Central Coast

Central Coast things to do, entertainment, towns, wineries, activities, points of interest, hotels, restaurants and more. Popular activities include kayaking, golfing, whale watching, wine tasting, hiking, fishing, camping and more. The Central Coast is definitely one of the best regions in California. With a surprisingly low population, most of the Central Coast remains as pristine as it was 200 years ago. From the bustling college cities of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, to the quaint towns of Pacific Grove and Cambria, the Central Coast has a lot to offer. Central Coast landscape varies from rolling sand dunes to rocky cliffs and soaring conifer forests.

Flickr photo album See our Central Coast photo album on Flickr.

National Parks

San Miguel Island photo courtesy of the National Park Service

The Channel Islands are located off the coast of Santa Barbara & Ventura. Ocean activities include scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, bird watching, kayaking, whale watching, and sailing. On the islands, you can camp, hike, picnic, and explore tide pools, isolated beaches, and rugged canyons. MORE DETAILS

Pinnacles photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Pinnacles National Park resides on the remains of an ancient volcano. Massive monoliths, spires and sheer-walled canyons create a breathtaking landscape of more than 12,000 acres. MORE DETAILS

State Parks

Natural Bridges State Beach features huge rock formation arches that rise from the ocean, a very large sandy beach, tide pools and coastal meadows. Park amenities include picnic areas, restrooms, barbecues and a Visitor Center. From mid-October through February, over 100,000 Monarch butterflies make their home in the Monarch butterfly preserve that is located in the park. MORE DETAILS

New Brighton State Beach features beach camping, picnic areas, swimming, fishing, beach camping and a nearby forest of Monterey pine and Coastal Live Oak.  MORE DETAILS

Sea Cliff State Beach features a large sandy beach popular for swimming. A pier ends at a partially sunken, concrete ship that used to be a source of entertainment. Beach camping is available for RV's only, no tents. MORE DETAILS

Manresa State Beach features beach camping, picnic areas, swimming, fishing and clamming. MORE DETAILS

Sunset State Beach features pine trees, sand dunes, beach camping and ocean-side picnicking. Bordered by large agricultural fields west of the city of Watsonville, the beach is a year-round destination for locals and tourists alike. MORE DETAILS

Salinas River State Beach features a wide sandy beach backed by sand dunes, farmlands and estuary. Activities include swimming, hiking, fishing, bird watching and horseback riding. MORE DETAILS

Monterey State Beach includes two long sandy beaches, tide pools, sand dunes and an underwater preserve. Activities include swimming, fishing, boating, volleyball, hiking, kayaking, diving and snorkeling. MORE DETAILS

Point Lobos underwater preserve offers scuba diving and snorkeling in one half of the park and picnicking, hiking and jogging trails in the other half. MORE DETAILS

Andrew Molera State Park offers camping, hiking, horseback riding on the beach, fishing and beach combing. The Big Sur River runs through the park where seasonal bridges are installed during the wet season. A primitive walk-in campground offers 24 campsites in this relatively undeveloped park. MORE DETAILS

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park hugs the ocean at the mouth of the Big Sur River. The Big Sur Lodge and campsites along the river accommodate visitors. Activities include camping, hiking, swimming and picnicking. MORE DETAILS

McWay Fall, Big Sur - photo courtesy of L. Thompson

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park features the spectacularly beautiful McWay Fall that drops 80-feet onto the sandy beach below. Popular activities at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park include camping, hiking, fishing, scuba diving and beach combing. Camping is available at two primitive walk-in campsites. MORE DETAILS

Limekiln State Park features breathtaking views of the Big Sur Coast, California Redwoods, rugged coast and cultural history of limekilns. Activities include beach camping, fishing and hiking. MORE DETAILS

Hearst Castle outdoor pool

Hearst Castle was the home of William Randolph Hearst who made his fortune in the newspaper business. The mansion contains 115 rooms, guest houses, roman pools and European antiques all atop a 250,000 acre ranch.
A state beach is also connected to the monument with a pier that provides opportunities for deep-sea fishing from charter boats and equipment rentals for water sports. MORE DETAILS

San Simeon State Park includes sandy beaches, coastal wetlands, a freshwater creek and coastal bluffs. An interpretive trail follows the creek through the wetlands to picturesque vantage points. Activities include beach camping, hiking, fishing, surfing, wildlife viewing and more. MORE DETAILS

Morro Bay State Beach features a lagoon and natural bay with the prominent Morro Rock landmark. Activities include beach camping, sailing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and more. An on-site museum has exhibits of cultural history, Native American life, geology, and oceanography. The park also offers a marina and an 18-hole public golf course. South of the Morro Bay State Beach is a popular estuary for bird watching. MORE DETAILS

Montaña de Oro State Park offers views of Morro Bay and the coastline that are spectacular. Secluded sandy coves and hiking trails are the highlights of this park. Activities include primitive camping, hiking, surfing, horseback riding, swimming and picnicking. MORE DETAILS

Pismo Beach State Beach features a wide sandy beach, pier thriving beach community, beach camping, Monarch Butterfly preserve and off-roading in the Pismo and Oceano Dunes. Popular activities include surfing, fishing, butterfly viewing, horseback riding on the beach, off-roading and beach camping. MORE DETAILS

Refugio State Park

Refugio State Beach is a popular park for swimming, picnicking, fishing and horseback riding. Beach camping is available directly adjacent to the ocean. A bike trail connects Refugio east to El Capitan State Beach. MORE DETAILS

El Capitan State Beach is a very popular beach for camping. Camping is offered among sycamore trees and several creeks flowing to the ocean. A day use area includes picnic tables, barbecues and trash cans on a grassy knoll on the beach. The beach is a long stretch of sand with boulders and tide pools at either end. A bike trail connects El Capitan to Refugio State Beach to the west. Activities include camping, beach combing, surfing, swimming and picnicking. MORE DETAILS

Carpinteria State Beach offers a long sandy beach and tide pools. Beach camping, swimming, surfing and tide pool exploration are popular activities. This park is a good option for RV camping by the beach. MORE DETAILS

Amusement Parks

View of Santa Cruz Boardwalk from the pier

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a classic boardwalk amusement park and possibly the oldest one in continual use in California. MORE DETAILS

Mustang Water Park is a small water park with traditional water slides & attractions. It's situated at Lopez Lake which offers an abundance of activities. MORE DETAILS

