Unless you’ve spent some time living in California, you probably aren’t aware of some of our most charming offbeat destinations. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with being a tourist, especially in this state, you owe it to yourself to explore a little more than a normal tourist would. The next time you visit the great state of California, go off the beaten path and try something new.
Of course, the best part of planning a road trip is figuring out which rental vehicle is right for you. Whether all you need is a compact economy car or you’d prefer something a little more spacious and luxurious, Super Cheap Car Rental has got your car rental reservations Los Angeles covered. Check out our Los Angeles car rental packages and ask us about our long-term rentals.
California is a massive state, and you’ll have hundreds of off the beaten path destinations to choose from. These 12 spots are especially recommended.
San Luis Obispo
Nestled in between Los Angeles and San Francisco is the quiet community of San Luis Obispo. Many tourists dismiss it as just another sleepy mission town, but if you visit, you’ll love the friendliness of the locals and the laid back vibe.
You won’t have far to drive from Los Angeles if you want to check out the Temecula Valley—it’s just a short jaunt inland. If you’d love a glimpse of the Old West culture that used to dominate California, just walk down Main Street and stop at the Bank Mexican Restaurant and Bar, where you can enjoy a meal in an old safe.
Bodie State Historic Park
10,000 gold diggers once called this ghost town home, and large amounts of gold was mined here until 1876. Bodie became a state park in the 1960s. It’s located 20 miles southeast of Bridgeport near the Nevada border.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park encompasses Lassen Peak, an active volcano. From snow-covered peaks to mud pots and hot springs, you’ll be amazed by the unique scenery. The remote park is located in Northern California, so if you plan to visit, make it during an extended stay.
California beaches are amazing. The crowds are not. Sculptured Beach is a remote beach in the southern part of Point Reyes National Seashore, accessible by walking or mountain biking from the Point Reyes Hostel on the Coast Trail. Between the unique rock formations and the seclusion, you’ll be in paradise.
The Wave Organ
Have you ever seen a huge musical instrument played by the ocean? Now you can. The Wave Organ is located on a jetty in the San Francisco Bay. It consists of more than 20 pipes that extend down into the water of the bay. When the waves roll in, the pipes resound with liquid music.
You’ll find Arcata near the small town of Eureka in Humboldt County. It’s a close-knit community of very caring and passionate people—the locals go out of their way to preserve the forests and protect the wildlife. Arcata is a scenic, unique place with quiet cafes, boutiques and beautiful Victorian buildings.
Most people think of Napa and Sonoma when they think of California wine country. But Placerville has rolling hills of vineyards, not to mention a fascinating gold rush history. You may not think that wines and mines would be an interesting combination, but if you like a little history with your vino, you’ll love this place.
Point Reyes Station
Point Reyes Station is a small town in Marin County, about an hour long drive north of San Francisco. It serves as a jumping off point for anyone hoping to explore the Point Reyes National Seashore Region. You’ll see it all here: Redwoods, hiking trails, rugged coastline and waterfalls.
Crystal Cove Beach Cottages
Want to feel as if you’ve gone back in time? Located in the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District on the Newport Coast, this renovated seaside colony from the 1930s now consist of the most unique accommodations you’ll find anywhere. From dorm-style rooms to private cabins, you’ll find something to suit your preference and budget. But if you’d like to stay here, plan ahead… way ahead. They typically book up seven or eight months in advance.
Ojai is a small city located in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles. From hiking at the Rose Valley Falls Trail to exploring the delicious Ojai Olive Oil Company, this place is perfect for escaping the chaos of L.A.
Located near Palm Springs, Whitewater Preserve is a hidden desert oasis in Southern California. It spans 2,800 acres and is open daily for those who want to experience the beauty of nature. Stop by the ranger station to get more information about which trails are best to take.