7 Charming Towns to Visit in the LA Area
Disclosure – 7 Charming Towns to Visit in the LA Area is a collaboration with Mary Johnson. This post may contain affiliate links that earn That Traveling Chick income at no cost to you.
Los Angeles is a popular travel destination, but when you get out of LA proper and into the surrounding area is when you’ll really experience what the LA area has to offer. Right outside LA there are many small charming towns to visit. Whether you want somewhere coastal, with desert or mountains, this area truly has it all.
So for your next trip to LA, here are 7 charming towns to visit while in the area:
Long Beach is a major city located to the south of LA. It has a walkable downtown and long beach stretch that makes the city deserving of its name. The beaches here are wide and sandy, giving visitors and residents the space to stretch out. This is a port city and the popular Gerald Desmond Bridge will soon be replaced with a new one in a joint effort of Caltrans and the Port of Long Beach.
Laguna Beach gained popularity with the reality show ‘Laguna Beach’, but it is more than that show and is actually quite the easygoing oceanfront city. You have your pick of beaches here that are perfect to picnic at and a downtown with more luxurious stays and restaurants. In the late fall, you’ll find the Sawdust Art Festival here, an open-air artisan market turned Christmas village.
Santa Barbara is a gorgeous beach community, with the beach to one side and the Santa Ynez Mountains on the other side of the city. It is home to UCSB, so you’ll see some college students, as well as visitors on romantic getaways and the friendly locals. State Street is the main street downtown that is bustling on the weekends; you can head to tasting rooms along the urban Wine Trail, and spend some time at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
Joshua Tree has gained popularity in recent years and it is a pretty unique desert town destination. It is known for the national park, Joshua Tree National Park. The landscapes at Joshua Tree National Park are unique, as you’ll you’ll find unique Joshua Trees, cacti and mini mountains. But the city itself is also worth a visit, with galleries, restaurants, the popular Joshua Tree Coffee Company, and a whole lot of character.
While southern California may not be where you expect to find ski slopes, you can actually find some up at Big Bear. Big Bear is a mountain town with a lake busy with kayakers, swimmers and paddle boarders and the mountains busy with bikers and hikers venturing and enjoying the warm summer months. During winter, it is the most popular spot to hit the ski slopes.
For all you Disney lovers out there, a trip to Anaheim to visit Disneyland is a must. You can make a trip out to Anaheim a day trip from Los Angeles. However, if you want to spend the night in the city and break up the trip a bit, spend some time exploring the historic Packing District and city proper.
Lake Arrowhead is a mountain town that draws a lot of visitors every year. It has winter sports, lake activities during the warmer months, and festivals throughout the year that offer plenty to do as well as a gorgeous backdrop for relaxation. It is located in the San Bernardino Mountains, and with the close proximity to the city it is a favorite escape of many city-goers.
This list should be much longer as there is so much to see here, but we’ll leave it at 7 favorites for now! Do you have any other towns to recommend in the LA area? Remember you can do your research with our Book Your Trip booking tools.