Zoos & Aquariums

Seymour Marine Discovery Center is a small-scale sea aquarium that's actually a marine laboratory for U.C. Santa Cruz. Exhibits include aquariums, touch tanks, an Ocean Discovery Shop and more. MORE DETAILS

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium is a large-scale sea aquarium featuring local species. Exhibits include sea otters, octopus, tuna, sharks, wolf eels and more. MORE DETAILS

Charles Paddock Zoo is a small-scale zoo with over 100 animals on display. MORE DETAILS

Morro Bay Aquarium is a small-scale sea aquarium with local fish and a seal feeding tank. MORE DETAILS

The Central Coast Aquarium is a small-scale sea aquarium with local fish and a hands-on science lab. MORE DETAILS

The Ty Warner Sea Center is situated on Stearns Wharf and offers sea aquarium displays of local sea life, interactive exhibits of ocean science, petting pools, a theatre and much more. MORE DETAILS

The Santa Barbara Zoo is a moderate-size city zoo with over 500 animals on display. MORE DETAILS


Things To Do

J. Lohr Winery

Wineries are abundant all along Highway 101 with most offering public wine tasting. World-renowned, Central Coast wines are produced in towns like Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Los Olivos and Santa Barbara. MORE DETAILS

Visit Monterey and Carmel-region movie sets from On the Waterfront to Play Misty for Me and more. MORE DETAILS

Join a walking tour of famous Carmel sites from the homes of famous people to the sets of Hollywood movies. MORE DETAILS

Take off from Watsonville Airport to several local wineries with helicopter access. Who needs a limo when you've got a helicopter? Specialized Helicopters offers winery tours and scenic helicopter tours of Monterey Bay and Big Sur. MORE DETAILS

Monterey Bay Kayakers

Kayaking is popular all along the Central Coast. Rentals for kayaks, stand-up paddleboards (SUP) and more are available. Most places included all the necessary equipment, lessons and tours. MORE DETAILS

Submarine tours are available in Morro Bay in semi-submersible vessels. View seals, sea lions and otters from the top deck as you traverse to the other end of the harbor and a large kelp forest. Go below deck to view local fish species thriving in the kelp. MORE DETAILS

Climb aboard a Jeep for an adventure through the back-country trails of Santa Barbara. Traverse through the hills for wine tasting, an unforgettable sunset, a trailhead to ancient Chumash Indian petroglyphs and much more. MORE DETAILS

Jet Ski Tours are available from Wave Jammers in Avila Beach. Guided tours lead to caves, secluded coves, the Port San Luis Lighthouse and much more. Wave Jammers also rents bicycles, jet skis and boats. MORE DETAILS

Glider Plane flights are available from the Santa Inez Airport. Soar silently through the sky for up to 30 minutes while taking in views of Lake Cachuma, multiple wineries and the Pacific Ocean. MORE DETAILS

Campgrounds are available all along the Central Coast and at inland lakes. Fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves and the smell of eucalyptus trees. Cook your catch over an open fire after a day of boating and fishing on one of many lakes. MORE DETAILS

Glamour Camping

Glamping is short for 'Glamour Camping' and is offered at the El Capitan Canyon resort. They offer tent cabins and cabins with king-size beds, hardwood floors, private bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and room service. They are tucked away in a canyon above El Capitan State Beach and offer convenient access to some of the Central Coast's most beautiful coastline. MORE DETAILS

Horseback riding is available through multiple stables and ranches along the Central Coast. Ride horseback on the beach, through sand dunes, over coastal bluffs and to panoramic hilltop vistas. MORE DETAILS

Whale watching cruises depart from several harbors along the Central Coast from Santa Cruz to Ventura. Whales that are found off California's coast include the Gray Whale, Humpback Whale, Blue Whale, Minke Whale, Fin Whale, Sperm Whale and Killer Whale (Orca). MORE DETAILS

Train Rides are offered by the Fillmore & Western Railway Company aboard vintage cars. Follow the Santa Clara River while riding the rails for lunch our dinner. MORE DETAILS

Lakes are located throughout the Central Coast. Many offer activities like water-skiing, boating, fishing, camping and more. Some of the most popular lakes include Lake Nacimiento, Lake Cachuma and Lake Casitas. MORE DETAILS

Golf courses are located throughout the Central Coast. Find a public golf course from the Santa Cruz region to Santa Barbara, including the world-renowned Pebble Beach Resort. MORE DETAILS

There's no better way to gain insight on a place than to join a tour led by a local guide. Central Coast tours include movie tours, submarine tours, sailing charters, a glass bottom boat and more. MORE DETAILS

Find off-roading areas on the Central Coast of California including State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRA) and National Forests. Challenge your motorcycle skills on the hillside trails of Hollister or catch air in a dune buggy off the backbones of Oceano Dunes in Pismo Beach. MORE DETAILS


The Mystery Spot is a wooden home in the redwoods that is an anomaly of gravity, perspective and all that is right in the world. Witness rooms that appear to be longer than they actually are, doorways that lean toward the Earth's poles and many more unexplainable experiences. MORE DETAILS

The Santa Cruz Wharf offers several restaurants, specialty shops, and entertainment options. Boat & kayak rentals and fishing & whale watching charters are available at the wharf. MORE DETAILS

Elkhorn Slough is one of California's largest and wildlife-rich wetland. View sea otters, harbor seals, waterfowl and more from the deck of a tour boat with a wildlife naturalist ready to answer any questions. MORE DETAILS

Monterey was once a sardine cannery village and the capital of California. Cannery Row has great fish restaurants and touristy shops. Victorian Bed & Breakfasts line the rocky shore. tide pool exploration is abundant. Sandy beaches surround Old Fisherman's Wharf and invite visitors to kayak, snorkel, dive and swim. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is the highlight of this city. MORE DETAILS

Old Fisherman's Wharf offers many restaurants, specialty shops, and entertainment options. There are several whale watching charters to choose from as well as deep sea fishing and sailboat rentals. MORE DETAILS

Carmel shop

Carmel is a quaint seascape village with European style. Stroll through the town and window shop or take the scenic 17-mile drive through the forest and along the coast. Many romantic hotels and restaurants can be found in Carmel-by-the-Sea. MORE DETAILS

Elephant seal colonies have increased in numbers in recent years. View hundreds of elephant seals beached right off Highway 1. Docents are often available for questions and elephant seal facts. MORE DETAILS

