Small towns make up a lot more land space around Northern California than all those big cities you hear about around here. Most of us grew up in towns that were pretty to look at, too. Everybody knew everybody and we found a lot more joy in the simple things in life. Maybe that’s why we love looking for new small towns to visit. It takes us back to a sweeter time when people slept without locking their front door and neighbors knew each other by name. Here are a few picturesque towns we’ve handpicked just for you!
1. Nevada City
This pretty place is sometimes forgotten by folks in Northern California. Yet, every Christmas she puts on one of the best holiday events this state has to offer--their "Victorian Christmas". The backdrop of this historical town shows off big time so make sure to stop by and check it out.
Like something out of a movie--Sausalito is postcard pretty. If you're not one of the lucky ones to live in a houseboat on the water...how about coming for an early breakfast and taking a walk downtown? So worth your time!
If you're travelling on Highway 5 northbound and headed to Oregon you need to stop here first. The most northern "pretty town" before you cross state lines. Dunsmuir has done a great job keeping their historical roots front and center. Stop by for lunch or take a little time and hike the trails to Mossbrae Falls or climb Mt. Shasta. This pretty place is intoxicating.
4. Bodega Bay
There's a reason Alfred Hitchcock chose Bodega Bay for his movie "The Birds"..and it isn't just because of the local birds. This place is beauty on steroids.
With Yosemite in your neck of the woods is it possible to be anything else but pretty? The scenery here calls to us and will continue to draw folks to see how God shows off in nature for generations to come.
Nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills is this adorable gold rush town. This sweet spot on the map is worth a look-see. Rustic and woody, picturesque and majestic with the backdrop of the Sierra Nevadas.
7. Los Gatos
Surrounded by the Santa Cruz Mountains and in the San Jose foothills the town of Los Gatos may have gotten a lot bigger--it's kept its small town charm. Victorians dot the area and people love their picturesque hiking trails and biking trails. Netflix calls this town home, too.
Fiction writers who tell stories about quaint seaside towns must all be thinking about the adorable "Mendocino" town. Just gorgeous!
9. Pacific Grove
Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the beauty that nature brings is Pacific Grove. Filled with tiny beach homes and people outside walking and enjoying their beautiful scenery. It's just lovely.
Not everyone has been to this pretty spot on the map. Ferndale is even more beautiful than you imagine. The seaside location with dairy cows and pasture land kept green by the misty air is just incredible!
11. Grass Valley
Well, hello Grass Valley! You don't get the attention you deserve because you often stand in the shadow of Nevada City -- but people would be pleasantly surprised with the beauty you bring and your downtown history.
Located in the Napa Valley and named after the gentleman who planted the very first vineyard. Yountville is that pricey place that is nice to visit because she's not only beautiful but she cooks incredible well too. Some of the best food in Northern California is served here.
13. Ft. Bragg
What can you say about Ft. Bragg that people don't already know? Gorgeous. Peaceful. Worth a trip.
14. Tahoe City
We're not sure if Tahoe City is her prettiest during winter, summer, spring or fall? Which do you think?
Ahhhh, the lovely Petaluma. Once the home of the Miwok Indians, and at one time "The Egg Capitol of the World" because of the chicken houses here. Did you know the egg incubator was invented in Petaluma? Beauty and brains all right here!
We had a VERY hard time picking the few we did. Why? Because there’s dozens of towns that deserve to be here. Which towns are your favorite when you need some pretty scenery?