While the big three of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco get all the glory out west, California is loaded with small town, quirky charm up and down the diverse 1,264-mile coast. And hey, now that so many of us are no longer commuting to work, these towns are becoming more desirable for full-time living and not just a weekend jaunt.
From towns that will evoke a Gold Rush era feeling to seaside cliffs boasting world-class golf to a dessert oasis (and even a small-town nestled on an island that’s accessible only by boat or helicopter), you can have it all in the Golden State. Here are the most charming small towns in California.
Editor’s note: Please remember to mask up and follow social distancing protocols while traveling and be sure to check up on the state’s health and safety guidelines before you go.
9. Temecula, CA
California is loaded with wine country regions but this one in particular has come a long way in the past decade and there’s no better way to view the bounty of the area than from above on a hot air balloon ride. The charming town features sweet lavender and soap shops along with olive oil and spices all produced at local farms and vineyards. Up the road near the 30 wineries, Europa Village is a one-stop-shop for Gallic ambiance and boutiques. Spanish flair can be found on the patio of Bolero, where you can order large pans of mouthwatering paella and tapas. Soon, Vienza—inspired by the Italian countryside—will open with more tasting rooms, restaurants and lodging options.