Heading down the Pacific Coast Highway and looking for the best things to do in Cambria? Look no further – this complete guide to Cambria will help you plan the most perfect trip!
Whether you’re stopping in Cambria on a much longer Pacific Coast Highway road trip, or are making Cambria your one and only destination, you’ll absolutely love this cute little beach town.
We’ve driven the California coast plenty of times, always stopping on the central coast a bit!. We typically make stops in Santa Cruz (and Capitola!), Monterey Bay (for the 17 Mile Drive), Big Sur (you know you need to go!), Paso Robles (so much wine!), Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. But before this trip on the PCH, we had never ventured over to Cambria, admittedly because we didn’t know too much about it.
Well, after (finally!) visiting for a long weekend, I’m excited to share all the fun things to do in Cambria! Adventure meets relaxation over here, and you can really do both at the same time in this charming seaside village. It kinda feels like a mixture between Morro Bay (a tad south of Cambria) and Mendocino (a few hours north of San Francisco) — untouched yet still fun and happening.
There’s a super slow and relaxing pace here (yes, even slower than nearby SLO – San Luis Obispo), so don’t feel bad if you feel like doing absolutely nothing at all! That’s the beauty of this area – there’s enough things to do in Cambria for a weekend, but not too much that it feels absolutely overwhelming and you’re missing out.
Planning Your Trip to Cambria
Weather and When to Visit Cambria
Like other spots on the coast (Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, Big Sur), the weather is pretty fickle in summer. You never really know what you’re gonna get! We woke up to fog/clouds every morning, and while they typically burned off by late afternoon, it was kinda a bummer to have less-than-ideal beach weather for half the day. Especially since the main attraction is well, the beach! We visited in mid-June, FYI.
If you’re looking for the warmest possible weather, head to Cambria from July through September. May and June are still kinda chilly, especially on the coast by the beach. And you’ve got that marine layer that doesn’t always burn off… leaving you with fog and chilly weather.
HOWEVER, yes, of course there’s a however, if you wanna see the baby seals (oh so many of them), they’re born in winter, so late winter is best for the elephant seal rookery (although there’s seals year round – more on that below).
How to Get to Cambria
First of all, where is Cambria exactly? Cambria is a small town located on the Central Coast of California, nestled between the larger spots of San Luis Obispo and San Simeon in SLO county.
The area is smack dab between San Francisco and Los Angeles, (roughly 4 hours or so from both), making it the perfect weekend getaway for those in the big cities. It’s also a great mid-way point between the two if you’re taking a much longer California coast road trip.
- From Paso Robles: 30 miles (~40 min)
- From San Luis Obispo: 35 miles (~45 min)
- From Big Sur: 75 miles (2 hours)
- From Santa Barbara: 130 miles (2 ½ hours)
- From San Francisco: 230 miles (~3 ½ hours)
- From Los Angeles: 220 miles (4 hours)
- From Napa Valley: 275 miles (4 ½ hours)
- From Lake Tahoe: 380 miles (7 hours)
From nearby San Luis Obispo, there’s AMTRAK and a bus which will take you directly to Cambria. Perfect if you don’t have a car or don’t feel like driving.
If you’re coming from the San Francisco Bay Area (like us!), there’s two popular ways to get to Cambria:
- driving inland on the 101 and then cutting over to the coast via the 46 (~3.5-4 hours)
- making your way down the coast via the Pacific Coast Highway (~5 hours)
INLAND ROUTE (U.S. Route 101 and California 46)
By far the fastest way to get to Cambria is directly down the 101, and then heading to the coast via the 46. If you take the inland route via the 101 and 46, it won’t be as scenic, but you’ll make it to Cambria much, much quicker.
While there isn’t a ton to see along the way (the 101 isn’t the most scenic), you’ll pass by orchards and farms, tiny towns, and ultimately straight in Paso Robles, which is deserving of its own few days, but worth it to make a stop or two.
