San Luis Obispo County offers a wide variety of activities, attractions, entertainment and dining with everything from a kid-friendly farmers' market to romantic dinners overlooking the Pacific Ocean.Cambria and San Luis Obispo Area attractions include:
- Big Sur
- Hearst Castle
- Nitt Witt Ridge
- Piedras Blancas Lighthouse
- Elephant Seals
- Whale Watching
- Paso Robles
- San Luis Obispo
- Moonstone Beach
- Bird Watching
- Hiking & Biking
- Cambria Art Galleries
- National Geographic Theatre
- Wine Tasting
Big Sur The scenery in Big Sur, California cannot be done justice by film or secondhand account. An eclectic populace and cosmic vibe flows through the Big Sur area and permeates local shops and restaurants. A table with a view isn't hard to come by in Big Sur. Neither is a sense of well being. Cliffs, rocks, redwoods and effervescent surf create an epic backdrop for recreation, romance and relaxed exploration.
Hearst Castle The palatial estate of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, the famous Hearst Castle, is a 250,000-acre ranch overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Simeon. With spectacular buildings designed by San Francisco architect Julia Morgan, the estate is a wild blend of architectural styles inspired by Hearst's travels through Europe. Highlights include the famous Neptune pool featuring an ancient Roman temple transported from Europe and reconstructed at the site, ancient mosaic floors, 127 acres of gardens, and the world's largest private zoo with zebras and other exotic animals still roaming the grounds. www.hearstcastle.org.
Nitt Witt Ridge Nitt Witt Ridge is a house built entirely of found objects. It was built over the course of fifty years and is an exceptional example of folk art. The builder was the eccentric Cambria garbage collector and junk hauler Arthur Harold Beal, nicknamed der Tinkerpaw. Nitt Witt Ridge is a California State Historical Landmark that consists of a three level house on two and a half acres complete with terraced rock-walled gardens. It was created using rocks, abalone shells, beer cans, tile, car parts, TV antennas, and miscellaneous knick-knacks. Guided tours last approximately 45 minutes and include a four-minute video.
Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Located just north of San Simeon, Piedras Blancas Lighthouse was completed in 1875 and included a 115-foot tower with a state-of-the-art Fresnel lens. A fog signal building and additional dwelling for the keeper were added in 1906. The lighthouse was operated by the U.S. Lighthouse Service until 1939, when the Coast Guard assumed command. Today, the Bureau of Land Management operates this fully automated light station. To learn more visit www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/bakersfield/Programs/pbls.html.
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Located seven miles north of San Simeon, the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery offers visitors the chance to see more than 15,000 elephant seals living and mating in their natural habitat. The breeding season runs from December through April, with elephant seals visiting the area throughout the summer and fall months. Docents from the non-profit group known as Friends of the Elephant Seal are generally on-site to answer visitors' questions. To learn more, visit www.elephantseal.org.
Whale Watching Twice a year, the California Gray Whale migrates from its feeding grounds in the Bering straits to the breeding grounds off Baja, California and back again. Sea Life Studies Whale Watching Trips take you out into the migratory paths of these magnificent animals to unobtrusively observe them in their natural habitat. From playful otters and dolphins to birds in the sky, you'll have a front row seat to nature's greatest theater. Visit www.subseatours.com.
City of Paso Robles Rancho El Paso de Robles was created in 1844 when brothers Daniel and James Blackburn purchased the 26,000-acre site for just $8,000. After the Civil War, Drury James (the uncle of outlaw Jesse James) purchased a half-interest in the town and, along with the Blackburns, created a resort complete with first-class amenities including a hotel, opera house and natural hot sulfur springs. Today, Paso Robles is a bustling city that is home to the Central Coast's multi-million dollar wine industry. www.pasowine.com or www.visitpaso.com. Visit our sister properties the - Black Oak Motor Lodge (http://www.bestwesternblackoak.com/) and Adelaide Inn (www.adelaideinn.com).
City of San Luis Obispo Home to the famous Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, one of the best-preserved examples of 18th century Spanish architecture in the state, San Luis Obispo is a popular college town with a wide variety of activities and attractions like the weekly evening Farmers Market, Bubble Gum Alley, unique local shops and restaurants, and much more.
