Image source: Flickr - Leeco
When most travelers think about vacationing in California, big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are amongst the most popular options. But, what about some lesser-known cities that still offer amazing travel adventures, just without all the other tourists?
If you are looking to explore more than just the Golden State’s best-known spots, here are four California cities you may not know.
Head north from San Francisco and as you cross the Golden Gate Bridge, leave the traffic and hectic pace behind as you find yourself in the sleepy seaside city of Sausalito. Relatively isolated from San Francisco by water, it was an area ripe with bootlegging and rum runners during Prohibition, but today is home to an eclectic community with a vibrant arts and culinary scene. Spend a long weekend in Sausalito wandering the waterfront, stopping by the art galleries, and enjoying some of the freshest seafoodavailable.
Looking to hit some of California’s famed wineries? Head east from Napa, past Sacramento and on to Amador for a more casual wine tasting experience. It’s not uncommon to encounter many of the winemakers and owners frequenting the tasting rooms on the weekends. Amador County is home to nearly 40 wineries in the heart of the Sierra Foothills. Step back in time as you travel some of the coolest California back road and Gold-rush era towns. Amador is about two hours east of the San Francisco Bay Area and just under an hour from Sacramento.
Just a couple hours north of Los Angeles is the Danish town of Solvang. Gateway to Santa Barbara wine country, it’s a popular destination with many California locals looking for a quick escape. Solvang’s old world charm is undeniable and the easily walkable town is worth a stop, especially if you are traveling by car. Look for charming Danish bakeries and stores selling imported European wares. Of course, the area is home to several wine tasting rooms and more than 80 wineries are within a short drive. Looking for something more adventurous? Solvang and the surrounding Santa Ynez Valley are home to a number of golf courses and renowned scenic cycling routes.
Located in Mendocino County, Fort Bragg is a California Historical Landmark that is a popular spot today with travelers looking to take in some of California’s rugged coastline views along Highway 1. Fort Bragg is definitely a haul from Sacramento or San Francisco (about four hours drive) but the views are worth it. Warmer months like July through October tend to be busiest while the rest of the year sees fewer visitors. Some of the highlights of Fort Bragg include Glass Beach, Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park and the California Coastal National Monument.
What are some of your favorite lesser-known California destinations?