High­way 1 Dis­cov­ery Route

Ex­pe­ri­ence the per­fect 10

Travel Guide to California - - CONTENTS - BY JILL K. ROBIN­SON

re­quire some essen­tial el­e­ments: a com­fort­able ve­hi­cle, a pleas­ant com­pan­ion, and beau­ti­ful views. You’re in charge of ac­quir­ing the first two, but coastal San Luis Obispo County can eas­ily take care of that last item on the High­way 1 Dis­cov­ery Route. This 101-mile stretch of Cal­i­for­nia’s High­way 1 winds be­tween state parks, un­crowded beaches, wildlife habi­tats, wine re­gions and towns fea­tur­ing de­li­cious farm-to-ta­ble cui­sine. Load up the car, get your trusty travel buddy, and start mak­ing your list of stops.

State Parks & Wildlife

Along the route, you can find 12 of Cal­i­for­nia’s State Parks, from the coastal bluffs and promon­to­ries of Hearst San Simeon State Park in the north to Oceano Dunes State Ve­hic­u­lar Recre­ation Area in the south—the only Cal­i­for­nia State Park where ve­hi­cles may be driven on the beach. Other great spots are Pismo State Beach (with the largest over-win­ter­ing colony of monarch but­ter­flies in the United States), Mon­taña de Oro State Park (whose name “Moun­tain of Gold” comes from the golden wild­flow­ers that bloom in spring), Morro Bay State Park (whose most promi­nent land­mark, Morro Rock, is a 23mil­lion-year-old vol­canic plug), and Es­tero Bluffs State Park (where mi­grat­ing whales, har­bor seals, sea ot­ters and western snowy plovers thrive).

Wine Re­gions

Two ad­join­ing Amer­i­can Viti­cul­tural Ar­eas (AVAS) along the High­way 1 Dis­cov­ery Route, Ar­royo Grande Val­ley and Edna Val­ley, share a prox­im­ity to the ocean and a cool cli­mate that nat­u­rally lends it­self to grow­ing Chardon­nay and Pinot Noir va­ri­etals. The area’s his­tory dates to 1772 when Fa­ther Ju­nipero Serra founded a mis­sion, planted grapes, and made sacra­men­tal wines. To­day wine fans can visit winer­ies to sip and sa­vor the re­gion’s best vin­tages. From Laeti­tia Vine­yard & Win­ery in Ar­royo Grande to Chamisal Vine­yards in Edna Val­ley, the winer­ies here wel­come those look­ing for a sense of place in their glass.

Beaches & Cas­tles

There’s a beach for every­one along the High­way 1 Dis­cov­ery Route, from the wide, sandy Avila Beach with its restau­rants and shops to drift­wood-stud­ded Moon­stone Beach in Hearst San Simeon State Park. Beach pre­serves, board­walks, piers and sandy strands along the coast play host to surfers, pad­dlers, beach­combers, sun wor­ship­pers, whale watch­ers and evening bon­fire en­thu­si­asts. The area’s most fa­mous cas­tle isn’t made from sand. It’s San Simeon’s Hearst Cas­tle, perched above the clouds on The En­chanted Hill. De­signed by ar­chi­tect Ju­lia Mor­gan for news­pa­per mag­nate William Ran­dolph Hearst, the prop­erty now ex­ists as a mu­seum that lures ro­man­tics from around the world.

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