Moonstone Beach Moonstone Beach is located off Cambria's rocky shoreline below 20-foot windswept bluffs. Visitors can access the sandy beach via several staircases, where they'll be rewarded with the smooth, translucent, milky white moonstone agates that give this beach its name. Enjoy a stroll along the walking trail that leads past small coves, rock formations, and tide pools to scenic overlooks that are perfect for sighting migrating gray whales and other marine mammals.
Central Coast Bird Watching From Morro Bay to Montana de Oro, the Central Coast offers a wide variety of bird watching opportunities for bird watchers of all ages. With a diverse range of habitats, from oak woodland to wetland and estuaries, offering more than 200 species, beginning and experienced bird watchers will have fun trying to find their personal favorite. Serious bird lovers will want to stay with us while they attend the Morro Coast Audubon Society's annual Winter Bird Festival with bird watching tours, workshops, and speakers.
Hiking & Biking in Cambria Cambria offers a wide range of hiking and biking trails for outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along area beaches, or challenge yourself with an intense all-day hike. You'll have plenty of choices when you visit Cambria.
- Leffingwell Landing Park - Enjoy views of sea birds, sea otters, and migrating California gray whales as you walk along the bluff trail toward San Simeon Creek.
- San Simeon Beach State Park - With spectacular scenery that includes rocky shoreline and pine forests, San Simeon State Park offers a variety of hiking trails, wetlands, campgrounds, monarch butterflies, and views of migratory birds like mallards, egrets and herons.
- East-West Ranch - This 436-acre ranch includes several outstanding trails for hikers and bikers of all skill levels. The bluff trail is an easy stroll offering fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean.
- Berry Trail - Access this steep, unimproved trail at the end of Pine Court. This trail is very popular with mountain bikers, but experienced hikers looking for a challenge will enjoy this trail as well.
- Santa Rosa Creek - A wide trail running along and above the west side of Santa Rosa Creek, this trail includes two moderately difficult and steep sections and is popular for both hiking and biking.
Cambria Art Galleries With more than 30 art galleries offering everything from art glass to watercolor painting, nature photography to handmade jewelry, you'll find the best work from well-known local artists and craftsmen in Cambria's quaint villages.
National Geographic Theater Located at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, the National Geographic Theater offers a movie experience you won't soon forget. Enjoy spectacular documentary style films on the iWERKS screen that is eight times the size of traditional movie screens and includes 7-channel digital surround sound to transport you right into the movie experience. www.ngtheater.com.
Wine Tasting The Central Coast wine region is one of the up- and- coming wine regions in the U.S. where some of the finest vineyards in the world are nurtured by the mild Mediterranean climate. Discover this breathtaking and unpretentious wine region with a relaxing drive through the rugged hills, rows of vineyards, beautiful blue skies and taste some of the finest wines in the country. We suggest contacting The Wine Wrangler (www.thewinewrangler.com) or The Grapeline (www.gogrape.com) for full and half-day tours…leave the driving to them! Visit www.pasowine.com for more information.
Activities for Children Children in Cambria like to:
- On the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk (spot seals on the rocks)
- Across Fiscalini Ranch (look for otters, whales, dolphins and ferrets!)
- Over the trail San Simeon State Park at Washburn Day Use Area (watch for bobcats!)
- In "the cove" at San Simeon State Beach (across from Hearst Castle)
- Through Strawberry Canyon
- At Shamel Park Windsor Drive
- In Santa Rosa Creek Center Street Park
- With the kittens at HART 1500 Main Street
- The IMAX movie at Hearst Castle
- The glassblowers in the neighboring town of Harmony
- The elephant seals
- Driftwood dwellings on Moonstone Beach
- Painted pottery
- Froggies 801 Main Street (best for primary grades)
- The Soldier Gallery 816 Main Street (military history)
- Safe At Home 816 Main Street (Sports Shop)
- The Sweet Offerings 4070 Burton Street
- Cambria Pharmacy 2306 Main Street (the duck shop)
- The Garden Shed: to pet the gigantic, orange, fluffy, piece of pudding otherwise known as a cat! 2024 Main Street
- The Cambria Music Box Shoppe 734 B Main Street
- Yachats Rock Shop 4090 Burton Drive
- Cinnamon rolls at JJ's Pizza 2380 Main Street
- Fudge at The Fudge Shop 719 B Main Street
- Burgers at Old Stone Station 713 Main Street
- Candy at Sweet Offerings 4070 Burton Street
- Nitt Witt Ridge Tours available
- The Lighthouse Tours available
- The trolley - ask at the front desk for a schedule and a route map