USA January 23, 2017
Here Are 22 Of The Most Charming Small Towns In All Of California
There’s something irresistible about California’s small towns and, from Coronado to Tiburon, the Golden State has no shortage of enchanting places to explore. We’ve divided this list up by region to present some of our favorites. Enjoy.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Avalon, CA
An island town is perhaps the best of the best when it comes to charming small towns in Southern California. Imagine sipping your morning coffee with this kind of view. What an inspiring experience!
2. Solvang, CA
Walking through Solvang is like stepping into a magical European village. This darling town is tucked away in the Central mountains, and it's truly one of the most beautiful towns in Southern California. Make sure to try the aebleskivers for us!
3. Lake Arrowhead, CA
A popular mountain and lake getaway scattered with cozy cabins, gingerbread houses, and woodsy hikes. Lake Arrowhead is right out of a Norman Rockwell painting and one of my all-time fave small towns to visit for a weekend away.
4. San Juan Capistrano
Continuing along with our list of charming small towns in Southern California...just look at those trees! San Juan Capistrano is best explored on foot. There is so much history and stunning architecture at every turn that it's worthy of a nice, long stroll.
5. Ojai, CA
It doesn't get much better than an outdoor patio filled with books. This charming bookstore (Bart's Books) is one of the many reasons Ojai is tops on my list for the best small town. It's considered one of the best getaway spots in Southern California.
6. Malibu, CA
How about a small town where you can stroll on the beach in your backyard? Malibu is known for its wildly expensive real estate and celebrity locals, but it's also a great place to go for a visit.
7. Julian, CA
Just one of the many cute shops scattered around Julian that adds charm galore to this small town.
8. Temecula, CA
A bustling commercial strip in Old Town Temecula captures the old-time feel of this charming wine country to the south.
9. Idyllwild, CA
This popular mountain resort is the perfect choice for a small-town getaway. Fresh air, grand views, and a thriving arts scene add to the appeal of this place. Truly one of the most charming small towns in Southern California.
10. Coronado, CA
The tree-lined streets in Coronado look like the perfect spot for a bike ride.
Disney characters Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, Daisy Duck, and most of their supporting cast live in the fictional city of Duckburg, first mentioned in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #49 in 1944, created by Carl Barks. It's believed this city "Duckburg" was named after the city of Eureka.
Located on the west short of beautiful Clear Lake. Lakeport was first settled by Native Americans several thousand years ago.
3. St. Helena
St. Helena considers itself the "Main Street" of the Napa Valley. Known for its small town charm with its big experiences in culinary delights and world-renowned wines.
4. Sutter Creek
Charm abounds here. Visiting Sutter Creek is like stepping back into the gold rush era...but with much better food.
Murphys is tucked away in Calaveras County and considers herself Queen of the Sierra Foothills. We agree!
The town was founded in 1850 as a logging community, and was originally named Meiggsville after Henry Meiggs. No offense, Mr. Meiggs, but we're glad that one didn't stick.
The county seat of Amador County, settlers were drawn to gold in them thar hills. Founded in 1848 and named after an attorney that miners liked.
The Spanish word for Tiburon is "shark" and was probably inspired by the native leopard sharks in the surrounding waters.
Fortuna is the Spanish for the word "fortune." Chosen by settlers who felt fortunate to live in such a glorious place surrounded by the forests, the Eel river and the Pacific Ocean. 20,000 fill the town during Fortuna's Redwood AutoXpo.
If you enjoy fishing, skiing, climbing, or sight-seeing then you'll understand why Dunsmuir is a hub for visitors.
Population 115. Volcano was named when gold rush settlers believed the bowl-shaped valley to be created by a volcano. No such luck. This tiny town is known for a lot of firsts in California: first circulating library, first private school, first law school and first hanging.
Sausalito (sauzalito) is Spanish, meaning "small willow grove." Pre-World War II it was known for its shipmaking. Now it's become an artistic houseboat community of over 400 boats.
With so many magical small towns throughout California, it’s impossible to name them all. Which towns would you add to this list? We’d love to hear your thoughts!