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.