You will find numerous contenders for the place in the top six charming small towns in Southern California, and they will all likely be an excellent choice. What South California doesn't lack are scenic beaches and picturesque little towns. We've made our choice below. The least you can do is consider visiting. And, perhaps, adding the following towns to your list of top California destinations even if you don't decide to make one of them your home.
Overlooking the Pacific, Mendocino is its equally peaceful neighbor. This gentle and graceful town almost feels unreal compared to the rugged cliffs upon which it is built. This seemingly quaint little town and its New England architecture hide wealth in signature experiences. From unique geological formations to music festivals, the town is a perfect blend of old and modern.
One of the most charming small towns in Southern California has also found its place on the list of romantic getaways. Who wouldn't enjoy the humming of the wind in the grottos, spring wildflowers, a waterfall, and the beaches? Mendocino is a treasure trove for those who cherish tranquil living spiced with the ocean view from the cliff trails.
Carmel's nostalgic aesthetic will enchant you if its white sand beaches and morning mist do not. It makes for an ideal combination of touristy and residential and easily captures the attention of every (un)suspecting visitor. A pristine beach and scenic landscapes provide a marvelous contrast to high-end boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.
If you're moving to the region with your kids, take an opportunity to explore the area of your potential new home together. Southern California doesn't lack hotels but the only way to truly experience it is to stay at its family-friendly campgrounds and enjoy its magnificent natural offer. If you fall in love with it, with the help of an experienced real estate agent, you might find a stylish European-looking cottage in Carmel to call your own.
3. St. Helena
St. Helena is nestled at the heart of Napa Valley, and that should say enough about it and its lifestyle. Living here comes at a price, but it is a price gladly paid. St. Helena's way of life can be described as busy and high-end, which may sound odd for a small town such as this.
However, its location sets it at the center of the region famous for wineries, its residents are very nice and friendly, it is incredibly safe, and it allows you to indulge in delicacies of every kind. Why not pamper yourself with a visit?
Located on an island, Avalon is as magical and charming as its name suggests. If you want to peer away from South Catalina Island, hike up the mountain and bask in the endless blue. But if you prefer to enjoy at (or below) the sea level, you will get plenty of opportunities. The town is ideal for those who like to walk, cycle, dive, snorkel, and hike. A slice of ocean paradise with a small-town feel could easily become Avalon's trademark.
This is precisely what awaits if you choose one of the charming small towns in Southern California such as Avalon for your permanent basis. Good weather, a plethora of outdoor activities in a relatively small area, and proximity to Los Angeles. However, no matter if you plan to call professional movers to help you relocate and create a new home here or move on your own, bear in mind that Avalon is a popular upscale town for a reason. Being among the most charming simply couldn't make it the most affordable at the same time.
Danish windmills in Southern California? Why not! Solvang owes its authentic architecture and sights to a group of Danes who established the town a century ago. It is one of a kind town, not only in Santa Barbara County or Southern California, but most likely in the entire U.S. It offers more than you can expect to see in a quaint 6-thousand people town. What attracts people (Danish tourists included) most to it is its character.
So, perhaps the best trait of Solvang is its tight-knit community, a sense of loyalty, and friendliness among its residents. If you're looking for a town with caring and generous neighbors, you've found it here. Although it doesn't lack amenities or landmarks and the nightlife is vibrant, it is still a wonderful little town with a strong family feel. Do try out the Danish capital of the United States and stock up on its delicious pastry.
6. Pacific Grove
If you're looking for a good and safe place to spend your winter, follow the thousands of monarch butterflies; they know. Pacific Grove is one the gentlest and most charming small towns in Southern California, known for its mild climate, excellent schools, and family-friendliness. Growing up in Pacific Grove has left the best possible impression on its citizens who wouldn't change a thing about it. And why would they?
Pacific Grove residents enjoy locally grown fruits and veggies, fresh seafood from sustainable sources, safe and friendly atmosphere, and breathtaking views of Monterey Bay. If you ever grow tired of sandy beaches, California offers ski resorts for everybody's taste. And if this unique little town becomes too small on occasion, Monterey is close enough to provide a lifestyle change.
The bottom line
If something is certain, it is that you will find everything you need in The Golden State. However, there are things you can find only in charming small towns in Southern California. If you manage to escape the magnetism of the big hubs, you will discover a whole new world of little towns made-to-measure.
Full of discoveries, these (usually) peaceful communities attract visitors and new residents alike. It doesn't come as a surprise that the qualities of these towns are recognized widely and continue to amaze guests near and far. Whatever you might be looking for in a town, you are bound to discover it in one of these lovely destinations.
Written by Mary Aspen Richardson