Next time you’re in the area, stop in. Discover some of the most interesting places to visit in NorCal, not on the usual tourist itinerary. Many tourists travel to southern California in such popular places as San Diego, Disneyland, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara. Myrtle Creek Botanic Gardens This gem is located in the quiet town of Fallbrook. From scenic byways to wine country destinations to historic honky-tonks, these locations make great trips for those who like to explore a little off the beaten path. Enjoy the authenticity and give yourself some time to retrace the steps of those who once walked these streets trying to make their fortunes in these hills. In the fall of 1990, over 20 northern elephant seals were seen in the cove near the Piedras Blancas lighthouse. Now, let’s take a look at six of the best “hidden” hiking gems in Southern California. Summer in the South is a great time to pack your bags, hit the road, and explore the best that the region has to offer. Prohibition was a dark time in U.S. History. hotels Be on the Sixth Fiesta. More commonly known as Point Lobos, this beautiful stretch of coast is located just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, along the north end of Big Sur. Hidden in a canyon and surrounded by houses is Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch. We saw Canyon de Chelly and the Petrified Forest. 10 Amazing Hidden Gems in California . 0. A former army garrison built during the American Civil War, it boasts a spectacular Northern California coastline with views of the Pacific Ocean. Not only is it an incredibly safe city, Money Magazine voted it as one of the top 5 cities to live in the United States. March 26, 2019 Comments Off on Hidden Gems in Southern California. Adamson House Museum ranks among some of the most magnificent homes in California—a mini Hearst Castle, Los Angeles style on Malibu Beach. You can still see knick-knacks and his unique architectural style in the house, which is considered a California Historical Landmark. 10 Hidden AirBnB Gems in California. Sandwiched between the beaches at Cambria and Morro Bay, Cayucos is located on the San Luis Obispo County coast. Hearst Castle, built in Cambria, California, defies these expectations. Destination & Tourism Noreen Kompanik January 02, 2020 PHOTO: San Clemente Pier. Check out the sign marking “sea level” on the cliffs overlooking the Badwater Basin, and take care if you decide to cross the salt flats as it can be just a thin white crust over mud. Lists and Rankings CATEGORY: Hidden Gems State-By-State Hidden Gems. Courtyards in Carmel . Jalama Beach Camping Santa Barbara County. Take a nice easy walk through a real oasis in the middle of the desert, or work up a sweat under the sweltering desert sun, and then retire for a cool drink in the shade of a gorgeous palm tree oasis. In the charming city of Ventura are several hidden gems. If you wander down to the edges of the beach, you’ll discover tall rocks. Mono Lake. Except for the townspeople and students, very few people stop in to visit this charming town, even though they pass right by when visiting the iconic Californian redwoods. Right at the mouth of the Carmel River and the Pacific ocean is this little-known gem of a beach. Whether you're driving through Southern California or taking a long vacation here, you might be wondering where are the hidden places that only locals know about. It was previously inhabited by the Chumash people prior to the Spanish exploration, who then named it “Cayucos”, their interpretation of the Chumash word for kayak. On the barren badlands east of San Diego, there is a 30-foot high, 100-foot wide concrete and adobe mountain covered in religious slogans and over an estimated 150,000 gallons of lavish multi-colored acrylic paint. Each time we discover more beautiful areas. The resort has been a popular destination for over 100 years. Several of these have been developed for safe use, mostly located between Bridgeport and Mammoth Lakes and awaiting your visit. We’re starting off this list of hidden gems in Orange County with … Wave Organ. California is home to many of the most well-known universities worldwide, including schools like UCLA, Stanford, and California Institute of Technology. High above the bustling suburban sprawl of San Diego city life, Palomar Mountain Observatory is a welcome break to travelers trying to escape the hustle and bustle of other parks that are often overcrowded with visitors looking for a weekend retreat. To be more impartial, this list will be in alphabetical order. Get out your hiking boots and explore the over 1,600 acres of open space on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Victoria Beach is the first destination that is hidden … Ten of the area’s largest preserves consisting of rolling hills, steep canyons, and rocky outcrops with natural habitat and views of the Pacific. It should be no surprise to anyone that Los Angeles never missed an opportunity for a good party. … These 9 Hidden Places Are Southern California’s Best Kept Secrets. Wrigley Botanical Gardens are located on Catalina Island, a popular day trip off the coast of Southern California about 22 miles from Los Angeles. The town is filled with delicious restaurants and cute shops lining the beaches! Stop in at the almost-ghost town of Benton to find nine hot springs awaiting your soaking pleasure, all filled with pure spring water. From the back roads of Florida to the mountaintops of Virginia, these hidden gems are the off-the-beaten-path places that our editors return to year after year. If you have a case of wanderlust, I think you’ll find these hidden gems will be the perfect remedy. A local engineer, Alexander Allen, purchased a large part of the land in 1933 to prevent its development, which has allowed the longstanding wildlife protection and seascape to remain well-preserved and open today for your visit. (MORE: Most Incredible Hidden Gem in Every State) 1. VERONICA PINCOSKI, Founder & Chief Picker A lifelong lover of vintage wares, ripped jeans and […] There is a local Harley Farms Goat Dairy, or a beloved taqueria at the gas station called Taqueria y Mercado de Amigos. Wander the quaint small town main drag off of Pescadero Creek Road or stop in for a drink at Duarte’s Tavern. Following its decline after its heyday in the 20s and 30s, Hearst’s family found the upkeep very expensive and donated it to the state. Let the ocean breeze refresh you and the waves relax you. Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is located just off the 118 freeway in Simi Valley, California. The original farmhouse where President Nixon was born is just a few steps away from his final resting place in the Nixon Memorial Garden. Use the taps to control the temperate and spend a day or two relaxing here at the Old House and Inn! Los Alamos is located about 50 miles north of Santa Barbara and about 20 miles south of Santa Maria on Highway 101. A coastal city in San Diego County, Solana Beach is located near Cardiff-by-the-Sea and was first inhabited by the George Jones family in 1886. Pioneertown was originally built in the 1940s as an old western movie set. A perfect swimming destination in the summer, there are also ample surfing opportunities here for those brave enough to walk the steep trail down to the beach. This hidden gem covers over two acres of land packed with flora and fauna from around the globe. One of the main attractions of the island, the gardens, features a stunning monument to William Wrigley Jr. A hidden gem in the desert of Palm Springs, the Moorten Botanical Gardens is the perfect destination for anyone that has an appreciation for desert flora. Open from mid-May to end of November, this ancient forest is well worth the visit. And while there are many things to do in Goleta, the main draw for visitors is the area’s beaches. We’re Peter and Veronica, two Southern California based flea market fanatics, space creators and beauty builders who share the same passion for craftsmanship. Neptune’s Net Seafood has been serving fresh seafood from its Malibu Beach location since 1958. The preserve is located on a hillside with trails that feature incredible views of Saddleback Mountain. Camel milk handmade soaps, lotions, and even lip balm can be purchased at the farm. Highland Springs Resort is just a short two-hour drive from Orange or Los Angeles Counties. He worked with Julia to bring to life the different styles he’d seen in Europe, and the bungalow he originally envisioned morphed into a sprawling estate of expansive gardens and 3 houses – the main Casa Del Mar and two guest houses, Casa del Monte and Casa del Sol. Northern California hidden gems to put on your summer bucket list. The Huntington Botanical Gardens Stop by to revisit Gold Rush History or take a wine-tasting tour! He imported plants from around the world and planted them in Santa Barbara to his garden and building the house in which he resided that is now at the center of these gardens. However, as wonderful as the cities are, there is so much more to California waiting to be discovered. While perhaps not as shiny as actual gold, the region struck figurative gold and is now rich in wine production in areas like Apple Hill and Pleasant Valley, known for vibrant, flavorful wines. Highland Springs is home to a very popular Lavender Festival in June, a Sausage and Beer Festival in August and an Olive and Wine Faire in October featuring olive oil pressed from its trees. Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America, about 282 feet below sea level. Stop in at Arangeli’s Market for some delicious, homemade bread that locals and tourists rave about. Here are seven hidden gems of Southern California, including the ruins of a socialist commune and a movie ranch you might recognize from your favorite Western. A list of our destinations is often overlooked by tourists. 242. Don’t take any with you, though, because it is a state beach. If you visit the town now, you’ll see many preserved buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, like the old Soda Works, Confidence Hall, or Church of Our Savior. Getting off the beaten path can be rewarding sometimes, and this Santa Barbara gem is no exception. 15 Best San Diego Beer, Wine and Tequila Tours. Above all, what sets apart this standout among hidden gems in Southern California is its view. Paradise Cove is located in Malibu Beach, California. However, if you are looking for a location from the radar, you should try the best locations below. And while those places are all wonderful, sometimes it’s nice to veer off the beaten path and explore some new territory. Avoiding the urban sprawl of other southern California cities, Goleta is a less expensive alternative to its easterly neighbor Santa Barbara. You’re probably wondering what this could possibly be referencing. Named for the Spanish words for “the olives,” Los Olivos is also the gateway to the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, which stretches north from downtown, winding its way through over two dozen beautiful wineries and vineyards, each with its tasting room. 447 Shares. You might find yourself eager to take an early-fall vacation but, at the same time, be turned off by the thought of thousands of other travelers having a similar idea. Travel time will depend on traffic conditions. Many tourists flock to well-known destinations in Southern California like San Diego, Disneyland, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara. Think