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5 Best California Destinations to Visit in the Fall

5 Best California Destinations to Visit in the Fall

It’s official: Fall is upon us, which signifies sweater weather, pumpkin-spiced lattes, and autumn destinations to soak it all in. And if you’re looking to find one in California, you’re in luck. From well-known escapes to locales off the beaten path, we’ve rounded up the top five California spots to get your fall fix in.

1. Santa Barbara

Dramatic sunset skies, balmy autumn nights, lush vineyards, and the vibrant Los Padres National Forest backdrop characterize this coastal town. Whether you go wine tasting, hit up one of its iconic festivals, or take advantage of its dozens of trails (pack a picnic while you’re at it), you can’t go wrong spending a fall day or two in the “American Riviera.”

A lifeguard tower on the beach in Santa Barbara

2. Laguna Beach

While we may be partial to this seaside town, its seven miles of secluded beaches and coves during the fall speak for themselves, not to mention its luxurious beachfront accommodations. But what some people may not know is that the city also boasts 20,000 acres of protected wilderness and hiking and bike trails with unparalleled views.

3. Central Coast

Home to Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, and Cambria, California’s Central Coast checks all the boxes for an ideal fall outing. Take in fall foliage, welcome thousands of monarch butterflies, go apple and pumpkin picking, or enjoy soaking in hot springs.

4. June Lake/Mammoth

Escaping to the mountains is synonymous with fall, and this mountain town puts on a show when it comes to the leaves changing. Whether you go by foot, bike, or trolley, you’ll catch sight of fall colors from one of the best viewing spots in California.

An overlook image of lake Mammoth surrounded by green trees

5. Napa Valley

There’s no better time to take advantage of the vibrant hues and harvest of wine country than the fall. With scenic walks, drives, and gondola and hot air balloon rides at your fingertips as well as some of the best food and wine in the country, you can’t go wrong visiting Napa this time of year.