Long considered a necessary interlude on the way to somewhere else, this once-sleepy stretch has become a destination in its own right. Travelers are finally catching on to what locals have known long all along: the Central Coast of California offers quiet beauty, agricultural bounty, and some of the best wines in the state. Coastal enclaves such as Cayucos, which self-identifies as “the last of the California beach towns,” and Pismo Beach, where monarchs flock to eucalyptus groves every winter, still feel refreshingly low-key — despite major updates like Vespera on Ocean, a 124-room resort overlooking the Pacific which opened in October. In the Paso Robles area, young gun winemakers thinking outside the barrel continue to draw a cult following. Stay at the Piccolo, a new urban extension of the Paso Robles Inn, and taste for yourself at the recently opened Tin City, an industrial complex that’s home to 23 small-production wineries.