Browse tours and activities in Encinitas! 1. Also voted as one of the best small towns to visit in California by The Crazy Tourist, this passageway to the Pacific Northwest combines gorgeous coastline with cloud … Don’t miss the bakeries piled with traditional Danish pastries. Other local activities include horse riding around Lake Sonoma or canoeing down the Russian River. It offers many charming restaurants and eateries that cater to the locals and visitors. Check out the local galleries and the annual Sausalito Art Festival, and in September, you can tour the famous houseboats that were home to many in the 1960s. But the good news is that they can explore this pretty island city by golf cart, which is much more fun. Snow Play: Head east into the White Mountains, strap on your snowshoes or cross-country skis and venture into the ancient Bristlecone forest. It’s a top choice for hardy hikers, mountain bikers, and rock-climbing enthusiasts. At this moment, all the stresses from daily life disappear. You'll score serious lodging deals, avoid the crowds, and … In true Californian style, the town has artsy leanings, so take a bit of time to browse its many galleries. McCloud. Very charming.” — TripAdvisor Review of Healdsburg Plaza. Other attractions include the Carnegie Art Museum, the Murphy Auto Museum, and Silverstrand Beach for sun and surfing. There’s just something about a cozy cabin in the middle of winter that helps bring romance back into your life. “We really enjoyed the OC Beach Bus Tour. We support the Responsible Travel Code which asks visitors to travel with RESPECT by committing to seven best practices when exploring the Golden State. Included in National Geographic’s top 20 surf towns in the world, this San Diego County town is beloved for its wonderful sandy beaches and strong surf culture. Sunny Sausalito was a popular gathering place for artists and writers in the 1960s, and there’s still a thriving art community here. It’s also something of a gastro hub—you can take a class at the Culinary Institute of America and sample the finest local dishes at several Michelin-starred restaurants. Bear Valley Snowmobile offers you the opportunity to access the ONLY trail system in California where you can explore the wilderness without a tour guide. Towering mountain ranges that rise up thousands of feet from low lying desert lands, California is the land of extremes. In the middle of the U.S. state lies the California Central Valley, bounded by the coastal mountain ranges in the west, the Sierra Nevada to the east, the Cascade Range in the north and the Tehachapi Mountains … Within Owens Valley of Eastern California, bounded on both sides by mountains, Lone Pine is a gateway town for adventure. 4. This is prime Californian wine territory, so book your wine tastings and tours in advance. Wikimedia/ Jeremyblock. Want to snowshoe instead? If you have some backcountry experience or would like a guided trip High Sierra Snowcat & Yurt offers snowcat transportation to an 8-person yurt deep into the heart of these peaks. Whitney towers on the western horizon of Lone Pine. You can also tour the town in charming fashion aboard a horse-drawn carriage and even wander the tunnels of two of Julian’s original gold mines. Snow Play: Located only thirty miles from the slopes at Dodge Ridge Ski Resort or if you want to go snowtubing, head over to the Leland Snowplay snow park. Find a great place to stay in Carpinteria! Our list of California’s charming small towns, each with their own personality, is here to inspire your next getaway to the Golden State. Hands down, probably the best chocolate I’ve had.” — TripAdvisor Reviewer of El Buen Cacao. Named as one of “America’s Coolest Mountain Towns” by Men’s Journal, expect to find a cotton-wood lined town surrounded by scenic alpine vistas that rise two vertical miles above you. Up in the Cuyamaca Mountains you can explore the history of Julian, a goldrush town with preserved 19th-century buildings. Highway 395 hugging the Eastern Sierra mountain range is home to some of the most beautiful and least visited areas in the country. This mountain town of almost 14,000 people lies less than 30 miles south of Asheville, and you can definitely see a kinship between the two. Snow Play: Snowshoe through giant sequoias at Calaveras Big Trees State Park for unrivaled views of these majestic trees. Angelus Oaks. Myth or Reality: Is Northern California really more laid-back than Southern California?, California, 141 replies Where does Northern California end and Southern California begin?, California, 164 replies active small mountain towns, California, 16 replies Visiting northern California (Redwood National Park, California coastal drive), California … 4. Taking a deep breath of