Add the following to your list of must-stops while heading down for a weekend in Cambria:
- Garlic World for a taste of chocolate garlic ice cream – it’s actually not too bad once you get used to it! (Gilroy)
- A quick stop at roadside farm stands for some fresh fruit (like cherries and strawberries!) for the drive (Gilroy)
- A winery or two in Paso Robles (my favorites being DAOU, Sculpterra, and Calcareous)
- An early lunch (or breakfast) at Brunch (get the s’mores french toast) and some Spearhead Coffee to-go
COASTAL ROUTE (Highway 1)
We typically take the 101/46 when heading to the Central Coast since it’s shorter, but if you’ve never driven this part of the Pacific Coast Highway, don’t miss it! It is a tad longer (okay, so more than a tad considering all the stops you’ll make), but well-worth it in my opinion.
You’ll pass some of our favorite areas, including Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, and the stunning Big Sur. However, as much as I love these spots, they all deserve their own long weekend getaway. Therefore, I don’t recommend stopping in them all, especially if you live in San Francisco.
BUT since you probably don’t make it down here all too often, make a few stops! Especially in the farthest from home, Big Sur!
If you’ve never driven the rugged Central Coast of California, the following stops are highly recommended on your way to Cambria (from SF):
- Garrapata State Park Bluff Trail to stretch your legs and get picture-perfect views of the rocky coastline without much effort
- Take that iconic Big Sur photo at the Bixby Creek Bridge
- Stop along the coast at all the viewpoints you like, my favorites being Hurricane Point and Sea Otter Refuge View Point
- Indulge in flaky almond croissants (the best you’ll ever have) at Big Sur Bakery
- Grab drinks with a view at Nepenthe
- Stop at McWay Falls to see the waterfall flowing directly into the Pacific Ocean (a must!)
→ Read Next: ALL My Favorite Stops in Big Sur
Note that driving down the coast will take the better portion of the day (depending on how many stops you make). You may encounter some traffic in Big Sur, but just take it slow and admire the views. After Big Sur it’s about an hour or so of driving along the windy coastline, which, while absolutely gorgeous, gets a tad monotonous at times. You’ll get there, I promise!
Because of this, don’t make any dinner reservations in Cambria or plan to do anything of significance down there the first night. You’ll likely be tired from all the fun stops!
How Long to Spend in Cambria
A full two days will be sufficient for checking out all these fun things to do in Cambria, but if you wanna explore the areas nearby, add in an extra day or two!
We drove down from San Francisco on a Friday morning, stopping in Big Sur along the way, making it to Cambria around 6pm or so.
Here’s my recommendation for your weekend in Cambria if you’ve got a FULL 3 days to explore from the SF Bay Area or nearby:
- Day 1: spend the day driving down the coast via Highway 1, stopping at Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur
- Day 2: full day in Cambria and nearby
- Day 3: morning in Cambria, drive back to SF via the 46 and 101
How to Get Around Cambria
Well, if you got here via Pacific Coast Highway road trip, or even driving from SF or LA, I’m assuming you’ve got access to a car here in Cambria. With that being said, the tiny town is pretty walkable, but you’ll definitely want a car to get to spots a bit further away (like to see the elephant seals and Hearst Castle).
Don’t feel like doing much driving after getting here? Thankfully, there’s a free trolley from Thursday to Sunday (only runs in summer) to whisk you around.
Where to Stay in Cambria
There’s nothing quite like staying close to the beach when you’re on vacation, and Cambria definitely has no shortage of beachfront properties. My top picks are:
- White Water Hotel: If spectacular uninterrupted sea views, tranquil surroundings and getting a breakfast basket delivered right to your door each morning are your kind of thing (and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love that?), then a stay at the White Water Hotel on Moonstone Beach is for you. This place is a little piece of perfection, with a Scandinavian-inspired take on the Central Coast’s easygoing lifestyle.
- Fogcatcher Inn: Another oceanfront gem, the Fogcatcher Inn is a country style hotel located just across from the Moonstone Beach boardwalk. It might be the oldest inn in the area, but it’s been renovated to an incredibly high standard. With an outdoor pool and hot tub, a firepit and fireplaces in each room, this is the ideal spot to kick back and relax.
