The 15 Best Things to Do in Cambria: Everything You Need to Know to Plan a Perfect Weekend Escape

There’s no denying it, the Central Coast is one of our favorite family-friendly destinations for a weekend escape. And the quaint seaside town of Cambria offers something for everyone. Whether you’re the type (like me) who wants to keep busy or you are looking to slow down and relax, there are plenty of things do in Cambria.

Cambria is perfectly situated just south of Big Sur, making it a must-stop on any Highway 1 road trip or a destination in its own right. It is nestled between the pines and the sea in the northern coastal section of San Luis Obispo County. It features gorgeous bluff top hiking trails, long sandy beaches, and local ranch adventures. Plus, it is only minutes from Hearst Castle, one of the area’s main tourist attractions. 

Read on for the best ways to enjoy a family weekend away at one of our favorite coastal towns. Side note: this is also a great escape for parents if you have a couple of days to get out of town on your own!

Things are always changing! Make sure to double-check schedule changes and closures before your trip.

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Things To Do in Cambria

Towns on the Central Coast are located close enough to each other to be easily combined on a weekend away. In this first section, we focus on what to do in the town of Cambria itself. Then we share some ideas just a quick drive in each direction.

1. Take a Stroll Along the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk

Boys playing on the boardwalk in front of Moonstone Beach, another great road trip stop on Highway 1 with kids.

A visit to Cambria isn’t complete without a stop at Moonstone Beach. While getting on the sand is part of the fun (more on that below), we also enjoy simply strolling along the wooden boardwalk with its gorgeous views.

The boardwalk stretches a little over a mile long, from Leffingwell Landing Park to the El Colibri Hotel. It has benches stationed along the way where you can stop and relax. Find a spot to take in the sunset while the kiddos run around nearby. 

Be sure to bring your binoculars. As part of the California Whale Trail, you just might spot migrating gray whales spouting or waving their flukes offshore. The whales head south from December to February and return north in March and April. Keep an eye out for dolphins and otters while you’re at it!

2. Explore Tidepools and Treasures on the Beach

Getting ready to play on the sand at Moonstone Beach

It’s hard to go to the beach with kids without spending a part of your day in the sand. Though Moonstone Beach can be chilly and the water is often too rough for swimming, it’s a great destination for beachcombers and rock hounds. 

The moonstone rocks that you find here are a type of quartz that resemble the moonstone gem, not the opalescent gem itself. But they are still a great find that’s fun to inspect!  

You’ll also find a lot of driftwood on Moonstone Beach. During our last visit, the boys had a blast collecting and building with it. They found a structure that had been started by a previous visitor and happily began building and playing where they had left off. 

If you visit during low tide, enjoy the tide pools at Leffingwell Landing and the north end of the beach. Keep your eyes peeled for sea anemones, spiny purple sea urchins, crabs, and more.

3. Splash and Play at Shamel Community Park

Playground at Shamel Community Park

If your little ones are eager for a swim, spend some time at the southern end of Moonstone Beach near Shamel Community Park.

Between the Boardwalk and Shamel Park, Moonstone Beach Park is where Santa Rosa Creek’s outlet forms a small lagoon. These lagoons make a safe wading and playing area for kids. 

Steps from the sand, 6-acre Shamel Park is a local favorite. It features a large playground, a seasonal heated public pool, and picnic areas.

4. Wander Around Downtown

Main Street Cambria
Photo Credit: www.visitcambria.com

When you are ready to come in from the coast, Cambria’s downtown is a great spot for a stroll and a souvenir hunt. 

The downtown area is broken into two sections: East Village and West Village. In the East Village, learn about the town’s history at the Cambria Historical Museum and visit interesting sites like the Greenspace Land Trust’s historic Chinese Temple. The West Village, located west of the intersection at Main Street and Cambria Drive, has art galleries and specialty shops like Ephraim Pottery

Together, the two create about 1.5 miles of a walkable shopping district. Shoppers love the combination of unique book shops, candy shops, bistros, and cafes alongside home, garden, and clothing stores. What you won’t find here are chains. Cambria’s downtown is full of small businesses and family-owned restaurants, perfect for finding unique souvenirs and experiences. 

