As much as we can’t resist the beauty of Southern California’s beach towns, we are equally as drawn to SoCal’s rural towns with that small town charm we all know and love. Here are 10 of our favorite small towns in Southern California that are beyond delightful. Do you have a favorite spot on this list?
1. Oak Glen
One of SoCal's dreamiest small towns is nestled inside San Bernardino County just 15 miles east of the town of San Bernardino. This picturesque rural setting is lined with small farms, apple orchards, and plenty of peaceful hikes to keep you occupied for an entire weekend.
When you're seeking a dose of peace and quiet, the small town of Bonsall in San Diego County may be just what you need. You'll find a tiny town with a population less than 5,000 people in a setting that's surrounded by natural scenery perfect for hiking, biking, and walking in the great outdoors.
Nothing quite beats the beauty of a small mountain town. And Idyllwild is tops on our list when it comes to a rural getaway that still offers all the benefits of the big city including delightful shops, delicious restaurants, and an energizing vibe both day and night.
Whether you're here to enjoy the hearty homestyle cooking at the local restaurants, or you're simply seeking a destination where you can absorb the beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains, Wrightwood is a picture-perfect place to spend some time in a setting where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city in a relaxing environment that will instantly feel like home.
Not only is Julian a delightful small town to visit in SoCal, but it's also a California Historical Landmark. Located in San Diego County, Julian provides a tranquil respite from the city where you can soak up the beauty of the countryside and fill your lungs with nothing but fresh mountain air. If you can't resist a homebaked apple pie, then Julian should be at the top of your list as this small SoCal town is known for making some of the best apple pies on the planet.
6. Forest Falls
Forest Falls is one of SoCal's hidden gems that often gets overlooked. This itsy bitsy town in San Bernardino County has under 800 residents as of the last census count, so the charm of small-town living is quite evident. Head here for a day trip to enjoy the natural scenery within nearby San Bernardino Nation Forest and you'll find beautiful trails overflowing with majestic waterfalls and stunning scenery in every direction.
7. Trabuco Canyon
Nestled inside the Santa Ana Mountains, Trabuco Canyon is the perfect place to escape for a slice of small-town living in Orange County. With a population just shy of 35,000, it's not too big and not too small. It truly is juuuust right. Head to the local steakhouse for a bite to eat or hit the trails for some fresh air and exercise. No matter how you spend your time here, you'll love the laid-back nature of Trabuco Canyon.
When you're seeking a small-town lakeside getaway, nothing can beat the beauty of Crestline. Not only is Crestline a little bit of a local secret, but it's also a heavenly place to spend the day on the lake, the trail, or just quietly strolling through town.
9. Running Springs
Longing for a taste of small-town America? Then take a day trip or a long weekend away to the town of Running Springs that's located approximately 17 miles west of Big Bear Lake. From delightful parades to local farmers markets, this is one SoCal town that completely captures the charm of everything we love about a small town.
10. Green Valley Lake
Known as the "best-kept secret in the San Bernadino Mountains," Green Valley Lake should be at the top of everyone's small-town bucket list. With only 300 full-time residents, you can completely escape from the city and get away from it all when you take a day trip or a weekend away to Green Valley Lake.
Doesn’t a day trip to one of these small SoCal towns sound like a perfect way to spend an afternoon? If you enjoy jumping in the car and taking a peaceful Sunday drive to new places, then you’ll also want to take a look at
this relaxing drive that will help you get away from it all.