Los Angeles, CA

Five Must-Visit Small Towns Near Los Angeles

Jessica Ufuoma

AvalonPhoto by City of Avalon

Los Angeles is amazing but surely there are times when its needed to break free from the traffic, hustle and bustle of the city or even something familiar. For those times, there's a small town nearby that you can visit and explore on a long weekend or a full-blown vacation with family and friends. Here are some of the most awesome small towns near Los Angeles. From beautiful beachside communities to quaint neighborhoods. there are a lot of options to choose from.

1.) Carpinteria

Carpinteria is one of California's best kept secrets. It is a small oceanside community that has both beautiful beaches and a small town vibe which is always a winner when you're looking to get away but still have a good time. It is as small as it gets - with just over 13,000 population at the 2010 census. You can hang out at the beach and watch the waves or visit the popular Island Brewing company. Whatever you do, you're guaranteed to have a good and relaxing time.

Getting there: You can leave your car behind as there's a stop on Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner route or alternatively. you can drive for about an hour and 30 minutes.

CarpinteriaPhoto by Compass

2.) Kernville

Kernville is one of the best places in California for biking, camping, rafting and other outdoor activities. There are lots of things that are amazing about Kernville but the beautiful natural scenery and rustic small charm definitely tops it up. If you're in the city, make sure to learn a little more about its history at the Kern Valley Museum. Not everyone visits Kernville and its truly a small town with only 1,395 people according to the 2010 census.

Getting there: Kernville is a little further away from Los Angeles but is perfect for camping with the kids or for outdoor lovers. It is about 3 hours away and you can make stops along the way. Makes for a good road trip adventure.

Photo by Drivin' and Vibin'

3.) Los Olivos

This small town located in northwest Santa Barbara is perfect for wine lovers and enthusiasts. There are plenty of nice restaurants and galleries to choose from but it's really the wine that pulls you in. Los Olivos is unincorporated but is really popular for tourists as it has an emphasis on wine grapes. So yes, this is a place to go for wine tasting and great restaurants.

Getting there: Los Olivos is a two-hour drive from Los Angeles but totally worth the trip.

Photo by Los Olivos

4.) San Juan Capistrano

San Juan, Puerto Rico or San Juan Capistrano? Spot the difference. This historic city is a must-see for history buffs and those who love architecture. It is located in Orange County and has a population of around 34,000 people according to the 2010 census. This place is made up of over 31 historic structures and dates back to around 1797. You can learn so much about the history of California by visiting this place.

Getting there: It is less than an hour drive from Los Angeles. Amazing.

Photo by Los Angeles CBS Local

5.) Santa Ynez

Almost impossible to talk about small towns near Los Angeles without talking about the town of Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara's cowboy town that's been around for the longest time, precisely since 1880. This place has a lot of wineries and horse ranches and a lot of other activities to keep visitors duly entertained. It also sparks a lot of nostalgia and is just all around a very beautiful place to visit.

Getting there: Santa Ynez is a two hour drive from Los Angeles. You can also take the Solvang Amtrak for around 3 hours.

Photo by Sunset Magazine

Have a great time exploring outside of Los Angeles for a change and show some of these small but mighty towns some love. Hope this sparks some ideas for your next getaway.

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I write about lifestyle and travel experiences in the United States. I'm also passionate about Diversity and Inclusion and that reflects in some of the pieces I write. My topics range from culture, travel, uplifting marginalized voices and much more. If you're interested in these topics, feel free to hit the subscribe button.


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