Discover 36 memorable towns throughout California featured in our unique travel guidebooks. As Californians, we continuously search for new and exciting towns and features beyond the big cities throughout the Golden State. Whether you're seeking sylvan mountains, pounding ocean waves, or a deep-blue lake setting, there is a related great town in California that can delight you. The Golden State is known for its diversity of natural beauty, idyllic climates, cutting-edge gourmet creations, and creative spirit.
We have been writing about California great towns since our original 50 Great Towns of The West which included sixteen California towns. It was followed by an expanded list in The Great Towns of Northern California and The Great Towns of Southern California which included eighteen towns in each volume. Our most recent collections of individual town-specific books include the Monterey Peninsula; Mendocino; Napa; and Calistoga, all of which go into great depth on each town and surrounding areas. Listings on lodgings focus on two classes of places, unique and romantic places that reflect the town's personality and charm, and bargains for those who want to spend their money on other things. Attractions include everything from natural parks, trails and recreation to gourmet havens featuring delicious wines, preserves, and other noteworthy local food products. Our restaurant listings remain the most comprehensive source for breakfast specialties (which most guidebooks gloss over), and will direct you to the well-established best lunches and dinners in the area.
To enhance our coverage of California, we continue to publish new books that expand and update information on individual selected towns. These are available as eBooks with color pictures, low cost, and handy size to keep you abreast of our latest discoveries even while you are on site.
Sometimes we just need to get away from our "work" evaluating the many fine choices in great towns. We are sharing one of our secret getaway locales in our new (2017) guidebook to Desert Hot Springs, California. While it is a long way from qualifying as a "great town," it is a unique getaway dedicated to the soothing properties of mineral springs water with a dozen resorts offering all kinds of healthful mineral springs tubs, pools, bubblers, massages, and more (including some of the purest drinking water in California). It makes a surprisingly relaxing getaway (and happily is a short drive from one of the great towns of America, Palm Desert.
Here is the list of towns that made at least one "great towns" book since we began our journeys in 1985. Links will take you to our detail pages for each town.