Welcome to Idyllwild
Rustic village surrounded by gorgeous mountains and dense pine tree forests
Tucked into the San Jacinto Mountains is the idyllic, rustic village of Idyllwild, one of three adjacent unincorporated communities in the area. Of the trio—which includes Fern Valley and Pine Cove—Idyllwild is the largest. With a dense forest of pine trees set against a dramatic rocky mountain backdrop, this charming small town is best known for its alpine retreat in the San Bernardino National Forest.
Throughout the years, Idyllwild has become increasingly popular with creatives and artists thanks to its lively arts community, whose heart lies the famous Idyllwild Arts Academy. Residents are attracted to the quiet, peaceful way of life in Idyllwild, hidden away from the hectic traffic and bustling city streets of places like Los Angeles and San Diego.
What to Love
- Scenic mountains
- Vibrant arts community
- Small-town charm
- Several great parks
- All four seasons
- Numerous hiking trails
People & Lifestyle
Waking up to the picturesque mountains is just one of the many tiny, perfect pleasures you'll get to enjoy each morning. Surrounded by excellent schools, including the famed Idyllwild Arts Academy and several top-notch elementary and middle schools, Idyllwild has become a popular place for families. It also helps that it's a relatively small town without loud nightlife or heavy traffic. Families love the local astrocamp, Boy and Girl Scout groups, multiple parks, and plenty of fun community events.
Many residents purchase second homes in this remote town to escape the hectic daily schedules of their lives in the nearby big cities. Los Angeles and San Diego are only about an hour away from Idyllwild, making it a charming area for a vacation home if you enjoy taking day trips or going away for the weekend once in a while.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
is an elevated Italian restaurant and a cultural institution in Idyllwild. One of the most popular restaurants in town, Ferro is an elegant eatery that’s perfect for a night out. This family-run establishment serves an incredible range of Italian dishes ranging from pasta to pizza and everything in between.
If taverns and pubs are more your style, then you'll undoubtedly want to visit Idyllwild Brewpub
, a bustling tavern serving upscale fare. Most nights, the pub hosts live music, changing bands frequently to keep things fresh and fun. One of the spot's most attractive features is its heated, covered outdoor patio, where you can savor your cocktails, beer, and delicious dishes in comfort.Cafe Aroma
is a cozy, charming bistro with a predominantly Italian menu located in an artsy space. Housed inside a country cabin surrounded by pine trees with panoramic views of the mountains, Cafe Aroma is a beautiful retreat into the woods. Your dining experience will be elevated by tasty homemade recipes and local musicians performing regularly.
To sate your sweet tooth, try locally-owned Candy Cupboard
, opened in 1981 by sister-in-laws Patty McKee and Jan Bass. These siblings wanted to bring something unique to this sleepy mountain town, so they came up with a plan for a candy store full of childhood pleasures and mouthwatering treats.
Things to Do
Idyllwild's Lemon Lily Festival
is just as delightful as its name suggests! Each year, residents gather to enjoy a wide array of art and nature-oriented festivities such as live music, pony rides, artisanal crafts, food vendors, nature hikes, and much more.
Since Idyllwild has a popular arts community, the Art and Wine Walk
unites artists and gallery exhibitions in multiple locations throughout Idyllwild. Of course, you'll also be able to participate in wine tasting and even take home a keepsake wine glass designed by a local artist!
Idyllwild celebrates the holidays with significant events, such as the annual Halloween and Fourth of July parades. Children and adults alike will delight in the Halloween Parade and Carnival. Local restaurants host food booths alongside numerous other festivities, like a Cake Walk, a costume parade, live music, and much more! The Fourth of July parade is also celebrated in Downtown Idyllwild.
If you live in Idyllwild, you'll have to pay your respects to the town's beloved Mayor Max
(Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller). This dog was voted into office during the 2012 election and has continued to serve the village in perpetuity after being overwhelmingly voted in by residents. He was later joined by his two deputies, Mikey and Mitzi, until Mayor Max II later succeeded him.
Idyllwild Arts Academy is the most prestigious and well-known school in the area. A private school, the academy is considered the fourth-best in the nation.