- Sand Pebbles Inn: If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, this small boutique is a great choice. The rooms are tastefully decorated with treasures found on the beach – which is just across from its location – and the staff are renowned for their kindness and helpfulness.
- Little Sur Inn: This small family run inn is pretty intimate, with just 17 rooms, and feels more like staying in a friend’s home than a hotel. The décor is sophisticated and modern and each room comes with its own fireplace for those chilly nights. Sit in the jacuzzi tub that comes with the oceanfront rooms with a glass of wine and watch the sunset – you won’t regret it!
So let’s get to it – all the best things to do in Cambria, California, coming right up!
Best Things to do in Cambria
1. Stroll the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk
One of the best things to do in Cambria?! To experience the natural beauty of its shoreline of course! And the Moonstone Beach boardwalk is the perfect place to start, with a mile long stretch that takes you from Cambria’s north end all the way down to Leffingwell Landing.
When you’re done with walking but not done with the views (not that you could ever be done with these views), there are some sweet little benches dotted around for you to sit on and take it all in. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and mischievous otters – they are oh so cute, especially when they hold hands!
I highly recommend skipping out on breakfast at your hotel and bringing it down to the boardwalk instead. There’s nothing like a fresh cup of coffee and some pastries from French Corner Bakery with the sound of waves crashing against the shore. Sounds like my kinda morning!
Some of the nearby hotels rent out bikes too so you can hop on and explore the boardwalk on wheels if you prefer. If your hotel doesn’t have any (or you were too late to grab one!), don’t fret – a bunch of companies in town have bikes for rent as well. Check out Cambria Electric Bike Company and VeloCambria.
2. Go Tidepooling at Moonstone Beach
Tidepooling is one of my favorite things to do on the Central Coast, which makes it one of my favorite things to do in Cambria! Luckily, Moonstone Beach is one of the best spots for it. Head to the northern end of the beach for some of the best tidepools on the central coast!
If you’re not familiar with tidepooling, get ready for some fun! It’s basically when you explore the small pools of water that are left behind when the tide goes out – and yes, this means you get up close and personal with some of the amazing marine life that call this stretch of coastline home.
Think crabs and anemones to mussels and periwinkle snails. It’s like a whole other world down there! Make sure to look closely as they’ll probably be hiding under some sea grass and beneath rocks.
Psst — live in the Bay and wanna go tidepooling closer to home? Make sure to check out some of the beaches in Half Moon Bay — there’s loads of sea critters over there!
The best time to go is an hour or two before low tide. Make sure to wear waterproof shoes (you’ll essentially be stepping right in the water for the most part), and clothes you don’t mind getting wet!
Remember – be careful where you step! Tide pools are teeming with wildlife, and you don’t wanna accidentally hurt any of the tiny creatures. Never walk right into a tide pool, and never touch or remove any sea life, shells, or sand.
3. Search for moonstones on Moonstone Beach
Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt! While the moonstones on this beach aren’t necessarily worth much (if anything, actually, haha), they’re still really pretty to look at and fun to search for!
Moonstone Beach is famous for these little gems hiding amongst the sand and rocks, and you’ll most definitely see others at low tide keeping their eyes peeled to the ground in the hopes of finding some too.
They get their name from the moon-like sheen that some of them have, and they range in color from white to gray to a deep blue. They’re actually a type of feldspar, called labradorite, and they have a beautiful iridescent quality to them.
Find a few on the beach and take them home as souvenirs or even get creative and make some jewelry out of them later on!
4. Wander Downtown Cambria
Cambria’s downtown area is small but mighty, with a great selection of shops and restaurants to explore. It’s made up of the East Village and the West Village, but it’s a super walkable town so you can get from one area to the other in no time.
You’ll find a concentration of art galleries, cute little eateries and the sweetest boutique shops – I loved the Cambria Nursery & Florist and the Red Moose Cookie Company!
