* Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and book something (there is never any extra cost to you for using these links).
Clicking pictures of the Golden gate Bridge in San Francisco is such a cliched thing to do. And posting that on social media is being mediocre at its best. California is just not about San Francisco. There are so many underrated gems in California which need your attention. Though not large in size and more popular as the others but surely all these small towns and cities can be your next vacay destination.
So, here is a list of some of the best small towns and cities in California.
1. Ojai: Small town in southern California with natural and spiritual beauty!
While most of the places in this list are like any other town, but Ojai is just different. The natural beauty collaborates with spirituality to form a deadly combo that Ojai is. With various boutique hotels and opportunities for outdoor recreation like hiking, Ojai is a major tourist destination in California. Besides this, the city also has several spiritual retreats and shopping hubs that will surely keep you hooked.
If you are looking for a place which you can visit anytime of the year, then Nevada City is just the kind of place for you. The city witnesses a modest turnout of tourists throughout the year. Apart from the pleasant weather, outdoor recreations, arts, music, and entertainment are some of the reasons why Nevada tops the list of several tourists.
The live music and theatre scenes in Nevada are very popular and you can visit the historic Nevada theatre and Miners Foundry Cultural Centre to enjoy the same. Also, there are various museums in Nevada which will treat you if you are artistically inclined. A major shooting location, Nevada also hosts various art, music and film festivals.
3. Arcata: The ultimate shopping destination in California!
Love shopping? But are bored of those overrated shops in Los Angeles and San Francisco, don't worry! Because Arcata might have something in store for you. The Plaza is an ultimate shopping destination for every brand lover. It has a very vibrant feel. Thanks to the numerous bookstores, bars, coffee shops and also some live music venues. If you're in Arcata, then visiting this place is a must do. Also if you eat, drink and sleep with films like I do, then watch a film or two at the Minor Theatre, the oldest theatre in the United States which is still operational!
If you are a big Calvin Harris fan and have played all his songs on loop, then you must be familiar with this incredible place that Avalon is. Calvin's music video for Thinking About You which featured Ayah Marar was shot here and was portrayed as a Mediterranean City. Oriented around Avalon Bay, the city has so much in store for everyone. This one is the only incorporated city on Santa Catalina Island and tourism forms the major part of the economy.
There are some incredibly stunning beaches in Avalon with breathtaking views which will definitely please your eyes. A romantic walk on the warm sand, or an intimate dinner at one of the prime restaurants, Avalon can be a must head place with your partner. But that doesn't mean that Avalon is a honeymoon destination. Not at all. Instead, it also has various other attractions and things to do for adventure junkies and even solo travellers. Scuba diving and snorkeling being one of the top picks.
The largest city in Santa Rosa, Sonoma also finds a place in the list of small cities in California. Known for a flourishing agricultural production, Sonoma is a perfect place for anyone who loves a calm, serene and less touristy city.
Why opt for the places full of cliches, when you can explore the unexplored. Sonoma has plenty of places that'll keep you hooked. The Sonoma Coast State Beach, Arched Rock Beach and Goat Rock Beach are perfect to take a romantic stroll with your partner. You can also spend some quality time by visiting the Sonoma Valley. You can take a wine tour and pamper your taste buds at the Jacuzzi Family Vineyard.
6. Grover Beach: undiscoveres beach in California!
So this one has a motto- A great place to spread your wings. And we're so not complaining! Grover Beach in San Luis Obispo County is one of the most underrated gems in California and is truly a traveler's paradise. Named after the founder, D W Grover, the city is a part of 5 Cities Metropolitan Area along with Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande and Oceano.
Due to its warm weather, there is no prescribed time to visit this city. You can indulge in certain adventure activities by visiting the BJ's ATV Rentals or Skydive Pismo Beach. You can also try your luck with a game of golf by visiting the Pismo State Beach Golf Course.
This particular place has been awarded one of the top smallest towns in America, very frequently. This ancient town is an important destination for tourists as well as the locals. The city gets a fantastic view due to the presence of the flowing Russian River. Moreover, if you have a fascination of wine, then this place is a treasure for you. Healdsburg has three regions namely- the Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley that are famous for their wine production.
A beach city in Los Angeles which is also home to several Hollywood stars, Malibu is another underrated tourist destination in California. If you are walking through the streets of Malibu, you can bump into Jennifer Aniston or Kristen Bell, who belong to this part of LA.
The city also offers various other options for recreation. The Malibu Surfrider Beach is the first World Surfing Reserve and obviously a surfer's paradise. In addition to art, culture museums and parks, Malibu also organises various cultural events throughout the year. One more reason to visit this starry city.
Hurry up! Pick these over Los Angeles and San Fransisco. I'm sure you'll have a gala time!