Make your way along the California coast
As the weather warms up on the Central Coast, one of our favorite things to do is hit the road for a Highway 1 road trip. Not only does this route offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and expansive vistas around every turn, but there are so many worthy stops and great communities lining the California Coast. From Morro Bay and Cayucos all the way past San Simeon, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do and places to see, making for a memorable Highway 1 road trip up the California Coast.
What to see on a Highway 1 Road Trip:
Start your trip from Morro Bay, where the main focal point is the giant Morro Rock. This historic landmark was formed about 23 million years ago as a volcanic plug that now sits at the entrance to Morro Bay harbor. At 576 feet tall, the “Gibraltar of the Pacific” is surely a magnificent sight. Don’t forget the camera!
The famous Cayucos Pier was constructed in 1872 by Captain James Cass, the founder of Cayucos. It was rebuilt and lengthened to 982 feet in 1876 and helped to establish Cayucos as a commercial port for many years, serving ships sailing from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Though it hasn’t been a working pier since 1920, it remains a symbol of history and a distinguishable part of Cayucos today.
Coastal Discovery Center
Celebrating the connection between land and sea, the Coastal Discovery Center is a worthy stop along the California Coast the whole family will enjoy. The Center offers interactive exhibits and educational programs highlighting the cultural and natural history of Old San Simeon, California State Parks, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Protection of these special places preserves them for use and enjoyment for generations to come.
Just north of Cambria is the iconic Hearst Castle, a sprawling estate situated on a hill overlooking San Simeon, built by newspaper tycoon, William Randolph Hearst, in the early 1990s. When you arrive you’ll not only find panoramic views, but also zebras roaming the ranch – a reminder of the former Hearst Zoo days. Take a guided tour to journey inside the castle, where you’ll learn the history of this impressive estate and the lavish parties that were once held here regularly. In the spring, twilight tours are offered, where docents are dressed in period costumes to really give you a glimpse into the past.
Piedras Blancas Light Station
The Piedras Blancas Light Station provides a look into the past, when lighthouses played a vital role in maritime navigation. Today, the lighthouse is a California Coastal National Monument and part of a historic park and wildlife sanctuary. Be sure to book a tour to get up close and personal to the tower, which are offered every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday year round.
With all there is to do and see on the California Coast, there’s no need to wait to experience the perfect Highway 1 road trip. Our top-rated oceanfront hotels are situated along Moonstone Beach Drive, offering unprecedented access to all that the area has to offer. Join us this spring and let California’s iconic Highway 1 Coastal Route be yours to discover!