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Ice Cream Social, BBQ, Harbor Cruises and more! Join us for Cruise Night on Friday, or Show & Shine on Saturday and Sunday. [post_title] => Cruisin Morro Bay Car Show [post_excerpt] => Classic cars from around the country cruise to show off their shines. Ice Cream Social, BBQ, Harbor Cruises and more! [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => cruisin-morro-bay-car-show-501 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-26 07:00:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-26 15:00:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/events/cruisin-morro-bay-car-show-501/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 105161 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-06-26 07:00:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-26 15:00:03 [post_content] => Bike along the beautiful coast of the county, reaching as far as Piedras Blancas Lighthouse before turning around. Amazing scenery, great food, full SAG assistance, BBQ, and great jerseys and shirts. This is a very popular ride so pre-registration is required.
Call (805) 543-5973 or visit SLO Bicycle Club for more information. [post_title] => Lighthouse Century Bicycle Rally [post_excerpt] => Bike along the beautiful coast of the county, reaching as far as Piedras Blancas Lighthouse before turning around. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => lighthouse-century-bicycle-rally [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-26 07:00:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-26 15:00:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/events/lighthouse-century-bicycle-rally/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 110831 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-06-26 07:00:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-26 15:00:03 [post_content] => The run/walk is 6 miles and takes place on the hard packed sand from Morro Rock to the Cayucos Pier. We welcome people of all ages and fitness levels to participate. Please leave your dogs at home; the beach is home to the endangered Snowy Plover.
The awards ceremony will be held at Morro Rock after the event. There will be busses running every 15 minutes to shuttle participants back from the Pier.
[post_title] => Rock to Pier Run [post_excerpt] => Participants run the six mile stretch from the Rock in Morro Bay to the pier in Cayucos, with festivities following! [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => rock-to-pier-run-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-26 07:00:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-26 15:00:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/events/rock-to-pier-run-2/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 105123 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-06-26 07:00:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-26 15:00:03 [post_content] => The annual Morro Bay Kite Festival is held every April. Head to the beach just north of The Rock to see the kites take flight throughout the weekend. Admission is free, this is a great event for families. [post_title] => Morro Bay Kite Festival [post_excerpt] => Colorful kites will take to the sky at the Rock for family friendly fun [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => morro-bay-kite-festival [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-26 07:00:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-26 15:00:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/events/morro-bay-kite-festival/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 110815 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-06-26 07:00:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-26 15:00:02 [post_content] =>
The Annual Celebration of the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival is held every Martin Luther King weekend when over 450 birders visit Morro Bay to see, photograph and learn more about birds. The area offers pristine beaches, beautiful state parks, an excellent natural history museum, panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, and, best of all, thousands of birds. Over 200 species are usually sighted during the Festival weekend.[post_title] => Winter Bird Festival [post_excerpt] => Every Martin Luther King weekend over 450 birders visit Morro Bay to see, photograph and learn more about birds. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => winter-bird-festival-1-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-26 07:00:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-26 15:00:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/events/winter-bird-festival-1-2/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => events [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 112919 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-04-24 20:31:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-04-25 04:31:04 [post_content] => Of the 101 miles of coastline in San Luis Obispo County, half are protected shoreline. In other words, the odds are good that surf, sand and sun are always within reach here. The Central Coast boasts some of the best beaches in the U.S., and certainly on the West Coast. What sets them apart? Think miles of white sand, uncrowded, untouched ― and unbelievably scenic. Visitors can find a spectrum of options, with ideal beaches for sunbathing, beachcombing, wildlife viewing, surfing, tidepooling, doggie fun or even dune-driving. No matter your idea of the perfect vacation, the beaches between Big Sur and Nipomo have you covered.
When To VisitDue to temperate weather, the Central Coast’s beaches can be visited comfortably year-round. But depending on your goals, a bit of planning and insider info goes a long way. For sunny family fun, swimming and kayaking, the months of July through October offer the best weather. For surfing, winter tends to be the best season for wind and swells. (Just bring a wetsuit! Central Coast waters can be quite chilly.) Opportunities for whale watching, bird watching, and elephant seal mating and birthing peak in winter to early spring. Beachcombing, pet play, horseback riding, tidepooling and driving on the beach occur year-round.
