Smallest Towns in California

By PropertyClub Team
Jan 8th 2024
California, renowned for its sprawling metropolises and scenic landscapes, is also home to some of the smallest towns and cities in the United States. While the state is known for its bustling urban centers like Los Angeles and San Francisco, California's quieter side is waiting to be discovered.

Read on to delve into the charm of the 16 smallest towns and cities in California, both in terms of area and population. Additionally, you can explore affordable housing options in a separate article highlighting the cheapest places to live in California.

hash-mark16 Smallest Cities in California (2024)

  1. Amador City
  2. Vernon
  3. Industry
  4. Trinidad
  5. Sand City
  6. Ferndale
  7. Point Arena
  8. Isleton
  9. Tulelake
  10. Dorris
  11. Colma
  12. Rio Dell
  13. Biggs
  14. Del Rey Oaks
  15. Rolling Hills
  16. Lakeport

hash-markAmador City

The smallest city in California is Amador City. Nestled in the heart of Gold Country, Amador City is a picturesque gem with a population of around 200 people. Amador City is the smallest town in California by population and area, as it's only 0.3 square miles. Established in 1851, this tiny town boasts historic buildings, charming shops, and a rich history. Despite its small size, Amador City is a popular destination for those seeking a glimpse into California's gold rush era.


Another one of the smallest towns in California is Vernon, which a mere 5.16 square miles and has a population of only 320 people. Vernon is an industrial city is unique for being primarily a commercial and industrial hub rather than a residential community. Despite its diminutive size, Vernon plays a crucial role in the region's economic landscape.


Touted as one of the smallest cities in California by population, Industry is a unique enclave with around 245 residents. Like Vernon, Industry is predominantly an industrial area known for its business parks and manufacturing facilities. It serves as a testament to California's diverse landscape, with urban spaces of various sizes contributing to the state's economic vibrancy.


Nestled along the Northern California coast, Trinidad is a quaint seaside town covering approximately 0.67 square miles. With a population of around 310 residents, Trinidad offers stunning coastal views, scenic landscapes, and a laid-back atmosphere. This tiny gem is a haven for nature lovers, providing access to pristine beaches and Redwood National Park.

hash-markSand City

Situated on the Monterey Peninsula, Sand City is a tiny coastal town covering just 2.9 square miles. Despite its small footprint, this city has a creative and artistic spirit, with a burgeoning community of artists and galleries. With a population hovering around 342, Sand City exemplifies California's ability to blend natural beauty with cultural richness.


With its well-preserved Victorian architecture, Ferndale is a charming town in Humboldt County. Covering just over 1 square mile and hosting a population of around 1,390, Ferndale exudes a nostalgic charm. Visitors can explore the historic downtown area, characterized by colorful storefronts and beautiful 19th-century buildings, creating a delightful trip back in time.

hash-markPoint Arena

Situated along the rugged Mendocino County coastline, Point Arena is a small city covering approximately 1.4 square miles. Home to around 470 residents, this coastal community offers breathtaking ocean views, a historic lighthouse, and a serene environment. Point Arena is a destination for those seeking a tranquil retreat along California's picturesque shoreline.


Nestled along the Sacramento River, Isleton is a small city covering approximately 0.4 square miles with a population of around 800 residents. Known for its historic downtown area, which reflects the city's Chinese-American heritage, Isleton offers a quaint atmosphere and a glimpse into the past. The town is a haven for those interested in exploring its cultural and historical significance.


Located in the northeastern corner of California near the Oregon border, Tulelake is a small city with an area of around 0.39 square miles and a population of approximately 900 residents. Surrounded by farmland and characterized by a rural ambiance, Tulelake is a close-knit community that provides a peaceful retreat in the picturesque landscapes of Northern California.


Located in the northern part of the state near the Oregon border, Dorris is a small city with an area of approximately 0.7 square miles and a population of around 900 residents. Known for its rural setting and friendly community, Dorris provides a glimpse into the quiet, laid-back lifestyle of Northern California.


Known as the "City of Souls," Colma is a unique town with a small population of around 1,500 residents. Despite its small size of just 1.91 square miles, Colma has a significant historical distinction – it is home to numerous cemeteries and has more deceased residents than living ones. The town's commitment to memorializing the departed has given it a distinct character, making it a fascinating destination.

hash-markRio Dell

Tucked away in Humboldt County, Rio Dell is a small city with an area of about 1.88 square miles and a population of approximately 3,500 residents. Nestled along the Eel River, this charming community offers a mix of natural beauty and a close-knit atmosphere. Rio Dell is an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat in Northern California.


With an area of around 0.89 and a population of about 1,950 residents, Biggs is a compact city in Butte County. This agricultural community is surrounded by vast fields and orchards, embodying the rural character of the region. Despite its small size, Biggs plays a vital role in California's agricultural landscape.

hash-markDel Rey Oaks

Situated on the Monterey Peninsula, Del Rey Oaks is a small city covering approximately 1.06 square miles. Home to around 1,600 residents, this coastal enclave offers a tranquil escape with its well-maintained parks and proximity to Monterey Bay. Del Rey Oaks provides a quiet residential retreat while being close to the amenities of larger neighboring cities.

hash-markRolling Hills

Nestled in the Palos Verdes Hills of Los Angeles County, Rolling Hills is an affluent residential community covering around 2.9 square miles. Despite its larger land area, the city has a population of only around 1,800 residents, emphasizing its spacious and secluded character. Rolling Hills is known for its equestrian-friendly environment and large estate properties.


Tucked away in Northern California, Lakeport is a charming city on the shores of Clear Lake. Boasting an area of approximately 3.2 square miles and a population of around 5,000, Lakeport is a bit bigger than some of the other towns and cities on our list. Despite its size, Lakeport maintains a small-town feel, offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of larger urban centers.