Visit Spain, Europe and South America Along the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route
Check Items off Your Bucket List in Cambria Without Boarding a Plane
It’s not the coast of Spain, although the coastal landscape of Cambria is just as breathtaking with whales just off shore, and where horses roam the hills. It’s not a small European village surrounded by castles, although the quaint town of Cambria has the same historic feel, and Hearst Castle is just up the road. You don’t have to travel to South America to experience a thriving Elephant Seal rookery or incredible coastal wines. You just need to travel to Cambria along the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route to check these items off your bucket list without boarding a plane. Named one of the most beautiful towns in America by Forbes Magazine, Cambria is a pinestudded coastal hideaway that attracts those seeking rest, recreation and renewal. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy beach-front hiking, surfing, fishing, and cycling, in particular, while food and wine connoisseurs enjoy the area’s many restaurants that benefit from the ideal year-round temperate conditions for growing produce, grains, cane berries, and vines, and raising livestock. Shoppers enjoy hunting treasures among world-class antique stores and privately owned boutiques in the heart of town along quaint Main Street, while romantics indulge in the cozy cafes, candlelit dinners, comfortable accommodations, spas and sunset walks that make Cambria so memorable. Travelers of all ages enjoy the many special events in town, like the annual Scarecrow Festival that takes place every October. Cambria lodging offers vacations for every budget and every traveler with an array of accommodations from hotels and B&Bs to vacation rentals.
Moonstone Beach – Famous for its dramatic coastline and breathtaking views, the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk is where your Cambria seaside escape begins. Whether you want to sink your toes into the sand, catch glimpses of marine life swimming by, explore living tide pools, or head out to sea for surfing, boating, and other aquatic adventures, you will find there is something for everyone to enjoy on Moonstone Beach. Take a relaxing one-mile stroll along the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk. Enjoy playful sea otters, watch whales and dolphins in season, and spy the wildlife on-shore while taking in the stunning ocean views.
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve – Feel what it was like to be a member of the Chumash and Salinian Native American tribes living along this breathtaking stretch of seaside bluff. Thanks to the American Land Conservancy and the local chapter of SWAP (Small Wilderness Area Preservation), miles of trails along the restless Pacific Ocean welcome pedestrians, horseback riders, and bicyclists while protecting the home of many endangered species, including redlegged frogs and Monterey pines. A trail map can be downloaded from the website here.
Covell’s CA Clydesdales – How many places on earth can you experience almost 2,000 acres of pristine Monterey Pine forest and rolling pastures with an exquisite view of the ocean and over 100 head of Clydesdale horses roaming the hillsides? The answer is one, Cambria Pines by the Sea Ranch, home to Covell’s California Clydesdales. Covell’s offers tours to the public on this picturesque real, working ranch.
Elephant Seals – Twice a year, thousands of elephant seals migrate hundreds of miles of ocean to this land-based rookery, where the seals breed, give birth, molt, and rest between trips. The Piedras Blancas rookery, on Highway 1, just a few miles north of Cambria, is home to about 15,000 animals—1,600 pups have been born here this season alone. The area is open for viewing every day of the year and there is no admission fee or reservation required. Best times are late January, late April, and late October.
Historic Main Street – Stroll this vibrant, artsy cottage town for unique gifts, specialty goods, wine, craft beer and culinary choices. People come from around the world to visit the shops in Cambria—there are no chains in this one-of-a-kind town. This vibrant artist community includes designers, artists, and craftspeople who create unique treasures and gifts at specialty shops. Browse the Friday Farmers’ Market for fresh local produce and local artisan products.
Hearst Castle Majestic Tours – In 1865, George Hearst, a wealthy miner, purchased 40,000-acres of ranchland that included the Mexican Ranchos of Piedras Blancas, San Simeon and Santa Rosa. Originally known as “Camp Hill,” its wilderness offered a place for family members and friends to “rough it” on camping trips. Hearst’s son William Randolph envisioned more comfortable accommodations and gave these simple instructions to famed San Francisco architect Julia Morgan in 1919: “Miss Morgan, we are tired of camping out in the open at the ranch in San Simeon and I would like to build a little something.” Hearst and Morgan’s
collaboration was destined to become one of the world’s greatest museum showplaces. By then the ranch had grown to encompass 250,000 acres and the rocky perch from which it rose was renamed “La Cuesta Encantada” – The Enchanted Hill.
Pacific Coast Wine Trail – Savor award winning wines from 11 coastal wineries. The Pacific Coast Wine Trail is the Central Coast’s new local wine trail. Enjoy hand-crafted wines from 10 small producers along the scenic coast; from San Simeon through Cambria and to Harmony. Our trail includes Hearst Ranch Winery, Cutruzzola Vineyards, Black Hand Cellars, Moonstone Cellars, Twin Coyotes Winery, Stolo Family Vineyard, Harmony Cellars, Cayucos Cellars, Chateau Margene and Cuatro Dias.
Whale Trail – Along the Whale Trail in Cambria, you’ll view one of our nation’s most
spectacular marine protected areas. See more than 34 species of marine mammals from land. Search for the heart-shaped blows of gray whales, tall dorsal fins of orcas, or feeding humpback and blue whales. Look for seals and sea lions on offshore rocks and sea otters wrapped up in kelp. You can see amazing marine life at the Whale Trail’s shore-based sites at any time of year. This Whale Trail is located at Shamel Park and is part of a series of sites where the public may view orcas, other cetaceans and marine mammals from shore.
Visit Cambria App – Download the new Visit Cambria app to create and customize your vacation itinerary. The app has hundreds of things to do in Cambria, including unique locations to visit, themed self-guided tours, places to stay and eat, local wineries and breweries as well as unique cycling routes in the area. You can add activities, events and/or places that you find interesting to your itinerary and design your ultimate Cambria to-do list. The app is available for download on iOS and Android.