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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Your next adventure awaits
Birds and Botany Walk at SLO Botanical GardenMarch 23, 2023From: 8:00 AM to 10:00 AMSan Luis ObispoDiscover relationships between bird and plant species.
Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate ChangeMarch 24 to September 17, 2023From: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PMMorro BayBeauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change features over 52 color photographs of wildflowers representing seven of California’s regions
Art in the GardenMarch 25 to March 26, 2023San Luis ObispoVisitors will find art for the home and garden, unique gifts, as well one-of-a-kind jewelry.
Festival Mozaic: Artist-in-Residence, Jonah KimOctober 02, 2022 to March 26, 2023San Luis Obispo2022-23 Artist-in-Residence cellist Jonah Kim joins pianist Dominic Cheli, San Francisco Ballet soloist Julia Rowe, and choreographer Wei Wang
Orchid FestApril 01 to April 02, 2023From: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PMSan Luis ObispoCome and experience the splendor of orchids!
Garden Founder Walk and TalkFebruary 07 to April 04, 2023From: 10:00 AM to 12:30 PMSan Luis ObispoHave you ever wondered how the garden beds were initially prepared, what the irrigation schedule is or pretty much anything about any of the plants?
Acorn Adventures HikesFebruary 12 to May 14, 2023From: 10:00 AM to 11:00 AMSan Luis ObispoThis monthly family-friendly hike is approximately a mile and a half with stops at our human sundial.
Dana Adobe’s NatureFestApril 15, 2023From: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PMNipomoGuided hikes, LIVE animal presentations, face painting, local vendors, food booths, tours of the Adobe, and much more.
San Luis ObispoFlutist and host of NPR’s Sunday Baroque, Suzanne Bona, joins Cal Poly music professor Craig Russell and friends.
Wine 4 PawsApril 22 to April 23, 2023San Luis Obispo CountyPet loving wine drinkers can help our four-legged friends by visiting ANY of the participating wineries throughout the weekend, when a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Woods Humane Society!
San Luis Obispo International Film FestivalApril 25 to April 30, 2023San Luis ObispoSan 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.
Something to Crow About at the SLO IFFApril 26, 2023San Luis ObispoThe film shows how this artistically whimsical festival is brought to the streets of Cambria every October.
Cruisin Morro Bay Car ShowMay 04 to May 07, 2023Morro BayClassic cars from around the country cruise to show off their shines. Ice Cream Social, BBQ, Harbor Cruises and more!
Antique Street FaireMay 07, 2023From: 7:00 AM to 3:00 PMCayucosThe Cayucos Chamber hosts the faire twice yearly for visitors to shop for antiques, collectibles, and vintage items.
Live Oak Music FestivalJune 23 to June 25, 2023San Luis ObispoLive 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.
Mac & Cheese Fest: Avila BeachJune 24, 2023From: 2:00 PM to 6:00 PMAvila BeachMac and Cheese, wine tasting, cocktail sampling, games and more! Plus, live music!
Dave Stamey at the Dana AdobeJuly 08, 2023NipomoEnjoy this intimate performance on the adobe veranda by the nationally acclaimed cowboy entertainer, Dave Stamey.
Rebelution – Good Vibes Summer Tour 2023August 09 to August 10, 2023Avila BeachGood Vibes Summer Tour 2023: Rebelution + Special Guests hits Avila Beach, CA
Eroica Vintage Bicycle RideSeptember 17, 2023CambriaEroica returns to the Central Coast for Spring of 2022!
Heritage Day at the Dana AdobeSeptember 30, 2023NipomoActivities include live historical reenactments, traditional dance performances, gold panning, portrayals of famous historical characters, food, and live entertainment.
Annual Gala at the Dana AdobeDecember 09, 2023NipomoAn 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.