Enjoying the towns of Cayucos, Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, San Simeon, Paso Robles and Solvang, California
On our way up the coast we stopped by Santa Barbara to see the Old Mission which was founded in 1786 by the Spanish. We also visited the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach, where thousands of butterflies spend their Winter months.
Once we reached our lodging at On The Beach Bed and Breakfast in the quaint coastal town of Cayucos, CA, we unpacked in our beautiful vaulted ceiling, ocean view room upstairs and enjoyed a leisurely sunset walk along the beach. They serve a full, hot breakfast here every morning, snacks and wine at 5 pm, and dessert in the evening. And the lodging is located adjacent to the pier and at the end of the shopping and restaurant district.
The next morning we drove down to explore Morro Bay State Park, where we saw nesting great blue herons at the rookery, and toured their excellent natural history museum. We also took the boardwalk path around the marsh estuaries, where we witnessed thousands of wading birds of all species! An local tip lead us to Morro Bay Marina, adjacent to the Great American Fish Company restaurant, where approximately 30 sea otters and their pups resided. After watching the sea otters, we proceeded down Embarcadero Street where a multitude of shops and restaurants were located. We capped off our day with a drive North to the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery, where we saw mothers nursing their pups, and large males desiring to mate (with little success). We enjoyed an excellent dinner that night at the rustic, nautically-themed, and highly recommended Schooners Restaurant.
We went to Montana de Oro State Park and perused beautiful Spooner's Cove, then head back to the shops in Cayucos. We also enjoyed beautiful sunrise and sunset walks along the beach, where we discovered some of the town's famed sea glass!
Paso Robles, with it's many wineries, was a must do! We're not big wine drinkers, but found the winery tour at Halter Ranch to be very enlightening and informative. It's a new, state-of-the-art, Sustainability in Practice (SIP) certified establishment which produces many fine wines.
To end our day we took the last Grand Rooms tour at Hearst Castle State Park which allowed us to catch the setting sun with magnificent views among it's gardens and grounds! That night we dined at Lunada Garden Bistro in Cayucos, which we can also highly recommend.
On our final day we drove down to Solvang, California - a small, Danish-themed town. We fed ostriches and emus at OstrichLand USA! This farm is home to many rescued and farm-raised ostriches and emus, and they harvest their enormous eggs each day. We also visited Seein' Spots Farm, a private farm for rescued farm animals. My husband loved petting and holding the chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, and donkeys! After the farm we toured the town of Solvang and bought way too many Danish pastries to take home.
We loved the quiet, oceanfront towns along California's scenic central coast. Rolling green mountains and hills were topped with oak trees, and California cattle happily shared their ocean views with deer and other wildlife. As picturesque as it is peaceful, the central coast is a true gem in California's crown.