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16 Fab Issues to Do in Central Coast California by a Native

Big sur, california road

Let me introduce you to the Central Coast California, the place sun-soaked vistas, rolling hills, and thrilling adventures await you! On this article, I’ll be your native information to the must-see and must-do experiences that’ll make your Central Coast journey uniquely memorable.

Whether or not you’re a wine lover, a seaside bum, or an out of doors adventurer, you will see unbelievable issues to do in Central Coast California. 🏄

Let’s begin this journey already!

If you’re in a rush

Once you arrive within the Central Coast area, you’ll have lots to do, and I doubt you wish to add “reserving reservations” to that listing. Do your self a favor and e-book your lodges and actions upfront:

Since this area of California consists of many alternative areas, I plan to dish out one of the best luxurious, mid-range, and funds resort choices in every county.

If you happen to’re extra serious about an in depth listing of the place to remain in CA  or, higher but, distinctive locations to remain, you may learn extra right here.

Getting across the Central Coast is easy however unfold out. I’ve included a map under to make getting round a bit simpler! 🗺️

Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County is likely one of the most scenic areas in all of California! I’m right here to interrupt down one of the best of one of the best, so come alongside as we discover the charming cities of Santa Barbara County.

1. Take a look at the Danish-inspired city of Solvang

a row of houses with a windmill in the background

Oh my goodness, this little European mini-town, erected in 1911, is strictly what everybody wants of their lives!

You possibly can’t assist however smile if you enter and see this city’s stunning windmills, colourful Danish facades, and the aroma of yummy Danish bakeries wafting via the air!

One of many space’s in style vacationer sights, this little city is a part of the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. It’s solely a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles and is understood greatest for its inexperienced rolling hills and scrumptious wine!

Don’t miss the Elverhøj Museum of Historical past & Artwork, housed in an 18th-century Danish Farmhouse, unveiling tons of Scandinavian treasures.

PRICE: FREE, donations accepted

2. Return in time to Los Alamos

an old western building

Let’s discuss in regards to the cutest little city that ever was – Los Alamos!

This cute, quirky Wild-West city is the proper backdrop for some scrumptious wine tasting. You’re going to like the historic downtown that spans half a dozen blocks of cute outlets, artwork galleries, and scrumptious eateries.

Los Alamos has turn out to be identified for its gastro-scene – savor some delectable farm-to-table delicacies, indulge within the artisanal candies, or sip on domestically crafted wines.

Feeling additional fancy? Strive the Michelin-starred Bell.

3. Absorb the fantastic thing about Los Olivos

buildings in a town

One other jaw-dropping gem on the Central Coast is Los Olivos, identified greatest for its rolling hills and picturesque vineyards.

Within the coronary heart of Santa Ynez Valley, Los Olivos has a quaint downtown space with nice outlets & artwork galleries.

Don’t miss the chance to sip and savor a number of the greatest wines on this planet at Demetria Property Vineyard or seize a chunk to eat on the well-known Nella.

4. Spend the day in Santa Ynez

horses on a meadow

There’s a lot to do in Santa Ynez, from horseback using and scorching air balloons to mountain climbing and wine tasting!

End up surrounded by rolling vineyards and framed by the attractive Santa Ynez Mountains – it’s an idyllic vacation spot for wine lovers and outside junkies.

Santa Ynez is understood greatest for its wine, and of all of the actions you may select from, I’d extremely advocate this spectacular wine expertise. You’ll take pleasure in admission to three wineries within the valley, a non-public shuttle service, and an exquisite guided journey!

If you happen to’re into historical past, take a look at the Santa Ynez Valley Historic Museum & Parks-Janeway Carriage Home, with an enormous assortment of old-school horse carriages.

WINE TOUR PRICE: from US$215 per grownup

Be a part of the wine tour

5. Take a look at the film credit in Buellton

a motel in a town

Referred to as the city Sideways was filmed in, Buellton honored the motel within the movie by renaming it ‘Sideways Inn.’

Buellton is so stunning, and it’s spilling over with allure, tradition, historical past, heat hospitality, and beautiful pure environment make it the proper stopover.

Furthermore, Buellton is a famend hub for craft beer as nicely and has nice meals. It’s an eclectic mixture of breweries and eating places. The city’s declare to fame, the world-famous Andersen’s Cut up Pea Soup restaurant’s well-known cut up pea soup, is completely value a cease! Don’t neglect your selfie with the large soup can out entrance! 🤣

6. Benefit from the serenity of Ballard

an old horse carriage

Undoubtedly value a point out when speaking about this central area of California, Ballard is a tiny, historic city that has an aura of old-world allure.