Cambria is a romantic seaside village conveniently located between San Simeon, Central Coast wine country and Morro Bay. Most hotels and Inns along Moonstone Beach feature fireplaces in every room and all have ocean-view rooms. All accommodations are within easy walking distance to restaurants. MORE DETAILS

Paso Robles is situated in the heart of Central Coast wine country. There are more than 200 wineries in the region - most offer wine tasting. Stay at the historic Paso Robles Inn and soak in their natural hot springs mineral water. MORE DETAILS

Morro Bay

Morro Bay is a Central California playground. Visitors enjoy golfing, kayaking, sailing, hiking, rock climbing, birdwatching, deep-sea fishing, surfing, biking, horseback riding, walking and much more. Morro Bay is recognizable for its huge stone megalith on the outer edge of the harbor. MORE DETAILS

Monarch Butterfly Preserve

Monarch butterfly groves are located at several locations along the Central Coast. Monarch Butterflies congregate by the thousands in eucalyptus trees each year between October and February. It's an amazing site worth experiencing first hand. MORE DETAILS

Solvang Windmill photo courtesy of www.SolvangUSA.com

The Village of Solvang is known as 'Little Denmark'. When you see the windmills, you know you've reached Solvang. This is where you can purchase unique Danish goods such as wooden shoes, pastries and dried herring. Wine tasting rooms of the local Central Coast wineries are abundant. MORE DETAILS

Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens

Central Coast botanical gardens feature local plant species from the entire coastal region. Species displayed include everything from coastal redwoods and sycamore trees to California poppies, nasturtium, lupin, vinca and fennel. MORE DETAILS

Santa Barbara is a bustling college town featuring excellent dining and entertainment options. Try 'Glamour Camping' at El Capitan Resort. Visit the historic Mission and gardens in the coastal foothills. Grab a seafood meal or tour the The Sea Center on Stearns Wharf. Or just relax on a wide sandy beach and listen to the waves crash. MORE DETAILS

Mission San Miguel

Spanish Missions were built by the Spanish all along the California coast between 1769 and 1823. Their purpose was to convert the indigenous peoples to Christianity and as strongholds for their newly claimed territories. Many of these missions can be found along the central coast region. MORE DETAILS

Lighthouses are located up and down the Central Coast from Santa Cruz to Lompoc. They make for picturesque shots and have interesting histories. Some offer lighthouse tours that include climbing the spiral staircase to the top. MORE DETAILS

Pismo Caves

Sea caves can be found on the Central Coast from Santa Cruz to the Channel Islands. They range in size from just big enough for one person to large enough to drive a boat into. Most are only accessible by kayak with a few reachable on foot. MORE DETAILS

Visit interesting Central Coast museums including art museums, children's museums, railroad museums, a surfing museum, war-bird museum and more. MORE DETAILS


Situated in Karen Wilson's Children's Theatre, ARIEL Theatrical hosts classic plays and fairy tales presented by children. MORE DETAILS

Laguna Seca is a professional racetrack located outside Monterey that hosts auto racing events including Le Mans, Grand Am, GT and MotoGP. This historic track has been driven by the top names in auto racing. MORE DETAILS

Pacific Repertory Theatre is located in Carmel and comprises three theatres that host local plays. MORE DETAILS

The Sunset Center is located in Carmel and hosts large theatrical productions, ballets, orchestras and concerts. MORE DETAILS

Pewter Plough Playhouse is located in Cambria and hosts small local plays. MORE DETAILS

Arlington Theatre

Arlington Theatre is located in Santa Barbara and hosts top performers, concert events and blockbuster movies in an historic theatre resembling a Spanish courtyard. MORE DETAILS

The Dinner Detective

Help to solve a murder case with a touch of comedy while you enjoy a fantastic four-course meal. Everyone is a suspect, even you, and the killer may be sitting at your table. Win a prize package for being The Top Sleuth of the evening. MORE DETAILS

Try your luck at one of many Indian Casinos on the Central Coast. Indian Casinos offer slots, bingo and table games like Blackjack, Poker, Baccarat, Pai Gow, Spanish 21 and more. Many Indian Casinos also feature live entertainment, restaurants and resort hotels. MORE DETAILS


Natural Bridges State Beach features huge rock formation arches that rise from the ocean. A very large sandy beach, tide pools and coastal meadows are other natural features. Every year Monarch Butterflies by the thousands nest in the eucalyptus trees at Natural Bridges. MORE DETAILS

Cowells Beach is situated to the west of the Santa Cruz Wharf, Cowells is enjoyed by surfers, tourists and local sunbathers. A small white sandy beach is backed by bluffs and the popular Dream Inn. Cowells is known for producing perfect waves for surfing. Restrooms available. MORE DETAILS

Moss Landing Beach offers long stretches of sand and sand dunes. Activities include fishing, surfing, wind surfing and horseback riding. MORE DETAILS

Monterey State Beach is located along the northern side of beautiful Monterey, just past Fisherman's Wharf. The park includes a long sandy beach, tide pools, sand dunes and an underwater preserve. MORE DETAILS

Carmel City Beach

Carmel City Beach is located at the end of Ocean Avenue in Carmel. This beach offers stretches of sandy beach and secluded coves among native cypress trees. MORE DETAILS

Carmel River State Beach is located south of Carmel off Highway 1. This huge sandy beach is usually one of the least crowded in the region. White sand stretches for a mile between Carmel and the headlands of Point Lobos State Park. MORE DETAILS

Andrew Molera Beach is located off PCH (Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Big Sur. Popular activities at Andrew Molera State Park include camping, hiking, fishing and beach combing. The Big Sur River runs through the park where seasonal bridges are installed during the wet season. A long narrow trail leads to a secluded beach at the mouth of the Big Sur River. Restrooms available at the parking lot. MORE DETAILS

Sand Dollar Beach is located off Highway 1 south of Limekiln State Park in Plaskett. Watch for 'Sand Dollar Picnic Area and Beach' sign on side of highway. Turn off and park in parking lot. Follow dirt trail down to a large white sandy beach. Restrooms and picnic tables available. MORE DETAILS

William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach is situated below Hearst Castle. There is a pier that provides opportunities for deep-sea fishing from charter boats. A large sandy beach offers swimming, fishing, kayaking, sunbathing and picnicking with barbecue grills provided. A concession stand rents equipment like bodyboards and kayaks. MORE DETAILS

Elephant Seals

San Simeon features long sandy beaches below coastal bluffs. Trails along the bluffs offer expansive coastal views and viewing benches are placed at key locations. MORE DETAILS

