SLO County spot lands on list of the 11 most picturesque small towns in California

A nearly 30-year-old online atlas has included Cambria in its recent list of the “11 most picturesque small towns in California.”

Under a photo of Cambria’s oceanfront Park Hill and SeaClift Estates neighborhoods, a corner of Fiscalini Ranch Preserve and Otter Cove, described the community as a “low-key, small beach town in the shadow of Hearst Castle (which) boasts a whole array of sights and experiences in one small place.

“Cambria is your go-to destination for rejuvenation in the fresh sea salt air after seeing elephant seals, strolling for antiques, and visiting the nearby wine country in Paso Robles, some 30 miles away,” the review continued.

Also mentioned were the Vault Gallery; Rich Man, Poor Man; Antiques on Main; Home Arts; Sea Chest Restaurant & Oyster Bar; Creekside Inn; White Water Inn; and Oceanpoint Ranch.

Elephant seals bask in a huge pile at the Piedras Blancas Rookery.
Elephant seals bask in a huge pile at the Piedras Blancas Rookery.

The other 10 communities on the list include those in mountain, mining and desert country, but most are ocean-oriented.

“California screams picturesque from its small towns, set amid pristine landscapes with the best natural vistas,” the site said in a news release. “These aesthetic towns are home to unique local cultures of friendly residents who keep up with impeccable service and caring habits towards nature. Mother Nature returns favor with the best-dressed picturesque scenery of the Golden State.”

The website invited readers to “immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere, from nature havens to desert towns, and even an international dark-sky community. Choose a beach scene or streetscape with a low-key vibe, modern amenities, shopping opportunities, seafront dining, art, and history aplenty.”

Also making the cut were Arcata, Avalon, Borrego Springs, Mammoth Lakes, Moss Landing, Nevada City, Ojai, Pacific Grove, Sausalito and Trinidad.

For details, check the list at