you’ve seen all of California? On a clear day, you can see the Malibu coast to Santa Monica. Explore the coastline or hike through the trails winding among the redwoods. Campgrounds are nearby, such as Memorial Park, as well as rural roads perfect for biking and trails ideal for hiking through the Santa Cruz Mountains. A curious design for California’s less formal environment, this gem of a modern-day castle never fails to impress visitors with its whimsy. It’s a beautiful hidden gem that explores the settlement and development of Southern California from the Civil War to the early 20th century and offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of Victorian and Edwardian Californians. Often overlooked as beachcombers wind their way up and down California Highway One, between Morro Bay and Cambria, Cayucos by the Sea provides visitors a relaxing central coast getaway. Share 446. Nowadays you can tour the house with a guide and see for yourself these oddities. Established in 1938 by Chester “Cactus Slim” Moorten and his wife, Patricia, and now owned and operated by their son, Clark Moorten. Read More. by thenomad; May 3, 2019; 1 minute read; 0. A true local secret, come snag your parking spot early – the parking lot is small and fills up quickly! Now, people continue to be drawn to the town for its small-town charm, which can be found in the plaza that is still the center of town affairs. Check these out! Head out to Fletcher Cove Park or take a hike at Annie’s Canyon Trail. Guerneville was a former logging community in the popular Russian River Valley, close to the towering redwoods. These are all great places to visit, but if you're looking for somewhere different that's a bit off the radar, check out the following incredible destinations: The Channell Islands. Many tourists flock to well-known destinations in Southern California like San Diego, Disneyland, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara. There is a majestic outdoor pool called the Neptune Pool, designed in the style of a Roman temple. Tour Hearst Castle to admire the different architectural influences and sheer grandeur of the buildings. Truly hidden gems. Not all of Southern California’s beautiful and fascinating places are as well known as the Santa Monica Pier or Joshua Tree. There are some very well known hotels and resorts on the California Coast (See related: Best Beach Resorts in California), such as the Hotel del Coronado and the Hotel Laguna, that get a lot of attention in the travel industry. Located in Death Valley, this sinkhole is consisted of a small spring-fed pool that is tainted with salts from the surrounding basins, making it undrinkable and adding to the unique physical appearance of the basin. These are all great places to visit. Ojai Valley California The Sacred Valley area is a cheap alternative to Machu Picchu during the summer. I prefer to take my time and stop along the way and make a journey of it, rather than leave at 4am and power through it. Hidden Gems in Southern California is a collection of numerous travellers visit California’s famous landmarks such as San Diego, Disneyland, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Or, head up the mountains to Lake Tahoe for some skiing in the winter. Obersee Lake in Bavaria is one of them. Mammoth Lakes is a beautiful tourist destination today, but thousands of years ago, a volcano exploded, creating the terrain that we enjoy now, and leaving behind a network of hot springs. If you’re here in the summer, fish in the North Yuba or go mountain-biking. Reminiscent of early Palm Springs with its natural beauty, Borrego Springs is an excellent choice for a weekend retreat or inexpensive family day trip. Or, check out Dinosaur Caves Park and browse the local Pismo Beach Farmers market for a snack. There is plenty of space for those looking to tan, or it’s also a good scuba diving spot to see the diverse marine life. If you are looking for somewhere unique and a little less of a tourist stop, then check out these hidden gems. It doesn’t make a difference if you know anything about how engines work, or if you can tell the difference between a carburetor or a crankshaft, or a piston from a spark plug — the Automobile Driving Museum has something for all car lovers, even if they are not mechanically inclined. Now a historical landmark that’s part of the San Bernardino County regional park system, Calico has a number of … The beach is located about a mile south of San Clemente Pier. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. You should also keep an eye out for elephant seals if you’re here in the winter. We traveled to eight different remote locations to showcase some of California’s lesser-known attractions in our Hidden Gems video series. Reveal of the Top 5 best places to visit in Southern California - the hidden gems locals want to keep secret. Don’t go somewhere basic. The Abandoned LA Zoo. 0. All of these are great places to visit. We traveled to eight different remote locations to showcase some of California’s lesser-known attractions in our Hidden Gems video series. From waterfalls to caves, luxury to underground and more! Looking for a gorgeous scenic drive road trip in Southern California? Neptune has been a setting for numerous movies, including Point Break and the Fast and the Furious. It was the former personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of the gun magnate William Winchester. Named after Miguel Avila, who owed Rancho San Miguelito, the town was established at the end of the 1800s and served as the main shipping port for San Luis Obispo for a time. Located at the heart of Santa Barbara’s Riviera, Franceschi Park is named after a noted Italian horticulturalist, Francesco Franceschi.