6 overlooked places to visit in Southern California
When a person thinks of Southern California, the first thing that pops into their mind is probably LA, rows of palm trees, and flashy Hollywood life. But if you are planning a road trip around SoCal, there is so much more to experience than that.
From beautiful beaches to desert towns, Southern California has a lot to offer to nature lovers. The outdoorsy lifestyle of Californians will be transferred onto you, even if you were a couch potato, as soon as you see beautiful sunsets, waterfalls, and the scenery.
Don’t miss out on the fun of some omitted places, just because they are not in your commercial tour guide. Here is a list of six places from six different counties in SoCal that you may consider hidden gems of an already shiny state.
1. San Bernardino, San Bernardino County
Almost 700 000 acres of national forest offer San Bernardino County’s visitors an abundance of natural attractions. If you are staying in the city you can easily find all the fun things to do in San Bernardino County, such as horseback riding, visiting the hot springs and some of California’s most beautiful lakes.
San Bernardino offers a few historical museums for those who cannot miss out on new knowledge about the place they are visiting. Lovers of art will miss not out on the fun in this city, as some theaters and amphitheaters host different cultural events throughout the year.
The Gate City is an ideal getaway for everyone tired of their fast-paced life, polluted air, and city noise. But if you are up for a night out after all day of exploring, there are bars with great cocktails, pool tables, and live music.
2. Encinitas, San Diego County
If you are up for a vacation in a coastal town, drive past Oceanside and stay in Encinitas, a small beach town with a soul. The authentic experience of a small SoCal surf town is preserved by the locals and rustic, sandy beaches.
If you want to explore local flora and fauna, we suggest you visit Swami Beach, especially during the winter months. You can see sea creatures, such as octopuses, sea hares, millions-year-old fossils, and other magnificent entities of nature.
End a day with a rare phenomenon – watch a sunset in an unbelievable green color. This spectacle is caused by the mirage and dispersion of sunlight through the Earth’s atmosphere. Encinitas is unreasonably overlooked, so the next time you crave oceanviews and surfing, you know where to find it.
3. Riverside, Riverside County
Located near the Santa Ana River, Riverside city is a place full of landmarks. If you are staying there, and want to feel like you are in a fairy tale, we recommend staying in a historic Mission Inn. This unique resort set the standard for the rest of Downtown, so if you found yourself confused over the style of the buildings, it is in a style of Spanish Mission.
Another landmark of Riverside is Mount Rubidoux Park, which offers various hiking trails leading to the top. On the top, the peace tower and a massive cross await the hikers, who hiked the trails with historical and ecological markers about Riverside.
It is without a doubt that Riverside has a lot to offer to its visitors but it is also an important part of the SoCal economy, as it is the first center of the Citrus industry. Riverside’s oranges helped transform California into what it is now. When you are visiting the city, stop by California State Citrus Historic Park, and see for yourself.
4. Claremont, Los Angeles County
“The City of Trees and Ph.Ds.” is what people call Claremont, CA, because of its tree-lined streets and many educational institutions. This is a place where young people live, so there is a vibrant arts scene, as well as nightlife.
If you want a signature Claremont experience, you have to stop by the Folk Music Center or visit some folk music event. Even if you do not enjoy this kind of genre of music in your spare time, you will most likely have fun playing a decades-old unusual musical instrument.
Don’t skip out on California’s most beautiful botanic garden with native plants and species. You can hike around and explore, or you can attend one of the many educational workshops. It is a relaxing journey through nature and an escape from our usual fast-moving way of life.
5. Thousand Oaks, Ventura County
Native oak woodland is what named this city, known mostly for its recreational areas. If you are around, visit The Gardens of the World, for the beauty of the greenery and variety of colorful flowers and tries.
Hikers will fall in love with the scenery of Wildwood Regional Park, as located several natural waterfalls are located there. Take the Paradise Falls Trail – it is around 1.5 miles long and it leads to a gorgeous view of the Paradise Waterfalls.
The city of Thousand Oaks is for outdoorsy types and it is often overlooked as it does not have a flashy art scene or exciting nightlife. But what it lacks in urban excitement, it makes up for in natural wonders.
6. Carpinteria, Santa Barbara County
This oceanside small town is famous for its world’s safest beaches and Avocado-related festivals. Carpinteria is a quiet, sleepy town, and it is the best place for those in search of inspiration for a book, painting, or movie.
Memorable long, sandy beaches grant access to many activities, from plane walking or swimming, to surfing, snorkeling, and exploring the tide pools. Carpinteria has a local cuisine that you should not miss – just go to one of the main streets and find any local restaurant.
Simple things are sometimes just what we need to be impressed with. That is why Carpinteria is on this list. It is overlooked because of its size and simplicity but offers unforgettable scenery and warm people.
Secluded Places Make for a More Memorable Experience
Have you ever been to a place where there is a beautiful, popular site to see, and you can’t enjoy it because of a crowd of people? Everyone around you is pushing to take the best picture and you are not able to collect your thoughts and appreciate the beauty of a place.
Well, if you visit the places on this list, there is almost no chance of that happening. This is the beauty of secluded, underrated places, you can stop and experience them in a way you would not be able to if there were thousands of other tourists around you.
You can escape your daily routine, meet the locals, try homemade food and wine, go for a hike and breathe fresh air. This is why traveling to overlooked places can give you more comfort, especially in the SoCal region, full of natural wonders.