Moonstone Beach, Cambria

Moonstone Beach is located in Cambria and is popular for surfing, kayaking, and sightseeing. Boardwalks serpentine the bluffs above the beach and stretch for nearly a mile. At the northern end is a park offering picnic facilities among the shade of Cypress trees. The southern portion ends at a large sandy beach dotted with driftwood. MORE DETAILS

Cayucos Beach is known for its great surf and features a large sandy beach with a playground and public facilities. The Cayucos Pier is popular for fishing. MORE DETAILS

Three mile stretch of wide, sandy beach north of Morro Bay. Beach camping and outstanding views of Morro Rock and Montaña de Oro State Park. MORE DETAILS

San Luis Obispo Bay and Avila pier

Avila Beach is a large sandy beach covering a small portion of the crescent shaped San Luis Obispo Bay and is split by Avila Pier. This quaint community offers resorts, hotels, shops and restaurants. MORE DETAILS

Pismo Beach features large sandy beaches with a pier to the north and sand dunes to the south. The Pismo Dunes are popular for off-roading, beach camping and horseback riding on the beach. MORE DETAILS

Jalama Beach is situated on a secluded portion of the Central Coast, Jalama Beach is a small cove with a sandy beach, campground, store and grill. The grill is known for its hamburgers, chowder, chili and apple cake. Activities at Jalama Beach include beach camping, surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, whale watching, birdwatching, nature photography, rock hounding and fishing. MORE DETAILS

El Capitan State Beach is a very popular for beach camping. The campground is situated among sycamore trees beside a creek flowing to the ocean. The beach is a long sandy beach with tide pools at either end. MORE DETAILS

Also known by locals as Hendy's Beach, Arroyo Burro Beach features a large sandy beach, picnic grounds, restrooms and a popular restaurant situated on the sand. Enjoy fish tacos and a Mai Tai at the Boathouse at Hendry's Beach, a popular locals restaurant. Activities at Arroyo Burro Beach include surfing, swimming, fishing, whale watching and picnicking. MORE DETAILS

East Beach and West Beach are both located at the end of State Street and separated by the ever-popular Stearns Wharf. These wide sandy beaches are popular with local sunbathers and swimmers. MORE DETAILS

Rincon Beach is situated on Rincon Point that consistently produces perfect rights, Rincon is legendary with surfers. It has been memorialized in several surf songs and movies over the years. Rincon Beach features a mixed rock and sandy beach, picnic grounds and restrooms. MORE DETAILS


Gilroy Outlets is a collection of nearly 150 outlets for stores like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger and more. MORE DETAILS

American Tin Cannery Factory Outlets is a collection of two dozen outlets for stores like Bass, Izod, Pendleton, Rockport, Van Heusen and more. MORE DETAILS

Carmel Village offers a smorgasbord of shops, restaurants and quaint inns. This artist community by the sea has everything from touristy t-shirt shops to fine art galleries, jewelers, shoe shops, wine tasting boutiques and more. MORE DETAILS

Main Street Cambria contains several art galleries, local boutiques and restaurants. MORE DETAILS

Morro Bay Embarcadero offers touristy shops, art galleries, local boutiques, restaurants and plenty of entertainment options like kayak rentals, whale watching and submarine tours. MORE DETAILS

Pismo Beach Outlets has over 40 outlet stores offering apparel, luggage, housewares food and more at discount prices. MORE DETAILS

State Street is located in downtown Santa Barbara and features several city blocks of shopping, dining and entertainment in a Spanish courtyard settings. MORE DETAILS

Camarillo Outlets

Camarillo Outlets contain over 120 outlet stores offering apparel, luggage, housewares food and more at discount prices. MORE DETAILS



Dream Inn is located off Highway 1 at Bay Street. Situated on West Cliff Drive just steps from the Santa Cruz Wharf and Boardwalk, Dream Inn offers spectacular views of Monterey Bay with its sunsets, surfers and sea lions. MORE DETAILS

image courtesy of Four Sisters Inns

West Cliff Inn is located on Santa Cruz Beach within walking distance of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. West Cliff is a Four Sisters B&B with nine guest rooms offered within a lavish Victorian mansion. MORE DETAILS

Sea and Sand Inn is located off Highway 1 at Bay Street. Situated on West Cliff Drive just steps from the Santa Cruz Wharf and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, every guest room at the Sea and Sand Inn offers spectacular views of Monterey Bay. MORE DETAILS

Monterey Plaza Hotel - image compliments of www.canneryrow.com

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is located on the shores of Monterey Bay on Cannery Row. Situated within walking distance to restaurants, shopping, entertainment and the aquarium, Monterey Plaza offers 290 luxury guest rooms and suites. MORE DETAILS

Monterey Bay Inn is located on the shores of Monterey Bay on Cannery Row. Situated within walking distance to restaurants, shopping, entertainment and the aquarium. MORE DETAILS

Portola Hotel Monterey is located off Highway 1 in the heart of Monterey. They are conveniently situated at Old Fisherman's Wharf where there are restaurants, shops, museums and entertainment. Portola Hotel Monterey is a pet-friendly hotel. MORE DETAILS

Hotel Pacific Monterey is located off Highway 1 in downtown Monterey. This Spanish-style adobe hotel is situated just one block from Old Fisherman's Wharf. Hotel Pacific Monterey is a pet-friendly hotel. MORE DETAILS

Monterey Bay Lodge is located across the road from Monterey Bay Park and Beach. Hotel amenities include a swimming pool, hot tub, parking, WiFi and more. Monterey Bay Lodge is a great choice for a cheap hotel in Monterey. MORE DETAILS

The Clement Monterey is located off Highway 1 in the heart of Cannery Row. Many Monterey Bay attractions, restaurants and shops are just steps away from this luxury hotel. The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is behind the hotel and follows the shoreline to Fisherman's Wharf, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Monterey beaches. MORE DETAILS

Mission Ranch Inn

Mission Ranch is located off Highway 1 (PCH) off Rio Road in Carmel. Situated on the southern edge of town, this historic ranch offers seclusion with views across open bluffs to Carmel River State Beach. Some rooms come with an oceanview. Thirty-one rooms are broken out between the bunkhouse, farmhouse and several other buildings and cottages. MORE DETAILS

