I recently drove the California Highway 1 Discovery Route, and found it to be the perfect getaway. Featuring 10 artisan towns within 101 miles of famous Highway 1 in Coastal San Luis Obispo County, the Highway 1 Discovery Route offers so many options to have a memorable getaway especially if you like community events, spectacular sunsets or just plain relaxing.
If you are looking for a few cool places to stop, I found them. Start out at Ragged Point, and then head south to Cayucos!
Ragged Point: Must See Spot
Ragged Point, with its ‘Million Dollar View’ is a landmark stop for travelers heading north to Big Sur or south to Hearst Castle along California’s iconic Highway 1 Discovery Route. Towering 400 feet above the Pacific Ocean, the view from the point reveals miles of deep blue ocean, waves crashing on remote beaches, and seasonal whale watching. Bring your camera and some comfortable shoes to trek along the coastline. If you are hungry when you arrive, there is a restaurant at the Ragged Point Inn & Resort, or if you are looking for coffee, there is a small coffee cart to get your java fix before the hike!
Start at the Ragged Point Inn, 19019 Highway 1, Ragged Point, CA 93452
Elephant Seal Vista Point
Next, drive 15-minutes south to the elephant seal vista point. Here, you will find where the beautiful northern elephant seals migrate thousands of miles twice each year from the open ocean to this land-based rookery for breeding, birthing, molting, and resting between trips. These mammals can grow up to over 2,000 pounds and are an incredible site to see roaming the beaches. Visitors can learn more about stewardship for the great northern elephant seals from the Friends of the Elephant Seals docents who are on site daily from 10 – 4 pm. The area is open for viewing every day of the year and there is no admission fee or reservation required.
San Simeon, CA | GPS coordinates to the main viewing area: 35° 39′ 48″ N and 121° 15′ 28″ W.
Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room
If you are in the area, you’ll probably visit Hearst Castle. But many are not aware of Hearst Ranch Winery. They make great wine and their hospitality is superb. The tasting room is inside Sebastian’s General Store, which has carried on through the generations. Built in 1852 at the peak of the whaling industry, the Sebastian Brothers provided goods and services to whalers, fishermen, miners and neighboring ranches. Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room at Sebastians was the primary shipping point for barrels of whale oil, cheese, butter and other commodities on the Central Coast. If you are hungry, there is a cute oceanfront cafe with a casual-chic vibe within the general store that serves up burgers and sandwiches. The onion rings were killer! But don’t fill up too much, because you’ll need to save calories for your next stop!!
Hearst Ranch Winery | 442 SLO San Simeon Road, San Simeon, CA 93452 | (805) 927.4100 | Open Daily 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM | $10/$15 per person tasting fee (waived with a bottle purchase)
Cass House Cayucos: Must Stop Destination
My last stop was visiting the Cass House Cayucos, a five-room boutique hotel and restaurant. The house was completely restored in 2008, and no detail was left unturned. Owner/General Manager Traci Hozie is a stellar host and takes pride in offering selectively sourced ingredients for their restaurant. They source from local farms, and serve stellar dishes with an open kitchen concept behind the inviting, warm dining area. The restaurant prepares delectable bites—from perfectly sautéed scallops accompanied with an avocado puree, to Moroccan grass-feed tri-tip which was cooked to perfection. Desserts and baked goods were stellar as was the service and hospitality.
This should be your ‘go-to’ restaurant every time you visit Cayucos!
Of note, the owners of the grill also own the Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos, and make delicious shortbread cookies with the perfect balance of nuttiness and saltiness.
Cass House Cayucos, 222 North Ocean Avenue, Cayucos, CA 93430 | 805) 995-3669 | Reservations recommended
As you can see, there are so many great places to visit on the Highway 1 Discovery Route. Check out their site for more awesome stops!