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The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013

From the blues to the big top, we’ve picked the most intriguing small towns to enjoy arts and smarts

(Illustrated maps by John S. Dykes)

12. Sausalito, CA

Sausalito, CA
(© Craig Lovell / Eagle Visions Photography / Alamy)

Spanish missionaries and explorers put what is now Marin County on the map, but the nether land across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco got its true cultural stamp in the wild and woolly 1960s with the arrival of hippie refugees from the nearby Haight and New York’s Greenwich Village who planted an art colony in Sausalito. While the scene moved on with the dawning of the wealthy, woo-woo New Age, the moon lingers in the Seventh House among waterfront houseboats and in the town’s full palette of galleries. Labor Day weekend brings crowds for the Sausalito Art Festival, and studio doors open to visitors in December at the ICB, part of a historic shipyard in its second life as home to over 100 artists. These days it takes more than a day trip to dabble in Sausalito, where attractions include a massive hydraulic model of the bay, the Victorian Lyford House at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary, and the Bay Area Discovery Museum, devoted to fostering creativity in children. Muir Woods and Point Reyes National Seashore are close at hand, and then there’s the view of San Francisco Bay, islands and bridges, backdropped by the glorious skyline of San Francisco.


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