Tickle Pink Inn is located off Highway 1 (PCH) south of Carmel, past Point Lobos. Situated on the lush and rugged coastline, Tickle Pink offers astounding oceanviews to its guests. MORE DETAILS

La Playa Carmel is located off Highway 1 in the heart of Carmel. This historic mansion was built in 1905 and belonged to a member of the Ghirardelli family. Situated in town and only two blocks from Carmel Beach, La Playa Carmel is today a luxury hotel known as the "Grande Dame of Carmel". MORE DETAILS

Cypress Inn is located off Highway 1 in the heart of Carmel. This Mediterranean boutique hotel has been an Historic Landmark since 1929. Cypress Inn is co-owned by Hollywood actress and animal rights enthusiast, Doris Day, and is a pet-friendly hotel. MORE DETAILS

Pine Inn Carmel is located off Highway 1 in the heart of Carmel. Inn amenities include a restaurant, bar, bakery, boutique shops, complimentary full breakfast, WiFi and limited parking. MORE DETAILS

Tradewinds Carmel Hotel is located off Highway 1 (PCH) in the heart of Carmel. Situated in the heart of Carmel, this boutique hotel offers plenty of luxury and romance. MORE DETAILS

Carmel Lodge is located off Highway 1 (PCH) in the heart of Carmel. Hotel amenities include free parking, WiFi, in-room massage service and a continental breakfast delivered to your room. Carmel Lodge is a pet-friendly hotel and a great choice for a cheap hotel in Carmel. MORE DETAILS

Normandy Inn Carmel is located off Highway 1 from Ocean Avenue, in the heart of Carmel. Normandy Inn resembles a cottage in the French countryside with stone accents, window shutters, wood shingle roofs and colorful flower boxes. Normandy Inn is a great choice for a cheap hotel in Carmel. MORE DETAILS

Ripplewood Resort is located off Highway 1 between Andrew Molera and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Parks. They offer 17 rustic cabins with private decks overlooking the Big Sur River. MORE DETAILS

Glen Oaks Big Sur is located off Highway 1 between Andrew Molera and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Parks. Glen Oaks Big Sur offers several accommodation options nestled in the redwoods including a motor lodge, cottages and cabins. MORE DETAILS

Big Sur Lodge is located off Highway 1 at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. This rustic cabin lodge is nestled in the redwoods near the Big Sur River and several hiking trails. MORE DETAILS

Post Ranch Inn is located on Highway 1 (PCH) north of Lucia in Big Sur. Situated on the ocean side of PCH and on top of a bluff, this resort has one of the prime coastal locations in the entire state. It is also one of the most expensive resorts in the state ranging from $500 to nearly $3000 per night. Property is broken into several buildings and detached cottages situated among open meadows and redwood forests. MORE DETAILS

Ventana Big Sur is located on Highway 1 (PCH) north of Lucia. The resort is situated on the mountain side of PCH overlooking the ocean. Accommodations at Ventana Inn range from $500 to nearly $1300 per night. MORE DETAILS

Treebones Resort is located off Highway 1 north of San Simeon in the southernmost region of Big Sur. Treebones Resort is comprised of yurts and tent campgrounds. Yurts are detached circular huts with hardwood floors and canvas roof & sides. The property includes a small lodge & store, around 20 yurts, campsites, and a pool & hot tub. This resort is all about nature with multiple state parks located within a short distance and accommodations with panoramic oceanviews. MORE DETAILS

Deetjen's Big Sur Inn is located in the heart of Big Sur just south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Rustic redwood cabins are nestled among a lush redwood forest. Some Big Sur cabins are adjoining and others detached. MORE DETAILS

Big Sur River Inn is located in the northern portion of Big Sur between Andrew Molera and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Parks. This historic, renovated Inn is nestled among a lush redwood forest. The Big Sur River flows through the property where chairs made of pine tree branches are placed in the river for guests to relax and soak their feet. MORE DETAILS

Paso Robles Inn

Paso Robles Inn is located off Highway 101 on Spring Street. Situated in the heart of Central Coast Wine Country, this Historic Inn is known best for its Deluxe Spa Rooms with spa tubs filled with the healing waters of natural hot springs. The Inn is centrally located in Downtown Paso Robles near restaurants, wine bars, olive tasting, boutique shops and more. They feature lush gardens with oak, cedar and Japanese maple trees, running streams and Koi ponds for relaxation. MORE DETAILS

Fogcatcher Inn is located off Highway 1 just north of the Highway 46 intersection. This Inn is steps from the beach where a boardwalk stretches across the bluffs overlooking the ocean below. Situated on the picturesque Moonstone Drive within walking distance of restaurants and art galleries. MORE DETAILS

Moonstone Beach sunrise

Located off Highway 1 just north of the Highway 46 intersection. This Inn is steps from the beach where a boardwalk stretches across the bluffs overlooking the ocean below. MORE DETAILS

Cambria Shores Inn is located off Highway 1 just north of the Highway 46 intersection. This Inn is steps from the beach where a boardwalk stretches across the bluffs overlooking the ocean below. Situated on the picturesque Moonstone Drive within walking distance of restaurants and art galleries. Cambria Shores Inn is a pet-friendly hotel. MORE DETAILS

Cambria Pines Lodge is located off Highway 1 in Cambria Village. Lodge amenities include a restaurant, bar & lounge, gardens, swimming pool, hot tub, day spa, volleyball court and more. MORE DETAILS

Shoreline Inn Cayucos is located north of Morro Bay off Highway 1. Situated on the beach at Cayucos State Beach, all of their hotel rooms have an oceanview. Shoreline Inn Cayucos is a pet-friendly hotel with direct access to a leash-free beach. MORE DETAILS

Anderson Inn is located off Highway 1 at Morro Bay Harbor. This oceanfront boutique hotel features a view of Morro Rock from most rooms. They are conveniently located within walking distance of restaurants, boutique shops, activities and entertainment. MORE DETAILS

Inn at Morro Bay is located off Highway 1 at the south end of Morro Bay. They are situated in a secluded area between Morro Bay Harbor and Morro Bay Golf CourseMORE DETAILS

Madonna Inn is located off Highways 1 & 101 at the southern end of San Luis Obispo. This is a very interesting Inn with themed rooms like the Caveman Room, Love Nest and Irish Hills to name just a few. To give you a better understanding; the Caveman Room is literally like staying in a cave with features like a shower that pours directly from the rock above, the Love Nest is almost entirely decorated in pink and has a spiral staircase that leads to a private cupola lookout, Irish Hills is almost entirely decorated in green with an abundance of leprechauns and four leaf clovers. MORE DETAILS

