LIFE IS A BEACH

Cal­i­for­nia 1 in San Luis Obispo County of­fers unique coast ad­ven­ture

Riverbank News - - PERSPECTIVE -

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Breath­tak­ing nat­u­ral beauty, pre­em­i­nent wine re­gions, monthly events, amaz­ing out­door ad­ven­tures and de­li­cious restau­rants boast­ing culi­nary ex­cel­lence dot the Cal­i­for­nia High­way 1 Dis­cov­ery Route along Coastal San Luis Obispo County.

With 10 des­ti­na­tions fea­tur­ing over 800 ac­com­mo­da­tions, in­clud­ing ho­tels, mo­tels, B&Bs and va­ca­tion rentals with unique spe­cials and pack­ages, the Cal­i­for­nia High­way 1 Dis­cov­ery Route of­fers the best of High­way 1 for a va­ca­tion any­time of the year. The iconic 101 mile road trip through prime Pa­cific coast­line is lo­cated mid­way be­tween San Francisco and Los An­ge­les, and of­fers di­verse ar­ti­san towns, charis­matic sea­side vil­lages, scenic ru­ral road trips rich in char­ac­ter and his­tory and two world-class wine re­gions.

Each beach com­mu­nity in­clud­ing Ragged Point, San Simeon, Cam­bria, Cayu­cos and Los Osos/Bay­wood Park, has its own charm, nat­u­ral won­ders, vi­brant cul­ture, and un­spoiled and un­crowded beaches, per­fect for those seek­ing ad­ven­ture and re­newal.

Ragged Point

Ragged Point Beach is so re­mote a breath­tak­ing hike is needed to reach this black sandy beach. Known as the gate­way to Big Sur, Ragged Point has the some look and feel. The trail passes through a tun­nel of trees then crosses a clear­ing be­fore get­ting to the bluff near Ragged Point. The black sand beach is warm on a sunny day, and of­ten only the shore­birds wit­ness your ar­rival. Be sure to check the tide height, wave ac­tiv­ity, and put on sun­screen be­fore you hit the trail. The Ragged Point Inn has lodg­ing and a res­tau­rant about 1.8 miles north of the Ragged Point Beach Trail­head.

San Simeon

San Simeon Cove is part of the W.R. Hearst State Beach and is a pop­u­lar spot for pic­nics, kayak­ing and fish­ing and of­fers BBQ pits and pic­nic ta­bles lo­cated near an 850-foot pier. A hik­ing trail out to San Simeon Point of­fers an en­chanted walk along a path on the bluffs above the beach. Lacy moss dan­gles from the eu­ca­lyp­tus, pines, cedars, and cy­press that flank the trail. The point at the end of the half mile penin­sula trail of­fers a back­ward look to­ward the sparkling cove with breath­tak­ing views of rock for­ma­tions carved by the sea. The San Simeon cove has lots of ac­tive ma­rine life to dis­cover.

Cam­bria

Lo­cated within min­utes of Hearst Cas­tle, Big Sur and Paso Robles Wine Coun­try, Cam­bria is best known for its pic­turesque windswept coast­line. Out­door en­thu­si­asts en­joy beach-front hik­ing, surf­ing, fish­ing and search­ing for sparkly Moon­stones along Moon­stone Beach. This stun­ning white sand beach boasts awe-in­spir­ing cen­tral coast views that run north and south for miles and of­fers a plethora of lodg­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. There’s a wooden board­walk that runs along the cliffs for nice sun­set walks or morn­ing jogs. There’s plenty to do in town af­ter your beach ad­ven­ture at both the East and West Vil­lage in­clud­ing din­ing, wine tast­ing and shop­ping.

Cayu­cos

Cayu­cos State Beach is a three mile stretch of beach that starts in down­town Cayu- cos and runs south along an un­crowded sandy shore­line to the county’s most pop­u­lar dog beach. Lined by ho­tels and va­ca­tion rentals, this wide flat beach is per­fect for a day in the sun, kayak­ing, vol­ley­ball or a jog along the waves. You can even walk from the Cayu­cos beach all the way to the pop­u­lar Morro Rock or get lost ex­plor­ing the many great tide pools. The Cayu­cos Pier is a newly re­fur­bished his­toric wooden fish­ing pier in down­town Cayu­cos of­fer­ing ex­cel­lent views of Es­tero Bay, the rolling hills, an oc­ca­sional whale or dol­phin and Morro Rock. Down­town Cayu­cos is filled with restau­rants, an­tique shops and his­toric old western build­ings and of­fers an an­nual list of pop­u­lar events through­out the year.

Los Osos/Bay­wood Park

Los Osos is home to Mon­taña de Oro State Park filled with se­cluded sandy beaches and ocean side bluffs per­fect for hik­ing along the Pa­cific Coast. The park’s best­known beach is Spooner’s Cove, per­fect for ex­plor­ing and pic­nick­ing with fam­ily and friends; dogs are wel­comed when on leash. This beau­ti­ful cove has a peb­bly beach, tide pools, caves, and unique rock for­ma­tions to climb around on, es­pe­cially at lower tides. Nat­u­ral­ists and back­pack­ers en­joy the soli­tude and free­dom found along the park’s many trails. The park’s name means “Moun­tain of Gold,” named af­ter the golden wild­flow­ers that bloom in spring. You can also launch your pad­dle board or kayak to ex­plore the Back Bay in Bay­wood. This is also an ex­cel­lent spot for bird watch­ing. Some of the most beau­ti­ful rocky beach vis­tas can be found here.

The Whale Trail

You’ll find a place on land to marvel at the Pa­cific Ocean’s amaz­ing ma­rine life from the shore at many beaches thanks to the new Whale Trail sites. The Whale Trail is se­ries of sites where the pub­lic may view or­cas, other cetaceans and ma­rine mam­mals from shore. To­day, there are more than 90 Whale Trail lo­ca­tions along the west coast, in­clud­ing the six new lo­ca­tions along the H1DR: the Avila Beach Pier, Cam­bria, Cayu­cos, San Simeon, Oceano and at Mon­taña de Oro State Park in Bay­wood-Los Osos. The 6 sites in Coastal San Luis Obispo County rep­re­sents the largest clus­ter of sites on the Pa­cific Coast as it spans from Cal­i­for­nia to Bri­tish Columbia, and plans to ex­tend from Baja Cal­i­for­nia to Alaska by 2018.

Find en­rich­ing multi-day tours and dis­cover a plethora of fun and re­lax­ing itin­er­ary ideas in th­ese 10 High­way 1 Dis­cov­ery Route des­ti­na­tions: Ragged Point & San Simeon, Cam­bria, Cayu­cos, and Los Osos/ Bay­wood Park, to Avila Beach & Val­ley, Edna Val­ley, Ar­royo Grande Val­ley, Oceano and Nipomo. Ev­ery Fe­bru­ary, the towns along the Cali- for­nia High­way 1 Dis­cov­ery Route cel­e­brate Coastal Dis­cov­ery & Ste­ward­ship, of­fer­ing unique lodg­ing pack­ages, coastal ac­tiv­i­ties, events and en­ter­tain­ment. For the lat­est news on the re­gion join n Face­book and fol­low them on Twit­ter. For more in­for­ma­tion on the Cal­i­for­nia High­way 1 Dis­cov­ery Route, visit www. High­way1 Dis­cov­eryRoute.com or con­tact Chief Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fi­cer Ch­eryl Cum­ing at 805-547CBID (2243), ad­min@SLO­coun­tyBID.com.

Photos cour­tesy Cal­i­for­nia High­way 1 Dis­cov­ery Route

Part of the San Luis Obispo County coast.

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