San Luis Obispo County’s Stretch of Highway 1
Wide Open, Untamed, and Ready to Explore
Imagine the road trip of your life, gliding past uncrowded beaches and wine grapes ripening in the sun. California dreaming? Think again.
Highway 1 is the most iconic roadway in California, but not all sections are created equal. The length that passes along the coast through San Luis Obispo County (known as SLO CAL) brims with the best of the Highway 1 experience. And as the gateway to Big Sur, this SLO CAL stretch is well within reach.
What sets us apart? One-hundred miles of Pacific coastline, half of which are protected. A national marine sanctuary and a national estuary. Thirteen state parks. An elephant seal rookery and Monarch butterfly preserves. A Scenic Byway designation from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Two historic lighthouses and five historic piers. The only drivable beach in California. Centuries-old forests. Hundreds of acres of coastal vineyards. Uncrowded white sand beaches. History and heritage at every turn with nine locales on the National Register. And Hearst Castle, a hilltop beauty that is a State and National Historic Landmark.
And that’s just the beginning.
Bury your toes in the sand and get to know the locals. Indulge in farm-fresh and ocean-fresh cuisine, and wines from family-owned vineyards. Glimpse abundant wildlife and historic wonders, all in the comfort of a laid-back culture and picture-perfect climate.
Want to plan the road trip of a lifetime? Follow your curiosity to our SLO CAL stretch of Highway 1, and let the wonder begin.
See the reviews
I have done this drive many times. The views are spectacular (if the fog isn’t in) and there limitless places to stop, gawk, walk, hike & picnic. ... read more
November 16, 2022
Some hair pin turns but the greatest views in the U..S.
And I was in.a German car with new Pirelli tires. Really some tight squeezes.
Next time I'll stop... read more
September 30, 2022
Stopped at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park just to take the edge off driving all day. A little meander down to the creek turned into a two hour hike... read more
August 28, 2022
Not to be Missed Drive... Drove highway one from Carmel By the sea all the way down to Malibu on my way to LA.
Many pull overs along the... read more
August 21, 2022
Get to know our beach towns and vineyard-framed villages.
Ragged Point on Highway 1
The Cliff With The Million-Dollar View
Ragged Point is known as “the million-dollar view” for good reason: natural splendor abounds here at the gateway to Big Sur. Look down on the dramatic coastline, where waves crash on the rocky shore. Pull off this Scenic Byway for a cliffside hike down to a scenic waterfall and stay for the sunset. Or follow your bliss to the landmark Ragged Point Inn for anything from an ice cream cone to a multicourse dinner ― with a view, of course.
Don’t forget that the drive to and from Ragged Point is an attraction all its own. Complete with secret beaches and remote ranches, this cinematic stretch of Highway 1 is considered one of the most breathtaking drives in the world.
Enchanted Castles and Wondrous Wildlife
William Randolph Hearst put San Simeon on the map in 1919 with “La Cuesta Encantada,” otherwise known as Heart Castle. His spectacular hilltop estate once catered to movie stars and dignitaries; today, the sprawling property welcomes visitors as a museum and state park.
But luxury and opulence are just one side of San Simeon. Witness the majesty of this part of the Morro Bay National Marine Sanctuary, including an historic lighthouse. Get to know a migrating herd of Northern Elephant Seals, up-close and personal. Or bask in the dappled sunlight of William Randolph State Beach, a protected cove surrounding a historic pier and quiet waters.
The Cozy Seaside Escape
”Quaint” doesn’t begin to describe this coastal hamlet, where antique shops and cafes line the street. Reminiscent of a New England village, Cambria invites you to hunt for moonstones and sea glass on the beach, or sit down to a juicy slice of olallieberry pie. The town also boasts one of the largest herds of Clydesdale horses in the nation, and you can book a ride. Savor the season with the annual scarecrow festival or a German-style Christmas market that lights up the town beneath the pines. Or embark on a history walk through Cambria’s streets, full of stories and well-preserved architectural treasures.
Good Tides and Good Vibes
Here, surfers catch picture-perfect waves beside a historic pier and kids build sandcastles under the sun. Cayucos is all about good vibes, whether at lunch in a sea captain’s historic home or streetside for an epic 4th of July celebration. Shop for the perfect surfboard, built by a local craftsman, or walk the six miles of white sand beach to Morro Rock. However you get to know Cayucos, leave time to slow down and soak up the sun.
Los Osos & Baywood
Mother Nature’s Playground
With hiking, equestrian and mountain biking trails, Montana de Oro State Park anchors the sister towns of Los Osos and Baywood.
The sister towns of Los Osos and Baywood collaborate to make magic by the sea, encouraging visitors to linger longer. Dine on fresh fare, then amble to the pier to watch the sun tuck behind the horizon. Kayak past an oyster farm in the Morro Bay National Estuary, then hit the links at a coastal golf course.