5. Picnic at the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

Views from the Bluff Trail, Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
Photo Credit: Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

Cambria’s favorite walks and hikes are located in the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. This 434-acre historic oceanfront sanctuary offers nature and solitude within walking distance of the Village. Though the Ranch is known for its biodiversity, its most dramatic feature is the ocean bluff that runs for a little over a mile along the shoreline. Views here are spectacular any time of year, but many recommend visiting in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom. 

The Ranch is free and open to the public every day, from sunrise to sunset. To learn more about the history, flora, and fauna found here, join a guided tour. Besides in-depth looks at the Forest Loop and Bluff Trail, guides offer special interest walks. Topics might include geology, birds, butterflies, wildflowers, and native cultures.

In addition to being surrounded by natural beauty, the preserve has 17 handcrafted wood and stone benches. Each is a work of art in its own right and a perfect spot to picnic while taking in your gorgeous surroundings (and letting the kiddos run around). 

6. Adventure with a Giant Clydesdale

Clydesdales at Covell Ranch in Cambria
Photo Credit: Covell Ranch

After exploring the beach and village shops, it’s time for an adventure. Covell Ranch takes horseback riding to another level, offering visitors a unique opportunity to experience a trail ride on a majestic Clydesdale horse! 

For many of us, Clydesdales are the horses made famous by Budweiser commercials. Weighing 1 ton and growing up to 6 feet tall, they were bred to pull wagons. At Covell Ranch, visitors 7 years old or older can ride a “gentle giant” over 2,000 acres of pine-dotted pasture to another amazing ocean view. 

The Covell family ranch has been breeding Clydesdales for over 40 years, and they share them with the public as a family passion. You can also take a vehicle-based tour, which allows for a slightly more distanced experience with these magnificent horses. 

7. Meet the Friendly Goats of Stepladder Creamery

Stepladder Creamery Goat
Photo Credit: Stepladder Creamery

Stepladder Ranch and Creamery is located in the hills above Cambria. Jack Rudolph, one of the owners, inherited the ranch from his grandfather who had previously expanded it into an avocado ranch. Jack further diversified the crops with a focus on sustainability. He also added in the goats who produce milk for the Creamery. 

Tour guests get to meet and interact with the goats whose breed was chosen for their friendly nature. You’ll also learn about cheese making and get to sample the goods. Tours have been limited since COVID, but they are making a comeback. Check the Stepladder Creamery website for the latest info on dates and availability. 

If you love the bucolic Central Coast lifestyle, consider staying in the Ranch’s expansive vacation rental.

8. Relax in the Meadow at Stolo Family Vineyards

The Meadow at Stolo Family Vineyards
Photo Credit: Wine Country Getaways

Stolo Family Vineyards, one of Cambria’s favorite hometown wineries, sits just three miles from the ocean as the crow flies.

Children are welcome (as are pets) in the outdoor tasting areas on the property’s grassy meadow. There’s even a “grassy meadow bottle service” that welcomes visitors to bring their chairs or blanket. This is a great setup for relaxing and soaking up the scenery while the kids play nearby.

Check the calendar for family-friendly events and programs as well!

Things to Do Just North of Cambria

Cambria is located just about a 30-minute drive south of Ragged Point, what I consider the entryway to Big Sur. All of the following places and activities can be found between Cambria and Ragged Point.

9. Tour Hearst Castle

Views of Casa Grande on a Sunny Day in Cambria

Just under 10 miles north of Cambria, Hearst Castle looms high on the mountains above San Simeon. It is a mansion-turned-museum that shares what it would have been like to be a guest of famed media baron William Randolph Hearst in the 1920s and 30s.

