Small towns – Northern California has hundreds of them. We’ve lived and loved in tiny spots on the map for generations. These are the places where everybody knows everybody and the true meaning of community shines through. While our part of the state is known for some pretty amazing metropolitan cities, it’s the small towns we go back to again and again.
Here are a few that are still around to remind you that you’re more than just another face on the street. This is home.
AKA: Apple Hill. This is one of the prettiest spots in El Dorado County. Tiny farms dot the map here and the public is welcome to almost all of them! The apple growing region is also well known for wine tasting and their fall colors.
Just off of Highway 5 is the small town of Dunsmuir. Lots of visitors stop here and enjoy fishing in the Sacramento River, hiking Mt. Shasta and discovering the natural beauty of Mossbrae Falls.
This is the home of the famous "Daffodil Hill" farm. This tiny town was once known as "Soldier's Gulch." When miners came for gold, this bowl-shaped valley led them to believe it was a volcano. Um, no...definitely not a volcano here. But, the name stuck.
4. Sutter Creek
Once known as the "Jewel of the Mother Lode," it was named after the very man who first discovered gold in the area, John Sutter. This tiny town boasts a BIG history and is also only a few miles away from the town of Pine Grove where you can find Indian Grinding Rock, where most kids in these parts have been on a field trip. The place where Indians would grind their acorns is still there, and you can still see the indentations in the rocks. Way cool!
Known for its beaches, this San Mateo County town is a great tourist spot in the summer. But goat farms like this one are a real thing around here. Hiking trails in the Santa Cruz mountains along with days at the beach are just a few of the reasons this small town is a sweet place to stay.
You can find Ferndale in Humboldt County. A neighbor to the Eel River and the Coastal Redwood Forest, not to mention the Pacific Ocean. Guy Fieri of the Food Network grew up here. Also, this town has been rumored to have more Victorian homes for its size than anywhere else in the state. Take that, Southern California.
7. Mount Hermon
Originally called "Tuxedo Junction" from 1841 - 1906. Five women got together and started the Mount Hermon Association in 1906, naming this tiny town after the peak in the Holy Land. On dedication day, over 1400 folks gathered to hear a speech by Dr. Rueben A. Torrey, President and founder of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois.
Once called "Ophir City," it was named Oroville because "Oro" means gold in Spanish, and since gold was a pretty big deal in Butte County during the gold rush, the name stuck. The Bidwell Bar Bridge is a remnant of that time and one of the first suspension bridges of its time. A historical landmark now, it still sits proud above the Feather River.
Marysville is the county seat of Yuba County, but don't be fooled. Marysville has a small town feel for sure. This town calls itself "Gateway to the Gold Fields" because of their rich gold history. Over $10 million in gold was transported through this town during that time. By 1857 the population had reached 10,000 and there were two daily newspapers being circulated. Pretty impressive.
10. Nevada City
"Nevada" is Spanish for snow-covered. This town was established in 1849, one year before California became a state. One of the town's notable early residents was Niles Searls, the chief justice of the state supreme court in 1887. A few years earlier, he was our state senator. Small towns are home to some great people, right?
We can’t even scratch the surface on the adorable small towns in Northern California. There are some so small they don’t even show up on a map. Share YOUR favorite small town with us!