What To BringWeather tends to be temperate but can be changeable, so layered clothing is recommended. Bring towels, sunscreen, sand toys, boogie boards/surfboards, wetsuits, bottled water, snacks and beach blankets.
Best Beaches for Families on the Central Coast Along Highway 1
Avila BeachPick your perfect paradise on one of the best family beaches in California! This spacious beach features soft, fine sand and gentle waves, ideal for little ones and safe water play. (Lifeguards stand watch over the beach during peak summer months.) The boardwalk offers restrooms and outdoor showers, as well as the adjacent Pirate Park with basketball courts and a playground. Additional amenities include picnic tables, grill stands, and parking, along with multiple lodging options. Bring your family for a walk along the pier, or hit up one of the many restaurants that line the beach. Just remember to leave Fido at home between 10 A.M. and 5 P.M. (Or take him to Olde Port Beach / Fisherman’s Beach, just south on Avila Beach Drive, where off-leash dogs happily play.) Directions: From Highway 101, take the Avila Beach Drive exit and head west for 2.5 miles. Turn left on San Juan Street and take the next left onto Front Street, which faces the beach.
Cayucos State BeachCayucos State Beach blends sand, surf and sun for a classic California vibe. Kids will love the sizeable beach playground, tidepools and fishing off historic Cayucos Pier. (No fishing license required!) For surfers, the waves near the pier offer thrills, and surf schools like Cayucos Surf Company help newbies get in on the action. (Lifeguards watch the beach in summer months.) Multiple casual restaurants line the shore (including the sea-worthy Schooner’s Restaurant) as well as a range of accommodations. Other amenities include restrooms, outdoor showers, and parking. Dogs are allowed on Cayucos State Beach on leash. Directions: From the south, take Highway 1 to the 13th Street exit and head west on 13th Street. Turn right on South Ocean Drive and drive for 1 mile. Turn left on Cayucos Drive and left on Ocean Front Avenue, which faces the beach. From the north, turn right off Highway 1 onto North Ocean Avenue. After 0.7 miles turn right on Cayucos Drive and left on Ocean Front Avenue, which faces the beach.
W.R. Hearst Memorial State Beach, San SimeonA local favorite, this beach stands adjacent to the town of Old San Simeon, across Highway 1 from Hearst Castle. In addition to calm waters and a long coastline, this protected cove also offers picnic sites, parking, restrooms, and grill stands. Little ones will enjoy sand play, walking the pier and fishing (no license required), as well as swimming, kayaking and sunbathing. The Coastal Discovery Center, just beside the beach, contains educational exhibits about the shoreline, wildlife, local history and more. Note that leash laws are enforced to the left of San Simeon Pier, but to the right, Fido can play leash-free. Directions: From Highway 1, turn onto Slo San Simeon Rd toward the ocean and follow to the beach.
Moonstone Beach, CambriaOne of the best beaches in Central California for beachcombing, Moonstone Beach encourages exploration for visitors of all ages. This beach is known for its smooth “moonstones” as well as sea glass and driftwood. Waves can be large and strong here, often unsuitable for swimming or surfing. But adjacent Shamel Park offers parking, restrooms, a playground, gazebo, horseshoes, playing field, and seasonal heated swimming pool. Note: dogs are not allowed on Moonstone Beach, but are permitted on leash in Shamel Park. Directions: From Highway 1, turn west on Windsor Boulevard. Drive 0.3 miles and park beside Shamel Park. Moonstone Beach can be accessed through the park.
Morro Bay Strand State Beach Day Use Area, CayucosThe 6 miles of white sand beach between Morro Rock and the Cayucos Pier make for a scenic and challenging walk in Highway 1 Discovery country. The Morro Bay Strand Day Use Area covers a section of that beach boasting ideal conditions for fishing, windsurfing and kite-flying. It’s also a popular training ground for joggers. With excellent facilities for picnicking, this stretch enjoys a picturesque view of Morro Rock in the distance. Note that leashed dogs are allowed in the adjacent campground, but not on the beach. Directions: The Morro Bay Strand lies 2 miles south of Cayucos on Highway 1. From Highway 1, head west on Cass Street. Make a slight left on 24th Street and follow toward the beach. Park in the lot beyond the State Beach sign.
