Southern California is filled with many diverse towns that each add a unique flavor to the SoCal experience. Whether you’re seeking out the energy of a bustling city, craving a laid back beach vibe, or you just want a refreshing mountain getaway, SoCal literally has it all.
After spending time in 2016 exploring some of Southern California’s most memorable towns, here are 12 of them that we plan to return to in 2017. We think you might enjoy them as well, so take a look to see which ones you want to tackle first.
For a weekend escape in San Diego County, Fallbrook offers lush scenery, storybook charm, and a darling main street that gives the town a quaint local vibe. And, if you're an avocado lover, Fallbrook has often been referred to as the "Avocado Capital of the World."
For a taste of the Wild West, you'll want to head to Pioneer Town in Yucca Valley. This gem of a ghost town was once a movie set that was used for countless Westerns. It's now an abandoned ghost town that's quite well preserved and regularly frequented by tourists who want a glimpse of Hollywood history.
The town of Crestline is a wonderful getaway nestled in the San Bernardino Forest. Head up for the weekend and stay in a cozy cabin near the downtown area so you can stroll to all the local shops and restaurants.
Over 60 years' ago, Bombay Beach was once a thriving tourist destination. But after the ravages of time and nature took its hold on this once quaint vacation spot in the Salton Sea, it has since turned into a post-apocalyptic beach town. It may not be the vacation getaway it used to be, but it's definitely an experience you'll want to see in person in order to appreciate the history of the area.
For the most unique hike in SoCal you must head to Poway in San Diego County for a glimpse of Potato Chip Rock. It's a blast to climb and a great spot for a memorable photo op.
Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake is a beauty all year round. But it's at its most magical in the winter, especially when it's snowing. If you're longing for a chance to get away from the SoCal heat during the winter months, head up to Big Bear Lake for your annual snow fix.
With only 1,500 residents, the town of Julian isn't exaggerating when it says it's small. Whether you go for the fresh mountain air, the homemade apple pie, or the abundance of nature trails, you really can't go wrong with this spot as your destination.
To find a slice of Italy in Southern California, you should seek out the Venice Canals in the SoCal town of Venice. This historic residential area is overflowing with walking paths and bridges that are delightful to encounter on a stroll.
This wholesome and approachable town is a perfect day trip or weekend destination when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Known for its annual Wisteria Festival and its easygoing charm, this destination will make you feel right at home from the moment you arrive.
There's no question that Catalina Island is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in all of SoCal. Hop on a ferry and head to this island destination for a weekend of eating, exploring, hiking and snorkeling.
Tucked inside the charming town of Oak Glen you'll find Oak Tree Village -- a picturesque hamlet where life just seems simpler and old fashioned. You'll find local shops and restaurants and a Mile High Apple Pie that you'll have to see to believe.
The perfect destination all year-round, Ojai is postcard pretty at every turn. From artistic events like the annual Ojai Music Fest to the abundance of natural scenery that's perfect for hiking, biking or just relaxing, there's literally something for everyone in Ojai.
Do you have a favorite town on this list? For more Southern California exploration, make sure to take a look at this
Southern California bucket list of the 13 things you must see and do in SoCal this coming year.