Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This might sound like a weird(ly specific) request. (Details edited out; see edit history if curious.)

I need to move as soon as possible to somewhere in California, preferably southern California, but north of Los Angeles. I won't have a car, so I'd like to be able to walk (less than 2 miles) to the beach, as well as a supermarket (or even better, some kind of a shopping area which might include some restaurants, gyms, banks, and other basic entities).

I've spent a few hours combing upwards the coast of California using Craigslist's map feature, and I've found Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pismo Beach, and Grover Beach. (These towns had shopping areas in walking distance, when I looked on Google Maps.) But I don't know whether these are "safe" neighborhoods (or desirable to live in in general), and whether I might be blind to other factors that should deter me. Since I'm limited by time, I'm afraid I won't be able to get a good "feel" for any of these places from one drive through; so I turn to you for help.


I'd be grateful if anyone familiar with California's coastal areas could make recommendations (and/or give advice) regarding simple (non-urban), safe beach towns in California with at least a supermarket.


I have read the FAQ (er, the Help) and saw that Travel.SE is not for

eliciting list-style answers, suggestions or recommendations on a topic or place (unless VERY specific criteria is listed)

I'm hoping that my criteria are specific enough to pass; but if not, please help me improve my question if it's salvageable at all. I know no place better than Stack Exchange for answers, and I don't know if there are any other Stack Exchanges sites where this question would fit.

share|improve this question
Santa Monica, CA. lovely beach with a walking distance supermarkets. – Heidel Ber Gensis Sep 26 '13 at 5:02
Carmel should be safe - lots of rich and famous people live there and Clint Eastwood was once its mayor. Should be pricey though. You don't need so much backstory by the way, just the specifics that would rule out most places and to show that it's not easy to find the obvious ways. – hippietrail Sep 26 '13 at 5:07
@hippietrail - Thanks; I've removed the backstory. I was initially afraid my question might get closed if it seemed too demanding without an apparent reasonable cause; but people here seem a little nicer than over at Stack Overflow ;-) I actually need to move north of LA; sorry if that wasn't clear. Thanks for the info regarding Carmel! – Andrew Cheong Sep 26 '13 at 5:16
@HaLaBi - I've looked up Santa Monica and it's a bit close to L.A., but workable, so I'll keep it on my list. Thanks for the suggestion! – Andrew Cheong Sep 26 '13 at 5:17
@acheong87: Well that's a huge area full of towns and as such could turn into a "list question", "polling question" or "recommendation question" all of which are not what Stack Exchange is for. You ideally ask a question which has "one right answer". So asking which has the lowest crime rate might be as close as we can get objectively. All will have supermarkets and by definition they'll have beaches. You will still need to pick a spot to stay within the town that's close to them though. – hippietrail Sep 26 '13 at 9:54
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Is anywhere really safe ? Anyway I vote for San Luis Obispo.

San Luis Obispo is a city in the U.S. state of California, located roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Central Coast. Founded in 1772 by Spanish Franciscan Junípero Serra, San Luis Obispo is one of California's oldest communities. The city, locally referred to as San Luis, SLO, or SLO Town (as its county is also referred to as SLO) is the county seat of San Luis Obispo County and is adjacent to California Polytechnic State University. The population was 45,119 at the 2010 census.2 The population of San Luis Obispo County was 269,637 in 2010.


enter image description here

It’s is a destination rich in history and known for the unique mix of the culture, wellness, and outdoor activities. San Luis Obispo is the nostalgic all-American town, home to the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Cal Poly University, world-famous Thursday Night Farmers’ Market, and Bubblegum Alley. San Luis Obispo features a visitor friendly walkable downtown with the area’s best restaurants and shops.

More info:

share|improve this answer
It's about 5 miles from the beach though, so it doesn't meet that requirement. – e100 Feb 13 '14 at 15:17
@e100 You can't have everything in life ! – Simon Feb 13 '14 at 16:15
This was a while ago, but I ended up moving to Pismo Beach, near San Luis Obispo. Thanks for your input! – Andrew Cheong Jun 12 '15 at 6:32
@AndrewCheong Nice enjoy :) & very welcome. – Simon Jun 17 '15 at 12:00

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.