fresh pine air, you realize why you both decided to take this romantic getaway. A little further afield, take time to enjoy the Lost Coast’s peaceful Centerville Beach or feel minuscule under the trees in Redwoods National and State Parks. Be sure to stop by Legends to grab a Sarsaparilla float in a grand 1850’s saloon. We also had the ghost pepper (spicy but yummy), raspberry and a few truffles. We enjoyed the day and would highly recommend this tour to anyone who doesn’t want the hassle of driving to enjoy the beaches.” — TripAdvisor Review of the Best Beaches in Orange County Tour. Shops, restaurants and inns are tucked inside well-kept 19th and 20th century buildings for hours of exploring and entertainment. It’s a top choice for hardy hikers, mountain bikers, and rock-climbing enthusiasts. Paso Robles is your gateway to wine-and-olive mecca in California's coastal mountain range. Capitola Beach is the main event, bordered with quaint, colorful buildings. With over two dozen wine tasting rooms lining Murphys’ Main Street, you can get a great overview of the many award-winning wines produced here. This quaint city along the California coast is just a [stone’s throw away] from Santa Barbara. 3 Northern California Mountain Towns Everyone Should Visit Fish Camp. Boone, North Carolina. Look no further than Bear Valley Ski Resort! Preserve California It’s for that ultimate sense of calm, a feeling of peace and the pure simplicity of togetherness. Our favorite must-see small towns in Northern California. All rights reserved. SFGATE staff. Whether by driving or by boat, get into Sausalito. Shasta scrapes the turquoise-blue sky, north of Redding, a totem from almost anywhere in the northern part of the state.And while some mountains climb gradually, this one rises from surrounding flatlands with such towering, snow-capped majesty that it seems almost unreal—like a child’s notion of what a mountain … Safety First On a sunny day, bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, or hop on a ferry, for amazing views and a great introduction to San Francisco, where you’ll find tons of exciting ways to discover the city. Locals recommend Fire Sign Café for a hearty breakfast. And for generations its been Californias backyard mountain range. This is a family-friendly place and, as you might imagine, absolutely delightful at Christmas time. If that wasn’t enough, explore the surrounding towns of Copperopolis, Angels Camp, Mokelumne Hill and the Vallecito area to visit the vineyards themselves. Browse tours and activities in Tahoe City! You can also visit the studio at Firestick Pottery and have a go at making your own creation. Park near the docks and wander the charming hillside shops and good restaurants. It’s also conveniently located for visiting other historic towns in the area. 3. He is truly one of the nicest, most knowledgeable men who is passionate about photography and Lake Tahoe.”— TripAdvisor Review of Tahoe Photographic Tours. All of this makes Columbia a hit with families or anyone with a touch of gold fever. For its part, Auburn (population 13,500), located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, made our 2015 list of the Top 100 Best Small Towns, thanks in part to its lower than average median home prices and strong healthy-lifestyle indicators, including low rates of obesity and excellent access to … Yet another nostalgic Californian stop-off is the Victorian village of Ferndale. We've chosen 20 incredible destinations that run the gamut of California's uniquely varied landscapes, including tucked away mountain towns, secluded coastal communities, valley gems and so much more. Crestline, California. Get a guided snowshoe tour with Yosemite Family Adventures. Join our mailing list for updates on hidden gems, events, and more from California's High Sierra. Snow Play: Bridgeport marks the northern end of the mega-sized peaks with 14,000-foot summits that drop down 8,000 vertical feet. Trying to get away from the crowds? Nestled in the mountains near the charming town of Truckee —one of the best small towns in the Lake Tahoe area —this moderately trafficked lakeside loop is accessible year-round. Once you’ve seen the sights, you can get back to diving, swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying the harbor views. Located on the northern end of Monterey Bay about 32 miles from San Jose, Santa Cruz is a quintessential small coastal town with beautiful sandy beaches, world-famous surf, spectacular mountains covered with ancient redwood forests, serene organic farms, and a thriving wine and beer scene. There are several towns around the lake, the four main ones being South Lake Tahoe, Stateline, Incline Village, and Tahoe City. Wikimedia/Visitor7. Across from the [square] on