But whatever you do on this easygoing section of Highway 1, don’t miss Montana de Oro State Park, which anchors it all. Find hiking, biking and equestrian trails here, plus beaches, local history, and ocean views that seem to never end.
Pick Your Perfect Paradise
Looking for a small, family-friendly beach town with something for everyone? Hit up Avila Beach, a sweet coastal city with more than its fair share of attractions.
Here, the shoreline faces a boardwalk flanked with unique shopping, wine tasting, and dining options. Enjoy sun and fun on the white sand beach, and grab a shaved ice when it’s time to cool down. In the mood for a quiet walk? Take a paved trail directly to the beach, under a canopy of sycamore trees. Or maybe you’d rather drive: cruise the drivable pier, or drive golf balls at the nearby oceanfront course. Apple lovers will delight in vast apple orchards, open for tastings in a pretty country canyon. And history buffs will want to see a working lighthouse dating from 1890, tucked into the folds of a coastal hillside.
Oceano & Nipomo
Authentic and Action-Packed
At the southernmost end of San Luis Obispo County’s stretch of Highway 1, the rubber meets the road…and the sand! Off-road enthusiasts cruise to the State Park in Oceano to hit the only drivable beach in California. In Nipomo, the finest barbecue in the West cooks low and slow over red oak coals, the same way it has for centuries. Picturesque golf courses await novice players and experts alike, and a professional theater stages old-timey melodramas for plenty of laughs. Want in on the action? All you need to pack is your sense of adventure.
Edna Valley & Arroyo Grande Valley
Village Charm And Coastal Wines
The past is alive and well ― and as charming as ever ― just four miles from Highway 1. Walk the Village of Arroyo Grande, lined with boutique shops, dining, and historic landmarks open to the public. Or take a country drive to the Old Edna Townsite, once known for its saloon, artists and wild parties. For a zipline, ropes course, fishing and water play, head to Lopez Lake and soak up the fun. And for wine-lovers, taste through the Edna and Arroyo Grande Valleys, some of California’s only coastal wine regions, just four miles from Pismo Beach.
Your next adventure awaits
Holiday ParadeHoliday ParadeSan Luis ObispoDecember 01, 2023
The 47th annual SLO Downtown Holiday Parade will take place on Friday, December 1st at 7pm. The parade will host 75 floats and dozens of volunteers for an evening of cheer. The parade route will start at Palm and Chorro and continue through downtown ending at Nipomo and Higuera streets.
Cambria Christmas Market at Cambria Pines LodgeCambria Christmas Market at Cambria Pines LodgeCambriaNovember 24 to December 23, 20235:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Cambria Pines Lodge will continue its great tradition of spectacular lighting displays throughout the gardens and on the Main Lodge building.
The Holiday Extravaganza at the MelodramaThe Holiday Extravaganza at the MelodramaOceanoNovember 17 to December 31, 2023
See Scrooge find his Christmas spirit in a heart-warming tale of holiday magic, laugh until your sides ache
Hearst Castle Holiday Twilight ToursHearst Castle Holiday Twilight ToursSan SimeonNovember 24 to December 31, 2023
Come and experience the estate as William Randolph Hearst’s guests did during the holiday seasons of the 1920s and 1930s with impressive outdoor wreaths, towering Christmas trees in the large social rooms, and a dazzling, one of a kind poinsettia tree.
The Curious World of Seaweed ExhibitThe Curious World of Seaweed ExhibitMorro BayNovember 01 to December 15, 202310:00 AM to 5:00 PM
The Curious World of Seaweed provides a new look at marine flora through stunning color “portraits” of specimens, scientifically accurate text panels, and surprising stories highlighting Indigenous peoples’ and women’s connections to seaweed.
Lighted Boat ParadeLighted Boat ParadeMorro BayDecember 02, 20236:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Local boats of all sizes are decorated with lights for the holiday season and cruise the harbor.
Paint & SipPaint & SipCambriaOctober 28, 2023 to June 29, 202412:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Local artists inspire and instruct Coastal Wine and Paint Party customers step-by-step to create their Cambria Coastal masterpieces! No experience necessary.Coastal Wine and Paint Party is located in beautiful Cambria at various locations depending on class size. Our events last up to 2 hours. We provide all the materials you need for an extraordinary, fun-filled […]
Cayucos Christmas Tree Lighting and Arrival of SantaCayucos Christmas Tree Lighting and Arrival of SantaCayucosDecember 03, 20235:00 PM to 7:00 PM
The annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony includes the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus!
Christmas Parade in the VillageChristmas Parade in the VillageArroyo GrandeDecember 03, 2023
The Village of Arroyo Grande ushers in the holiday season with a Christmas Parade.
Art in the Park at Dinosaur CavesArt in the Park at Dinosaur CavesPismo BeachAugust 06 to December 03, 2023
Featuring over 50 artisan vendors, food booths, music and amazing views right on the cliffs in Pismo Beach.
