Advice about the Central Coast of California

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Activities for 10 yo in Central Coast

April 2009

My family (my husband, myself and our 10 yo son) is planning our summer vacation in central coast region. We will be going for less than a week in August. We plan to visit Cambria, San Luis Obisbo, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach and Santa Maria. We have never been there before but I've heard lots of good things from friends. My son is not sure what kind of activities he'll find there, other than the beach. He's crazy about basketball, and just starting to take golf lessons. Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated. Vivian

Rent bikes. You can rent skates at the pier in Santa Barbara and skate up and down the sidewalk along the beach. There is some good hiking up in the Santa Ynez mountains above Santa Barbara, including searching for waterfalls, hot springs and indian petroglyphs. The old missions are neat to visit. Some areas may have kayak or sail boat rentals. How about a walk around the UCSB and San Luis Obispo campuses? I was a student at UCSB and go back now and then, so those are where my ideas come from. kl

1) Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles: our family had a great time at this old-time ag fair. Check out the indoor rodeo: it's mainly local folks doing barrel racing & calf roping; lots of fun.

2) We got a LOT of mileage from an excellent (free) booklet, ''Ag Adventures of the Central Coast.'' Not sure if this is still in print, but it gives you dozes of ideas for ranches, farms, & wineries to visit. I still recall the magnificent Arabian horses we visited..... enjoyed the c.c.

There's a lot of beach happening on the central coast for sure, and some other stuff:

There are a couple of good golf courses: One smaller course on Los Osos Valley Road between Los Osos and San Luis Obispo, one beautiful one with an ocean view in Morro Bay, and one on HWY 1 between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo called Dairy Creek.

For hiking there's a beautiful place on the coast called MontaC1a de Oro that has several hiking trails of various levels. There's a moderate climb on Black Hill in Morro Bay State Park and a thrilling mountain to climb in San Luis Obispo called Bishop's Peak.

Sit-on-top kayaking in Morro Bay with tons of wild life to view in the bay and estuary.

A great cement skate park in Los Osos on Los Osos Valley Road near the library and lots of great back roads for biking.

In SLO proper there's tons of family-friendly restaurants and some cool movie theatres.

Every Thursday night is the farmer's market street fair in SLO with bands, food, performances, and delicious produce.

Let me know if you want some restaurant recommendations.

Have fun! Megan

Vacation options on California coast

Feb 2009

We are looking for a good location to rent a large house that can accomodate our extended family (i.e. grandparents, parents & grandchildren) for about a week in the fall. Family will be coming out from Chicago and they are interested in somewhere warm on the California coast, where everyone can swim, and there are enough activities for all (kids are ages 2 - 6). We have considered either Santa Barbara or Santa Monica. Looking for any input about these options, or other ideas?

Friends of my parents stay at Los Osos every year and love it. It's worth looking into - it seems to meet your criteria. JH

Know of a central coast beach house?

June 2008

We are planning a week long getaway to the central coast--SLO, avila beach, san simeon, cambria, etc for our family of four but I am having a heck of a time locating a reliable, trustworthy vacation rental site. Has anyone had any experience renting a beach house anywhere near these beach towns? We want privacy and walking distance to the beach, nothing fancy, just comfy and clean. Any advice or leads would be awesome! nicole

I have always had great luck finding houses on Alison

For quite a few years when our kids were toddlers through teens, we used to rent a house in Cambria within walking distance of Shamel Park, which opens onto the beach. There are a variety of houses available through these 2 places (and they have websites too, but I don't have the links handy)

Coastal Escapes 800 578 2100
Cambria Vacation Rentals 800 545 5079

Our favorite house was at 260 Worcester - it was huge and had all the amenities anyone would want (nicer than our house, really, which made it a real vacation.) We loved going for July 4th or for the week before Labor Day, as they have real parade / park events that were really fun for little kids. My boys live in the hills here, where learning to ride a bike is impossible. They both honed their skills and took off the training wheels in Cambria! hope that helps - - happy Cambria tourist

We've rented houses from this place in Cayucos mg

Central coast cabin for New Years

Oct 2007

My husband and I would like to spend a few days on the central coast with our 3 year old right after Christmas. We would like somewhere kid-friendly, not too crowded, where we can go to the beach, hike, relax. We would like to be able to visit Hearst Castle and be within a 4-5 hour drive from Berkeley. We hope to rent a cabin/cottage where we can cook meals though it can't be too pricey. Any recommendations of towns that fit the bill, or specific places to stay? need a vacation

You might like Cayucos. It's a very small beach town just north of Morro Bay. We have rented condos & small beachfront houses from beach lover

I highly recommend the town of Cambria. It is a quaint little town with shops and cafes. There are a lot of homes and cabins on the beach and in the hills of the Cambria community. I'm sure you can find a realtor in Cambria who can help you find a rental. Sorry I don't know of one personally. I've only stayed in a B there, and many years ago we use to know someone who had a cabin on the beach once. So I've been there many times.

Cambria has it's own beach, but there is also a wonderful beach just north of there called Moonstone Beach. If you like to collect pretty beach stones and pebbles, this is a wonderful place to visit. There is no sand, at least not the last time I visited 10 years ago. It is all pebbles. Cambria is very close to Hearst Castlle. I believe right near San Simeon you can observe the Elephant Seals on the beach. Be respectful of them as they have signs posted everywhere not to go near them. There use to be restricted parking to prevent too many people going there. I don't know how it is today. At any rate, it is a great area and Cambria is a wonderful little town. Laurey

Take a look at Morro Bay or Cayucos. And if you go to Hearst Castle from those two spots, San Simeon State Park is a very nice place just to have lunch or a snack, or take the relatively easy circular hike -- about an hour, hour and a half loop. k

Beachfront Vacation Rental on Central Coast Wanted

April 2006

I'm looking for a beach/oceanfront vacation rental (for 3-6 people) for a week somewhere on the Central Coast for late July/early August. I'm partial to Santa Cruz, but also wouldn't mind San Luis, Pismo, Santa Barbara, etc. Any recommendations? I want to be only steps from the sand and I want gorgeous views. Thanks! hanniemay

Recommendations received:

  • Cayucos
  • Castroville

    Central Coast beach with a one-year-old

    May 2003

    My husband and I, plus our easy-going 1 year old, are planning a little road trip to the Central Coast. We're thinking about staying in Cambria or Cayucos, and Morro Bay, and are looking for recommendations for places to stay and perhaps any particular things to do. Pre-baby we were B folks, so we're still hoping for quaint and peaceful, yet toddler friendly. Possible? We like to hike, eat good food, see art, and hang out on the beach. Anyone out there familiar with the area, and can share info? Thanks! Joanna

    Recommendations received:
  • Avila Beach (2)
  • Cambria (2)
  • Cayucos