What cities come to mind when you think of California? Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are a few that come to mind. However, there’s so much more to California than the bigger cities. No matter where you go, you’ll be able to enjoy the sunshine. By traveling to some lesser visited cities, you’ll avoid the crowds and find some hidden gems to explore. Here are five places to get you started.


Photo credit: Wikipedia

Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa is a great place for lovers of entertainment and the performing arts. The Orange County Fairgrounds hosts the Orange County Fair during July and August, which hosts a variety of huge musical acts. At the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, there are performances for refined tastes, such as ballets, plays, and symphonic concerts. Conversely, Costa Mesa is a great choice for outdoor adventures. At Fairview Park, nature enthusiasts can hike the bluffs and trails, and it’s also a great spot for biking and running.


The town of Glendale is a shopping haven for upscale brands and bargain hunters. The Glendale Galleria is one of the largest shopping centers in Southern California. When it’s time for some retail therapy, aim for a trip to Glendale. In addition, you’ll find a range of ethnic restaurants as Glendale is a very multicultural city. There’s something for every taste, and you’ll be able to dine at some of the most authentic eateries. You’ll be able to find a cheap hotel in Glendale, more so than if you stayed in a more touristy spot.

Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey is conveniently located near Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles, and Venice Beach. There are many activities and water sports, such as parasailing, stand up paddle boarding, and kayaking. For a romantic evening on the water, take a dinner cruise around the harbor. The Marina Marketplace is home to some fabulous shopping, and you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables at the Marina del Rey Farmers’ Market. While this town is close to many popular destinations, you shouldn’t overlook it as a place to discover.


Monterey is a stunning coastal city in California where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the sea. The Monterey Peninsula is home to a staggering amount of sea otters. You can also see plenty of wildlife, including sea lions, seals, birds, and migrating whales. Put Monterey high on your list if you love nature and animals.

Palm Springs

If you’re seeking a holiday where the weather is hot, head to Palm Springs. Located in the desert, you’ll always find lots of sunshine and little rainfall. Palm Springs is a paradise for hikers. Head to the Indian Canyons for some exhilarating hikes with amazing views. And once you’re done exploring the outdoors, there’s always a swimming pool to help you cool off. There’s also something for the artsy folks with the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Sunnylands (home to world-class artwork and well maintained gardens) and the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Disclaimer: This post was posted by Lauren on Justin + Lauren on 29th January 2016.

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Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

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