California is most famous for its big cities, but the state certainly has more than its fair share of interesting little towns! From massive roadside sculptures to eerie ghost towns, you never know what you might encounter. Ready for an off-the-beaten-path California adventure? Read on!
1. Orange Old Towne
Although Orange Town is a good place to visit, it isn’t particularly interesting. However, the Old Towne District is! This vintage village has many old-timey delights, including a historic soda fountain, vintage clothing shops, and old-fashioned burger joints. It’s a blast from the past!
Location: Orange County
2. Morro Bay
If you love the seaside vibe but not big cities, you’ll love Morro Bay! This town offers enough outdoor adventures for you to soak up all the California sun you could ever want. Go bike riding, walk on the beach, or explore a state park. There’s even a dormant volcano here!
Location: San Louis Obispo County
This small town is found in the Sierra Nevada region, the part of California that sees snow instead of surf. Although less than two thousand people live here, it attracts many tourists for its Gold Rush era downtown and historic reenactments.
Location: Kern County
4. Salton City
Known as “California’s Post-Apocalyptic Beach Town,” this strange little town has an ever odder history. This place was once home to the Beach Boys and a vacation destination for thousands, but was nearly abandoned two decades ago due to pollution issues. Today, you can visit and wander through the ghostly buildings.
Location: Imperial County
Just across the water from the city of San Diego is charming Coronado! It is most famous for the impressive Hotel del Coronado, but its beaches and downtown area are just as appealing.
Location: San Diego County
While European-style towns are common in Midwestern states, they are much rarer in California. This cute little community looks like a historic Danish town, complete with Danish windmills and bakeries.
Location: Santa Barbara County
This charming 19th Century town is a wonderful California getaway! Enjoy the pace of small-town life, go celebrity-spotting, or hang out by the water. Don’t forget a tour of the Victorian John Muir house.
Location: Contra Costa County
Amboy is another creepy California ghost town. Once a popular Route 66 stop, this town is now empty, except for a few people who work at the gas station. It has been used as a movie set and was once sold on eBay. Stop to explore the abandoned buildings if you drive through the area.
Location: San Bernadino Country
9. Nevada City
History buffs and outdoor adventurers love Nevada City! This town was built during the Gold Rush era, and it maintains its old-fashioned feel. It’s also right next to Tahoe National Forest, so you can get out into nature when you tire of exploring the historic downtown.
Location: Nevada County
10. Borrego Springs
It’s not often that you find a town located inside a state park, but that’s not why Borrego Springs is an attraction. Borrego Springs is characterized by massive sculptures of mythical beasts that seem to rise terrifyingly out of the desert earth! As a plus, this town is also a dark-sky community.
Location: San Diego County
Which of these towns sounds most interesting to you? Are you brave enough to explore Salton City, or would you rather relax on Coronado’s beaches? Let us know in the comments!