Apple Farm Inn is located off of Highway 101 north of downtown. This boutique Victorian Inn offers accommodations within the the Inn or an adjacent modern motel. MORE DETAILS

Avila Lighthouse Suites are located off Highway 1 (101) from the Avila Beach Drive exit. Situated on the very popular Front Street with unimpeded oceanviews, Lighthouse features plantation-style buildings surrounding an oceanview pool & spa. MORE DETAILS

Inn at Avila Beach is located off Highway 1 (101) from the Avila Beach Drive exit. Situated on a bluff above Avila Beach, this oceanfront hotel offers an oceanview from most rooms. MORE DETAILS

Avila La Fonda is located off Highway 1 (101) from the Avila Beach Drive exit. Situated one block from the beach, Avila La Fonda features Spanish Colonial architecture arranged to mimic a Mexican village. MORE DETAILS

Spyglass Inn is located off Highway 1 (PCH) north of Pismo Beach, along Shell Beach. Situated on a cliff above the ocean, hotel amenities include an oceanfront restaurant, swimming pool, hot tub, parking, WiFi, beach access and more. MORE DETAILS

Pismo Lighthouse Suites are located off Highway 1 (PCH) at the north end of Pismo Beach. Situated on a bluff above the beach, this oceanfront hotel offers family-friendly accommodations like a family play deck with a badminton court, putting greens and life-size chess. MORE DETAILS

Kon Tiki Inn

Kon Tiki Inn is located off Highway 1 (PCH) on the north end of Pismo Beach. Situated on a cliff above the ocean, Kon Tiki has one of the best locations in Pismo. The popular Steamers restaurant is next door, the Pismo Beach Pier and sandy beaches are within walking distance and the picturesque coastline of Shell Beach extends to the north. MORE DETAILS

Royal Copenhagen Inn is located off Highway 101 in the heart of Solvang. Situated in an old-world hotel, amenities include a swimming pool, barbecue area, complimentary Danish breakfast and wine tasting. Royal Copenhagen Inn is a pet-friendly hotel. MORE DETAILS

Hotel Corque is locatad off Highway 101 in the quaint town of Solvang. Situated between the Santa Ines Mission and Vintage Motorcycle Museum, Hotel Corque is Solvang's premier boutique hotel. MORE DETAILS

Harbor View Inn

Harbor View Inn is located off Highway 101 at the Castillo Street exit. Situated just steps from Stearns Wharf and West Beach, this Spanish-style villa offers oceanviews from its Spanish courtyard and pool. MORE DETAILS

Brisas Del Mar Inn at the Beach is located off Highway 101 at the Castillo Street exit. Situated within walking distance of West Beach, Stearns Wharf and Santa Barbara Harbor, this boutique hotel features a Mediterranean elegance. MORE DETAILS

Biltmore Santa Barbara Four Seasons Resort is located off Highway 101 at the east end of Santa Barbara. Situated on butterfly beach, this resort offers over 200 guest rooms and a dozen multi-room cottages. Buildings feature Spanish colonial architecture with arched doorways, plaster walls, ornate ironworks and wood-beamed ceilings. MORE DETAILS

The Franciscan Inn is located off Highway 101 near the Bath or Castillo Street exits. Situated on just one block from West Beach and a short walk to Stearns Wharf, The Franciscan Inn features the convenience of being nearby to many of Santa Barbara's top attractions without having to break the bank. MORE DETAILS

The Montecito Inn is located off Highway 101 from the Olive Mill Street exit. The Historic Montecito Inn was built in 1928 by Hollywood great, Charlie Chaplin, back in the days when films were produced in Santa Barbara. MORE DETAILS

There are several hostels situated throughout the Central Coast including popular destinations like Monterey, Cambria, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ojai. These are low cost alternatives to hotels and often require dorm-style living. MORE DETAILS


Crow's Nest is located on the water at East Cliff Drive and 7th Avenue, in the Twin Lakes region. This seafood restaurant features a laid back surf ambiance with awesome Pacific views. Choose to dine in their 3rd floor bar & grill, 2nd floor lunch room or downstairs dining room. MORE DETAILS

O'Mei is located on Mission Street just east of Swift. This Chinese restaurant is a great place for traditional Chinese food. MORE DETAILS

Lillian's Italian Kitchen is located off Highway 1 from the Morrissey Boulevard exit. Lillian's is a neighborhood Italian restaurant that specializes in Sicilian and Italian food favorites. MORE DETAILS

The Crépe Place is located on Soquel Avenue just west of Seabright. They serve many varieties of gourmet crepes as well as other food specialties. MORE DETAILS

Shadowbrook Restaurant is located off Highway 1 from the 41st Avenue exit. Situated along picturesque Soquel Creek, Shadowbrook Restaurant and Rock Room Bar & Lounge can be reached by either a small funicular or walking down a garden path. This fine-dining restaurant specializes in steak and seafood menu choices. MORE DETAILS

Paradise Beach Grille is located on the Esplanade in Capitola Village. Enjoy views of the quirky Venetian Hotel, Pacific Ocean and Soquel Creek from this steak & seafood restaurant's outdoor deck. They have been voted, 'Best Restaurant in Santa Cruz County' multiple years in a row. MORE DETAILS

Phil's Fish Market is located between Santa Cruz and Monterey off Highway 1. Situated on the peninsula of the Elkhorn Slough, they double as a fish market and seafood restaurant. Their restaurant menu is loaded with fresh seafood choices including the daily local catch as well as those flown in special. MORE DETAILS

Old Fisherman's Grotto Restaurant, Monterey Fisherman's Wharf

Old Fisherman's Grotto is situated over the water at Fisherman's Wharf. Absorb breathtaking harbor views while watching otters play in the surf below. Family-owned for over 50 years, this is a well-known and popular seafood restaurant. MORE DETAILS

1833 is situated in an old adobe landmark with a decorative, hand-painted, stenciled interior. They offer a European menu with inspiration from coastal Spain, France and Italy. 1833 restaurant is popular with locals and tourists alike. MORE DETAILS

Sardine Factory Seafood - image compliments of www.canneryrow.com

The Sardine Factory is situated in the old Sardine Factory along Cannery Row. This primarily seafood restaurant offers a fine-dining experience that is popular with the tourists. The lounge was featured in the 1970's Clint Eastwood film, Play Misty For MeMORE DETAILS

