10 Most Beautiful Small Towns in California

6: St. Helena

St. Helena
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Guy Huntley

If you love wine, then St. Helena is the perfect place for you to vacation! This Napa Valley city has over 400 different vineyards that contribute to the area’s notability for grape growing and wine production. The town itself is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of local wine. The buildings and streets are simply lovely, with plenty of vegetation and beautiful architectural work to enjoy.

Address: St. Helena, CA

7: Ojai

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Ken Lund

Ojai, named after a Native American word for “nest,” is tucked away into a valley between various hills and mountains. The beautiful views from the town create the ideal setting for a small-town California vacation! Throughout the town, visitors can find boutique hotels, hiking opportunities, farmer’s markets, retreats, and more. Organic enthusiasts will enjoy the sustainability and health focus in the town, spiritualists will revel in the culture, and everyone will love the aesthetic appeal of the town’s buildings. From lovely private homes to art galleries bursting with color, there is beauty everywhere you look! When you visit, don’t forget to head out of town a little ways to enjoy the lovely natural world of Ojai’s surrounding hills.

Address: Ojai, California

8: Sonoma


This California town is one of the largest on our list, but at 11,000 residents, it is still small by California standards. Sonoma was built as a Mexican colonial settlement, and you can still see remnants of this historic narrative today. The town’s central plaza features colonial-style buildings, which are as valuable for their beauty as they are for their historic significance. To get a taste of old Sonoma, take a look at the Mission San Francisco Solano and visit the Sonoma Train Town Railroad. Today, the town is known primarily for its wine industry. Enjoy a glass of local wine while relaxing in the beautiful environs of Sonoma.

Address: Sonoma, California

9: Nevada City

Nevada City
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Darin Barry

This is the perfect California small town to visit if you’re hoping to enjoy outdoor adventuring! Nevada City is a base camp of sorts for visitors heading to South Yuba River State Park, Tahoe National Forest, and High Sierra. It’s not far from the Lake Tahoe Ski Area, either. If you’d rather spend time in the town itself rather than adventuring into the wild, you’re in luck! The town has plenty to see and do, as well. You can spend your time at one of the many local events, or learn about the Gold Rush era.

Address: Nevada City, California

10: Arcata


This beautiful small town in Northern California is just the place to go for a seaside shopping excursion. This town is a markedly different from most towns in the United States. Not only does it have a majority of local government seats held by the Green Party, but it has a strong emphasis on organic food and local businesses. As a college town, the city has had college students serve on the city council and even as mayor! This culture has led to a unique feel within the town, making it an interesting place worth visiting.

Address: Arcata, California

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