Hidden Gems

Southern California is known all over the world for nice weather, moviemaking, and glamor. As a result, it is a popular destination for tourists. There are a lot of justifiably famous attractions that draw a lot of visitors such as the views of its captivating beaches and long beach whale watching. However, there are also lesser-known attractions that are just as beautiful and far less crowded. If you would like to get off the beaten path during your Southern California vacation, here are some hidden gems to uncover.

1. False Idol Tiki Bar

Before you set off on cruises from San Diego, spend a few days exploring the city. Get yourself in the proper mindset with a trip to False Idol, a hidden Tiki bar inside a popular restaurant. You'll find it behind a secret door. Its mysterious nature is just part of the fun it has to offer.

2. Wildwood Regional Park

When it comes to outdoor activity, Wildwood Regional Park has everything except crowds of tourists. Even the locals don't seem to know much about this natural area tucked away in Thousand Oaks. Among its many charms are a stream spanned by a footbridge, a waterfall, and tons of nature trails. Wildwood even offers surprises of its own, such as a hidden cave.

3. Oak Canyon Nature Center

Anaheim is home to a very popular theme park that attracts a lot of visitors. If you'd like to visit someplace a little more organic during your trip, check out the Oak Canyon Nature Center. This area is open year-round but mainly known only to the locals despite being right in the city itself. Enjoy a stroll through approximately four miles of heavenly nature trails.

4. Millard Canyon Falls Trail

Inside the Angeles National Forest, you can take an easy three-mile hike straight to a hidden waterfall. It's called Millard Canyon Falls, and the trail leads right to it. During your hike, relax in the cool shade of the forest and enjoy the quiet in spite of the relative proximity to the community of Altadena.

5. Malibu Cafe

Enjoy a good meal and a spectacular sunset at the Malibu Cafe. Outdoor dining isn't unusual in California, but the cafe is unique in being an entirely outdoor restaurant. This would be a good place to stop after a day of hiking, or you can skip the trails entirely and come directly here for outdoor play followed by food.

6. Shipley Nature Center

Shipley Nature Center is located in Huntington Beach behind a concrete wall and a decorative metal gate. You have the opportunity to see a great deal of wildlife as you stroll along its nature trails. The interpretive center is educational and enjoyable. Apart from the locals, few people know about this enchanting area.

7. Redwood Grove

Northern California is better known for redwood forests, while Southern California is more associated with palm trees. However, the conventional wisdom doesn't always hold true. Located in Brea, California, within Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Redwood Grove contains a stand as magnificent as their northern cousins. However, these redwoods are quite hidden within the park despite being typically tall. Enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from finding them and seeing them in all their towering glory.

8. Debs Lake

Most people strolling along the trail in Los Angeles' Ernest E. Debs Regional Park come across Debs Lake by accident. Nevertheless, it makes for a delightful surprise to come upon the hidden body of water. Find it yourself or ask a local to guide you.

9. Malago Cove

Malago Cove isn't the kind of beach you go to when you're looking for a lot of noise and excitement. It's the kind of beach you go to when you are looking for quiet and solitude in a rustic setting that is virtually untouched.

Hidden areas such as these are a treasure. Make sure you do your part to preserve them by being responsible about disposing of rubbish, following rules for visitors, and leaving behind no trace.