Passion Fish is one of Monterey Bay's newest additions but has quickly gained notoriety as a top seafood restaurant. The restaurant menu changes daily according to season and the types of fish available from a 'sustainable' ocean resource. MORE DETAILS

Katy's Place is located in downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea on Mission Street, between 5th & 6th Streets. This is the spot for breakfast. This unsuspecting little restaurant will most likely have a line out the door and down the street when you visit. It's worth the wait. Their specialty is Eggs Benedict, of which they offer 16 different varieties. MORE DETAILS

Mission Ranch Inn Restaurant

Mission Ranch is located on the southern edge of Carmel. The Mission Ranch Resort is owned by Actor/Director and former Mayor, Clint Eastwood. Situated on a bluff overlooking Carmel River State Beach, the Mission Ranch Restaurant offers seating in a ranch-style restaurant or outdoor deck. A piano bar provides entertainment nightly and Clint Eastwood is rumored to play for guests occasionally. MORE DETAILS

Forge in the Forest Restaurant

Forge in the Forest is located at the corner of Junipero & 5th Avenue. "The Forge", as it's known by locals, has been in operation since 1944. This historic Carmel restaurant has been voted the best place for outdoor dining several years running. MORE DETAILS

Big Sur Roadhouse is located off Highway 1 at Glen Oaks Big Sur. Big Sur Roadhouse serves a seasonal menu of California cuisine. MORE DETAILS

Cielo is situated in the Ventana Inn & Spa, one of California's most exclusive and expensive resorts. This fine dining restaurant includes an outdoor deck and patio overlooking some of California's most breathtaking coastal scenery. They offer a seafood & game selection with a hint of Italian influence. MORE DETAILS

Nepenthe Restaurant is located off Highway 1 between Ventana Inn and Deetjens. Nepenthe Big Sur specializes in dining outdoors with spectacular Big Sur coastal views. Seating is positioned to give the most dramatic view while dining or just enjoying a glass of wine, beer or coffee. MORE DETAILS

Big Sur Bakery is situated off Highway 1 just a short distance south of the Big Sur Post Office. The Bakery resides in a cozy home that has operated as a restaurant since 1936. Comfortable ambiance among its wood-beamed ceilings and pine shaded patio makes the predominantly healthy menu seem even better for you. MORE DETAILS

Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill

Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill is located on Moonstone Beach Drive overlooking the Pacific Coast. This seafood restaurant includes an outdoor heated patio including a bar that faces the sunset. MORE DETAILS

Sow's Ear Cafe

The Sow's Ear Café is located on Main Street along with many other restaurants, boutiques and galleries. This is an intimate steak restaurant & grill. MORE DETAILS

Sea Chest Restaurant

The Sea Chest is located along the quaint and picturesque, Moonstone Beach Drive along with other restaurants, galleries and hotels. Situated in a turn-of-the-century Victorian home, The Sea Chest is a popular seafood restaurant with locals and tourists alike, sometimes resulting in lines developing outside the restaurant. MORE DETAILS

Artisan is located off Highway 101 at the corner of Park and 14th Streets. Artisan is a fine dining restaurant in the heart of Central Valley Wine Country. MORE DETAILS

Paso Robles Inn Steakhouse

Paso Robles Inn Steakhouse is located off Highway 101 on Spring Street between 10th and 12th. Situated within the historic Paso Robles Inn, the Steakhouse Restaurant offers a fine dining steak restaurant in the heart of Central Valley Wine Country. MORE DETAILS

Windows on the Water is located along the Embarcadero with many other touristy restaurants and boutiques, and situated over the water. Like many of the restaurants along Embarcadero, Windows on the Water offers expansive views of Morro Bay that is often teaming with kayakers and otters. This award-winning seafood restaurant is a great choice for a sunset dinner on the bay. MORE DETAILS

Dorn's Restaurant with view of Morro Rock

Dorn's is located one block up from the bay and offers views of the harbor and Morro Rock. A family owned restaurant since 1942, Dorn's is a favorite with the locals. They offer traditional café food with many additional seafood selections. MORE DETAILS

Olde Port Inn is situated on the end of a pier, on the west end of Avila Beach. This primarily industrial pier is home to fishing trollers and a seafood restaurant. Take in expansive views of San Luis Bay and the Pacific while dining. MORE DETAILS

Foremost Wine Company is located off Highway 101 in downtown San Luis Obispo. Foremost offers a wine shop, lounge and restaurant that specialize in great wines and food. Seasonal restaurant menu includes cheese plates, small plates and large plates. MORE DETAILS

Novo restaurant is located in downtown San Luis Obispo off Broad Street. This Brazilian Portuguese restaurant is situated alongside the beautiful shaded San Luis Obispo Creek and offers indoor and outdoor, creekside seating. MORE DETAILS

Ruddell's Smokehouse

Ruddell's Smokehouse restaurant is located off Highway 1 in downtown Cayucos. Being situated on the beach, Ruddell's specializes in fresh smoked seafood right off the boats. Jim Ruddell is known locally as 'Smoker Jim' because of his passion for perfectly smoked meats. MORE DETAILS

Steamers of Pismo

Steamers of Pismo is located on the north end of Pismo Beach where Price and Dolliver Streets meet. Steamers seafood restaurant is known for their great food, views and happy hour. MORE DETAILS

Splash Café is located one block from the Pismo Beach Pier. This seafood restaurant is renowned for their Clam Chowder. Their award-winning clam chowder is also sold at Costco. MORE DETAILS

Cracked Crab

Cracked Crab is located in the heart of Pismo Beach at Price and Pomeroy Streets. Cracked Crab is known for its casual seafood restaurant atmosphere, complete with paper table coverings and bibs. MORE DETAILS

Pea Soup Andersen's restaurant is located just a short distance from the heavily touristed town of Solvang. For over 80 years Pea Soup Andersen's has been serving meals to California travelers from multiple locations throughout the state. You can't miss their Dutch windmill building where a trip inside offers not only a great meal, but also a bakery and gift shop. The interior decor is a step into Holland. MORE DETAILS

Paula's Pancake House is located off Highway 101 in downtown Solvang. Paula's Pancake House specializes in hearty American and Danish breakfast and lunch. MORE DETAILS

Actor's Corner Café is located off Highway 101 in downtown Solvang. Actor's Corner Café specializes in perfect wine and food pairings. MORE DETAILS