Morro Bay Dog Beach, CayucosLet your four-legged friend play in the surf at this charming off-leash dog beach on Cayucos’s southern end. This stretch of coastline has something for the whole family, including beachcombing (sand dollars!), wildflowers, tidepools, surfing, fishing and birding. It also offers beautiful views of Morro Rock, as well as free parking. Note that this beach does not have restrooms or facilities. Also, if your dog is aggressive or has a strong hunting instinct, please leave him or her on leash or at home. Directions: Access North Point Dog Beach off Highway 1 just south of Cayucos. At Toro Creek Road, turn toward the ocean and find parking between the highway and the shoreline.
Estero Bluffs BeachPart of a scenic state park, this beach can be reached by hiking through grasslands along the bluffs. While several beaches skirt the trail below, the most accessible sits in a sandy cove where Villa Creek meets the sea. Here, find a great spot for tidepooling, whale and birdwatching, and beachcombing. Parking is easy to find along Highway 1 between Cayucos and Cambria. Directions: From Cayucos, drive north on Highway 1 for about four miles and look for parking areas on the ocean side of the road.
Best State Park Beaches on the Central Coast Along Highway 1
Montaña de Oro State ParkWant a state park with an ocean view? This scenic spot offers multiple options. If lounging by the ocean is your style, nothing beats the views at Spooner’s Cove beach. Find a protected cove here, fed by a freshwater stream perfect for wading. Amenities include bathrooms and free parking. (Note that dogs are permitted here on leash, but not on trails or other beaches.) For a challenge, try hiking Valencia Peak, a 4.2-mile loop trail that ascends 1,347 feet. One of the highest in the park, this peak makes for a moderately strenuous hike with striking wildflower and coastal views. To find the trailhead, enter the park and drive through the eucalyptus grove. The parking area for Valencia Peak is on the left, just beyond the visitor center. For horse lovers, Hazard Canyon provides terrific equestrian trails and access to potable water. Try the 11.2-mile Hazard Peak trail for a secluded, moderate ride. To get to the trailhead, enter Montaña de Oro State Park and drive through the eucalyptus grove. The trailhead will be on the left, just before Spooner’s Cove. The same views apply to mountain biking enthusiasts, too. Ride the Oats Peak Trail, an intermediate out-and-back singletrack clocking in at 11.2 miles and an ascent of more than 1,430 feet. To access the trailhead, enter the park and pass through the eucalyptus grove. Pass Spooner’s Cove and the visitor center, then turn left on the road to the Islay Creek Campground. The trailhead will be on the right side of the road, just before dropping to the campground. Directions: Travel 6 miles southwest from Morro Bay, or seven miles south from Los Osos on Pecho Valley Road.
Morro Bay State ParkVisiting the Morro Bay State Park opens a window on the Central Coast at its finest. Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the marina, hiking, golfing or watching wildlife ― all beneath a stand of majestic Monterey Pines. Trails abound for hikers and mountain bikers, and kayakers will love cruising around the bay. (Note that dogs are allowed on trails with a leash.) When you’re ready for an indoor adventure, don’t miss the Natural History Museum, which has views of the ocean. Directions: Take Highway 1 to the Los Osos - Baywood Park exit. Drive west for about 1 mile, then turn right into the state park.
Pismo State Beach OceanoAs thrilling as it is beautiful, this state beach includes the Oceano State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA), which permits vehicles to drive on the beach. Other activities here include swimming, surfing, kite-flying and horseback riding. Visitors can also enjoy surf fishing or digging for famous Pismo clams. And don’t miss the boardwalk from the SVRA parking lot to the Monarch Butterfly Grove Cross the freshwater lagoon adjacent to the grove for excellent birdwatching. (Note that dogs are allowed on leash only.) Directions: From Highway 101, take the exit toward Pismo Beach/Wadsworth Avenue. Head west on Highway 1 about 7 miles. Keep left at the fork to continue on Highway 1 / Dolliver Street for 3 miles.Turn right onto Pier Avenue, then right onto Pismo State Beach.
