Marvel at the grand vision of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst with a visit to his palatial estate, one of the world’s greatest showplaces. Several guided tours of the estate give you an insider’s view of the 127 acres of gardens, the sumptuous, 60,645-square-foot main house, or the Neptune pool — which features an ancient Roman temple as its centerpiece. You might even spot zebras and other exotic animals roaming the grounds, since the estate once housed the world’s largest private zoo.
Image Courtesy Hearst Castle®/California State Parks.
What’s a visit to California’s Central Coast without some sand between your toes? Catch some waves or wade the lagoon at Pismo Beach, play at expansive Cayucos Beach, explore the tidepools at Moonstone Beach, drive a dune buggy on Grover Beach, or watch the world-class windsurfers at Arroyo Laguna Beach. Stroll out on one of the many piers to spot sea lions, otters, and whales, or make friends with a local pelican. Pick up some fresh fish at a pierside seafood market, or catch your own — no license needed. Or, of course, just lie back with a good book and enjoy some rays.
Modeled after a Danish Village, Solvang is one of the most unique and culturally-rich areas in California. The surrounding area is full of Native American, Spanish, and Danish history. Get there early while the plethora of bakeries are still serving warm Danish pastries. Explore the village shops on your way to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and Elverhoj Museum of History and Art. Don’t be surprised if you see some recognizable landmarks; Solvang is the setting for much of the film Sideways.
Soak up the sun while touring the vineyards in Paso Robles wine country. After an afternoon of wine tasting, have a picnic in City Park and take a nap under one of the park’s incredible trees. Before dinner, sample the ales at Firestone Walker, one of California’s best microbreweries. In the evening, catch a show at the Mid-State Fair, a stopping point for world-renowned musicians, before heading back to SLO.
A popular tourist destination, this waterfront village is known for friendly locals, fabulous wildlife, and famous Morro Rock. Grab breakfast at Dorn’s Restaurant, watch the day’s catch come in at Giovanni’s Fish Market, go for a hike in Morro Bay State Park, check out the Museum of Natural History, or rent a boat to get a great view of the stunning shoreline.
The uncrowded roads and stunning views in and around San Luis Obispo make for incredible scenic drives by car or motorcycle. Get a mixture of vineyards, curving mountain roads, and coastal views driving up US 101 to Highway 41 West to beautiful Morro Bay. From there, loop back to San Luis Obispo via Highway 1 through cattle pastures and farmland. Or take a morning drive through Edna Valley on Orcutt Road to Lake Lopez, then travel the scenic back roads into downtown Arroyo Grande. Stroll the historic Village, discover turn-of-the-century Victorians surrounding Santa Manuela Schoolhouse, and cross the suspended swinging bridge — the only one of its kind in California.