The Palace Grill is located in Santa Barbara's Old Town District. They specialize in Creole, Cajun and Caribbean food complete with Mardi Gras-style entertainment. Expect to be entertained with some sort of boisterous music or talent show. This is a terrific place for those looking to have a good time and not a romantic evening. MORE DETAILS

Carlito's Café is located in the heart of Santa Barbara and features Mexican food of Pueblo, Mayan, and Aztec origin. Adobe structure, leather chairs, terra cotta floors and fountains immerse patrons in Latin culture. MORE DETAILS

Bouchon is located in the heart of Santa Barbara and features wine country cuisine in a fine dining restaurant. This award-winning restaurant specializes in pairing wines with menu choices. MORE DETAILS

Cold Spring Tavern is located off Highway 154 in the foothills between Santa Barbara and Lake Cachuma. This historic restaurant used to be a stagecoach stop in the 1860's. A trip to Cold Spring Tavern is like stepping back in time since the owners strive to preserve the original heritage of the property. MORE DETAILS



San Jose Airport offers convenient access to the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Paso Robles and more. MORE DETAILS

Los Angeles Airport (LAX) offers convenient access to all of Southern California, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, San Simeon, Solvang and more. MORE DETAILS

Traffic & Transportation

Highway 1 is the north and south highway that parallels the coastline from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara. Highway 1 is very windy but equally picturesque from Carmel to San Simeon. This two-lane section has several 35-mph zones that dip and climb through hairpin turns. Plan on it taking at least an hour longer than expected when traveling through this region of Big Sur coastline. Rock slides have been known to cause road closures. Contact CalTrans for latest road conditions.

Highway 101

Highway 101 is the north south highway from Salinas to Santa Barbara. This four-lane road makes for quick access to coastal regions. There's only one especially steep climb between Buellton and Gaviota.

Central Coast public transportation is good. Most cities and towns have their own public transportation and regional bus lines link to the other outlying towns. Here is a list of public transportation links for each Central Coast region:

See our resources page for links to Rental Car agencies, Amtrak Train and Greyhound Bus.


Weather from Monterey to Santa Barbara including Carmel, Big Sur, Cambria, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, Solvang and more.

Winter average lows in the 50's and highs in the 70's. Mostly rain and rare hail storms occur. Grey sky days can be misty throughout and fog is not uncommon.

Spring average lows in the 60's and highs in the upper 70's. Rain showers are still common but decreasing. A marine layer often burns off in the afternoon. Fog is common.

NOTE: See our TIPS page for precautions when driving in fog.

Summer average lows in the 70's and highs in the upper 80's. Marine layer or fog is VERY likely.

Fall average lows in the 60's and highs in the 70's. Thunderstorms can occur. Grey, misty days and fog are likely.

NOTE: See our TIPS page for precautions when driving in fog.

Ocean water temperature ranges from the mid 40's in winter to the 60's in summer.

The Weather Network


The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 10-day event that screen hundreds of films from short films to full-length foreign films. SBIFF attracts top celebrities from the Hollywood film industry and around the world. WEBSITE

Join multiple Santa Ynez Valley Chefs, Bakers, restaurants, wineries, breweries and fine food establishments presenting their Danish-inspired bites. Enjoy free admission to Solvang museums, gourmet meals at local wineries and samplings from several Solvang boutiques and eateries. Taste of Solvang is coupled with the Solvang Wine & Beer Walk event. WEBSITE

The Paso Robles Wine Festival takes place this year at Chumeia Vineyards. Sample some of the best California wines while listening to live music. Wine country cuisine is available from multiple area restaurants. Grab a free shuttle or bring a designated driver who gets a discounted admission. WEBSITE

The Carmel International Arts Festival takes place in Devendorf Park and features live music and art exibits including paintings, photography, woodwork, digital media, pottery, jewelry, sculpture and more. Held in Carmel City Square. WEBSITE

Downtown Los Olivos comes alive with music, wine and food during the Jazz & Olive Festival. Taste wine from twenty five local wineries, listen to world-class, professional jazz musicians and sampling thirty different olive-themed dishes prepared by local chefs. WEBSITE

The Central Coast Lavender Festival is held at the City Park in Paso Robles. Enjoy lavender products such as oils, dipping sauces, ice cream and more while listening to live music, perusing the works of local artists and sampling cuisine from participating restaurants. WEBSITE

The Carmel Bach Festival takes place at locations all over the Monterey Peninsula over a span of 16 days. Enjoy J.S. Bach's Baroque music as performed by talented musicians of national and international acclaim. WEBSITE

The Gilroy Garlic Festival features over two tons of fresh garlic in everything from pasta to ice cream. Enjoy live concerts, shopping for arts & crafts and cooking demonstrations. Be there for the great garlic cook-off, while soaking up the sun with other garlic-lovers. WEBSITE

The Creston Classic Rodeo features rodeo events, live music, a rodeo dance, great food and more. WEBSITE

The Monterey Jazz Festival is held at the Monterey Fairgrounds and hosts over 500 artists on 8 stages. For 3 nights and 2 days some of the world's best jazz fills the festival's 20 acres. WEBSITE

Celebrate Danish heritage with three parades, Danish food, Scandinavian folk music, dancing and a street party. Enjoy a Viking Beer & Wine Garden, puppet show, chainsaw carving demonstration, local artisan marketplace, readings of Hans Christian Anderson, kids games and more. WEBSITE

photo courtesy of www.afthunderbirds.com

The Salinas Air Show roars over Central Coast farm country. Headlined by the Air Force Thunderbirds in their red, white and blue F-16 fighting falcons. Other attractions include flight demonstrations by an F-22 Raptor, stunt planes, historic warplanes and more. WEBSITE

Paso Robles Pioneer Day has been held since 1931. Festivities include a parade, live music, classic car show, horseshoe pitching contest, mule packing demonstration and more. WEBSITE

The Pismo Beach Clam Festival celebrates the mollusk that made Pismo Beach famous. Enjoy a multitude of events including a parade, kissing contest, clam dig, clam chowder cook-off, sandcastle contest, hula-hoop contest, surf contest and many more. Most of the festival events take place at the Pismo Beach Pier. WEBSITE

Celebrate Christmas in Solvang with events held every weekend in December. Enjoy a Christmas parade, tree lighting ceremony, nativity pageant, wine & beer walk, festive shopping, pictures with Santa, holiday lights tour and more. WEBSITE

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