Best Central Coast Beach Vacation Towns Along Highway 1Cambria Coffee Roasting Company for a cup of joe before heading to Moonstone Beach for majestic views and treasure-hunting. Then take a self-guided walk through Cambria’s historic streets with help from the Cambria Historical Society. Grab lunch at Robin’s Restaurant (don’t miss the lobster bisque!) and wander through Cambria’s boutiques and art galleries. Finish with a hike through the beachfront Fiscalini Ranch Preserve and luxurious seafood dinner and wine at the Sea Chest Oyster Bar. Sea Shanty, then work it off with a walk along Cayucos State Beach. If the weather permits, enjoy surfing and sun bathing in its soft sand until lunchtime. Grab a slice at Ocean Front Pizza, or tacos at Ruddell’s Smokehouse before taking a walk along the historic pier. Try fishing off the side, or browse the antique and surf shops along Ocean Avenue. And don’t miss the Brown Butter Cookie Company, where brown butter cookies are topped with (what else?) sea salt. At dinner time, head to The Grill at the Cass House or Lunada Bistro for farm-to-table cuisine.Elephant Seal Rookery, and watch the circle of life unfold before your very eyes. Then head to Hearst Castle State Park to experience the grandeur of William Randolph Hearst’s life and times.(Don’t miss the famous Neptune Pool! Or the zebras!) Afterward, lunch on gourmet sandwiches at Sebastian’s Cafe, followed by wine tasting at the adjacent Hearst Ranch Winery tasting room. Then walk down to the W.R. Hearst Memorial State Beach and enjoy the sand between your toes. If time permits, learn about marine life and the history of San Simeon at the Coastal Discovery Center. Finish your busy day at the Ragged Point Inn with elegant cuisine, fine local wine, and an ocean view to remember. Back Bay Cafe, then head for Montaña de Oro State Park. Hike, bike, or ride a horse along any number of trails, then relax on the beach at Spooner’s Cove. For lunch, grab tasty Mexican fare at La Casita (plus chips and a container of their legendary salsa for take-away). Then enjoy walking the labyrinth in Baywood, or take in the many artist’s galleries and studios on 2nd Street. Munch those chips and salsa on the Baywood Pier, then dine at Blue Heron for farm-to-table cuisine and local wines.Bob Jones Trail, with a stopover at Woodstone Marketplace for coffee and breakfast. Then finish at the beach for sunbathing, surfing or sand play. (Avila Beach doesn’t welcome dogs between 10am and 5pm, but Fisherman’s Beach lets them roam off leash, down the road.) Or, if you golf, hit the links at the Avila Beach Golf Resort. Either way, you’ll be hungry for lunch. Try Mersea’s for fresh seafood with a view, or Custom House for classic American fare. Afterward, stroll the boardwalk’s unique shops, or take a hike or trolley ride to the Point San Luis Lighthouse. (Remember to make a reservation for the visit!) For wine lovers, try wine tasting in spots like Sinor-Lavallee and Alapay Cellars. Finish with a French bistro dinner at Blue Moon Over Avila, or fresh flavors at romantic The Gardens of Avila. Oceano Dunes State Park Vehicular Area is the only beach in California that permits vehicles to drive on the beach. Looking for a thrill? Try a Hummer tour with an experienced guide. Oceano also welcomes horses and their riders to enjoy the sand and sea. Try hooking up with the Pacific Dunes Riding Ranch for information on trail rides and stables. After a busy morning, take a load off at Beach Burger, one of the best spots for piled-high burgers. In the afternoon, hit the Oceano Train Depot and Museum for a fascinating look at the town’s history. Afternoons also provide the best time for kite-flying, kite-boarding or paragliding on the shoreline. In the evening, try any one of Oceano’s famed Mexican restaurants like Chacho’s or Old Juan’s Cantina. Follow that with a show at the uproarious Great American Melodrama theater, where the laughs come a mile a minute. [post_title] => Best Beaches in Central California [post_excerpt] => The Central Coast boasts some of the best beaches in the U.S., and certainly on the West Coast. Visitors can find a spectrum of options, with ideal beaches for sunbathing, beachcombing, wildlife viewing, surfing, tidepooling, doggie fun or even dune-driving. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-best-beaches-in-central-california [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-08 18:02:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-09 02:02:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/?post_type=activities&p=112919 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 112895 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-04-21 14:47:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-04-21 22:47:53 [post_content] =>
The Highway 1 Discovery Route welcomes everyone, not just two-legged travelers! California’s Central Coast provides a fun and safe playground for both dogs and their humans. Stay in dog-friendly lodging, dine in dog-friendly restaurants, and frolic on dog-friendly beaches, hikes and parks. Many wineries even welcome dogs, making for an easygoing good time for both you and Rover alike.
