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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

8 small towns to visit this summer in California

For the second summer since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, more Californians are taking trips closer to home, postponing international vacations and opting for longer stays at more familiar local destinations instead. Unsurprisingly, we’re also choosing to visit places in natural settings — campgrounds, state parks and forests — over big cities.

All this means a lot of pressure on high profile places like Lake Tahoe, Wine Country and Yosemite: more crowds, more traffic, less time to just relax.

Which is why we asked travel writers around the state to help us curate this list of eight small-town escapes where you can unplug and explore at your own pace. These aren’t the hottest tourist spots of 2021. Here you’ll find insider guides to towns you may have never visited or even heard of.

June Lake


Moss Landing

Mount Shasta





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