With beautiful tree-lined streets, classic buildings, and a peaceable ambiance, it’s a spot that feels such as you’ve stepped again in time.

Don’t miss the historic little purple schoolhouse and church, each relationship again to the late 1800s!

The place to remain in Santa Barbara County

You will have nice choices in Santa Barbara on your resort lodging! See under for my high decisions for each funds, with costs starting from US$150 to US$450 and above for two adults/night time.

For the total rundown of the place to remain, learn our full information to Santa Barbara areas & lodges.

Collage of three hotel photos: outdoor pool, bedroom, and living room with fireplace

Luxurious (US$350 and up): Harbor View Inn – this luxurious choice is in a wonderful location, only a 5-minute stroll from Stearns’ Wharf, and geared up with a beautiful outside swimming pool and scorching tub space.

Mid-Vary (US$200 – US$350): Cheshire Cat Inn & Cottages – I really like this mattress & breakfast mid-range choice for its stunning rooms, snug rest room suites, and beautiful, picturesque grounds.

Funds (as much as US$200): Coast Village Inn – a heated outside swimming pool awaits you at this charming funds choice, solely a 10-minute drive from Stearns’ Wharf. You’ll love the comfortable beds and alluring pool deck.

San Luis Obispo County

San Luis Obispo is greater than only a fairly faculty city, and I’m right here to interrupt down all one of the best issues to do in SLO County!

1. Prepare for enjoyable in Pismo Seaside

A sign that says pesmo beach in front of palm trees.

How are you going to not love Pismo Seaside?!

Tucked on the coast of San Luis Obispo County, Pismo Seaside is a quintessential California seaside city with pristine sandy shores and a relaxed, surf-town vibe.

Pismo Seaside, not removed from the Santa Maria Valley, is the final word vacation spot for solar, sea, and surf, and the easiest way to get acclimated to the realm is to check out some surf classes your self!

It presents scenic drives via the enduring Freeway 1, presenting breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific from Pismo Seaside.

Stroll down Pismo Pier, strive some clam digging, or embark on an exhilarating ATV journey on the Oceano Dunes.

Pismo Seaside can also be a dynamite spot for wine tasting and effective eating. Strive Michelin-starred and native favourite Ember for an out-of-this-world eating expertise.

SURF LESSON PRICE: from US$80 per individual

Ebook your browsing lesson

2. Benefit from the unbelievable views from San Luis Obispo

a group of people on a beach next to a pier with houses and hill in the background

San Luis Obispo (SLO as locals check with it) is a fully beautiful city within the coronary heart of Central Coast, exhibiting off good historic Spanish structure.

The city showcases historic Spanish missions, equivalent to Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. Take a look at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, lending a way of timeless magnificence to the city’s panorama.

The city’s historic downtown is stuffed with distinctive boutiques, farm-to-table eating, and charming streets.

SLO can also be house to California Polytechnic State College (Cal Poly), which supplies the city a kind of hip, college-town vitality, to not point out fantastic cultural range.

In case you have the time, you need to go to Hearst Fortress in San Simeon. Hearst Fortress was house to famed newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst and has since been became a well-liked vacationer attraction in San Simeon.

Simply outdoors of SLO, there are lots of wine areas ready for you – all with distinctive winery decisions.

3. Do some wildlife recognizing at Morro Bay State Park

aerial view of a rock surrounded by water

Alongside the attractive shoreline that fronts the Pacific Coast Freeway, Morro Bay is an cute fishing village with distinctive, charming attraction.

Don’t miss the enduring Morro Rock landmark, a stupendous rock formation jutting out from the ocean.

Morro Rock and its environment are a paradise for birdwatching and nature lovers, with an array of birds, otters, and seals that decision the bay house.

Probably the greatest components of Morro Bay, the city’s Embarcadero, is lined with seafood eating places serving probably the most scrumptious seafood you’ll ever eat!

4. Sip one of the best wines at Paso Robles

a vineyard with vines in the foreground and a colorful sky in the background

If you happen to’re a lover of Cabernet Sauvignon, you’ve in all probability heard of Paso Robles!

The distinctive wine right here is complimented by the area’s rolling vineyards, historic downtown, and a heat, welcoming group,

Paso Robles Wine Nation, roughly 3 hour’s drive from San Francisco, is stuffed with greater than 200 wineries and vineyards.

Your journey can be full in case your itinerary options distinctive wine-tasting experiences in Paso Robles Wine Nation!

My favourite, JUSTIN Vineyards, is an absolute must-stop. Higher but, be part of this superior wine tour and let another person do the driving!