Note: The following guide offers dog-friendly ideas for where to visit in coastal San Luis Obispo County. Please observe on- and off-leash permissions, as designated by listing.
Dog-Friendly Hotels & Vacation Rentals
Destinations along the Highway 1 Discovery Route offer several comfortable options for lodging with your pup. The following guide leads to filtered lists on the Highway 1 Discovery Route website for pet-friendliness.
Explore Hearst Castle, take a hike, or wade in the waves in San Simeon. There are plenty of options for pups.
Enjoy the coastal scenery of Ragged Point, and relax in a pet-friendly hotel or rental property.
This sweet seaside hamlet appeals to more than just people. Take your dog along and experience its quaint charms together.
Looking for sand and surf for both you and your pup? Look no further than Cayucos, where many lodging properties welcome pets.
Los Osos-Baywood Park
The rugged, majestic stretch of coastline in Los Osos-Baywood Park provides space for dogs and people alike to play. Dog-friendly accommodations make for a sweet, easy visit.
Edna Valley & Arroyo Grande
Wine and sunshine are the name of the game in picturesque Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande. And with your furry friend in tow, the visit will be double the fun.
- Dog-Friendly Hotels in Edna Valley & Arroyo Grande
- Dog-Friendly Vacation Rentals in Edna Valley & Arroyo Grande
Classic California vibes make Avila Beach a fun place for you and your four-legged friend to explore.
Oceano & Nipomo
Have fun in the sun with your pup in Oceano and Nipomo. Then cozy up in a pet-friendly hotel or rental.
Dog-Friendly Restaurants & Wineries
Take your furry friend out for a bite to eat, or to a number of pup-welcoming wineries. The Highway 1 Discovery Route’s temperate climate makes for many dog-friendly patios and cellar doors. Just be sure to pick up after your pet and keep all dogs on-leash and well-behaved.
Ragged PointTake Rover to the patio at the Ragged Point Inn for delicious fare and a spectacular ocean view.
San SimeonNothing beats a stacked-high sandwich on the patio at Sebastian’s Cafe in the Old San Simeon General Store. Just next door to Sebastian’s, Hearst Ranch Winery allows visitors to purchase wine by the glass or bottle to enjoy on the patio with their pup.
CambriaBring your pup to La Terraza for tasty Mexican flavors, Wild Ginger for Thai cuisine, or Redwood Cafe for American classics. Enjoy sipping with Fido by your side at Harmony Cellars.
CayucosVisit the Sea Shanty for a killer breakfast (or lunch, or dinner), or Martin’s Restaurant for Mexican and Italian cuisine. Looking for beachside tacos or smoked meats? Ruddell’s Smokehouse has you (and Lassie) covered.
Los Osos-Baywood ParkHead to the patio at Blue Heron for farm-to-table dining, or the Back Bay Cafe for breakfast and lunch with a pierside view. The Clubhouse Grill at Sea Pines Golf Resort restaurant also welcomes pets to the patio.
Avila BeachDine beside your four-legged friend at pet-friendly restaurants like Mersea’s in Avila Beach.
Oceano & NipomoEveryone’s invited to dine in Oceano and Nipomo! Bring your pup to restaurants like Sylvester’s Burgers for classic beachy fare in a relaxed atmosphere.
Edna Valley & Arroyo GrandeA number of eateries welcome dogs in and around Edna Valley. Try Alphy’s Broiler for burgers, Rooster Creek Tavern for wine country fare, or Klondike’s Pizza for Alaskan-style pizza. (It’s a thing!) Or, if you’re in the mood for a cup of joe, head over to Coffee Express. The famous wineries of Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande are a great place to hang with your furry friend. Wolff Vineyards and Chamisal Vineyards focus on Edna Valley’s landmark varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Or try Saucelito Canyon Vineyard for some of the best Zinfandel in California.
- Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Edna Valley & Arroyo Grande
- Dog-Friendly Wineries in Edna Valley & Arroyo Grande
Other Dog-Friendly Locations Along Highway 1Many other eateries welcome pups and their humans across the Highway 1 Discovery Route. Try Novo for global cuisine and a leafy patio, or Marisol at The Cliffs for seafood and an ocean view. Or, if wine country fare is your speed, head to Paso Robles for Thomas Hill Organics. Check our list of other pet-friendly restaurants in Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Shell Beach, Pismo Beach and Paso Robles. SLO CAL wineries are for the dogs! It’s easy to find other wineries that offer a warm welcome to your four-legged friend. Visit East Paso to experience the caves at Eberle Winery, or West Paso for Rhône-style wines at Tablas Creek Vineyards. Better yet, take Sparky on a winery bus tour with the Wine Wrangler or Wine Line.
Dogs love the beach, and the Highway 1 Discovery Route has plenty of space to run (and sniff). What makes a beach dog-friendly? It mostly has to do with your pup’s leash. Some beaches allow dogs on a leash, some are leash-optional, and others prohibit dogs altogether. The beaches listed below all welcome dogs, but check each listing for specifics on leashes. And no matter where you go, remember good etiquette: always pick up after your pet.[caption id="attachment_118202" align="alignright" width="842"] Credit: @chessiethefriendlyghost[/caption]
Check out these dog-friendly beaches along the Highway 1 Discovery Route:
A day here with your pup might include romping off-leash in the beautiful San Simeon Cove.
Cambria’s Moonstone Beach doesn’t allow dogs, but pups can walk the scenic Moonstone Beach Boardwalk on leash.
- Dog-Friendly Beaches in Cambria
Cayucos State Beach invites on-leash dogs to enjoy its sun and sand from the Pier south to Chaney Avenue.
- Dog-Friendly Beachs in Cayucos
Sunbathe or go tide-pooling with your on-leash pooch at Spooner’s Cove in Montaña de Oro State Park.
- Dog-Friendly Beaches in Los Osos
Nothing beats watching the off-leash dogs at Fisherman’s Beach, where they can play and sniff to their heart’s content.
- Dog-Friendly Beaches in Avila Beach
Take Fido on a freewheeling adventure! The Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area welcomes vehicles to drive on the beach, as well as on-leash pups.
Want your pup to be free to roam? Check out the Morro Strand State Beach between Morro Bay and Cayucos for a dog-gone good time, off-leash.
Dog-Friendly Parks & Dog Parks
Get the wiggles out at a friendly dog park! The following sites welcome well-behaved pups along the Highway 1 Discovery Route.
The Highway 1 Discovery Route runs past the Cambria Dog Park, which is fenced fully, shaded, and allows pups to play off-leash. To the east, Atascadero’s off-leash Heilmann Dog Park offers water, shade, picnic tables ― even a doggie spa.
Dozens of SLO CAL parks welcome dogs on leash. 3rd Street Park in Cayucos offers history (the former town jail still stands there) while Arroyo Grande’s Biddle Park offers space and seclusion. Each dog-friendly park in San Luis Obispo County has its own look and feel. Check the list for one that’s perfect for you and your pup.
Dog-Friendly State Parks
From the Cayucos Pier south to Chaney Avenue, Cayucos State Beach invites on-leash dogs and their humans. On-leash pooches can also enjoy the beach at Spooner’s Cove in Montaña de Oro State Park. Other on-leash state parks include the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, San Simeon State Park, and William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach.
Dog-Friendly Hikes & TrailsReady to hit the open trail with your four-legged buddy? Try these suggestions for a heart-pumping fresh air outing together.
- Dog-Friendly Hikes in Ragged Point
- Dog-Friendly Hikes in San Simeon
- Dog-Friendly Hikes in Cambria
- Dog-Friendly Hikes in Cayucos
- Dog-Friendly Hikes in Los Osos
- Dog-Friendly Hikes in Avila Beach
- Dog-Friendly Hikes in Oceano/Nipomo
- Dog-Friendly Hikes in Edna Valley & Arroyo Grande
Whale Watching on the Whale Trail
When it comes to whale watching, the Central Coast boasts an embarrassment of riches, especially along the Highway 1 Discovery Route. Here, whales, dolphins, sea otters, seals and seabirds play within full view of the shoreline.
