You don’t have to pay Los Angeles or San Diego prices for quintessential SoCal living. At least not in Temecula, where residents are a short jaunt from both of those cities (plus Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park) but get the benefit of living in a community-focused town with good schools and easy access to nature.

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If you’re a wine lover, there’s no better place to be: Temecula Valley is famous for it, with nearly 50 wineries scattered across its rolling hills. Local favorites include the Robert Renzoni Vineyard — built on a history of winemaking that dates back to 1886 in Italy — and Altisima Winery, which brings visitors in touch with the Spanish roots of the Temecula region through taste. But make no mistake: Temecula is a great place for kids, too. There’s Pennypickle’s Workshop, a children’s museum full of wacky gizmos and gadgets, a public library with a packed calendar of kids’ programs, a fantastic community theater and plenty of family-friendly restaurants. The twice-monthly Sunset Market, held in a park in front of City Hall, brings the community together with live music, local art and food vendors (everything from BBQ to crepes). Plus, you can’t beat the trails of the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, or the hot air balloon rides that let you see this beautiful California town in all its glory.

Aerial view of people on an open field during a fair
Mering / Visit California