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
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve WalksFiscalini Ranch Preserve WalksCambriaJanuary 13 to March 16, 2024
Docents and experts lead a variety of walks through the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve each month.
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 […]
Central Coast Aquarium Spring CampCentral Coast Aquarium Spring CampAvila BeachMarch 25 to March 29, 2024
Calling all underwater explorers!
Central Coast Aquarium: Science After DarkCentral Coast Aquarium: Science After DarkAvila BeachJanuary 30 to May 28, 20246:00 PM to 8:00 PM
An evening for those 21 and older, held on the last Tuesday of each month, January through May.
Wine 4 PawsWine 4 PawsSan Luis Obispo CountyApril 20 to April 21, 2024
Pet 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 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.
Morro Bay Kite FestivalMorro Bay Kite FestivalMorro BayApril 26 to April 28, 2024
Colorful kites will take to the sky at the Rock for family friendly fun
Cruisin Morro Bay Car ShowCruisin Morro Bay Car ShowMorro BayMay 02 to May 04, 2024
Classic cars from around the country cruise to show off their shines. Ice Cream Social, BBQ, Harbor Cruises and more!
Paso Robles Wine FestivalPaso Robles Wine FestivalPaso RoblesMay 16 to May 19, 2024
The Paso Robles Wine Festival is the marquee showcase for everything Paso Robles wine, with five combined events and more than 125 individual activities at the region's wineries.
Cayucos 4th of JulyCayucos 4th of JulyCayucosJuly 04, 2024
Find that special spot on the beach and enjoy the show. Cayucos rocks on the 4th of July!
4th of July in Pismo Beach4th of July in Pismo BeachPismo BeachJuly 04, 2024
Live bands will entertain visitors until 9pm, when the fireworks start! VIP seating is available on the pier for a charge. Arrive early in the day to stake out your best viewing spot on the sand. Bring some blankets and an umbrella for a great day at the beach. You can the kids can spend […]
Avila Beach 4th of July Doggie ParadeAvila Beach 4th of July Doggie ParadeAvila BeachJuly 04, 2024
Come to Avila Beach for Independence Day and spending your morning enjoying a doggie parade.
American Legion July 4th CelebrationAmerican Legion July 4th CelebrationCambriaJuly 04, 2024
Cambria’s annual 4th of July celebration is held at Shamel Park starting at 11am, with family fun events, music and a BBQ all day long. Fireworks start at dusk. A trolley service will run from 10am to 6pm, from North Moonstone to Main Street to East Village with a turnaround at the Dog Park.
Central Coast Arthritis Bike ClassicCentral Coast Arthritis Bike ClassicSan Luis Obispo CountySeptember 21 to September 28, 2024
The ride takes place each fall and aims to raise over $1 million dollars. Approximately 350 arthritis patients, families and supporters who are recruited by our staff will cycle over 525 miles raising funds and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation along Highway One. This event is marketed and publicized nationwide, with a focus in the […]
Lighthouse Century Bicycle RallyLighthouse Century Bicycle RallyMorro BaySeptember 28, 2024
Bike along the beautiful coast of the county, reaching as far as Piedras Blancas Lighthouse before turning around.
Central Coast Railroad FestivalCentral Coast Railroad FestivalSan Luis ObispoOctober 04 to October 06, 2024
The Central Coast Railroad Festival is a broad based bi-annual festival which focuses on railroading of many types with an eye towards the beauty of the Central Coast of California.
Spartan Ultra WeekendSpartan Ultra WeekendSanta MargaritaNovember 02 to November 03, 2024
Spartan Trail, scheduled to be held in San Luis Obispo County at Santa Margarita Ranch, is a trail race with distances of 10k, 10k Night Run, Half Marathon and 50k.
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.