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
Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate ChangeBeauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate ChangeMorro BayMarch 24 to September 17, 202310:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change features over 52 color photographs of wildflowers representing seven of California’s regions
Under the BoardwalkUnder the BoardwalkOceanoMay 26 to July 15, 2023
Life in the sand is full of singing and dancing, until the unthinkable happens – a clam and a gull fall in love!
Avila Beach Fish & Farmers MarketAvila Beach Fish & Farmers MarketAvila BeachMay 05 to August 25, 20234:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Soak up evening soak and good vibes while supporting local fishermen and farmers each Friday.
Barefoot Concerts on the GreenBarefoot Concerts on the GreenLos OsosApril 22 to June 24, 20232:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Join us for live music, barefoot dancing on the putting green, connecting with friends and family
Live Music on the Patio at Sea PinesLive Music on the Patio at Sea PinesLos OsosApril 23 to June 25, 202311:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Live Music on the Patio every Sunday from 11am-1pm at The Clubhouse Grill at Sea Pines Golf Resort.
A Tribute to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez ConcertA Tribute to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez ConcertCambriaJune 04, 2023
The songs include The Night They Drove Ol Dixie Down, Diamonds & Rust, Sweet Sir Gallahad, Masters of War, Like a Rolling Stone, To Make You Feel My Love, Girl From the North Country, and many more.
Summer Camp at Dana AdobeSummer Camp at Dana AdobeNipomoJune 12 to June 30, 2023
Are you looking for a fun and educational way to keep your children busy this summer? Look no further than DANA Adobe & Cultural Center’s Summer Day Camp!
Friday Night Live at The Cow TipperFriday Night Live at The Cow TipperCambriaApril 21 to June 16, 20236:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Kick start your Friday night at The Cow Tipper with a live music event featuring acclaimed local musicians.
Trevor Hall and The Great In-BetweenTrevor Hall and The Great In-BetweenAvila BeachJune 17, 2023
An all ages concert at the Avila Beach Golf Resort on Saturday, June 17th.
Live Oak Music FestivalLive Oak Music FestivalSan Luis ObispoJune 23 to June 25, 2023
Live Oak draws music aficionados of all ages to experience concerts in a beautiful setting with SLO County’s iconic volcanic peaks, the Morros, as the backdrop.
Live at the Lighthouse Concert SeriesLive at the Lighthouse Concert SeriesAvila BeachJune 24 to October 14, 2023
The Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers proudly present “Live at the Lighthouse”, a Saturday concert series at the light station!
Mac & Cheese Fest: Avila BeachMac & Cheese Fest: Avila BeachAvila BeachJune 24, 20232:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Mac and Cheese, wine tasting, cocktail sampling, games and more! Plus, live music!
Dave Stamey at the Dana AdobeDave Stamey at the Dana AdobeNipomoJuly 08, 2023
Enjoy this intimate performance on the adobe veranda by the nationally acclaimed cowboy entertainer, Dave Stamey.
Gold Fever at the Rough & ReadyGold Fever at the Rough & ReadyOceanoJuly 21 to September 09, 2023
This sensational show offers loads of opportunities to boo the villain and cheer the hero.
Festival MozaicFestival MozaicSan Luis Obispo CountyJuly 22 to July 30, 2023
The Festival Mozaic summer concert series takes place every summer throughout the county.
Rebelution – Good Vibes Summer Tour 2023Rebelution – Good Vibes Summer Tour 2023Avila BeachAugust 09 to August 10, 2023
Good Vibes Summer Tour 2023: Rebelution + Special Guests hits Avila Beach, CA
I Hate HamletI Hate HamletCambriaAugust 11 to August 27, 2023
A hugely successful television star is offered the role of a lifetime, Hamlet, in NYC’s Central Park. But is he good enough for the Bard?
Mummy DearestMummy DearestOceanoSeptember 15 to November 10, 2023
When a lost city is discovered in the desert, two ancient evildoers are brought back to life – one as a mummy, the other trapped inside a mannequin!
Eroica Vintage Bicycle RideEroica Vintage Bicycle RideCambriaSeptember 17, 2023
Eroica returns to the Central Coast for Spring of 2022!
Alta Music FestivalAlta Music FestivalAvila BeachSeptember 23 to September 24, 2023
An all ages music festival in Avila Beach this fall!
Heritage Day at the Dana AdobeHeritage Day at the Dana AdobeNipomoSeptember 30, 2023
Activities include live historical reenactments, traditional dance performances, gold panning, portrayals of famous historical characters, food, and live entertainment.
Scarecrow FestivalScarecrow FestivalSan SimeonOctober 01 to October 31, 2023
October in Cambria and San Simeon holds a special appeal!
Becoming Julia MorganBecoming Julia MorganCambriaOctober 06 to October 08, 2023
Playwright Belinda Taylor, a former journalist with a genius for research and dialogue, cleverly weaves the strands of past, present, and future with flashbacks.
Butterfly Ball GalaButterfly Ball GalaSan Luis ObispoOctober 14, 2023
Funds from this event will support the preservation of the Western Monarch butterfly, on the brink of extinction, that overwinters in our local State Parks.
Antique Street FaireAntique Street FaireCayucosMay 07 to October 15, 20237:00 AM to 3:00 PM
The Cayucos Chamber hosts the faire twice yearly for visitors to shop for antiques, collectibles, and vintage items.
Death of a SalesmanDeath of a SalesmanCambriaNovember 03 to November 19, 2023
The play is a montage of memories, dreams, confrontations, that culminate in a loss of identity and a man’s inability to accept change.
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
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.
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.