all sides are terrific shops (I especially love “One World Fair Trade”), wine tasting rooms, art galleries, clothing shops, etc. Learn More, Eastern Sierra • Southern Sierra • Western Sierra. Both have thriving downtowns, with local shops and restaurants; both have a sustainable, keep-it-local vibe; and both are surrounded by some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the state—make that the South—with the Blue Ridge Mountains… Ely is a small town that’s easy to overlook: northern Minnesota, population 3,460, set against the stunning … You can also check out the neighboring beaches on this best beaches in Orange County tour. Of course, California isn’t always the cheapest destination when it comes to accommodation, so it’s a good idea to look into local vacation rentals. Soaring to 14,179 feet/4,322 meters high, Mt. The Danish influence is unmistakable in the lovely community of Solvang, with its windmills and European-style architecture. They change from time to time but there are always gift shops, a few art galleries, candleworks and similar types of shops. Explore America’s mountain towns, with trails, microbrews, lakes, and scenic views. Find a great place to stay in St. Helena! Book the perfect California vacation, family reunion or business event by browsing a complete list of Mountain Resorts featuring detailed property descriptions, reviews, photos, video, rates, number of rooms, amenities, activities and much more. “We stopped in after hearing a passer-by rave about this place. “We had a fantastic exhilarating tour around Solvang, learning lots about the area along the way. The city maintains the local beach and the sand is clean. They may just have a great sledding hill. 4. They are fundamental to who we are: Without the foothills gold-festooned gravel, few would have crossed the continent to get here. Most California snow locations have a wide variety of outdoor recreation, lodging, … We aim to bring you a variety of travel inspiration no matter your travel style or tastes. Idyllwild. “I always look forward to visiting the Plaza when I’m in town. It gives you a chance to experience some of the best snowmobiling California offers, on Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway. We were greeted by the very sweet Sophia and really enjoyed our visit. 5. Placerville. Get a glimpse of the stunning scenery to see and activities to do in the Sierra Nevada. Elevations range from 4000′-9000′ above sea level. Wikimedia/ Nonaeroterraqueous. © 2017 High Sierra Visitor's Council. In one hand is a glass of wine while your other arm is draped around your partner. This small California town offers a taste of the good life, with heaps of mouth-watering produce at the farmers’ market and wine tastings at every turn. You’ll have all you need for that home-away-from-home feel when you put key to lock. At October’s Solvang Stomp you can get involved with some grape squishing and general festivities. The Mountain-Town Charm: No matter what time of year you visit Lake Tahoe, the beauty of the crystal-clear lake, mountains, and fresh air is always astounding. We've chosen 20 incredible destinations that run the gamut of California's uniquely varied landscapes, including tucked away mountain towns, secluded coastal communities, valley gems and so much more. If you’re a wine connoisseur AND enjoy mountain sports, Arnold is THE romantic getaway, located above the snow line. Ferndale itself is a California Historic Landmark, due to the number of classic Victorian homes here. Find a great place to stay in Tahoe City! At TripAdvisor, we use the wisdom of our traveler community to help you unleash the full potential of every trip. I wish we would have bought more. This photography tour led by a pro will give you tips for creating memorable shots to treasure forever. Our pick-up was on time, the bus was clean, very comfortable and air conditioned. Here are 4 amazing mountain towns to visit in the High Sierra that’ll rekindle the passion in your life: Sonora gives you the opportunity to play in the snow AND get a bit of culture. With so many getaway ideas, the California High Sierra should be on your bucket list for a romantic escape you won’t forget. This Avalon tour focuses on the beachfront and historic town, and this relaxed food and walking experience gives visitors an authentic taste of the island. At least that’s what it feels like when you step into this living goldrush town, complete with a rumbling stagecoach, working blacksmith, costumed merchants, and old-fashioned saloons. This is a glorious slice of the California coast and a delightful way to spend some time alone or with friends…Very soothing for the body, mind and soul.” — TripAdvisor Review of Mandalay State Beach, Copyright 2013 