If you’re interested in finding out more about the rich history of Cambria, head to the Cambria Historical Museum which documents the history of the town and the surrounding area. The architecture around this area is just like you see in old postcards too – it’s super cute and crazy charming!
There’s also a few tasting rooms downtown if you’re interested in doing some wine tasting (but more on that later!).
5. Walk the Coastal Bluff Trail at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
If you know me at all, you’ll know I love a good hiking trail! So it’s no wonder the Coastal Bluff Trail at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve was one of my favorite things to do in Cambria.
The trail is around a mile long each way and takes you along the coast, with incredible views of the ocean (and if you’re lucky, some wildlife too!). It’s an easy trail that’s good for all skill levels, just some gradual inclines over gravel terrain.
If you visit in the Spring, the whole trail is blanketed with colorful wildflowers. It’s absolutely stunning – a wildflower heaven!
Oh but watch out for poison oak on the trail! Especially if you’ve got your dog with you (yes, they’re allowed!).
There’s some other great trails in the area too if you’re really keen to get out in nature, but the coastal bluff is the most scenic for sure.
6. Piedras Blancas Light Station
Like many other coastal cities in California, Cambria’s got its very own lighthouse! This iconic light station has been standing since 1875 (so yea, it’s been around for a while!) and marks the entrance to San Simeon Bay.
You might be wondering what happened to the upper section of the lighthouse, and why the torch doesn’t shine at night anymore. Well, that’s because back in 1949, there was an earthquake which damaged the building so these had to be removed. It’s still a beauty, although it doesn’t function as well as it used to!
These days, you can only enter the light station on a guided tour which lasts around 2.5-3 hours. Remember to buy your tickets in advance, as you can’t purchase them at the door. You’ll be able to check out the historic Fog Signal Building and the bottom level of the lighthouse.
While the building itself is a wonder to look at, it’s set on a stunning bed of wildflowers and surrounded by grassy areas (it’s a spot for the ‘gram for sure!).
Further down the path is a great spot for whale watching (especially humpback whales in summer!) and if you’re lucky, you’ll see otters (and elephant seals!) basking in the sun. So cute and oh so weird! Don’t forget to bring your binoculars!
7. Check out the Unique Nitt Witt Ridge
This is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Cambria, and possibly all of California!
Nitt Witt Ridge is a man-made sculpture made out of junk, bottle caps, hubcaps, license plates, old stoves – basically anything you can think of! Even abalone shells! How wild! It was created by artist Arthur Harold Beal over the course of 50 years, and is now a registered Historic Landmark.
He used only a pick and a shovel to carve out all the terraces on the building. It really is a work of art! After Arthur died, the O’Malleys bought the property and they now offer tours of the house. You gotta go see it! The house is kinda like the poor man’s Hearst Castle, a must on any trip down Highway 1.
If you’re into weird and wacky creations, be sure to check out Salvation Mountain in Slab City and Bombay Beach at the Salton Sea. While they’re nowhere near these things to do in Cambria, add those two spots for your next Southern California road trip!
8. Indulge in a Slice of Olallieberry Pie at Linn’s Easy as Pie Cafe
Ok, we need to talk about Olallieberry Pie… because it’s just that good!
If you don’t know, an olallieberry is a cross between a loganberry, blackberry and a youngberry. And Linn’s Easy as Pie Café is famous for their Olallieberry pie, so, ya know, you gotta go at least once when you’re in Cambria (or twice, shh!). It’s seriously delicious, and a must-have when visiting Cambria!
Can eating pie be one of my favorite things to do in Cambria? I think yes, haha. This is your PSA to RUN to Linn’s and indulge! Totally fine to wear your stretchy pants here!
The Olallieberry Pie isn’t quite as sweet as a blackberry, but it’s still got a lovely sweetness to it. The pie crust is flaky and the whole thing just melts in your mouth. It’s the kind of pie you talk about for years to come…seriously (we’re still obsessing about it)!
