Famous cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are the first places that people think of when thinking about California, and stereotypes come to mind about beach blondes or surfer guys, images reinforced by Hollywood movies time and again. However, as wonderful as the cities are, there is so much more to California waiting to be discovered.
Rent your own car and get ready to veer off the beaten path to discover forests and beaches so far removed from civilization that you will feel like they were made just for you! Spend some time getting to know the real California, rich in history and natural resources and breathtakingly beautiful.
It will give you an entirely new appreciation for the state aside from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood or the artsy quirks of San Francisco. So buckle up, bring your camera and get ready to discover a few places perhaps not in your guidebooks, but very much worth the time.
Check out our recommendations for the best hidden gems in California!
1. Fort Bragg
Tucked away along the spectacular Mendocino Coast, Fort Bragg is about three hours north of San Francisco off of Highway 1. A former army garrison built during the American Civil War, it boasts a spectacular Northern California coastline with views of the Pacific Ocean. Fort Bragg has a pleasant, mild climate all year and is perfect for a few days getaway.
While there, be sure to take a walk along Glass Beach, a former glass dump site that is now a fascinating state beach. It might not sound like much, but over time, the ocean has refined the glass to create beautiful sea glass that now sparkles on the shore. Don’t take any with you, though, because it is a state beach. You should also stroll along the coast at MacKerricher State Park – keep your eyes peeled for tide pools and seals! You can also take a ride on the historic Skunk Train or ride a horse along the beach. It’s a perfect, out of the way Northern California seaside getaway. Click Next to See More …