If you’re planning for a long overdue vacation, shouldn’t California be on your radar? After all, the Golden State offers a spectrum of places, from charming whistle stops to prismatic municipalities. While the choice is yours, why not consider visit a picturesque spot where no filter is required? The following are just five of the most colorful destinations in sunny California!


The colorful vacation rentals at the historic Capitola Venetian in Capitola Village
Colorful Capitola Venetian in Capitola Village (credit: Randy Yagi)



Of all the vibrant seaside communities along Monterey Bay, Capitola is among the most colorful. That’s because of the historic Capitola Venetian, a centerpiece at the oldest beach resort area on the West Coast. Featuring several eclectic boutique shops, Capitola Village also offers beachside dining options, like Paradise Beach Grille and Zelda’s. Minutes away is the enchanting Shadowbrook Restaurant, one of the country’s most romantic. Just six miles north is Santa Cruz, known for its admission-free Beach Boardwalk, the oldest surviving amusement park in California.


Related: Hotel Paradox: A Smart Choice For Santa Cruz Lodging & Dining


Sunset along the Mendocino Coast in Fort Bragg, California
Sunset – Mendocino Coast (credit: Randy Yagi)


Mendocino, California

The only town along the California coast with a National Historical Landmark designation, Mendocino resembles a vintage New England fishing village. Complete with impressive 19th century architecture, this small community is home to romantic B&Bs and intriguing art galleries. Further up the Mendocino Coast is colorful Glass Beach, in the picturesque town of Fort Bragg. Like Mendocino, Fort Bragg is minutes from towering redwood trees and world-class wineries. Among leading wineries to consider are Fetzer Vineyards, Goldeneye Winery and Navarro Vineyards.


Related: World’s Most Technologically Advanced Cities


The famous Painted Ladies Victorian homes in San Francisco's Alamo Square
Painted Ladies in San Francisco’s Alamo Square (credit: Aaron Kato via Unsplash)


San Francisco

From the Golden Gate Bridge to eye-catching street art, San Francisco is awash with a spectrum of colors. Aside from one of the world’s most photographed bridges, San Francisco offers several vibrant spots to see. For instance, there are the iconic Painted Ladies and stately Victorian homes in Haight-Ashbury. The latter is also popular for its vivid street art, along with the Mission District and North Beach. Other splashy spots to enjoy are Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and Union Square. Golden Gate Park, the neon lights of North Beach and the Bay Lights along the Embarcadero can provide additional photo opportunities.


Related: Asilomar: A Literal Refuge By The Sea


Danish Architecture in Solvang (Anthony Fomin via Unsplash)



Solvang seems like a magical place straight out of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. Nestled within the Santa Ynez Valley, it’s a mirror image of an 18th century Danish village. Complete with windmills and timbered structures, it’s no surprise that Solvang is known as the Danish Capital of America. Coupled with Old World charm, Solvang also features a Little Mermaid statue and Danish-influenced hotels like Svendsgaard’s Danish Lodge. Also nearby are several of Santa Barbara County’s finest wineries, including Casa Cassara and Lions Peak.


Colorful buildings along the Venice Beach Boardwalk
Venice Beach Boardwalk (credit: Randy Yagi)


Venice, California

Named after its Italian counterpart, Venice has its own canals as well as one of Los Angeles’ most famous beaches. While the canals are noteworthy, the Venice Beach boardwalk is the place to see for an array of brilliant colors. It’s also a quirky mixture of shops interspersed with street performers and budding social media stars. Visitors are encouraged to see the Venice Art Walls, then see the basketball action and world famous Muscle Beach Gym. If time permits, follow the iconic walkway to the family-friendly and colorful Santa Monica Pier.


Related: Best Hiking Destinations On The Pacific Coast



About The Author:

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, CBS Los Angeles and CBS Chicago 

During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University, U.S. Army veteran and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.