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Chiara
San Francisco

Chiara from San Francisco asked

Nice little towns in Southern California

Hello Trippy Community :-)

I am looking for nice little towns for the next trip in South California with my husband. I will definitely check out Ojai. Are there other towns worth seeing of the same style? Do you think that towns like Ojai could be a good place to live if you are looking for a slower pace in a sunny warm place on the California coast?

Thank you!

Southern California   Ojai   Los Angeles

12 Answers
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top answer by
JR from Manhattan Beach

Since you're going to be near Ojai I'd go check out a few places north a bit. 

Los Olivos has a charming little downtown main street and is very wine centric due to the area. Near by is the Danish themed town of Solvang which i still find to be charming even though touristy. 

You said you wanted to have a sunny "warm" place on the coast, but that doesn't really exist. Normally the costal towns are fairly cool even in the summer but if you stay in the valleys like Ojai then you'll get some true summer heat. 


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Chiara
Thank you JR :) what about Morro Bay, Ventura, Escondido and Encinitas? Worth checking out?
 

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JR
all worth checking out for sure! I haven't been to Escondido in years (my grandparents lived down there so we spent a lot of time running around avocado orchards as kids, but I think they're probably replaced with homes now). I don't know morro bay too well, but the couple times i've been it was nice but a little sleepy for my tastes. Ventura is an interesting option. Their downtown has been cleaned up over the last decade and has shed most of the "hells angels" vibe but maintains a touch to keep to the cred. I love Encinitas/Carlsbad if you want to go that far south, those are cool options.
 

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Nancy
It's true that the winters in Morro Bay (where I now live) are often warmer and sunnier than the summers, which have a lot of cool, foggy days. But Cayucos and Avila Beach are both south-facing and have a lot more days of sunshine. SoCal has the same issues -- May Gray and June Gloom sometimes last a lot longer than that. When I find myself getting depressed by summer weather, I drive into SLO or stay a few days at our second home in Arroyo Grande. Just a few miles inland and it's bright, sunny and warm! In SoCal, you should definitely check out some cute mountain towns were we once had vacation cabins -- Idyllwild and Fawnskin on Big Bear Lake. Both have terrific summer weather.
 

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Breanna
Ditto to Los Olivos - very cute and charming wine town. Very slow paced with friendly people and gorgeous scenery.
 
 
 

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answered by
Jessica from Fort Lee, New Jersey

I've never been, but have heard great things about San Luis Obispo (SLO). It's a town with agriculture (fresh produce), wineries and everyone operates at a much slower pace.  


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Debbie
Great suggestion, Jessica! I love SLO and hope you get to visit someday! By the way, I'm a community manager here and I've helped you highlight SLO in your answer on a map so that folks can click through to see more info about SLO. In the future, you can do this yourself as you answer a question by simply typing the @-symbol followed by the name of the place. Take a look at your map next to your answer :)
 
 
 

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answered by
Robert Glenn from Manhattan Beach

I am a beach person and CA has some of the best. I would try Carlsbad (California) or Cardiff by the Sea and the small communities on either side. You are about between Orange County and San Diego, the beaches, waves and dog friendly beach zones make this area a great destination. San Diego, La Jolla, Del Mar Racetrackand Legolandare all close by as well.


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Jillian
I love Cardiff by the Sea.. great suggestion!
 
 
 

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answered by
Stephanie from Los Angeles

Santa Barbara, a little North West of Ojai, is a great weekend getaway. Check out the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, Lower State St, the La Mesa and the harbor! 


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answered by
Courtney from Los Angeles

This is really more Central California than Southern but I have to put in a bid for Cambria. I think it's a totally underrated little town that always reminds me of the quirky little Vermont town in the show "Newhart". So many funny characters and weird little spots. It's not going to totally blow you over, but it's just what you described--a slow, sunny little town. 

If you go, the Burton Inn is a lovely, if slightly hokey little place with very cheap rates (I'm almost sure we paid around $110 for a pretty big room with a Jacuzzi. I think we ate at Robin's Restaurant which was great as I remember. If you just need a quicky place to grab a bite Lombardi's Pasta Familia is decent--not incredible but good for a quick lunch. 

Also, and I know this sounds insane, but if you go, you have to stop in at a knitting store called Ball and Skein and More. The guy who runs it is a great local character and is worth going in to meet--I know it sounds totally weird but just trust me on this! :)


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answered by
Lissa from Las Vegas

Hi if you're going to Ojai it is a very small town. Better little towns to live in that are only 15 minutes away would be Port Hueneme, Oxnard and Ventura. They are close to the beach and there's more to do than in Ojai. The Danish town that the other person was referring to is Solvang : ) it is a nice Danish Town and if you like wine you can always make you're way to some of Santa Barbara's Wineries on you're way to Solvang.


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Debbie
Great answer, Lissa! I need to visit these myself! By the way, I'm a community manager here and I've helped you highlight the places in your answer on a map! In the future, you can do this yourself as you answer a question by simply typing the @-symbol followed by the name of the place. Take a look at your map next to your answer :)
 
 
 

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answered by
Candy from Pasadena

Hi you should definitely check out Solvang too!  It's a bit north of Ojai but such beautiful rolling hills on the drive.  It's unique kind of like midwest in California.  Lovely beds and breakfasts there.  Fun for a day trip, not as slow as Ojai though.  


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answered by
Louise from Los Angeles

Love all the places mentioned in the answers, but no one mentioned Paso Robles that place is fantastic - also if you're looking into Southern California, my idea of So Cal is San DiegoSan ClementeDana Point, and San Juan Capistrano these are all amazing SoCal coastal cities. Hope this helps! 


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answered by
Kristin from New York City

I love the answers already given, and while I've only been in these towns briefly, and they're a bit further North, I have to mention them. I really loved San Luis Obispo and Cayucos. To me, Cayucos is like if Cape Cod and La Jolla had a spawn, that place would be the product. Sleepy, charming surf town. Love it!


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Jillian
I need to get to both of these places.. thanks for the reminder! :)
 

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Nancy
I've been lucky enough to live in Cardiif, Cayucos and Carlsbad. While Carlsbad and Cardiff are quintessential SoCal beach towns, they are not in any way laid back anymore. We escaped to the Central Coast in 2012 and haven't looked back since! We were attracted to Cayucos because it reminded us of the way the North County area of San Diego once was. We now divide our time between Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande which has the best of both worlds in terms of weather.
 
 
 

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answered by
Jillian from Los Angeles

I second J.R.'s suggestion on Los Olivos! It's a really charming town with a relaxed lifestyle. I love stopping by Clairmont Farms to smell the lavender, and renting bikes to explore. Not to mention the wine tasting! If you go, check out Blackjack Ranch which is the vineyard/wine featured in the movie Sideways. You can also head to Santa Ynez and grab tasty Panino sandwiches for a picnic. For some bacon and eggs classic breakfast with the locals, head to the Longhorn Coffee Shop & Bakery. Here's a picture I took from my recent trip. Have fun!



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Andrew
Cool picture!
 

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Jillian
Thanks Andrew!
 
 
 

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answered by
ted from Los Angeles

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answered by
Zach from West Bloomfield Township, Michigan

Never been to Ojai but friends love it.  I love Laguna Beach and La Jolla. For a small town feel look into Seal Beach.


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