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.

  • Santa Monica, CA. lovely beach with a walking distance supermarkets. Commented Sep 26, 2013 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. Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 5:07
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    @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! Commented Sep 26, 2013 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! Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 5:17
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    More details are still needed. Most of the medium-sized beach communities will also have a grocer within a half-hour walk. You can stay in Santa Barbara near the beach and within walking distance of a Ralphs, but it's an expensive resort town. What is your budget? You could stay in Seal Beach, which is much cheaper, but also much scruffier, with a smaller and dirtier beach. How picky are you about that? There's a Safeway a block from the beach in Pacifica, but it's rather wetter and colder up north.
    – choster
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


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.


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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:



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    It's about 5 miles from the beach though, so it doesn't meet that requirement.
    – e100
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 15:17
  • @e100 You can't have everything in life !
    – Simon
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 16:15
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    This was a while ago, but I ended up moving to Pismo Beach, near San Luis Obispo. Thanks for your input! Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 6:32
  • @AndrewCheong Nice enjoy :) & very welcome.
    – Simon
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 12:00

Ventura, California is about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Right on the beach. Lots of motels/hotels within walking distance of the beach. There is a fishing pier, and plenty of access. Nice weather year-round. I grew up there. Safe place, out of the smog and horrendous traffic of Los Angeles, but close enough to get to/from there from L.A.

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