To Do While Visiting Cambria California by Laura Eggers Underhill
If you want to get away to
a small seaside village and just enjoy its slow pace and lovely scenery,
Cambria California on the central coast is just the place. But there is
more to do than just relaxing and enjoying the sunsets.
There's no real commercial
draw, except that it's the gateway to the Big Sur coast. Many people stop
here if they're planning to visit Hearst Castle, just 6 miles up Highway
One. There's a few little motels in town, and more at Moonstone Beach,
mostly with ocean views. The nearest "big" city is San Luis Obispo, about
33 miles to the southeast.
The town of Cambria is divided
into the east village and the older, west village, both very walkable.
On Friday afternoons there is a Farmer's Market. It started as an artist's
colony and Victorian architecture is plentiful. There are art galleries,
boutique shops and restaurants to enjoy. The Cambria Historical Society
offers self-guided walking tours of the east village. You can get their
brochure from The Cambrian at 2442 Main Street.
A free trolley can take you
on an hour-long route, looping through both villages, Moonstone Beach Drive,
Fiscalini Ranch and Cambria Pines Lodge. It leaves every half hour.
Moonstone Beach is covered
with small rocks, including moonstone agate, jasper and jade. It's fun
to crunch around on them, discovering how unique each one is and how shiny
they become when the sea washes over them.
Leffingwell Landing is on
the north side of Moonstone Beach Drive. There, you'll find restrooms,
picnic tables and fantastic views.
There's also tide pools to
explore and a wooden boardwalk that winds along the back of the beach where
you can stroll and enjoy the great views. Across the street are several
motels that face the ocean.
For a spectacular walk along
the bluffs of the Pacific, go to Fiscalini Ranch. You can park at the end
of Windsor Boulevard. In spring time, the wildflowers are blooming as you
walk out along the path overlooking the ocean with the crashing surf below.
Probably the most well known
place for Cambria lodging is the Cambria Pines Lodge. It's not by the beach,
but up in the monterey pine covered hills at 2905 Burton Drive. It's a
lovely little lodge, which is situated on 26 acres. You can stroll around
the gardens and eat in the casual dining restaurant there even if you are
not an overnight guest. A splendid little path leads from the lodge's grounds
to the Cambria Pines Nursery, which is a delight in itself for garden lovers
Cambria is also convenient
to wine tasting, as there are several wineries along Highway 46, which
leads inland towards Paso Robles.
If you're heading to Hearst
Castle for the first time, you're in for a real treat. Drive about six
miles up the coast and park near the large visitor center. You can get
tickets there to one of the tours and see a film about the place before
boarding the bus up the mountain to William Randolph Hearst's spectacular
If you happen to like offbeat,
decorative architectural relics, you can't leave town without a quick drive
up to Nit Wit Ridge. It's actually a state historical landmark and can
be found at 881 Hillcrest Drive. It took 51 years to build, and is adorned
with all kinds of oddities, both natural and manmade, including toilets,
abalone shells and car parts.
Other things to do in Cambria
California include seasonal whale watching, going to the local theatre,
or listening to live music.