Discover Coastal Dream Towns

After canvassing all coasts for towns with seaside charm, a lively beach culture, and good housing, these are our top spots for planning quick trips or finding a new place to live.

Fort Bragg, California

From Blue Collar to Blue Ribbon

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Dream Towns: Fort Bragg, California
Photographer David Fenton

Fort Bragg, California

Fort Bragg is a full-time working town. Though the wild and busy logging days are gone, industry lives on in small mills, construction businesses, and fishing fields.

The town (population 6,604) is also working toward a revamp: A new Coastal Trail project will rehab a 45-acre blufftop area into a green space of native plants and a system of multiuse trails connecting the town to the beaches. The biggest project, however, has the town very excited. A 400-acre former Georgia Pacific mill currently sits between the town and the shore, and an approved reuse plan will convert that space into 500 residential units, park space, an extension of downtown, and more ocean views. Construction begins in the next few years.

Marie Jones, community development director, grew up in Fort Bragg, moved away, and has since returned. “It’s an alternative beach ethos,” she says. “The beach is like the town—you experience it by walking and being active.”



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