Lovely Coastal Towns in California!!
Coastal towns have a charm like no other. I bet it has something to do with the ocean breeze. Or the people that are drawn to the ocean waters. Or both. The coastal towns in California, especially, have the added advantage of a wonderful weather. Strolling through these beautiful downtowns that are tastefully decorated with such art and grace, oozing creativity in every corner, displaying an elegant combination of skill and enthusiasm, is pure pleasure. The soft rays of the sun touching your skin are delicious while the cool breeze from the ocean is fun. It almost seems unfair to have such beauty, charm and elegance packed into these lovely towns...oh well, whoever said that life's fair!
One of my favorite coastal towns in California is Carmel-by-the-Sea. What a beautiful name! I first fell in love with it, during the 10-day road trip we took along the Pacific Coastal Highway, to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary. We stopped here for lunch and soon after we were seated at the 'Dametra Cafe', the chef came out to sing a song on his guitar. And most people joined him. I was floored. How can you not fall in love with this place?!
I have visited the place several times since and it melts my heart every single time! The place embodies the spirit of "Live life beautifully" so well. Walking along the Main Street, you would find artistic corners, beautiful store fronts, creative displays, colorful flowers adorning the streets, witty souvenirs, cute coffee shops, lovely restaurants, charming inns and so much more.
I know I will keep going back to this place...
While it was love at first sight with Carmel-by-the-Sea, Santa Barbara and I had a long courtship period. It took me 3 visits over years to completely fall in love with this place. The place revealed itself slowly, kept drawing us towards it for more, until I found it unable to tear myself away from it.
With mountains on one side and beaches on the other and a perfect weather for most of the year, Santa Barbara did seem to have everything. It's a nice place, we thought, when we first went there for dinner for a friend's birthday. Then a few months later, we spent a day in the city, biking along the ocean and exploring the lively downtown, and loved it. When we re-visited it earlier this year post-pandemic and saw the heart of the downtown blocked for pedestrians only and most of the restaurant seating brought outdoors onto the street, we just did not want to leave. The promenade setup on the State Street was so ideal for a stroll and the outdoor setup made it even more possible to savor the weather while enjoying a drink. The creativity, the beauty and the vibe was electric. It filled me up with so much energy that I kept walking the 10 blocks over and over, just trying to soak it all in. It was a perfect setting for an evening - the only thing that could have made it even better was live music performers on the street.
I am going back soon...
I love Mendocino! While Carmel-by-the-Sea and Santa Barbara are perfect for day trips, if I wanted to spend a couple of days in a coastal town, this is where I would go. With its spectacular coast line, elegant redwood forests, lovely vineyards and beautiful cabins, it's totally my kind of place - Wild and Wonderful. It may not have the best downtown but the coast in and around this place is so striking and beautiful that I find it hard to believe that there are coastal drives in the rest of the world that can beat this. Well, there might be better places but it was on Mendocino's coastal trails that I left a piece of my heart. You can read more about it here and here.
What's your favorite coastal town?