Read the published story online at the San Francisco Chronicle

1. June Lake (population 390)

With stunning craggy peaks, alpine lakes and plenty of outdoor adventure all within a few miles, there is a reason June Lake is known as the Switzerland of California. Even so, the tourism pandemonium stays at the bigger destinations north and south. Plenty of people visit each year, but somehow, June maintains its small mountain town feel.

Situated at 7,654 feet in the Eastern Sierra, June Lake is just 30 minutes north of Mammoth Lakes and 30 minutes southeast of Yosemite National Park. But many people drive right past the turnoff to get there.

There are four lakes–June, Gull, Silver and Grant–along the June Lake Loop road,  in addition to several campgrounds, and a few trailheads. In the downtown area, visitors will find locally-owned restaurants and cafes, shops and galleries, and a variety of lodging from woodsy cabins to motels and bed-and-breakfasts.

You’ll likely want to spend most of your time outdoors, but every traveler also needs to rest and rejuvenate and there is plenty of opportunity for that in June Lake, too.

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