvang by chance, you may suppose that you simply’ve by some means taken a unsuitable flip right into a Danish village. And you’ll be partially proper. Though situated in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, this small city was established in 1911 by a bunch of Danes. So don’t be stunned to see a number of windmills scattered all through the city or by the normal Danish farm-style facades on Solvang’s buildings.

While you’re visiting Solvang, make sure that to refill on genuine Danish pastries and to buy offbeat souvenirs, similar to little wood sneakers or windmills made out of china.

11. Sausalito


Sausalito has an attention-grabbing vibe — a mixture of stylish, laid-back beach-y and artsy. In Sausalito, you’ll discover the biggest native artist Co-Op in the San Francisco Bay space, nice buying and plenty of eating places the place you possibly can get pleasure from al fresco eating.

Sausalito additionally boasts a pleasant little seaside and noticeably hotter climate than San Francisco, regardless that that metropolis is only a brief distance away. To get to Sausalito from San Francisco, you possibly can both drive over the Golden Gate Bridge or for a extra scenic choice, take into account taking the ferry.

10. Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove

This picturesque little seaside city, which is situated between Monterey and Pebble Beach, has an uncommon declare to fame — between mid-October and mid-February, 1000’s of delicate monarch butterflies flutter into Pacific Grove to spend the winter. Part of the explanation, these butterflies are interested in Pacific Grove is due to its delicate local weather.

This city’s fairly climate coupled with its stunning coastal setting and charming Victorian homes are additionally standard attracts for human guests as properly. If you’re planning a visit to Pacific Grove, make sure that to go away time for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is situated on the border of Pacific Grove and Monterey and is taken into account among the best aquariums in the nation.

9. Healdsburg


Located in the guts of Sonoma County’s wine nation, Healdsburg will woo you with its low-key vibe and small-town appeal. It can also be recognized for its eating places serving contemporary, farm-to-table delicacies, artwork galleries and wonderful boutiques. Of course, whilst you’re in Healdsburg, you’ll positively need to try the greater than 100 wineries and tasting rooms that may be discovered in the encircling space.

Nature lovers can get pleasure from tenting and scorching air ballooning. And in the event you occur to be an avid bike rider and wine lover, you’ll need to strive the 30-mile Sip & Cycle route that options stops at beautiful wineries and zippers via beautiful countryside. Really, who wants Tuscany?

8. Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs is a really distinctive and particular desert city. For one factor, it’s the solely village in California that’s located solely in a state park — Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, to be precise. It can also be a superb place to take a look at the twinkling stars at night time since additionally it is an official International Dark Sky Community. And please don’t be stunned in the event you ought to bump into a dinosaur or another unusual creature whereas driving via Borrego Spring’s Galleta Meadows.

Scattered alongside this space’s roads are 130 massive steel sculptures. Borrego Springs is, in truth, such an attention-grabbing city that it was even included on Travel & Leisure’s America’s Coolest Desert Town’s checklist. This little city, which is situated in San Diego County, can also be a well-liked vacation spot for “snow” birds who flock to Borrego Springs in the course of the winter.

7. Julian


Julian is an outdated Californian gold rush city that’s located in the Cuyamaca Mountains, just some hours from San Diego. With its historic outdated buildings, this little city nonetheless retains the flavour of the Old West. There is even an area mine the place you possibly can get pleasure from a tour or strive your hand at panning gold.

In the autumn, Julian’s pick-your-own apple orchards appeal to a slew of holiday makers who need to seek for their very own fruit or chew into pies from the regionally well-known Julian Apple Pie Company. Other actions you may need to get pleasure from whereas in Julian embrace horseback using, climbing or boating on the close by Cuyamaca Lake.

6. Avalon


Avalon, which is situated on Santa Catalina Island, is only a brief one-hour boat journey or a fifteen-minute helicopter trip from Los Angeles. But this charming small city feels as if it’s a continent away from bustling L.A.

First of all, there are solely a restricted variety of automobiles allowed on the island, so guests sometimes get round by strolling, using a motorcycle, taking the general public bus or trolley or by renting a golf cart. And the city’s environment could be very low key and laid again. Some of Avalon’s extra standard actions embrace snorkeling, climbing, glass-bottom boat excursions and buying the city’s small principal avenue.

5. Mendocino


If you’re looking for a peaceable and lovely getaway, you’ll need to take into account visiting Mendocino, which is situated about three and half hours north of San Francisco. Mendocino is situated on a bluff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in an space well-known for its beautiful, rugged coastlines.

It is an artist colony, the place you possibly can try the galleries and retailers for works by native artists. Mendocino has additionally earned a fame for being the proper vacation spot for romantic getaways and outdoorsy actions, similar to biking or climbing.

4. Nevada City

Nevada City

Not lengthy after gold was found in California in 1848, 1000’s of settlers flooded to the state. One of the cities that developed throughout that interval was Nevada City, which is situated roughly 60 miles (100 km) northeast of Sacramento. Founded in 1849, Nevada City rose to grow to be one of many wealthiest mining cities in California.

Its streets have been lined with playing parlors, lodges and, after all, saloons. Some of the outdated buildings nonetheless exist, together with the 1865 Nevada Theatre, which is California’s oldest working theater construction on the West Coast. Today, Nevada City’s charming historic district nonetheless seems like a scene from the Wild West.

3. Ojai


Located in Ventura County, nearly an hour-and-a-half drive from Los Angeles, this beautiful and peaceable little city has lengthy been a well-liked weekend vacation spot for L.A. residents searching for a getaway that may reinvigorate them each bodily and mentally.

Popular actions embrace climbing the greater than 20 paths in the realm, biking and buying at Ojai’s boutiques and galleries. Indulging in just a little pampering at an space spa can also be excessive on most customer’s checklist. Seeking one thing just a little extra non secular? Then you’ll need to try Meditation Mount, which is a public meditation middle.

2. St. Helena

St. Helena

St. Helena sits in the center of the well-known Napa Valley, making it a superb leaping off level for exploring the area’s many fabulous wineries. And as a result of effective wines pair naturally with scrumptious meals, this charming city can also be house to a slew of excellent eating places.

Of course, you’ll want a solution to burn off the entire energy that you simply’re positive to ingest whereas in the Napa Valley, and probably the most standard methods to do this is by touring the realm on a motorcycle. Not into biking? Then you could possibly at all times pamper your self at considered one of St. Helena’s many spas or try its quite a few artwork galleries.

1. Carmel-by-the-Sea

#1 of Small Towns In California

Carmel-by-the-Sea is without doubt one of the most stunning small cities in California, which is excessive reward, provided that this state is crammed with contenders. This picturesque little village options European-style cottages and boasts a shocking white-sand seaside setting.

Its magnificence and appeal has lengthy made it a well-liked vacation spot for romantic getaways and for artists. While in Carmel-by-the-Sea, you’ll additionally need to discover the close by 17 Mile Drive, which is world-famous for its beautiful views of the rugged shoreline and of the pounding Pacific Ocean surf.

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