As far as great places to work and live you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place than Los Angeles. But even the most die-hard of its residents would admit the traffic and sprawls get to you sometimes. That’s when a vacation starts to look attractive, but the truth is most of us can’t go to the south of France for the weekend.
But you can pack a bag and get on a bus to a nearby small town. There are several health benefits to be found in rural areas, and your mind and lungs will thank you.
Here are 8 of my favorite small towns near LA;
1. Arroyo Grande
This had to be my first recommendation. Arroyo Grande is home to antique stores and historic buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Arroyo Grande has fertile farmland, flower fields, and vineyards for those of you who have a green thumb.
Image by; Los Angeles Times
Most people visit Carpinteria because of its low-key mile of beautiful beach. It’s ideal for swimming, surfing, lounging, and tile pooling, while somehow sustaining the small-town vibe.
Mountains; that’s the first thing I can say about Idyllwild. This small-town is nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains above the Riverside County Communities. It is, in no uncertain terms, a work of art that is beautiful to behold.
This town is ideal for hikers, mountain climbers, and extreme sportsmen.
Following Idyllwild, my next small town recommendation, Julian, is another mountain town. But this time it’s an old gold mining town in and around the Cuyamaca Mountains. The old mining tunnels make for a good guided tour.
Some people call it the Apple town because of its first-place prize at the World’s Fair in Chicago. So I recommend you get a hot apple cider and pie when you visit.
5. Lake Arrowhead
Yet another Mountain Town. Lake Arrowhead is a small town that offers almost endless festivals and events all year round. It is a luxury town with lakeside vacation homes that are perfect for a romantic getaway.
6. Los Olivos
Finally, I’m recommending a small town not defined by mountains. This quintessential small American town is an ideal place to get away from the big city and enjoy the culture of a rural community. It is home to a host of classic wine tasting rooms and beautiful orchards and classic victorian homes.
7. Morro Bay
Morro Bay is a seaside town like no other. Just off the shore, there’s a massive ancient volcanic plug known as Morro Rock. Morro Rock rises 576 feet from the ocean and adds a dramatic effect to Morro Bay. As an old fisherman town, it offers a host of amazing fish delicacies as a bonus for fish lovers. I promise it will offer you the best fish and chips you’ll ever eat.
Other fun activities include kayaking, biking, and of course fishing,
8. Slab City
OK, I will admit Slab City is a weird small town. If you like getting lost and being a bit confused then I recommend you visit Slab City for a unique experience. It is a former Marine Corps base and I have little doubt the unique design of the town can be largely attributed to that fact.
This small town is home to a host of incredible works of art everywhere you look.
For creatives experiencing a bit of writer’s block, this is the town for you.
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