To make the most of wildlife viewing, the Whale Trail organization has identified the best whale watching spots on the West Coast. Of those 100 Whale Trail sites, San Luis Obispo County contains a whopping ten. (That’s the most in one county along the entire California coast!) Six of those whale watching viewpoints stand along the Highway 1 Discovery Route.
Each of the Whale Trail viewpoints offers interpretive signs containing helpful information about the sealife commonly seen there. Species, seasonal and migration facts augment the whale watching experience. (And one special site in San Simeon even provides telescopes for easy viewing!)
Before embarking on your whale watching adventure, be sure to read our wildlife viewing tips. You’ll also learn how you can help preserve this special stretch of coastline even as you enjoy its beauty.
When to go whale watching on Highway 1
When’s the best time for whale watching on Highway 1? This depends on what kind of whales you hope to see and where you hope to see them. Gray whales can usually be found migrating south from Alaska starting in October, then back again from mid-February to May. Less commonly seen blue whales (including humpbacks, fin, Bryde’s, sei, and Minke whales) migrate north during the summer, and visit the Central Coast annually for the summer krill bloom. Other species can be found at Whale Trail sites year-round, including common dolphins, California sea lions and sea otters.
What to bring whale watching on Highway 1
Like any excursion, whale watching is an adventure, so plan accordingly. Bring binoculars if you have them, as these will definitely equip you to see more offshore wildlife. As for clothing, do as the locals do and dress in layers. Weather on the Central Coast is generally very mild, but can be breezy. Don’t forget a hat, your camera or phone, sunscreen, water, and any pocket guide to whale watching you may own. Don't forget to review our wildlife viewing tips before heading out.
San Simeon Whale Watching
San Simeon has not one but two Whale Trail sites: in Old San Simeon and in the newer part of town. Both offer some of the best whale watching on the Central Coast.
Old San Simeon viewpoint
The Whale Trail sign stands at the San Simeon Bay Pier, overlooking William Randolph Hearst State Beach. To get there, head north on Highway 1 and turn left onto Slo San Simeon Road, just past the entrance to Hearst Castle. Find a spacious parking lot at the beach, and walk to the pier. Don’t forget to check out binoculars and guides for viewing San Simeon Bay Wildlife at the Coastal Discovery Center nearby.
Cavalier Resort viewpoint
The Whale Trail sign stands on the boardwalk next to the Cavalier Resort at 9419 Hearst Drive. To get there, take Highway 1 North and turn left on Pico Avenue. Make another left on Hearst Drive and park at the Cavalier Resort. (Don’t miss the three telescopes available for wildlife viewing here.)
What you might see whale watching in San Simeon
Gray whales, minke whales, harbor seals, California sea lions and sea otters can be spotted in these sites often. And occasionally? People have spied harbor porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins, humpback whales and even orcas.
When to visit San Simeon for whale watching
Catch sight of a gray whale headed south in October, then again traveling north between mid-February and May. Other species can be seen year-round, with summer months being the most active.
Cambria Whale Watching
Whale watching represents just one of the many fun activities available at Shamel Park in Cambria. The six-acre park offers access to Moonstone Beach and includes a seasonal swimming pool, children’s area, and picnic facilities.
How to get to Shamel Park
Take Highway 1 north to Windsor Boulevard, turn left and drive until you reach the park at the curve in the road.
What you might see whale watching in Cambria
Commonly seen species include gray whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, California sea lions, and sea otters. Sometimes, humpback whales, minke whales and harbor porpoises have also been seen.
When to visit Cambria for whale watching
Gray whale southern migration starts in December and ends in February, while the northern migration occurs through March and April. Other species can be seen year-round.
Cayucos Whale Watching
Very little beats whale watching in quaint, beachy Cayucos. The Whale Trail sign stands on the Cayucos Pier, originally built in 1872 by Captain James Cass, the town founder.
How to get to Cayucos Pier
Take Highway 1 South to North Ocean Avenue and make a right toward the beach. Turn right on Ocean Front Avenue and find parking along that street. Find the Cayucos Pier at 10 Ocean Front Avenue.