TOUR PRICE: US$115 per grownup

Be a part of the wine tour

The place to remain in San Luis Obispo

There are stunning choices in San Luis Obispo for each funds. See under for my high resort decisions, with costs starting from US$100 to US$450 and above for two adults/night time.

Collage of three hotel photos: bedroom, outdoor seating area, and an armchair

Luxurious (US$350 and up): Lodge Cerro – swanky, glossy, and fashionable, this luxurious resort oozes class and refinement. Benefit from the on-site bar and restaurant and the implausible health middle.

Mid-Vary (US$200 – US$300): Granada Lodge & Bistro – charming, handy, and alluring, this mid-range choice is the proper alternative inside a couple of minutes stroll of all of the outlets and eating places in SLO.

Funds (as much as US$200): San Luis Creek Lodge – you’ll love this luxurious choice, with beautiful fashionable decor, in-room fireplaces, and free Wi-Fi all through.

Monterey County

Monterey County is brimming with superior sights and hidden gems. I’m right here to be your skilled information to the fabulous locations you received’t wish to miss.

1. Take within the ambiance at Carmel-by-the-Sea

A man sitting on a bench and a woman walking her dog on a sidewalk in front of a house.

It’s laborious to discover a place extra picturesque than California’s Central Coast metropolis of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Positioned alongside the Monterey Peninsula and Pacific Coast Freeway, it appears like a storybook village with unbelievable magnificence and a creative soul.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is understood for its fairy-like structure, wonderful artwork galleries, and peaceable, beachy ambiance. You’ll love the beautiful seashores, secret courtyards, and cheerful artwork unfold all through the city.

I really like strolling alongside the streets right here and all the proper little cottages with beautiful Pacific Ocean views, however you too can take a guided meals & tradition tour that may take you not solely across the unmissable sights but additionally fill your tummy!

Take a look at the downtown space with boutique outlets, cozy cafés, and connoisseur eating places, excellent for leisurely purchasing and eating.

Go to the Carmel Mission Basilica to see unbelievable structure and benefit from the lush gardens.

If you wish to save time and add somewhat extra journey to your day, strive these cool eBike leases to discover the town on 2 wheels, and for those who’re curious to study what else Carmel presents, learn this information.

TOUR PRICE: from US$140 per individual

Be a part of the meals & tradition tour

2. Spot whales in Monterey

a humpback whale jumps out of the water

Monterey is a type of cities that appears like California appears in all the films!

Perched excessive above Monterey Bay, California’s coast city of Monterey is tremendous in style for whale watching. If you happen to’ve by no means been whalewatching earlier than, it’s some of the exhilarating issues you are able to do to rise up near a huge whale! 🐳

Monterey Bay Nationwide Marine Sanctuary is house to a various vary of marine animals, together with majestic humpbacks and grey whales.

Don’t miss one in all my favourite spots in Monterey, Cannery Row, the waterfront district with outlets, eating places, and the famend Monterey Bay Aquarium.

You’ll love the charming Outdated Fisherman’s Wharf with smells of recent seafood and wonderful panoramic bay views.

TOUR PRICE: from US$70 per individual

Go whale watching in Monterey

3. Uncover the fantastic thing about Pacific Grove

view of a town by the beach

Positioned on California’s Monterey Peninsula, Pacific Grove is a laid again coastal city that captures the essence of seaside allure and pure magnificence.

This idyllic city has a beautiful shoreline, coastal trails, and a wealth of marine life.

With its dramatic vistas, Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, and peaceable vibes, Pacific Grove is the proper coastal city.

Don’t miss Asilomar State Seaside, nice for beachcombing and sundown, or play within the shallow tide swimming pools.

4. Decelerate your tempo in Carmel Valley

view of a meadow with wildflowers

Carmel Valley is simply a type of locations that conjures a picture of wildflowers, rolling fields, and beautiful world-class vineyards.

Set inland from Monterey, Carmel Valley is a hidden oasis with rustic allure and wine nation awards, famend for its vineyards and pure magnificence. You possibly can take pleasure in wine-tasting rooms, savoring distinctive native wines whereas having fun with the beautiful views of the valley.

The realm’s Mediterranean local weather and fertile soil assist put Carmel Valley on the map and win the city its recognition as a wine chief.

The close by Garland Ranch Regional Park presents mountain climbing trails via lush canyons or Pinnacles Nationwide Park, famend for its rugged rock formations and charming mountain climbing trails. It invitations explorations of distinctive landscapes at Pinnacles Nationwide Park and is an effective way to spend the day.