The extensive visitor center offers movies about the site’s history, food, and gift shops. From here, buy tickets for a shuttle that winds up the hill to the “castle.” The Grand Rooms tour is the most popular for first visits, though there are several options to choose from.

We last visited when the boys were just 2 and 4 years old. They loved the bus ride, and J was impressed by the grand scale of the house. But tour sizes are large, and they aren’t designed for young kids. We enjoyed the outdoor spaces because I could walk with Bug at the edge of the group when he got antsy, but inside wasn’t so fun for him. Based on our experience, the tours are best for families with kids 5+.

One of the most common questions at the start of the tour is whether anyone can swim in the stately Neptune Pool. As it turns out, you can. For a pretty penny (tickets were $950 per person last time I checked), members of the Foundation at Hearst Castle can splash in the pool or stroll around the surrounding terraces while enjoying the glitzy ambiance. Savory treats, sweets, wine, and beer are included. 

As you leave the grounds, keep a lookout for zebras running around the Hearst Castle property. They are descendants of some of the animals from the onsite zoo Hearst kept. I’ve only glimpsed them once, and of course, everyone in the car was snoozing!

10. Dive into the Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay

Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary Coastal Discovery Center
Photo Credit: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary – National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration

Located on beautiful San Simeon Bay, the Coastal Discovery Center celebrates the region’s connection between land and sea. On weekends, visitors are welcome to experience interactive exhibits and educational programs that highlight the cultural and natural history of San Simeon and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. 

The Discovery Center is open Friday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Double check the hours before you go, especially if traveling on or near the holidays.

Elephant Seals on the Beach at Piedras Blancas

11. Check Out the Piedras Blancas Elephant Preserve

Elephant seals sure do love the California coast, and hundreds of elephant seals lounging on the beach are certainly a sight to behold! Unlike the preserves further north in Año Nuevo, the animals at Piedras Blancas are easy to view without a special permit or hike. You just park in the lot and wander over along the boardwalk. 

You’ll find interpretive signage and brochures along the way. Friends of the Elephant Seals supports the site, training docents to speak with visitors and maintaining an informative website complete with a kids zone. Check it out before your trip or use it to answer all the inevitable post-visit questions!

The elephant seal action at this rookery peaks during different times of the year. It’s most populated in late January during pupping season, around early May in molting season, and in late October when the juvenile elephant seals return from their first 6 months in the ocean.

Things to Do Just South of Cambria

You could easily keep going south from Cambria to Santa Barbara and find endless cute towns to explore along the route. I have a post on our top 25, which is a lot for a relatively small area! In the following section, we focus on the few towns within a 30-minute drive south of Cambria.

If you want more info on visiting towns throughout San Luis Obispo County, check out our favorite Central Coast Towns here.

12. Savor a Taste of Harmony, CA

Welcome to Harmony

Just outside of Cambria, you’ll reach the tiny town of Harmony. Harmony is 2.5-acre, one-block town with a population of 18 (including the cows). It first became known as a popular pit-stop for the rich and famous on their way to visit Hearst. Today, Harmony draws visitors who are curious to check out this quirky and quaint destination.

If you’re traveling with kids, stop at the Harmony Valley Creamery on the weekends when it serves delicious ice cream. Also worth exploring are Harmony Pottery Shop and Harmony Glass Works, which has a working studio and school in addition to the store. 

Traveling without the kids in tow? Add wine tasting at Harmony Cellars to your itinerary!

13. Relax and Play in Cayucos

Cayucos SB
Photo Credit: California State Parks

We have good friends who moved to California from Texas. They are always in search of a mellow beach town, and Cayucos is one of their favorite finds so far. Given that this small town is often described as having a “relaxed cowboy beach” feel, it seems like a perfect fit for our Texan friends…and many others looking for a hidden gem by the sea. 

The beach in Cayucos has six miles of white sand and is part of the state park system. It is known to be one of the best in the area for surfing, swimming, and soaking up the sun. Families love the beachside playgrounds, picnic tables, and public barbeques. 

