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Best undiscovered California beach towns

California is known for its beautiful beaches, but some of the best ones are often overlooked by tourists. The best undiscovered beach towns in California are hidden gems that offer a laid-back atmosphere, stunning scenery, and a chance to escape the crowds. Whether you're looking for a quiet weekend getaway or an adventure-filled vacation, these California beach towns have something for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to discover the best kept secrets of California's coastline.

Bolinas_California Beach Towns

Bolinas: Population 1,483

If you're looking for a quite getaway where you can roam the beach in solitude then Bolinas, California is the place to be! Bolinas is a small beach town located in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. It is known for its quiet beaches, undiscovered surf-spots, laid-back vibe, and charming downtown area.

Top Three Must See: Explore Alamere Falls, grab a drink and a bite at Smiley's Schooner Saloon (in operation since the mid-1800s), stop by Bolinas Museum.

Where To Stay: Smiley's Saloon Hotel & Kitchen, in the heart of this coastal village and a short walk to the beach, try out the Captain's Quarters.

Cayuco_California Beach Towns

Cayuco: Population 2,228

This charming town is situated along California's Central Coast, located about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, it is known for its quiet beaches, surfing, Cass' Wharf, and a relaxed downtown vibes.

Top Three Must See: Go kayaking to explore the local estuaries, check out the Cayucos Pier historic landmark, visit the Cayucos Historical Museum.

Where To Stay: Shoreline Inn On The Beach provides beachfront lodging steps away from the ocean.

Mendocino_California Beach Towns

Mendocino: Population 932

Mendocino is a small village perched on a bluff over looking the rugged coast of Northern California. Founded in 1852 as a logging community after a ship named Frolic wrecked just south of the Mendocino headlands. Today it's known for its stunning views, Victorian architecture, and one-of-a-kind shops.

Top Three Must See: A trip to Mendocino must include a leisurely stroll in and out of the cute shops with coffee in hand. Some of our favs are Gallery Bookshop, Village Toy Store, and Mendocino Jams & Preserves. Visit the Temple of Kwan Tai, one of the oldest Chinese temples in the United States and a California historic landmark.

Where To Stay: The Blair House, built in 1888 is a classic Victorian treasure in the heart of the Mendocino village. Murder She, Wrote fans will recognize this as the home of Jessica Fletcher...that's right, you can stay at the Murder She Wrote house!

Trinidad_California Beach Towns

Trinidad: Population 367

Nestled on the rugged coastline of Northern California is the quaint seaside town of Trinidad. With a population of just over 300, this picturesque community boasts some of the most stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by towering redwood forests and a rich Native American history.

Top Three Must See: Check out the picturesque Trinidad State Beach, visit the Trinidad Museum featuring rotating exhibits and two gardens, stop by the Annual Blackberry Festival for all things blackberry.

Where To Stay: The Lost Whale Inn boasts ocean views, a spa, beautiful gardens and a "whale watch deck" to view the sunset.

Bodega Bay_California Beach Towns

Bodega BaY: Population 1,069

Nestled on the Sonoma Coast, about an hour north of San Francisco, Bodega Bay is a small coastal town that is known for its stunning natural beauty and quaint charm. With its rugged coastline, rolling hills, and abundance of wildlife, Bodega Bay offers visitors a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Fun Fact for film buffs, Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" was filmed in Bodega Bay after being hand selected by the filmmaker himself.

Top Three Must See: Check out Candy & Kites, stroll the beach at Doran Regional Park, get a massage at The Lodge at Bodega Bay.

San Simeon_California Beach Towns

San Simeon: Population 445

Located just off Highway 1, San Simeon is a quaint town filled with stunning natural beauty, historical landmarks, and plenty of activities to keep you entertained. Best known for Hearst Castle, a hilltop mansion that is now a tourist attraction. Whether you're interested in exploring the outdoors, learning about local history, or simply relaxing on the beach.

Top Three Must See: View the elephant seals at they nap on the shore, visit the world famous Hearst Castle, hike Ragged Point Beach.

Where To Stay: The Morgan San Simeon.

Jenner By The Sea_California Beach Towns

Jenner-By-The-Sea: Population 122

Located at the mouth of the Russian River, this small coastal village offers a serene escape. Outdoor enthusiasts will delight in the myriad of activities available, from kayaking along the river estuary to hiking along coastal trails offering panoramic views of the coastline. Jenner is also home to a diverse array of bird species, seals, and even the occasional passing whale.

Top Three Must See: Hike the Jenner Headlands, for stunning dining views grab a meal at River's End Restaurant, stroll along Jenner Beach.

Where To Stay: River's End

Stinson Beach_California Beach Towns

Stinson Beach: Population 541

Stinson Beach offers a quintessential seaside escape with its pristine stretch of white sand and oceanfront views making it one of the best swimming beached in Northern California. With its reliable swells, scenic backdrop, and welcoming community, Stinson Beach has become a beloved destination for surfers seeking adventure along the Northern California coast.

Top Three Must See: Hit the famous Stinson Beach for some sun and a picnic, enjoy the views for Dipsea Trail, grab a bite at Parkside Café.

Where To Stay: Surf Lodge

Gualala_California Beach Towns

Gualala: Population 2,093

 Gualala's laid-back atmosphere and unspoiled natural surroundings make it an ideal destination for those seeking tranquility and outdoor adventure. Spend your days exploring the pristine beaches, hiking through ancient forests, or kayaking along the winding rivers.

Top Three Must See: Salt Point State Park Pygmy Forest, grab a bite at the Gualala Seafood Shack, get a canoe from Adventure Rents and cruise down the Gualala River.

Where To Stay: Seacliff Motel for their stunning views.

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