What you might see whale watching in Cayucos
Harbor seals, California sea lions, sea otters and humpback whales can be seen here, as well as the occasional orca and gray whale. Also, don’t miss sea urchins, anemones, crabs, starfish and more in the nearby tidepools!
When to visit Cayucos for whale watching
The best time to see gray whales is March and April, when mothers and calves swim closer to shore during migration. Watch for the acrobatics of humpback whales in spring and summer, as migration takes them south to feeding grounds. That species is known for its breaching, fin-slapping, and tail fluking.
Los Osos-Baywood Park Whale Watching
Make a day of exploring majestic Montaña de Oro State Park in Los Osos-Baywood Park, and include whale watching in your fun.
How to get to Montaña de Oro State Park
Drive south on Highway 1 and take exit 277 toward Los Osos/Baywood Park. Turn right onto South Bay Boulevard and again, right on Los Osos Valley Road. This becomes Pecho Valley Road, which enters Montaña de Oro State Park. The Whale Trail sign stands at the south end of the park, north of Corrallina Cove. Reach the sign 1.65 miles into the Bluff Trail (trailhead near Spooner’s Cove).
What you might see whale watching in Los Osos
Gray whales, otters, seals, dolphins, seabirds and humpback whales can be seen here.
When to visit Los Osos for whale watching
The annual migration of gray whales brings them offshore from December through April. All other species can be seen year-round, but especially active in summer.
Avila Beach Whale Watching
Whale watching can be pretty idyllic in picturesque Avila Beach. Make an afternoon of it by booking a patio table at a beachside restaurant, ordering a bottle of wine, and keeping your binoculars handy.
How to get to Avila Beach
The Whale Trail sign stands on the Avila Beach Pier. Drive south on Highway 101 and take exit 196 for San Luis Bay Dr toward See Canyon/Avila Beach. Turn right on San Luis Bay Drive and, at the intersection, turn right on Avila Beach Drive. Make a left on San Miguel Street and follow to the shoreline. Find parking in town, or in a parking lot and wander to the beach and pier.
What you might see whale watching in Avila Beach
Gray whales and humpback whales feed in the protected waters of Avila Beach each year. Looking for more? Don’t miss dolphins, sea lions, and sea otters off Harford Pier, a working port further along Avila Beach Drive.
When to visit Avila Beach for whale watching
Gray whales migrate past Avila Beach between December and April. Humpback whales are visible from shore year-round.
Nipomo & Oceano Whale Watching
The rugged California beach towns of Oceano and Nipomo sit at the end of one of the state’s largest dune complexes. Watch the whales ― then watch visitors driving and horseback riding on the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.
How to get to Oceano Dunes
The Whale Trail sign stands on the overlook to Pismo State Beach at West Grand Avenue (next to Fin’s Seafood parking lot). From Highway 101 South, take exit 191A for CA-1 S toward Pismo Beach/Wadsworth Ave. Continue on Highway 1/Dolliver Road for two miles. At the intersection of Grand Avenue, turn right and find parking where Grand Avenue terminates at the beach.
What you might see whale watching in Oceano
Keep your eyes open for gray whale spouts, which resemble a heart shape. Also look for humpback whales, whose spouts are taller and shaped like a column.
When to visit Oceano for whale watching
Find gray whales migrating between December and April, while humpbacks can be spied offshore throughout the year. Don’t miss this site’s plentiful seabird population, either!
Bonus spots for whale watching in San Luis Obispo County
Find neighboring whale watching sites like Morro Bay for gray whales, humpback whales, Minke whales, and Risso’s Dolphins. (Turn west onto Yerba Buena from Highway 1. Turn right on Toro Lane and drive to the bluff.) Another great spot for whale watching is on the Pismo Beach Pier, overlooking Pismo State Beach from a different angle.[post_title] => Whale Trail [post_excerpt] => When it comes to whale watching, the Central Coast boasts an embarrassment of riches, especially along the Highway 1 Discovery Route. Here, whales, dolphins, sea otters, seals and seabirds play within full view of the shoreline. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => best-places-for-whale-watching-california [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-14 06:33:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-14 14:33:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/whale-trail-all/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 97399 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2019-02-14 20:00:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-02-15 04:00:53 [post_content] =>