5 Under-The-Radar California Beach Towns Worth Visiting
You’d be hard-pressed to find a traveler who hasn’t heard of our spotlight coastal communities like Malibu and Laguna Beach. But nestled along the California coastline sit dozens of off-the-grid beach towns, many of which are true hidden gems. If you haven’t heard of these spots, perhaps it’s time to venture out and explore them.
Capitola, the oldest seaside town in California, is about a 90 minute drive (south) from San Francisco. Its rows of colorful Venetian inspired beach bungalows give it the kind of old world charm you’ll rarely find here, and its lowkey but wonderful shops, restaurants and hotels make it a must-see. We highly recommend enjoying some sustainable seafood with a view at Margaritaville or sipping a latte from Mr. Toots Coffeehouse.
You’ll find Cayucos on the coast of San Luis Obispo County along California State Route 1 between Cambria and Morro Bay. The picturesque town has escaped the over development seen in its nearby cities, and it’s the perfect place if you’re looking for a small town vibe. Since 1906, local cowboys have been hanging out at the Old Cayucos Tavern, and the Cayucos Pier is a great place for an evening stroll.
If you like stunning scenery, friendly people, and the “world’s safest beach,” head 15 minutes south of Santa Barbara to Carpinteria. The relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery will win you over. Carpinteria State Beach offers a mile of peaceful shoreline to explore.
Located in Santa Cruz County, Davenport is a quaint little town with a lot to offer. It was founded in 1868 and named after a sea captain, and it still maintains plenty of its original charms. The Bonnie Doon Vineyard has a great tasting room, and the Swanton Berry Farm is a great place to stop for a snack and some jam tasting. Plus, you can relax on Davenport Landing Beach.
Laid back and unpretentious, Oxnard is located in Ventura County. From whale watching in winter to outdoor adventures in the summertime, there’s never a bad time to visit. Though it’s just minutes from northern Malibu, Oxnard is a great place to go if you’re on a budget. Enjoy an old school breakfast at Mrs. Olson’s Coffee Hut, explore the beautiful Mandalay Beach, and hop on a boat to the perpetually uncrowded Channel Islands National Park.