5 Offbeat Destinations in California You Can’t Miss

Image 1 – Sunset view of Topanga beach in scenic Malibu, California – Things to do in Malibu Sustainable Travel Guide

Since our month-long stay in California back in 2011, we’ve been eager to return. While we await our next visit, come along on a journey to the Golden State, where countless adventures await.

From bustling cityscapes to tranquil coastal retreats, California offers a diverse tapestry of experiences to discover. Whether you crave urban excitement, natural marvels, or cultural treasures, join us as we uncover the hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations that make California truly extraordinary.

5 Unique Destinations in California

When I think of California, my mind instantly wanders to two cities: Los Angeles and San Francisco. But this American state has many more amazing destinations just waiting to be explored by residents and travelers alike.

Here are five off-the-beaten-path places you should check out when next visiting sunny California.


Situated 75 miles from San Francisco on Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz has a lot to offer visitors. It is a city known for its many kilometers of beaches, as well as its surrounding redwoods.

A lot of people choose Santa Cruz as its home due to its proximity to Silicon Valley, and its University of California campus.

For a hotel located directed on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, check out Casablanca on the Beach. It is a hotel full of character that is close to all of the beachside attractions.


Located close to San Francisco’s International Airport, South San Francisco is a great alternative to staying in the big smoke. It offers accommodation for all kinds of travelers, from those on a budget to people looking for a little bit of luxury.

A good option is CitiGarden Hotel, which has an exercise area for your furry friends. Meanwhile, Hotel Focus SFO is not only just three miles from the airport, but you can easily get to San Francisco thanks to the nearby BART Station.

There are also lots of great Californian glamping sites to choose from.


Sonoma is renowned for its wine. The most popular time to visit the region is during harvest season, which is August and September each year.

In Sonoma, hotels get cheaper the further away they are from the vineyards. But for a luxurious getaway, choose The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. Close to Sonoma Golf Club, The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa boasts Willow Stream Spa, situated above a picturesque waterfall. The inn is also a great base for a wine-tasting weekend.


This Californian destination is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. South Lake Tahoe is located on Lake Tahoe and is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

Selecting the right hotel in South Lake Tahoe is crucial, as many offer excellent amenities. Inn by the Lake is an ideal summer vacation option, due to its proximity to both Lake Tahoe and El Dorado Beach.

Big Pines Mountain House also offers a complimentary ski shuttle to nearby Heavenly Ski Resort.


Carlsbad is known as “the village by the sea” for its location and size. There is plenty in the town to keep young and old entertained, including weekly music concerts, markets, and Legoland California.

Renowned for its picturesque views, Carlsbad by the Sea Resort offers an outdoor pool, spa, and fitness center. Guests will love the complimentary shuttles, which deposit visitors at the shops, train station, beach, and theme park.

When considering your next getaway, opt for one of these five amazing spots off the beaten path.

Exploring the offbeat destinations of this destination unveils a treasure trove of unique experiences, perfect for your next solo, couple, or even family-friendly vacation in California.

From hidden coastal gems to scenic mountain retreats, each spot promises adventure and relaxation. We trust this guide has sparked your wanderlust and inspired you to embark on your own unforgettable California journey. Happy travels!