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Cambria to Santa Barbara, Halfway Beauty stop for coffee?

London, United...
Level Contributor
36 posts
Cambria to Santa Barbara, Halfway Beauty stop for coffee?

I will be driving from Cambria to Santa Barbara on a Monday 30th December and will take the 101, is there a halfway place to stop for coffee and a snack to eat that really stands out from the crowd with great views, not necessarily coastal?

I know I'll be passing through Morro, Shell and Pismo beach but don't hear anyone singing the praises of a great place to stop there.

I was looking at inland pics of SLO today online and the scenery looks as breathtaking as what I would have seen on my trip up the coast, but I would'nt know exactly where to stop to take it all in.

Is the Madonna Inn worth shortlisting for this stop?

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
1. Re: Cambria to Santa Barbara, Halfway Beauty stop for coffee?

A stop at Madonna Inn is recommend and for some food and coffee you might try a place in Solvang, Danish delight! Can't remember the place we stopped in Solvang but it was good.


Level Contributor
39,058 posts
1,014 reviews
2. Re: Cambria to Santa Barbara, Halfway Beauty stop for coffee?

Solvang would be a fun stop, a lot of people love Avila Beach. There is a pier there to walk out on and a pretty beach there. I love the quaint downtown area of Avila. You could go to the Sycamore Springs Resort in nearby SLO for a nice meal at the Gardens of Avila. If you like to spa, you can rent hot tubs there by the hour. Have fun! :)

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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22,062 posts
10 reviews
3. Re: Cambria to Santa Barbara, Halfway Beauty stop for coffee?

Hi pacpic

Yes! Go to the Madonna Inn. Get your coffee and one of their luscious pastries at the Copper Cafe and then enjoy those SLO views from the Madonna property, which sits at an elevated height and overlooks all of SLO out toward the eastern mountains.

With all our recent rain, the hills be green and beautiful.

If you would like to take in a lovely coastal view in Pismo Beach (you will not see the ocean again for 70 miles), then take the 101 south to the Avila Beach Drive off-ramp. Cross Avila Beach Drive on to Shell Beach Road and continue to Beachcomber Drive, make a right turn and park at the end of the street. There's a walkway along the ocean, as well as stairs down to a beach. You will have views from Avila to the north and Point Sal to the south. It's 180 degrees of coastal beauty.

Beachcomber wraps around back up to Shell Beach Road. Turn right and continue about 1/2 mile to Spyglass Drive. There will be a southbound 101 on-ramp for you get back on the road at this intersection.

Destination Expert
for Berkeley
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6,053 posts
84 reviews
4. Re: Cambria to Santa Barbara, Halfway Beauty stop for coffee?

Madonna Inn has its charms, but I'm not so sure food is one of them. I recommend stopping off to check things out, and if you like the looks of the cafe menu, then by all means eat/drink there. (Be sure to check out the men's restrooms while you're there!)

If not, I suggest stopping in downtown for a cup of coffee and a snack at a local favorite--Linnaea's Cafe (http://www.linnaeas.com). Conveniently, Linnaea's is in the heart of downtown and a very short walk to the beautiful mission as well as the adjoining creek and pedestrian path.

Also, swing by Solvang and pick up some Danish eats. Avila Beach is picturesque, but I would go there for the scenery and not the food.


London, United...
Level Contributor
36 posts
5. Re: Cambria to Santa Barbara, Halfway Beauty stop for coffee?

Many thanks for all your advice and ideas, I may pitch for a definite stop at Madonna Inn for coffee.

Food at this point is of no major concern, a mere snack on the run will do us at Madonna Inn, its positioning was of more importance as a point to stop and take in the vista. We are looking forward to some serious dining in Santa Barbara later in the evening.

I will be swinging through Solvang just to say I've seen it.

I should have enough time to fit in Avila beach too so I will get the best of all of your ideas, thanks!

Oakland, California
Destination Expert
for Big Sur
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3,850 posts
13 reviews
6. Re: Cambria to Santa Barbara, Halfway Beauty stop for coffee?

Avila Beach is lovely, and one of my favorite spots on the California coast. I hope you can make time to see it. Here's an example of the view:


7. Re: Cambria to Santa Barbara, Halfway Beauty stop for coffee?

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