Linn’s Easy as Pie Café gets pretty busy (did I mention how amazing the pie is?), so make sure you get there early if you want to snag a slice – or even better, order a whole pie to take home with you!
9. Relax at Leffingwell Landing Park
If you want to spend some time relaxing by the water, Leffingwell Landing is the place to go. It’s a small beach located at the north end of Moonstone Beach, and is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch or an afternoon reading your book.
The best part about this beach is that it’s usually not too crowded. So if you’re looking for relaxing things to do in Cambria (like a more low-key beach experience), Leffingwell Landing is it!
Plan to get there for sunset and you’ll be treated to some of the most beautiful colors as the sun dips below the horizon. It’s magical!
10. Sip some wine at Stolo Vineyards & Winery
Ah my favorite time of day: wine-o-clock! Cambria is home to some fantastic wineries, and one of the best around is Stolo Vineyards & Winery, nestled in the back hills of the town.
The vineyard is absolutely beautiful, and it’s the perfect place to relax with a glass of wine in hand. The staff are super friendly and knowledgeable, and they offer a great selection of wines to choose from. My personal favorite is the Chardonnay, but they also make a delicious Syrah!
Feel free to bring your own picnic lunch to have with the wine. And don’t miss the chickens and goats in the gardens! Trust me, you’re going to love it here!
If you’d prefer to stay in downtown Cambria, there’s also Fermentations and Black Hand Cellars on Main Street – again, offering a great selection of wines to try. I still need to try these out next time.
11. Cuddle baby goats (and have some cheese) at Stepladder Ranch & Creamery
Did someone say baby goats?! This was definitely one of my favorite things to do in Cambria! I mean, baby goats!!! Plus cheese. Such a perfect combination, haha. Kinda like the place we love to visit in Pescadero up in Northern California.
Stepladder Ranch & Creamery is a working ranch and creamery, and they offer tours of the property where you can learn all about how they make their small-batch goat and cow’s milk cheeses. The cheese is all artisanal and very homemade, so yup, that means it’s extra delicious.
But the best part is getting to play with the baby goats! They have the cutest little goats that will climb all over you – it’s the best way to de-stress!
And did I mention they give out cheese samples? Heaven! If you’ve never had goat’s cheese, you need to try it. Don’t forget to buy some to take back home.
Where to Eat in Cambria
One of the main events for me when I’m on vacation is the food, so here are some of my top recommendations for where to eat when in Cambria.
1. Have some oysters at Sea Chest Oyster Bar
If you love oysters, Sea Chest Oyster Bar is the place to go in Cambria. It’s a quirky, nautical themed restaurant with an incredible selection of seafood. The oysters are super fresh and there’s always a ton to choose from.
Even if you’re not a fan of oysters, there’s plenty of other seafood (and non-seafood) dishes to choose from. The fish and chips are delicious – my absolute fave when I’m craving something fried.
Fair warning, they don’t take reservations due to popularity. Expect a long wait, so don’t come absolutely starving. But they have a gorgeous firepit to sit by while you anxiously await for your oysters.
2. Wake up at Cambria Coffee Roasting Company
For that early morning caffeine fix, Cambria Coffee Roasting Company is where you wanna be. Right on main street, this is one of the most popular coffee spots in town. They use locally roasted beans and make a mean cup of joe!
And they make a lot of it! Some that I had never even heard of before (like Baja Mochas and Au Laits)! And it’s not just coffee either – they also have a huge selection of teas and iced beverages.
You can customize your perfect drink on their website, and I soooo appreciate the fact that most of their drinks can be made iced! Much needed on a hot day. The perfect spot to start your day in Cambria!
3. Main Street grill for tri tip sandwiches
Any meat lovers in the house? You’ll love Main Street Grill! It’s got that all-American sports bar vibe, and they serve up some of the best tri tip sandwiches in Cambria! Along with burgers and ribs – perfect when you’re craving some meat!
The portions are huge, so be sure to bring your appetite (or just share an order or two)! The sandwiches come with all the fixings, and the BBQ sauce is to die for. I would come every day for it!