FableRune Holiday Party & SaleFableRune Holiday Party & SaleLos OsosDecember 03, 202310:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Our annual holiday party is back! We’re hosting a few of our favorite local makers (jewelry, cashmere, ceramics, hats, and more), a bubbles bar, holiday music, and 25% off on all FABLERUNE goodies (in store only).
Live Music at Oceanpoint RanchLive Music at Oceanpoint RanchCambriaJuly 19 to December 27, 20236:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Join us for live music from local musicians on Wednesday nights.
FableRune Holiday Wreath WorkshopFableRune Holiday Wreath WorkshopLos OsosDecember 08, 20235:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Join us for a night full of holiday music, and a guided wreath making class by Shannon Patrice Designs. In this workshop, you will be guided through the creation of a festive wreath for your front door. You’ll combine greenery and fresh florals, and learn tips to keep it looking fresh all season. In addition to the […]
Cayucos Christmas Open HouseCayucos Christmas Open HouseCayucosDecember 09, 20235:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Ring in the holidays by finding that special something for everyone on your shopping list.
Annual Gala at the Dana AdobeAnnual Gala at the Dana AdobeNipomoDecember 09, 2023
An evening of toasting to our fantastic organization and a forum for building long-lasting relationships while networking with your peers.
Santa’s Doggie ParadeSanta’s Doggie ParadeAvila BeachDecember 09, 202311:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Annual costume contest with the categories that include: Best Costume, Best Dog/Owner Look Alike, Best Holiday Look, Funniest Costume, and Best in Show.
FableRune Sip & Shop with Thibido WineFableRune Sip & Shop with Thibido WineLos OsosDecember 15, 20234:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Grab your besties and come enjoy holiday music, local wine, and all your favorite Fable goods. This is the perfect time for last minute gifts and stocking stuffers before the holidays are here!
Mind Walks with the Central Coast State Parks AssociationMind Walks with the Central Coast State Parks AssociationMorro BaySeptember 15 to December 20, 2023
Our Mind Walks series offers lectures on topics of interest to residents of the Central Coast, including cultural history, natural history, and current issues.
An Irish Christmas at the Clark CenterAn Irish Christmas at the Clark CenterArroyo GrandeDecember 22, 2023
An Irish Christmas as seen on PBS! Join an award-winning cast of Riverdance principals and World Champion Dancers in a celebration of the great traditions of Christmas in Ireland: butter-making, chasing the wren on St. Stephen’s Day, drawing down the half door and more! Come enjoy spectacular dance, the singing of traditional Christmas Carols from […]
Polar Bear Ocean DipPolar Bear Ocean DipCayucosJanuary 01, 2024
The annual Polar Bear Dip in Cayucos is a local favorite and not to be missed!
Avila Beach Polar Bear PlungeAvila Beach Polar Bear PlungeAvila BeachJanuary 01, 2024
Be bold…get cold!
Winter Bird FestivalWinter Bird FestivalMorro BayJanuary 11 to January 15, 2024
Every Martin Luther King weekend over 450 birders visit Morro Bay to see, photograph and learn more about birds.
Cambria Annual Art & Wine FestivalCambria Annual Art & Wine FestivalCambriaJanuary 26 to January 28, 2024
Three days of art and wine pleasures in the beautiful villages of Cambria.
Festival Mozaic: Winter SeriesFestival Mozaic: Winter SeriesSan Luis Obispo CountyFebruary 22 to February 25, 2024
Throughout the year in the heart of California’s Central Coast, Festival Mozaic brings together music lovers to enjoy premier concerts and related events in a festive and stimulating atmosphere.
San Luis Obispo International Film FestivalSan Luis Obispo International Film FestivalSan Luis ObispoApril 25 to April 30, 2024
San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.attracts local, national and international work, and has played host to many visiting filmmakers, extreme sport athletes and big screen celebrities.
Plan Your Trip
Ready to design a vacation to remember? We can’t wait to see you here.
Where To Stay
This wonder-filled stretch of Highway 1 offers a wide variety of lodging options to ensure that your stay is an enjoyable one. Choose from oceanfront property, vineyard views, family-friendly suites and private retreats. Whether you’re looking for a historic inn, vacation rental or budget hotel, the Highway 1 Discovery Route promises to provide a comfortable hideaway.
Where To Eat
Dining on this stretch reveals our embarrassment of riches, from farm to sea. Taste seafood straight from the waves, produce dewey from the morning’s harvest, and bread still warm from the oven. From tacos in Oceano to oysters in Cambria, barbecue in Nipomo to apple pie in Avila Beach, we’ve got great taste. What’s more? We’re more than happy to share. So pull up a chair, fill your glass, and settle in for what’s sure to be a delicious stay.
Things To Do
Let our stretch of Highway 1 astound you. Start the day off-roading on the dunes and finish with a glass of wine and vineyard view. Build sandcastles one hour and witness the decadence of a real-life castle the next. Watch whales dance offshore, then dance like a local at a street festival. The rewards are great in our neck of the woods, and they’re all yours for the taking.