The tiny town of Cambria along California’s spectacular Central Coast is quite literally the ultimate romantic getaway for those who love the beach, food, wine and nature.
Millions of blissed-out visitors drive “down the coast” (from SF) or “up the coast “ (from LA to the south) annually to enjoy this unbelievably scenic coastal slice of San Luis Obispo County or California’s Highway 1 Discovery Route (Highway1DiscoveryRoute.com). They go for the “vast wine region, diverse artisan towns, charismatic seaside village, scenic country roads, rich character and history”–and if that was not enough–“two world-class wine regions.”
What makes day trippers and overnight guests swoon at Cambria is its rugged and inspirational beaches and the village’s distinctive charm. Cambria’s downtown is tucked just off Highway 1 and looks as if it has stopped in time with its 20s-era cottages, which have been transformed over the decades into adorable shops and delicious eateries.
A relaxed stroll around Cambria is a feast for the senses. A variety of shops serve up art from local artisans as well as chocolates, fine and casual dining, clothing, décor, wine tastings and even a house and garden full of “fairies.”
Cambria has a handful of darling bistros, but none so adored as Robin’s Restaurant. Locals and visitors have been coming to Robin’s for more than 25 years to relax and nosh on world cuisine favorites inside this cozy converted cottage, or outside on the vine-covered veranda. In summer, Robin’s pretty patio features live music.
Moonstone Beach sits just a mile or so from downtown Cambria but feels a world away. The beach itself is iconic California Central Coast with its narrow strip of sand, big ragged rocks, strong pounding surf and gnarled driftwood juxtaposed perfectly by Mother Nature’s own hand.
Lined with wildflowers and hauntingly beautiful Monterey pines, the wood-planked Moonstone Beach boardwalk is famous for its unrivaled Central Coast beach views, especially on foggy mornings and during its spectacular sunsets.
We were delighted at our stay at Cambria’s Blue Dolphin Inn along Moonstone Beach’s “hotel row.” It may not look like a five-star hotel from the outside, but inside the Blue Dolphin rivals four- and five-star hotels in its luxuriousness and amenities–which include a marble bathroom, sunken tub, quality beauty products, sumptuous beds covered in fine linens, and a well-stocked kitchenette with a Keurig coffee, tea and cocoa machine.
Plus, Blue Dolphin Inn, Moonstone Beach and Cambria make for the perfect central location for visiting Highway 1 Discovery Route. It’s great access to so many things to do, see, eat, drink and experience, such as Ragged Point, Cayucos, Los Osos, Baywood Park, Avila Beach, Avila Valley, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Oceano and Nipomo.
Whatever you do, do not miss booking a half-day trip to Hearst Castle, a “museum like none other.”
We booked the earliest tour and caught the “free” (it comes with any tour ticket price) movie, Building The Dream. The high-quality, inspirational film sets the stage for what is to come after you embark on one of several hilly walking tours led by an expert guide.
When you get back to the tour, cross Highway 1 to see what is left of San Simeon. It was once a port for ships bringing goods to San Luis Obispo County. Now it’s a tiny outpost for Hearst Castle tourists.
Afterward we thoroughly enjoyed the vegetarian bean burger and fries we had for lunch at the Sebastian Brother’s General Store, along with a surprisingly pleasant wine tasting with the gracious wine stewards of Hearst Ranch Winery.
Considering a Central Coast road trip? Cambria and California’s Highway 1 Discovery Route are by far the most romantic, charming and inspirational.
For more information, visit www.Highway1DiscoveryRoute.com and use the following social media to learn why San Luis Obispo County is one of California’s ultimate travel destinations:
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