I didn’t have any seafood but people rave about their shrimp-n-chips and the calamari sandwich. There’s a reason the restaurant’s been a staple in the Cambria community since 1984!
4. Grab breakfast at French Corner Bakery
Is there anything better than a warm, flakey croissant for breakfast? No, no there is not.
French Corner Bakery is the best place to get your pastry fix in Cambria! They make all of their pastries fresh daily, and there’s so much to choose from. It’s easily the best little bakery on the Central California coast!
I have to recommend the chocolate croissant – it’s seriously the best I’ve ever had (okay, maybe not as good as the one’s I’ve had in Paris, haha)! The perfect mix of flaky and chocolatey goodness. Yum!
They also have other tasty treats like snickerdoodle cookies, key lime tarts, chocolate whipped cream eclairs, blackberry scones, cream cheese danishes, banana nut muffins….I’m drooling all over again reminiscing! Grab a few and bring them to the beach – but don’t wait too long; they’re best fresh!
5. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Red Moose Cookie Company
If you have a sweet tooth like I do, Red Moose Cookie Company is the place for you. It’s an adorable little shop on Main Street, and they make the most delicious cookies!
The highlight for me was Aunt Mona’s Moist Molasses – ok, maybe I just loved the name but it seriously didn’t disappoint. Other favorites are the Peppermint Patty Fudge Brownie, the Pumpkin Moose Pie and the Nutless Wonder.
The Red Moose Cookie Company’s slogan is ‘Baking people happy with love and butter’ – and it’s so true! So, really, don’t miss out on this one when in Cambria.
6. Soto’s True Earth Market for sandwiches
I love a good sandwich, and hidden in the back of the Soto’s True Earth Market is a small deli who make some of the best in Cambria.
The market itself is really cool – it’s all organic and sustainable, with a focus on healthy living and eating. They have a wide selection of groceries, as well as some great health and beauty products.
The deli is in the back, and it’s worth seeking out. The sandwiches are all made to order with fresh ingredients, and they have a good variety to choose from, no matter what your taste.
7. Madeline’s Restaurant & Wine Cellar
A wine tasting bistro by day and a restaurant with an amazing ambiance by night!
If you’re looking for a nice dinner spot, this is the place to go. It’s a bit more upscale than some of the other restaurants but it’s perfect for date night.
They know how to cook a steak perfectly at Madeline’s, and the scallops melt in your mouth. They have an extensive wine list with wines from all over California, and it’s the perfect place to kick back and enjoy a glass (or two, or three!) of wine.
Things to do Near Cambria
Sure, you could probably fill a weekend with only things to do in Cambria specifically, but it’d be a shame to miss out on other nearby spots! If you find yourself with a bit more time on the Central California coast, check out the following:
1. Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery (San Simeon)
If you’re not from California, I almost bet you’ve never seen (or even heard of) an elephant seal! And what wild and wacky creatures they are! Just look at their long noses – oh so weird! Their gigantic size makes them unique as well – the males can be up to 20 feet long (!!!), and weigh almost 9,000 pounds. WHOA.
One of the best places to see these massive elephant seals is just 12 miles north of Cambria in San Simeon. And best of all, it’s absolutely free to visit!
The guides there are super knowledgeable and will answer any questions you have about these magnificent marine animals.
During mating and pupping season (generally December to March), you’ll be able to see hundreds of elephant seals – including mothers with their newborn pups! It’s an incredible sight, and one that you won’t soon forget.
Bear in mind that this is their territory, so please give them space and do not disturb them in any way! Bring binoculars if you wanna see them even closer, as you’ll need to stand above the sand where they rest on a viewing platform.
2. Hearst Castle (San Simeon)
A castle? In California? Yup! And it’s pretty spectacular… with majestic architecture, intricate tilework, lush landscapes, and crystalline pools!
Hearst Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in California, and it’s just a short 15 minute drive from Cambria, overlooking the town of San Simeon.The massive castle was built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, and it’s now a State Historic Park.
