Discover the Great Towns of California!

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.

Northern California Great Towns:

Calistoga
Calistoga
Carmel
Carmel
Eureka
Eureka
Ferndale
Ferndale
Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg
Gualala
Gualala
Healdsburg
Healdsburg
Mendocino
Mendocino
Monterey
Monterey
Murphys
Murphys
Napa
Napa
Nevada City
Nevada City
Pacific Grove
Pacific Grove
St. Helena
St. Helena
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonora
Sonora
South Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe
Tahoe City
Tahoe City

Central and Southern California Great Towns:

Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake
Borrego Springs
Borrego Springs
Cambria
Cambria
Coronado
Coronado
Del Mar
Del Mar
Idyllwild
Idyllwild
Julian
Julian
Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach
Lake Arrowhead
Lake Arrowhead
Morro Bay
Morro Bay
Ojai
Ojai
Palm Desert
Palm Desert
Palm Springs
Palm Springs
Paso Robles
Paso Robles
Pismo Beach
Pismo Beach
San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara
Solvang
Solvang
 

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