Laguna Beach in Southern California is a uniquely walkable community and is committed to remain so: In the midst of a lucrative real estate boom, Laguna Beach opted to retain a greenbelt instead of razing all hillsides for homes. Businesses, hardly any of which are chains, must keep the town character by having a wooden sign.

A small, isolated artist colony tucked between the ocean and coastal hills it used to be a place so quiet that even restaurants would close after the weekend crowds left. You can still get that artist colony feel with plenty of galleries, its festivals like the Sawdust and Pageant of the Masters, and the occasional painter drawing inspiration from a sidewalk perched above the coast.