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Limited time - best coast options?

Woking, United...
Level Contributor
218 posts
120 reviews
Limited time - best coast options?

After some great advice relating to an earlier post of our itinerary we have decided to skip Sequoia NP and go for the Highway 1 trip along the coast! We only have 2 and a half days to get from SF to Santa Clarita and we want to make sure we see the best the coast has to offer. For those who don't know we will be travelling with our 2 sons aged 10 and 14 so we want a wow factor all round!! Cambria sounds really nice but is it a bit too 'romantic and honeymoonish!!'The sight of couples snogging on the beach would only embarrass my 14 year old son!!

Level Contributor
39,086 posts
1,014 reviews
1. Re: Limited time - best coast options?

You could stay in San Simeon, the Best Western Cavalier Resort is oceanfront and a nice choice for families, it is just a short drive away from Cambria. The kids would enjoy going down to Moonstone Beach, there are always seals out on the rocks there that are cool to watch. A visit to Hearst Castle would also be fun and educational. The Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill would be a nice choice for a meal in the area, there is a large outdoor patio there with views of the ocean, very good Fish Tacos here. www.centralcoast.com Have fun with your family in this beautiful area of the CA coast. :)

Oakland, California
Destination Expert
for Big Sur
Level Contributor
3,861 posts
13 reviews
2. Re: Limited time - best coast options?

You may want to try renting dune buggies at Pismo Beach. That's probably more interesting for teenage kids than romantic walks on the beach. Try searching this site for info or Google "dune buggy rental pismo beach."

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
32,869 posts
6,430 reviews
3. Re: Limited time - best coast options?

Remember - you have lots of time for this given 2 and a half days. Its only 350 miles or if you were to drive at 60 miles an hour, it would be about a 6 hour drive.

Your kids will want to stop at Santa Cruz Boardwalk:


Then continue down to Monterey and go to Monterey aquarium:


Be sure to see Pt. Lobos just south of Carmel.


If your kids can stand not having television for one night, a reasonable place to stay is Asilomar State Park....easy walking to one of the most beautiful stretch of beaches.


Next day drive south along Big Sur area....be sure to also see the sea lions just north of Hearst Castle.


I'd drive as far south as Pismo Beach for the night. You might want to stay overnight at Lighthouse Suites


As mentioned you can do a Hummer Tour on the Pismo Beach Sand Dunes:


For dinner, you might like McClintocks:


or if you want some family melodrama for the evening, Great America Melodrama just south of Pismo Beach


We've gone and families had fun - you can buy dinner and (if you wish beer, etc.) to enjoy during the show.

I agree that Cambria might be a tad romantic...artsy crafty for that age. I would either stay overnight in Morro Bay or Pismo Beach, with preference in your case to Pismo Beach given the age of your boys.

Hearst Castle is fun - especially for Americans - although I consider it a "nice to see for the gorgeous ocean views from the house. Definitely you will have seen as good of art work, etc. in Europe on a consistent basis. As such, its a think to consider but in case not a "must do."


Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
22,063 posts
10 reviews
4. Re: Limited time - best coast options?

I recommend spending the first night in Monterey in order to explore the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can easily visit Santa Cruz early in the day on your trip down the coast.

Yes, Cambria is geared more toward couples, but I've seen many happy kids running down to Cambria's Moonstone Beach (Yes, there really is such a thing as moonstones).

However, I think Pismo Beach would be better suited for your family. The beach here is long and wide... perfect to let them loose! If you think your family would enjoy swimming in a hot springs pool, then make a visit to Avila Hot Springs Pool just west of the 101 freeway off Avila Beach Drive. Just down the street from the pool is Avila Valley Barn, a unique produce stand that also offers fresh baked goods, homemade ice cream and a small pen with farm animals that your kids can hand feed. Even the ... ahem... "big kids" have fun with that.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
44,486 posts
1,111 reviews
5. Re: Limited time - best coast options?

Be sure to read both your threads, sharpster :-)

6. Re: Limited time - best coast options?

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