First time visiting the castle? Sign up for the Grand Rooms tour, where you’ll feel like a royal as you’re guided around the extravagant rooms that make up this opulent building. You’ve also got your pick of the Upstairs Suites Tour and The Cottages and Kitchen Tour, among others. There’s also beautiful gardens to explore, and a stunning view of the coastline.
To make this place even more magical than it already is (if that’s even possible), keep an eye out for the zebras that frolic around the local land when you enter/leave! Be sure to reserve a ticket ahead of time, as this beautiful castle gets busy quickly…
3. Harmony Headlands State Park (Harmony)
Just a few miles south of Cambria in the tiny town of Harmony is the Harmony Headlands State Park. And it’s gorgeous – the state park is an undeveloped part of the California Coast that’s just begging to be explored!
Think coastal prairie grasses, wildflower meadows, steep hills, and picture perfect views of the Pacific Ocean. Plus tons of wildlife (like the silvery blue butterfly, southwestern pond turtle, and even the endangered California red-legged frog). My kinda spot!
You’ll wanna take the Headlands Trail hike to the summit and back, totaling about 4.2 miles. It’s a little steep in places but is a relatively easy hike through the grasslands – once you make it to the coast you’ll be amazed by the views of the dramatic coastline and ocean!
Best to do this trail early in the morning or late in the evening as there’s no shade whatsoever. Sadly, you’ll have to leave the doggos at home as they’re not allowed on the trail. Boo!
Also, come prepared with everything you need (water, sunscreen, a hat, etc) – there’s hardly any cell service!
4. Cayucos Beach and Pier (Cayucos)
If you’re looking for a beach day on the Central Coast, Cayucos is where it’s at. The sand is oh so soft and the water is pretty clear; just watch out for the tiny sand flies. And make sure to seal up your food or the seagulls will come investigating!
Take a stroll, fish (or watch others fish), try a spot of birdwatching, wonder how on earth surfers aren’t freezing out on the water! The pier is the main attraction in Cayucos (always fun to watch the surfers from up here), and make sure to stay around for sunset – always pretty legendary!
There are some great little beach bars and restaurants around here too, as well as a couple of ice cream parlors (always a bonus!).
5. Brown Butter Cookie Company (Cayucos)
If you’re in Cayucos, don’t miss a quick stop at Brown Butter Cookie Company. It’s the epitome of a humble cookie shop, and you’d be downright silly for skipping it.
As soon as you walk through the door, you’re handed freshly baked cookie samples. I mean, who doesn’t love a good sample?! Especially when they’re cookies – that’s how they get you hooked! The cookies are absolutely scrumptious, and there’s soooo many different flavors to choose from. They even have gluten free options!
Their staple cookie (and the most famous) is the Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookie, so you’ve got to try this. But then again, they also have a range of other flavors like Lemon Sugar, Chocolate Chunk and Peanut Butter, so save room for loads of cookies! Or just share a few, haha.
The shop itself is super cute, with a rustic vibe, and the staff are always happy to chat. Psst – they’ve also got locations in downtown San Luis Obispo and in Paso Robles.
6. Take a drive down to Morro Bay
A scenic drive down Highway 1 is a must-do when visiting Cambria, and one of the best stops is Morro Bay, just 21 miles south of Cambria.
As soon as you approach Morro Bay, you’ll quickly notice the 581-foot rock jutting out of the Pacific Ocean. And that, my friends, is Morro Rock (it’s kinda hard to miss as long as the weather’s clear as it dominates the landscape for miles). It’s an iconic landmark of the area so make sure to take some photos!
There are some beautiful beaches to relax on, some delicious seafood restaurants and a couple of cute shops to browse. Oh and the otters! THEY HOLD HANDS and it’s the sweetest sight! Keep your eyes peeled for these adorable little sea creatures that lounge around on the coast in the water!
Hope this helps you plan your trip to this little seaside town! Which of these things to do in Cambria are you most looking forward to?!