The place to remain in Monterey

Nice lodging await you in Monterey. Examine under for my high decisions for each funds, with costs starting from US$100 to US$450 and above for two adults/night time.

If you happen to don’t like all of those, take a look at this information on the greatest areas & lodges in Monterey.

Collage of three hotel photos: armchairs in front of a fireplace, bedroom, and hotel exterior

Luxurious (US$450 and up): InterContinental, The Clement Monterey – proper on Monterey’s historic Cannery Row, you’ll love the situation of this luxurious gem. Pacific Ocean views, unbelievable meals, and delightful suites are solely a number of the perks right here.

Mid-Vary (US$200 – US$400): Spindrift Inn – positioned instantly on the seaside, this mid-range choice is brimming with allure and attraction. The rooms are completely adorned, the beds tremendous comfortable, and the entry to the sand unbeatable!

Funds (as much as US$150): Wave Avenue Inn – positioned near the Monterey Aquarium, this resort has free Wi-Fi, clear rooms, and in-suite fridges. Reap the benefits of their on-site concierge for instructions and ideas.

Ventura County

Right here’s my listing of high issues and cities to go to in Ventura County:

1. Immerse within the California way of life in Ventura

aerial view of a town on the beach

Ventura is a laid-back seaside city celebrated for its pristine seashores, vibrant arts scene, and welcoming group. You’ll love the upbeat downtown space in Ventura, nice people-watching, and informal seaside vibes.

Ventura’s shoreline attracts in surfers from everywhere in the world – they like to flock to Rincon Level, identified for its world-class waves.

The Ventura Pier and Promenade have killer ocean views and yummy cafés, so you may spend the entire day right here watching the waves.

If you happen to’re dying to get on a hike, take a look at Los Padres Nationwide Forest for wonderful nature and path alternatives.

2. Calm down all day in Ojai

aerial view of a valley

I. Love. Ojai. 🥰

Tucked away within the picturesque Ojai Valley, Ojai has a glance, really feel, and artistic vitality all its personal.

This charming city, nestled amidst the Topa Topa Mountains, is understood greatest for its pure magnificence, non secular retreats, and inventive group. You’ll love the vibrant arts scene, rejuvenating spas, and a backdrop of majestic mountains!

Soar on the Ojai Valley Path or discover Matilija Canyon, a hidden gem identified for its breathtaking waterfalls and plush surroundings.

Ojai’s downtown space is so cute! Boutique outlets, cozy cafés, and artwork galleries line the streets and the general theme is ‘wellness’.

The place to remain in Ventura County

Ventura has actually nice lodges to select from. Beneath are my high decisions for each funds, with costs starting from US$100 to US$450 and above for two adults/night time.

Collage of three hotel photos: hotel exterior, bedroom, and outdoor pool

Luxurious (US$450 and up): Ojai Valley Inn – say hiya to probably the most beautiful resort spa you’ve ever seen! This resort has an unbelievable spa, wellness actions, a surprising pool, and on-site yoga.

Mid-Vary (US$200 – US$400): Ojai Rancho Inn – inside strolling distance to the Ojai Valley Trailhead, this charming property has an inviting jacuzzi, massive rooms, and wellness-based actions.

Funds (as much as US$150): The Capri Lodge – positioned close to a stupendous golf course, this Ojai resort is ideal for the funds traveler. It has a crystal-clear swimming pool, lush grounds, and clear rooms.

🏛️ Greatest museum: Santa Ynez Valley Historic Museum
🍷 Prime paid attraction: Santa Ynez Valley wine tour
🌳 Greatest free attraction: Moro Bay State Park
🍲 Greatest restaurant: Bell

FAQs about issues to do in Central Coast California

aerial view of mountains by the ocean

🌴 What cities are thought-about the Central Coast of California?

Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey Bay are the 4 areas that make up the Central Coast.

🍷 What are enjoyable issues to do on the Central Coast?

♥️ What’s Central Coast California identified for?

The Central Coast is understood for wonderful vineyards, beautiful state parks, and pristine seashores.

😎 When is one of the best time to go to the Central Coast of California?

Each season is a good season on the California coast, however for Central Coast prime climate is in spring & fall.


a vineyard with mountains in the background

The Central Coast California has a lot to supply, from phenomenal wine-tasting experiences to breathtaking mountain climbing, to exhilarating actions – it’s laborious to get bored right here.

In case your journey is quick approaching, let me take a second to remind you to e-book upfront on your high sights and lodges!

Each final element – you recognize I wish to hear it! Remark under with all of your greatest journey tales.

Aloha & secure travels,

Hayden G.

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