Nestled in the central California coast in San Luis Obispo County, the Highway 1 Discovery Route (H1DR) spans from Ragged Point to the dunes of Nipomo. This region has breathtaking natural beauty, amazing outdoor adventure and delicious restaurants. There is so much to see, taste and discover—come along and check out our favorite spots!
The Blue Dolphin Inn
The Blue Dolphin Inn in Cambria is directly on Moonstone Beach, offering spectacular ocean views and beautiful trails to explore just steps away from your room. Even though this is a relaxing environment they are also super child-friendly and accommodating. Their breakfast is included and delivered to your room in the morning. Your little ones will enjoy choosing what they want to eat for breakfast as they play by the fireplace with the decorative starfish and shells.
6470 Moonstone Beach Drive, Cambria, CA
Linn’s began as a farm fruit stand and over time has grown into a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike. Linn’s serves perfectly-executed comfort food with really high quality and fresh ingredients. Try their beautiful home-made soups, original seafood dishes, locally-sourced meats, or their famous pot-pies. And be sure to save room after your meal as they boast one of the most extensive dessert menus in the region. You must try the olallieberry pie. It’s so good and not too sweet.
2277 Main Street, Cambria, CA
For more than 25 years, this local favorite has been serving amazing food in its vine-covered patio and cozy interior. Robin’s features eclectic choices as Vietnamese spring rolls, Portobello and spinach lasagna and peach-glazed pork baby back ribs. The curries are Thai-influenced and simply delicious.
4095 Burton Drive, Cambria, CA
Sebastian’s and Hearst Ranch Winery
This awesome lunch spot is across the street from Hearst Castle and located in the historic Sebastian Brother’s General Store. Built in 1852 at the peak of the whaling industry, the Sebastian Brothers provided goods and services to whalers, fishermen, miners and neighboring ranches. The interior walls are covered in interesting artifacts from that area and the sunny patio offers expansive views. Try their hamburgers made from their own cattle or flaky fish and chips with homemade sauce.
442 San Simeon Road, San Simeon, CA
Elephant Seal Rookery
The Northern Elephant Seal migrates thousands of miles twice each year, from the open oceans to a land-based rookery, where it breeds, births, molts and rests between trips. The Piedras Blancas rookery, on HWY 1, north of San Simeon is home to about 15,000 animals. The area is open for viewing every day of the year and docents are on site daily from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. Come see these magnificent marine mammals up close on one of the prettiest coastlines in California.
Highway 1 north of San Simeon, CA
The Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Cove
The Center offers interactive exhibits and education programs which highlight the cultural and natural history of San Simeon, California State Parks and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Bonus: Free Admission! Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m-5 p.m.
CA-1 Slo San Simeon Rd, San Simeon, CA
The Hearst Castle
Take the family on a tour of this impressive California castle where William Hearst entertained the rich and famous of his time. View the magnificent ground floor rooms of La Casa Grande (big house) and enjoy the amazing art Hearst acquired from all around the world.
750 Hearst Castle Road, San Simeon, CA
The Highway 1 Discovery Route
Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the H1DR is made up of ten diverse artisan towns and seaside villages starting just south of Big Sur. Through the end of February, the H1DR offers special programming to celebrate the fifth annual Coastal Discovery & Stewardship Celebration. Immerse yourself in the local marine life, coastal heritage and natural attractions along the iconic CA Highway 1 Discovery Route. Watch a movie at Hearst Castle, tour the Piedras Blancas Light Station, explore Monarch Butterfly migration and more. Plan your trip south during this time to take advantage of all that is offered.
What are your favorite spots in The Highway 1 Discovery Route? Please let us know in the comment section.
All photos are by the author unless noted.
Note: This trip was paid for by the Highway 1 Discovery Route but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.