To experience a taste of Cayucos culture, visit in March. The whole town will be celebrating the Sea Glass Festival, complete with the annual Mermaid Ball. 

14. Explore Natural Wonders in Morro Bay

Attempting to Capture Morro Bay's Amazing Heron Rookery

Morro Bay is another of our favorite Central Coast towns, just a half-hour drive south of Cambria. It is best known for its landmark Morro Rock, a 576-foot volcanic plug perched at the edge of the ocean. Formed 23 million years ago, it’s now home to nesting peregrine falcons and has California Historical Landmark Status. Drive to the base of Morro Rock for a closer look, or simply enjoy the views from throughout the town.

Protected Morro Bay is full of natural beauty, wildlife, and calm waters. This makes it a great spot for beginning kayakers. Join a family-friendly nature tour with Central Coast Outdoors for a close-up perspective of the Bay.

If kayaking has made your kiddos curious to see what’s beneath the water’s surface, check out the SSV Seaview Sub Sea Tour. This 21-passenger vessel has an underwater viewing room so passengers can see the fish, jellyfish, kelp, and other marine life from the boat.

Back on land, Morro Bay State Park’s Estuary Preserve is an 800-acre wetland that creates rich habitats for the many animals who call Morro Bay home. The Heron Rookery is one of the coolest wildlife experiences we’ve had. You can see and hear double-crested cormorants, great egrets, and great blue herons roosting in trees between February and June. I wish I had a proper lens because my photos and videos don’t do justice to this unique environment. 

Of course, Morro Bay is also a great place to relax and stroll the Embarcadero with its restaurants and shops along the waterfront. Check out the dock outside the Great American Fish Company to visit some local otters while you’re at it

Things to Do East of Cambria

Though you lose sight of the ocean, there’s still plenty of fun to be had as you head east. 

15. Get a Taste of Paso Robles

Pumpkin-palooza at Jack Creek Farms
Photo Credit: Jack Creek Farms

Drive a little over 30 minutes east to get to Paso Robles. This small agricultural town is emerging as one of California’s latest wine hot spots. Many say it’s like Napa in the early days. Unpretentious and fun, you’ll find wineries where it’s fine to bring the family along while you taste. Our family enjoyed visiting Sculpterra, where we sipped and explored the gardens while some great local bands played to an enthusiastic audience. Paso Wine shares other local family-friendly favorites.

If you’re interested in agritourism outside of the wineries, Paso also offers some fun farm experiences. Jack Creek Farms is a local favorite. This 5th generation family farm offers a range of seasonal u-pick experiences, lasso lessons, and a fort maze for the kids. The farm is especially popular in the fall when you can pick sunflowers and pumpkins while sipping on apple cider slushies. 

If you stay until evening, explore the popular immersive art installation, Light at Sensorio. What was supposed to be a temporary work continues to expand and attract crowds. The original work, Bruce Monroe’s Field of Light, is a 15-acre walk through fields of more than 58,000 glowing spheres that illuminate the landscape.

Paso is also home to the fairgrounds where you can enjoy the Mid-State Fair, annual rodeos, and other family-friendly events. Check out an event schedule before you go. 

Family-Friendly Eats in Cambria

Photo Credit: Linn’s

Just as you won’t find any chain shops in the Cambria villages, you won’t find any fast food restaurants either. While Cambria boasts some amazing restaurants loved by foodies, you’ll also find comfortable spots with delicious meals the whole family will love.

Linn’s

You can’t visit Cambria without someone telling you that you have to try a slice of Linn’s Olallieberry Pie. For the uninitiated, olallieberries are blackberry-raspberry hybrids that grow well on the Central Coast. The fruit was still relatively unknown when John and Renee Linn moved to town with a young family and dreams of starting a berry farm. Renee started baking olallieberry pies from her recipes and sold them at the farm’s store. Demand for the pies grew into demand for more food, which the Linns served from their farm stand. Eventually, they had enough olallieberry fans visiting the fruit stand that they opened Linn’s Restaurant downtown on Main Street. And they’ve continued to grow from there.

