The Smallest Cities in California With the Lowest Population

The Smallest Cities in California With the Lowest Population

When it comes to real estate, California often brings to mind sprawling metropolises like Los Angeles, the tech hub of Silicon Valley, or the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. However, the state is also home to a plethora of smaller cities, each with its unique charm, history, and real estate opportunities. Some of these cities are so small that they can be easily overlooked on a map, but they hold hidden treasures for both residents and investors. Let’s journey through some of the smallest cities in California and discover what they have to offer.


Population: Less than 200

Located just a few miles south of downtown Los Angeles, Vernon is primarily an industrial city. Although it has a tiny residential population, it boasts over 1,800 businesses. The real estate market here isn’t vast in residential properties, but it’s a hotspot for industrial real estate investments. Those looking to venture into warehousing, manufacturing spaces, or commercial setups might find Vernon appealing.

Amador City

Population: Around 200

Nestled in the heart of California’s Gold Country, Amador City retains much of its historic charm. With buildings that date back to the 19th century, the city feels like a step back in time. Real estate here offers the charm of vintage homes, some of which have been refurbished into modern residences or bed and breakfasts. This city offers a serene environment away from urban hustle and bustle.

Blue Lake

Population: Slightly over 1,000

Located in Humboldt County, Blue Lake is famous for its beautiful natural surroundings, including the Mad River and Redwood forests. For those keen on a life close to nature or interested in vacation rentals, this is a prime location. Properties range from rustic cabins to more contemporary homes, offering diverse options for buyers and investors.

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Population: Approximately 1,000

Situated near the Oregon border, Dorris is known as the “Gateway to the California Outback.” Its proximity to various lakes and the Lava Beds National Monument makes it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Real estate is quite affordable here, making it attractive for first-time buyers and those looking for vacation homes.

Sand City

Population: Around 400

While it may have a small population, Sand City is an artsy coastal city in Monterey County. The city has managed to blend its industrial past with a vibrant arts community. Several old warehouses have been transformed into art studios, and its coastal location makes it ideal for real estate investments, especially for those seeking beachfront properties or short-term rental opportunities.

Real Estate Advantages in Smaller Cities:

Affordability: Properties in smaller cities tend to be more affordable than in major urban centers, making them ideal for first-time buyers.
Unique Opportunities: From historic homes in Amador City to industrial spaces in Vernon, these cities offer unique real estate investments.
Community Feeling: Smaller populations often mean tight-knit communities, which many homeowners find appealing.
Natural Beauty: Many of these cities, like Blue Lake, are surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty, offering residents a tranquil environment.


California’s smallest cities offer a diverse range of real estate opportunities. While they might not have the glitz and glamour of places like LA or San Francisco, they more than makeup for it with their unique charm, affordability, and potential for both personal and investment growth. If you’re willing to look beyond the obvious, these hidden gems of the Golden State await you.