It’s that time of year again. It’s nearly time to head back to school and things are getting a bit hectic, but you’re still thinking of a last minute road trip to take with loved ones, friends or even by yourself. As California is known for having one of the most photogenic landscapes across the country, it’s the charming, quaint cities throughout that make our state so great.

As difficult as it was to simply choose five, we managed to compile a list of a few of our favorite local cities.

01. Venice

Growing up in Los Angeles County, I’ve been to Venice more times than I can count, yet somehow, there’s something about it that seems brand new every time. Known primarily for it’s street artists, performers and vendors, there is a very antique feel that spans from every inch of the boardwalk. Filled with bright colors and abstract buildings, this beachside town on LA’s Westside is the perfect pit stop on a road trip up the coast.

02. Palm Springs

The only thing hotter in this town than the weather is the architecture, which is why it has made it on our list of absolute favorite places and ultimate getaway destination. It’s about two hours away from LA, so it’s just far enough to get out the chaotic city but still close enough for a quick vacay. Known for being an architectural hotspot (we’ve even written about it) its 1960s, mid century modern aesthetic spans not just throughout the residential neighborhoods, but commercial spots as well.

03. Orange

Just like how Palm Springs makes us feel like we have time traveled to a different decade, Orange is no exception. Located in the heart of Orange County, Old Town Orange is the epitome of quaint as it merges modern businesses with classic, vintage elements. In the midst of a suburban neighborhood with historic, bungalow style homes lies the town square which hosts a variety of eateries, vintage boutiques, etc. It has always reminded me of the scene in The Notebook where Noah (Ryan Gosling) takes Allie (Rachel McAdams) on their first date and they end up dancing in the middle of the street with no music playing. *swoon*

04. Solvang

Looking at photos of this whimsical town, you would never guess that you are a little less than three hours from Los Angeles. While it’s a little more Central Coast than it is So Cal, Solvang’s charismatic, Danish architecture is an ode to the city’s heritage and a long standing tradition we never want to see fade.

05. Long Beach

Mornin’, #LongBeach… Make it count. #ThisIsLongBeach | Photo: @hey_its_maal

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Now what kind of list would this be if it didn’t include our own city, Long Beach? We are so proud to call this city our hometown for many reasons, but one is definitely the ongoing blossoming of smaller communities and eclectic neighborhoods within such a big city. The diversity, uniqueness, and cherished historical landmarks are qualities that are simply unmatched across all of Southern California. From Downtown to CSULB and everything in between, Long Beach has all of the qualities of a road trip destination.

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