Cambria Discovery Loop ~ Beaches & Parks

The Beaches & Parks Loop of Cambria takes visitors to points both historic and scenic.

  • Begin at the former Piedras Blancas Motel, along Highway 1 north of San Simeon State Park.
  • Venture south 1.4 miles on Highway 1 and discover the Piedras Blancas Light Station. Tours are available on select days throughout the year.
  • Continue south for another 1.2 miles and visit the Elephant Seals. Walk the boardwalk to capture photographs of these extraordinary marine mammals.
  • Travel south along Highway 1 and turn right onto Slo San Simeon Road/Hearst Castle road and enter the park. Here you’ll find the San Simeon Cover and Pier of W.R. Hearst Memorial Beach.
  • Be sure to stop in at the Coastal Discovery Center, also located at this point. Admission is free and the Center offers interactive exhibits and education programs that highlight the cultural and natural history of San Simeon.
  • Returning to the Highway, travel south to Pico Avenue and turn right. Drive to the end and park to gain access to Pico Creek just down the hill. This is considered one of the best surf spots on the Central Coast with a reef break just in front of the creek mouth.
  • Just another 1.8 miles south on the Highway you’ll cross the San Simeon Creek bridge and turn left into Washburn Campground parking lot. From here you can access Hearst San Simeon State Park.
  • The next stop is upper Leffingwell Landing, with access to San Simeon Creek. Returning to the Highway, continue to Moonstone Beach Drive and turn right. Take the first entrance straight ahead and park. The beach access is downhill on the right.
  • Following Moonstone Beach Drive south, and across from San Simeon Pines Resort, is the entrance to Leffingwell Landing Park. Beautiful views of the ocean and park access with tables and benches are available. There is also beach access and trails into the Cypress groves.
  • Returning to Moonstone Beach Drive, continue until you arrive at Moonstone Beach Parklands. This spot offers unparalleled views of the coast in either direction. If you continue to Windsor Boulevard, you’ll find the start of the Cross Town Trail.
  • Less than a mile away is the next stop at Shamel Park. Continue along Moonstone Beach Drive and turn right onto Windsor Boulevard and the Park is at the end. This 6-acre County Park has a playing field, seasonal swimming pool, BBQs, picnic tables and children’s play area, which can be reserved.
  • Located just 0.2 miles from Shamel Park is the Nottingham Beach access. From Windsor Boulevard, continue south and turn right onto Notthingham Drive. This 3-acre State Park offers beach access.
  • Trace back along Nottingham Drive to Windsor Boulevard and back to Highway 1. Turn right onto the Highway and continue south until Burton Drive; turn right on Burton Drive, right on Ardath, right on Madison, left on Orlando, and end at Sherwood Drive. From Sherwood drive you can go right to Wedgewood Street or left to Harvey Street for easy beach acces.
  • Continue to the south end of Sherwood Drive to visit Lampton Cliffs Park. This 2.1-acre park has beach access, trails, and two benches overlooking the ocean.

Cambria also offers a Hiking Trails Loop and an Historical Architecture & Garden Loop. Or check out the downloadable Cambria Discovery Route with a variety of things to do and see in Cambria and the surrounding area.