You may have visited the
United States quite often and may have also been to California. But
California’s iconic Highway 1 has a lot to offer. We take a look at a few gems
tucked away on this classic stretch.
They say one man’s junk is
another man’s treasure, and that is certainly the case with Nitt Witt Ridge.
Visit Cambria and take a tour of a house you have got to see to believe.
Sitting on two and a half acres, this folk-art attraction was originally
perfected using only a pick and shovel by its original owner, Arthur “Art”
Harold Beal, who purchased the property in 1928. Beal made good use of his job
as a garbage collector, taking natural minerals that were tossed away and beach
debris to accentuate the Ridge. Today, this “castle on a hill” is owned and
maintained by Mike O’Malley, who gives tours regularly.
On a 2,000 acre stretch of
preserved land overlooking the ocean is the unexpected home to over 100 Covell
California Clydesdales at Cambria Pines by the Sea Ranch. It is known as one of
the most beautiful working horse ranches on the Central Coast.
Not many people know about the
wonderful spectacle that happens in Santa Barbara during the winter time.
Thousands of Monarch butterflies migrate to their winter home in the hidden
eucalyptus groves along the interior of the Ellwood Mesa. Visit the Goleta
Monarch Butterfly Grove from mid-November to mid-February and enjoy an amazing
sight as you witness these orange-and-black beauties dangling from eucalyptus
Nestled in the foothills of
Montecito to the east of the city of Santa Barbara, the gardens at this unique
37-acre estate were created by Madame Ganna Walska, a glamorous Polish-born
opera singer who owned the property from 1941 until her death in 1984. This
whimsical property is filled with architectural masterworks, hidden gardens,
timeless stonework and horticultural treasures fashioned with an extraordinary
collection of exotic plants from around the globe.
There may be no greater way to
veer from the highway than by taking flight high over the Pacific Ocean.
Reenact your Top Gun fantasies at Banner Airways in Oceano, where you can fly
in the exact aircrafts used to train American Pilots during WWII. Get suited up
with a leather jacket, helmet, goggles and life jacket, then feel the roar of
the 450 horsepower engine as you prepare for takeoff into the wild blue yonder.
Situated 20 miles north of the
historic town of Mendocino, the newly constructed Inn at Newport Ranch is part
of a 2,000 acre coastal cattle ranch featuring over a mile of oceanfront, three
miles of ridge tops, and 20 miles of world class hiking and riding trails.
Inspired by the rugged North Coast, the unique lodging destination boasts a
20-foot-wide walk-in stone fireplace, a building supported by 24 individual
redwood trees from base to cathedral-like ceiling, and a hot tub on top of a
water tower that presents panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Enjoy a
meal al fresco at the inn’s outdoor dining areas, horseback riding, whale
watching and guided ATV adventure safaris along the dramatic coast.
Pull off the road in Pacifica
for a rewarding afternoon adventure. Join the fans in line for a pastry at
Mazzetti’s Bakery before taking in the scenery on an easy hike along Devil’s
Slide. Reward yourself with a Pisco Sour at Puerto 27, a Peruvian restaurant
overlooking the Pacific. Head south to
Half Moon Bay, stopping to play bocce and taste wine at La Nebbia Winery. Test
your glass blowing skills at Half Moon Bay Art Glass, or play a round of golf
at Half Moon Bay Golf Links. Continue your detour with a stop at Pillar Point
Lighthouse in Pescadero, followed by a cheese sampling at Harley Farms Goat
Dairy. Hike along Ano Nuevo beach to see the giant elephant seals, or go
horseback riding at Costanoa Lodge and Resort. Cheers to your excursion with a
locally brewed beer at Highway One Brewing Company.
Wines from all over the world
are personally handpicked by Katie Brookshire, the wine aficionado behind Table
Wine Merchant (also a former employee of world-renowned wine expert David
Lynch). Stop into this boutique Pacifica shop and let her pick the perfect
bottle to suit your style. Winemakers are on site for weekend wine tastings,
and “Two Fer Tuesday” offers to feature wine tastings. Most bottles are under
On the shores of Big Corona
beach, “Top Chef” alum and Southern California native Chef Brian Huskey is
bringing chef-driven, approachable cuisine to the masses. Tackle Box mixes
Asian, French, Peruvian, and Californian influences, creating a fresh menu
accessible right at the beachside stand. Delicious dishes like lobster rolls,
elote, salmon poke, and a unique twist – Banh Mi and Falafel – will surely
satisfy beach-goers’ cravings.
Along Highway 1 on the
southern border of Pismo Beach, the Pismo Creek ripples serenely through a
riparian estuary until it is greeted by the Pacific Ocean. Flanked by majestic
Eucalyptus trees, this section of the Pismo Creek is home to the Monarch Butterfly
Grove which hosts tens of thousands of migrating butterflies from October
through February. Meander along the banks where various migrating marine life
such as dolphins, whales, and sea otters and numerous bird species including
warblers and adorable snowy plovers can be observed.
Miles of row crops, vast
stretches of nearly empty beaches, and nature viewing invite travelers to stop
along the western edge of Santa Maria Valley’s quiet landscape. Here, the
Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex is National Wildlife Refuge that offers hiking,
wildflower viewing, bird watching, whale watching, nature photography and more.
Start your adventure at the Dunes Center, a tiny museum located in the town of
Guadalupe. Take a self-led or guided hike, and explore the intriguing displays
of artifacts found in the dunes. Nearby, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts and
Education Center specializes in local Chumash Native American heritage, and the
ever-popular Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville offers great classic musicals,
original plays and melodramas. End your adventure with authentic Mexican eats
at El Tapatio in Guadalupe.
Make the most of your beach
experience in Morro Bay, an active seaside fishing village along Highway 1’s
Central Coast. With the Morro Bay Adventure Pass, receive discounts on
bicycles, surrey, kayaking, and stand up paddle board rentals, as well as boating,
fishing and wine tasting. Take a break from the road for three full days of fun
with this all-inclusive package. Passes for individuals, couples, and families
In San Luis Obispo, over 60
local businesses throughout the county have come together to join SLO Car Free,
providing travellers with the opportunity to see the sights sans vehicle. Your
car-free journey to San Luis Obispo’s charming coastal hub starts with a 20
percent discount off Amtrak. Sample cuisine, architecture and history with
Central Coast Food Tours, explore the wine country of Paso Robles with
Breakaway Tours, soak in the natural hot springs at Avila Sycamore Mineral
Springs Resort, or taste local, organic dining at Big Sky Café in downtown SLO.
Visit renowned tourist destinations such as Hearst Castle and the popular
downtown SLO farmers’ market.
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