10 Most Beautiful Small Towns in California

California has long been a favorite vacation destination, but most visitors head straight for the biggest cities in the state. Why not take a break from the city and head to a small town instead? Few travelers know about the vibrant small town culture within California. Here, you can find some of the most beautiful and interesting small towns you’ll ever discover! Add a few of these small California towns to your vacation plans, and you’ll have the opportunity to experience a new side to Cali culture.

1: Avalon

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/brent

Avalon is a stunning town! Located on Santa Catalina Island, this town offers the joys of Californian island life without the big-city bustle. This town about 4,000 inhabitants, making it the perfect place to experience both a small-town environment but still have plenty to keep you busy. The crown jewel of Avalon is the harbor, which opens out into the beautiful Pacific Ocean. This town is a popular place for tourists to visit, and cruise ships are a common sight in the port.

Address: Avalon, California

2: Carmel-by-the-Sea

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Giuseppe Milo

Located on the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a beautiful place to live and work. In fact, many of the people within this lovely town have dedicated their lives to a pursuit of the arts. This town is not only perfect for actors, artists, and poets, but it is also a great place to be a pet! The town is very dog-friendly, and pet owners can take their furry friends to many of the restaurants and shops.

Address: Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

3: Dunsmuir

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Joe Wolf

Beautiful Dunsmuir is a popular place for tourists to visit. Here, the rivers, lakes and mountains offer plenty of fun and relaxation for everyone. The town is particularly popular with fishers, who come from all over the world to try their hand at catching the famous rainbow trout fishing on the Upper Sacramento River. However, even those with less interest in the great outdoors will find plenty to love here. The town still looks and seems like a 1930s community, which makes it a fun place to explore.

Address: Dunsmuir, CA

4: Solvang

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Alex Beattie

If a trip to Denmark isn’t in your immediate future, a weekend in Solvang is almost just as good! Many of Solvang’s buildings resemble authentic Danish structures, and the community still retains many traditions from its Danish roots. There’s even a Little Mermaid statue, just like the one in Copenhagen! If you visit, take some time to walk around downtown and enjoy the Old World culture. Danish clothing, traditional bakeries, and even horse-drawn carriages lend a charming air to the town.

Address: Solvang, CA

5: Julian

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/chrisinphilly5448

This tiny California town has less than 2,000 people! Despite (or perhaps because of) its small size, this town has a delightful charm that visitors to the area thoroughly enjoy. The town is known for its apple pies and historic architecture. It looks a bit like an Old West town, and the local government works hard to keep it that way. Old-fashioned store fronts, a slow lifestyle, and the mountains make Julian an ideal place to vacation.

Address: Julian, CA

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