Whichever option you choose, don’t leave town without giving their unique olallieberry recipes a try.

  • Linn’s Restaurant is located on Main Street in the East Village. Having started the restaurant as an extension of their farm stand, they often say that they’ve been serving farm-to-table fare before it became a trend. Today, they embrace the casual and comfortable with a menu of comfort food classics. Their kids’ menu offers more options than most, and you can even sample an Olallieberry Burger. Only in Cambria!
  • Linn’s Easy as Pie Shop & Cafe is a more casual alternative located just 500 feet from the Restaurant. This cafe is all about keeping things simple. Come here for sandwiches, modern comfort food, and – you guessed it – lots of freshly baked pie. 
  • If you can, make time to visit the original Fruit Bin Farm Store where it all began. Nestled into a beautiful valley just a lovely 10-minute drive east of the Cambria Village, you’ll find farm-grown seasonal produce, locally-made gourmet foods, preserves and jellies, gifts and garden decor, and, of course, delicious fresh-baked pies. The Fruit Bin’s schedule changes each season, so make sure to check before heading over. 

Main Street Grill

In the West Village, you’ll find another Central Coast favorite: Main Street Grill. As a graduate of Cal Poly, SLO, I admit that I have a hard time passing through downtown San Luis Obispo without stopping for one of Firestone’s famous tri-tip sandwiches. But until recently, I didn’t realize that Cambria’s Main Street Grill is a Firestone restaurant that offers their addictive BBQ classics plus local seafood favorites. Yum, yum, yum.

Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill

Another of Cambria’s favorite grills has an enviable location at the heart of Moonstone Beach. The Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill is known for its expansive oceanfront patio with good comfort food options and unforgettable views. Best known for American-style seafood dishes, we also appreciated the kids’ menus which come with free ice cream treats as long as mom and dad approve. 

There’s a good chance you’ll need to wait for your table here, but luckily the beach across the street offers plenty of distractions while you wait. 

Boni’s Tacos

I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t recommend Boni’s Tacos. Crowds line up at their taco truck in downtown Cambria every weekend for a taste of their famous Mexico City-style al pastor. The meat is marinated in a secret sauce for 24 hours and cooked on a traditional vertical rotisserie. There are other items on the menu, but their tacos al pastor, which feature caramelized meat sliced off the trompo and served with juicy pineapple, are highly recommended for your first visit.

Where to Stay in Cambria

Ocean Views at the Sea Otter Inn
Photo Credit: The Sea Otter Inn

Cambria Pines Lodge

During our first family visit to Cambria, we stayed at the Cambria Pines Lodge and loved it. We were able to get a suite with two queen beds in one room and a sitting room with a sofa bed attached. We always look for suite options so that John and I can hang out at night while the kids go to bed. This one checked all the boxes. 

Other perks of the Lodge are the expansive grounds and included breakfast in the garden. Some families seemed to be having a great time in the heated pool during our February visit, but we hadn’t thought to bring our suits. There is also a nature trail that leads from the hotel to the East Village, but as we learned the hard way, it is NOT stroller friendly. It’s also too dark for a post-dinner return with kids (or at least it was for us).

Sea Otter Inn

The Sea Otter Inn is a sister property of the Cambria Pines Lodge. Though I haven’t had a chance to stay here yet, it’s high on my list of places to stay for a future getaway.

The Sea Otter Inn is located across the street from Moonstone Beach. Here you can catch a sunset by the Inn’s fire pits and enjoy a soak in the pool and hot tub. If I’m being honest, the kicker for me is the complimentary breakfast basket delivered to your door in the morning. Options include a breakfast burrito, and in my world, it doesn’t get much better than walking across the street to enjoy a delicious breakfast burrito on the beach. Sigh.

