A few week’s ago we took a road trip from Los Angeles up north for an extended weekend getaway to the Central Coast of California. We stayed in San Simeon, nearby to the quaint town of Cambria. While I had been to the central coastal communities of Carmel and Monterey last summer, it had been about a decade since I’d been to both Cambria and San Simeon. It was great to escape the city for a few days, especially after the last several month’s of non-existent travel. It seems as if road trips to destinations nearby are going to make for the best travel during our current times. Fortunately, living in California we have beautiful coastal, mountainous, and even desert regions to explore!
Our trip began with a drive up the 101 freeway, past Santa Barbara, with a lunch stop at Firestone Walker Brewing Co in Buellton. A great choice for beers and burgers. (I’ve since learned we have a location in Los Angeles too - good thing, because the food and drinks were really good and I’d love to go back.)
Driving further up the 101, through some of the more inland areas, are several vineyards with wine tasting rooms. We stopped briefly in Santa Maria for a wine tasting at Costa De Oro Winery.
Arriving in San Simeon, we stayed at a family friend’s condo located on the beachfront. This is the view we woke up to the next morning.
Later that afternoon, we took a nature hike at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. The preserve offers cliff side coastal views and trails to walk, sighting some small animals like birds, lizards, and squirrels.
After our nature hike we stopped in the town of Cambria for a brief stroll and for drinks at a pub in the charming town.
Next we headed over to Moonstone Beach, right in time for the most spectacular sunset.
Along Moonstone Beach Promenade is The Sea Chest restaurant. It had been recommended to us by more than a few people and apparently it is well known for their seafood and oysters. The restaurant is in an old house reminiscent of a quaint New England seaside cottage. The oysters and seafood dishes were really great!
The next day, we decided to take a drive just a little further up the coast, past Hearst Castle to view the elephant seals at the Elephant Seal Rookery. Along the beach were several groupings of elephant seals. It was fascinating to watch them and learn more about their behaviors (mating, playing, molting, etc).
California coastal scenic views along the central coast.
After a few days in San Simeon and Cambria we decided to visit downtown San Luis Obispo on the drive home. The “Downtown SLO” area is a vibrant walking town full of bars, restaurants, and shops. It also offers historic architecture like Art Deco courthouse building above, Mission style, Craftsman, and Victorian homes too.
Above is the Mission San Luis Obispo De Tolosa located right in the downtown area.
We had a great time hanging out in Downtown San Luis Obispo for the day, checking out the scene and people watching, all the while sampling beers at a local spot.
Highly recommend a Central Coast road trip! Makes for a great getaway even for just a few day’s escape!
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