Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco… the list of famous cities in California knows no bounds, and there’s plenty to see and do when you’re staying there. But what travellers looking for vacation ideas during COVID 19restrictions, there’s plenty of other small towns and cities to see.
Sometimes they’re off the beaten track, more often than not you might just drive past them down one of California’s famous highways, but taking a breather in one of California’s smaller towns will give you an authentic insight into the states true personality. Sure, Hollywood is the home of world-famous movies, and San Diego is home to a universally acclaimed zoo, but the truth of an area comes in those quieter moments – and places – where you can simply watch the world go by. This is what small-town California can offer curious travellers, and we’ve compiled the best small towns to see California in a new light.
The wineries of Sonoma county are often considered one of the best places to visit in California, and it’s easy to see why. Sonoma is about 45 miles up from San Francisco and showcases the raw, fertile beauty of Northern Californian wine country. With a rich history, beautiful nature trails and easy access to many of the best wineries in the world, Sonoma is well worth the trip north.
55 miles east of LA,Redlands California is a small city perched on the edge of the famous San Bernardino National Forest. This means that you can expect many nature trails across the area, and plenty of Southern Californian history to sink your teeth into. Alongside the world-class San Bernardino County Museum, you’ll also find the cities own Lincoln Memorial Shrine, a research center and museum exploring the intricacies of the American Civil War.
A quintessential Californian beach town, Pismo Beach is on the central coast of the state and has its own pier, spanning 1200 feet into the ocean. With a chilled out atmosphere, visitors can browse the laid back surf stores and independent cafes along the promenade. It’s a perfect place to learn to surf as well, and kayak tours are available from the nearby and gaudy Dinosaur Caves Park, from where you can explore a series of sea caves under the craggy coast.
For guests at LA hotels in Californiawho want to explore the true artistic spirit of the state, you’ll find a crowning jewel of creativity in the small town of Ojai, about 90 minutes northwest of Los Angeles. Hidden within the valleys of the Topatopa Mountains, the Spanish Colonial Revival town centre and one of the worlds largest outdoor bookstores lie in wait, whilst the landscapes around the town hide spas, horseriding centers and beautiful sunsets that are referred to as the “pink moment” by locals.
Wedged between Oakland and Richmond on the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is directly adjacent across the bay from the Golden Gate Bridge. Aside from the world-class college situated here, you’ll find hidden art galleries, cafes and a relaxed, youthful vibe amidst the intellectuals of Northern California.
On Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles, you’ll find the tranquil town of Avalon. Only a square mile in size, Avalon is popular for casual snorkelling, fishing and once in a lifetime helicopter rides from the mainland.