How to Get Here

View of Bixby Bridge from the parking pull out on the northeastern edge.
Coming to Cambria from Northern California? Take the slow route through Big Sur!

Though you can technically fly into the nearby San Luis Obispo Airport from any of California’s major cities, most visitors arrive in Cambria by car. About a 4 hour drive from either San Francisco or Los Angeles, Cambria is the perfect option for a California weekend getaway. Most visitors will take Highway 101 north or south and then cut over to Highway 46, just south of Paso Robles.

Given that Cambria is located smack dab in the middle of the famous scenic route between San Francisco and LA, many consider Cambria an essential stop on their Highway 1 road trip itinerary.  We definitely recommend taking the slow and scenic route if you can!

When to Visit Cambria

Dusk and Walk Through Ornaments at the Cambria Christmas Market
Two million lights attract visitors to the Cambria Christmas Market each year.

The first time we visited Cambria with the kids was in early February. The weather was cold and windy enough to make our beach visit relatively short, but not cold enough to prevent a beach visit altogether!

Basically, as with many Central Coast destinations, you can expect mild-weather year round. It doesn’t get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. Just make sure to pack some layers for the cooler mornings and evenings any time of year. 

If you’re just starting to plan a trip, consider timing your visit with one of the town’s unique seasonal events: 

Scarecrows in the Fall

Throughout October, more than 400 imaginative, lively, and sometimes creepy, scarecrows line the streets downtown and along Moonstone Beach. The diversity of the creations is a perfect reflection of the town’s creative community. 

In early October, the Cambria Historical Museum also hosts a Harvest Festival with a market featuring work from local artists and artisans, root beer floats, and plenty of opportunities for family fun. 

December’s Christmas Market and Christmas at the Castle

Holidays are an especially festive time to visit Cambria. The Christmas Market, onsite at the Cambria Pines Lodge, features more than 2 million lights, an artisan vendor market, fire pits, and more. 

If you find the crowds a bit overwhelming, consider visiting on Monday or Tuesday when it is lights only. This is a great option for little ones who will want to run around more than what’s possible during crowded market evenings. 

Admission to the Christmas Market is included with your stay at the Cambria Pines Lodge, Sea Otter Inn, and The J. Patrick House & Inn. 

Hearst Castle also gets into the holiday fun with special “Christmas at the Castle” tours. Every year, from the end of November through the end of December, staff at Hearst Castle deck the halls so visitors can experience the estate as Hearst’s guests might have in the 1920s and 1930s. 

Kick off a New Year with Elephant Seal Pups at Piedras Blancas

January and February are an extra special time to visit the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas. Pregnant female elephant seals begin arriving on the beach to give birth in December with the majority arriving in January. Pups are typically born at night and will nurse for about a month before they are left alone to learn to swim and find food. Most are ready to head into the ocean themselves in spring. 

Enjoy April’s Springtime Wonders

Spring is a magical time in Cambria, bringing both wildflower blooms and the gray whale migration just off the coast. 

Most of the wildflowers will be out in full bloom in April and May. Although a “super bloom” doesn’t happen every year, the combination of warm days and wet weather brings the landscape to life. One of the best places to witness spring in full bloom is the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve where you’ll find pops of yellow, orange, white, and purple against lush green hills. 

The wildflower bloom in April overlaps with the Gray Whale Migration, making a walk along the Fiscalini Bluff Trail an even more magical experience everywhere you look. 

 Savor Summer at the Annual Olallieberry Festival

If you want to experience all things Olallieberry, plan your visit to coincide with the Annual Olallieberry Festival. Cambria celebrates its favorite fruit with art, a kids’ corner, music, drinks, and – of course – plenty of Olallieberry dishes and delicacies. 

Dates change each summer and the festival has been canceled a few times since COVID, so check out the Chamber of Commerce website or the festival’s Facebook page for the latest updates. 