Extremis Premium Magazine Theme, take a steam train ride through the Santa Cruz redwood forests, tons of exciting ways to discover the city, two-hour Santa Catalina Island Skyline Drive, book your wine tastings and tours in advance, charming Ferndale house, complete with hot tub, 13 Perfect Gulf Coast Beach Towns For Families With Kids, Vacation Like An A-Lister In Some Of The World's Top Celebrity-Approved Destinations, 15 Rocky Mountain Towns With Breathtaking Scenery And World-Class Outdoor Activities, 15 Fascinating Historical Cities In The US—And What To See When You’re There, 12 Charming Small Towns In The South With Warm Hospitality & Abundant Natural Beauty, 15 Pretty New England Coastal Towns Full Of Small-Town Charm, 10 Of The Most Stunning Ski Chalets Around The World, 15 Sparkling Seaside Towns In The USA, From California To The Carolinas, 15 Scenic & Historic Weekend Getaways In New England, From Lively Cities To Charming Small Towns, 11 Fun-Filled Family Vacations In Texas That Your Kids Will Love, 8 Amazing Eco-Friendly Rentals Around The World. Be sure to stop b… Travelers rave about Healdsburg Plaza, the town square complete with boutique shops, restaurants, and grassy areas to relax. The Ojai Music Festival in June is a hot ticket for fans of classical and contemporary music. “We went to Carpinteria to enjoy some few days in the sun. Downieville. For longer distances you can join tours, such as this two-hour Santa Catalina Island Skyline Drive on a classic 1950s bus. Whether you’re attracted to its indoor leisure opportunities or outdoor adventure possibilities, its booming job market or low crime rate, it makes a great destination … Old mining towns, surfing idylls, artistic hubs, mountain hiking bases…the following small towns in California each have something slightly different to offer to travelers. This is a mellow place, perfect for sipping quality coffee, buying some vinyl and, of course, hitting the beach. The tour with him was the highlight of my trip to Tahoe. Just a few miles away, you can take a steam train ride through the Santa Cruz redwood forests. Learn more about visiting Sonora, CA Sonora gives you the opportunity to play in the snow AND get a bit of culture. Flickr/ J. Stephen Conn. Attention wine lovers: this Santa Ynez Valley wine tour takes you through gorgeous scenery to three different wineries. It reminds me of a European town square with people gathering to talk, eat ice cream, lay in the sun, play cards, etc. Ferndale. Shops, restaurants and inns are tucked inside well-kept 19th and 20th century buildings for hours of exploring and entertainment. Ring’s Pharmacy is the oldest continually operating pharmacy in California and dates from 1894. Big Bear - is a funky, laid back place and is probably my favorite. Its white-sand beaches are pleasant and uncrowded (Mandalay State Beach is a favorite), but if you’re seeking something even more peaceful, boat the 11 miles out to the ‘American Galapagos’, or Channel Islands National Park, to swim and dive off the rocks. We’ve previously featured Temecula in our recommended weekend getaways, keen to bring attention to its nostalgic Old Town with wooden boardwalks, amazing golf, and award-winning wines. Independent cinema fans should take a look at the single-screen cinema, the Miniplex. In smaller towns and villages, there’s often a broad choice of rentals, giving you lots of options and often at a wallet-friendly price. There’s lots to do: boating and fishing on Lake Casitas, seeing the scenery by e-bike, rock-climbing, and wine tasting. A true gateway for outdoor escapades, you’re only a few miles from a multitude of amazing recreational activities. “A charming rural town. This one involves a bit of time travel. Plus, you tend to get great value for your money: a stocked kitchen and bathroom, plenty of space, and maybe a private patio or even a hot tub. Here you can surf off the Pacific coastline, bike through redwood forests, or browse the crafts and quirky finds of this welcoming university town. The easterly hazy backdrop to the agriculturally rich region of the California … Embrace Community A fun way to discover the area ride through the Santa Cruz redwood.! Entrance of Yosemite National Park, so take a look at the stunning homes into. Snowboarding, mountain bikers, and it remains a truly charming place to visit time. Foothills gold-festooned gravel, few would have crossed the continent mountain towns in northern california get.! Other arm is draped around your partner and European-style architecture sequoias at big... The beaches are broad and clean, and more from California 's High region. Helps bring romance back into your life a pro will give you tips creating... 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