Southern California is a wonderful place to take some time to explore. If you have a case of wanderlust, I think you’ll find these hidden gems will be the perfect remedy. From old-time neighborhoods to a magical hike with towering redwood trees and a walking tour that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Italy, there is literally something for everyone to enjoy on this list.
1. Torrey Pines Cliffs in La Jolla
Experiencing the breathtaking views while hiking through Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla is a visual treat. The stunning cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean are located next to the Glider Port.
2. Old Towne Orange Historic District
You will fall in love with this charming area in Orange, CA that has preserved many of the original structures that were built when the city was first incorporated. The historic district is one square mile of quaint shops, restaurants and historic buildings. The Filling Station, pictured here, is an old gas station that has been converted into a cafe. It's just one of many examples of the historic charm you will experience in Old Towne.
3. Lotusland in Montecito
One of the many gardens and ponds you will explore at Lotusland during the 2-hour guided walking tour of Madame Ganna Walska's historic Montecito estate in Santa Barbara County.
4. California Citrus State Historic Park in Riverside
An open-air museum dedicated to sharing the history of the citrus groves and citrus industry in Riverside County and the rest of the state. If you sign up for a tour you will receive a bag of citrus fruit to take home. If you go for no other reason, you must go to experience the smell of fresh citrus in the park as the scent is heavenly.
5. Humphreys Concerts by the Bay in San Diego
If you haven't experienced Humphreys you are in for an incredible surprise as nothing tops listening to great tunes at this outdoor concert venue on San Diego Bay.
6. The Canals and Bridges in Venice Beach
Tour the canals and bridges of Venice Beach on a self-guided walking tour. Check out the incredible houses and yards along the way as they add so much beauty to this leisurely stroll.
7. Balboa Park in San Diego
Balboa Park is a hidden gem that you could explore for days and still have more to see. Museums, hiking trails, lush gardens, an organ pavilion, the San Diego zoo and several theaters are just a sample of what you will experience at this glorious urban park.
8. The Redwood Grove at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Yorba Linda
You don't have to make a trip to the northern part of the state to experience the towering redwood trees. Tucked inside Carbon Canyon Regional Park you will find 3 dedicated acres of redwoods right here in Orange County.
9. Bungalow Heaven in Pasadena
The annual Bungalow Heaven Home Tour in Pasadena is coming up on April 24th where you can view the interior of some of these charming homes in Pasadena's first Landmark District.
If you love Sunday drives, neighborhood walking tours and open houses, this may be your favorite hidden gem on the list.
10. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
One of the most spectacular things to see this time of year is the vibrant and colorful rolling fields of flowers currently in bloom at Carlsbad Ranch. The season runs through early May so make sure to add this activity to your calendar soon as it is a breathtaking thing to experience.
I don’t know about you, but after looking at these pictures I kind of want to play hooky for a day and jump in my car and do some exploring. There are so many exquisite hidden gems in our beautiful state that it’s hard to keep the list at only 10. What other spots would you like to see added in Hidden Gems part 2?