Itinerary: Four Days in Cambria with Kids

The following is a sample itinerary for a four-day family weekend in Cambria that features some of the things to do suggested above. I’m the type of person that wants to see as much as possible everywhere I go, so these itineraries are admittedly on the busy side. Do as little or as much as you’d like. A town like Cambria offers something for everyone.

Day 1: Get Settled and Unwind

Take the Scenic Route

Take the slow route into town and settle into getaway mode. If you’re coming from the north, wind through Big Sur with stunning stops at Point Lobos State Reserve and McWays Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns. From the south, enjoy a break – and ah-mazing clam chowder – at Pismo Beach or feed the farm animals at Avila Barn.

Settle In

Head to your home base, settle in and get a lay of the land. Take a stroll downtown to check out the shops and stop by Linn’s for dinner and a slice of Olallieberry Pie.

Day 2: Castles and Coastlines

Head a few miles up the coast to explore the region’s natural and cultural history.

Explore Hearst Castle

Head north to one of the area’s most popular tourist attractions: Hearst Castle. Yes, it’s a big and ostentatious representation of last century’s gilded age, but it’s also a place where you can let your imagination run wild. Plus it offers a history lesson, some stunning views, and the chance to spot wild zebras. 

After taking in all the sights, stop at the Coastal Discovery Center across the highway from the main entrance for interactive exhibits that shed light on the natural history of this beautiful region.

Visit Piedras Blancas

On your way back to town, stop by the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery to say hello to the area’s beloved marine mammals.

Soak in the Sunset at Moonstone Beach

Cap your day with a visit to Moonstone Beach. Let the kids run off any extra steam at Shamel Park and then enjoy a family-friendly dinner with views of the sun setting into the ocean at the Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill. They don’t take reservations, so put your name in and enjoy a beachfront stroll on the boardwalk across the street while you wait.

Day 3: Adventures by Land and Sea

Head south on day three to continue exploring this part of the central coast by land and by sea.

Get on the Water in Morro Bay

Get an early start on the water with a guided kayaking tour of Morro Bay. Central Coast Outdoors offers half-day classic tours that combine a fun morning of paddling through the bay’s calm waters with a chance to explore sand dunes on the far side of the bay. You might see seal hangouts, the extraordinary heron rookery, oyster farms, and a raft of curious otters. 

Extend your experience by adding in a picnic lunch or request a private tour to go at your own pace. 

Take some time to explore the Embarcadero before heading back north.

Relax in Cayucos

After your adventure in Morro Bay, consider a stop in Cayucos where the kids can play on the beach’s playground equipment while the grown-ups relax nearby. 

Check Out the Harmony Valley Creamery

If you’re driving north on a weekend afternoon, stop in the tiny town of Harmony for a delicious ice cream cone and a peek at the quirky town. 

Day 4: Enjoy One Last Ocean View Before Heading Home

End your Cambria weekend with some adventure before heading back home.

Hop on a Clydesdale

For a memorable last look at the gorgeous Cambria Coastline, head to Covell Ranch for their 9 am trail ride on a beautiful Clydesdale. Enjoy views of the pastures, pines, and ocean – the quintessential Cambria mix. 

If a morning Clydesdale ride is not your thing, head to Fiscalini Ranch instead. Wander along the Bluff trail searching for wildflowers and signs of migrating whales nearby. And if you’re valley people like us, wave goodbye-for-now to the beautiful ocean views.

Stop at a Paso Farm on the Way Home

On your way east to 101, make one last stop at one of Paso’s family-friendly farms. Depending on the season, you’ll find blackberries, heirloom tomatoes, or over 100 varieties of squash (including everyone’s favorite pumpkins) at Jack Creek Farms. Extend your visit, and tire out the kids, with a break at the farm’s Happy Acres kid zone which features a maze, tractor garden, farm animals, storybook trail, and more. 

Savor the final moments of your Central Coast weekend break with some delicious fruits from the farm stand before heading back home.

Check out more articles on our favorite places for a family-friendly West Coast escape:

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