Discover the Central Coast
Alex Farnum

Central California

Discover the Central Coast

18
July
Average (°C)
June - Aug
22°
High
12°
Low
Sept - Nov
22°
High
8°
Low
Dec - Feb
18°
High
6°
Low
Mar - May
19°
High
7°
Low

From the epic grandeur of Big Sur to the Mediterranean style stretch of Santa Barbara coastline, nicknamed “the American Riviera,” this region of picturesque hamlets, jagged sea cliffs and rolling wine country has long attracted, not surprisingly, writers and artists mesmerised by its dreamlike beauty.

Monterey served as California’s first capital when the state’s first constitution was signed in in the coastal city in 1849.

Take the epic Highway One drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles to discover secret beaches and soaring cliffs along Big Sur, stroll a redwood trail, find a sea otter at the incomparable Monterey Bay Aquarium and sip Pinot Noir at sunset in the romantic Santa Ynez Valley.

San Luis Obispo’s Bubble Gum Alley is filled with more than 1.7 million pieces of bubble gum.
Spotlight: Santa Barbara
Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

Spotlight: Santa Barbara

Mediterranean style magic and a perfect ocean breeze

Bougainvillea twining across red-tiled rooftops, birdsong mingling with the ocean breeze, islands and whale spouts on the horizon—Santa Barbara’s...

SPECIAL FEATURE
See a few amazing wonders of the sea first-hand

Each year, about 20,000 gray whales make an epic 6,000-mile/9,656-km journey between Alaska and Mexico—and then back again. These whales travel...

8 Top Places for Whale Watching
Michele W/Flickr
Spotlight: Big Sur
Kodiak Greenwood

Spotlight: Big Sur

Art and nature merge on this rugged coast, one of California’s most spectacular settings

Welcome to one of the world’s most unforgettable stretches of coastline. This roughly 90-mile-long stretch of redwood- and fog-trimmed waterfront...

Castroville produces 95 percent of the nation's artichokes. In 1948, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the town's first "Artichoke Queen."
Central Coast Wine Country
Laura Flippen

Central Coast Wine Country

Miles of coastline, sunny hills, relaxing wineries

Historic ranch lands, a romantic coast, country roads, stay-a-while towns and grapes—lots and lots of grapes—make the Central Coast an outstanding...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Get the inside scoop on California's most celebrated commodity

With more than 3,000 wineries statewide, California lets you sample award-winning wines almost anywhere you go. These classic and up-and-coming...

California's Classic Wine Roads
Temecula Valley by Kodiak Greenwood
SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in...

9 Family-Friendly Wineries & Craft Breweries
John/ Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local...

10 Top Farmers Markets
Laura Flippen
Highway One Classic

Trip 5-7 days 10 stops

Highway One Classic

Take the trip that captures the heart and soul of the Golden State
San Diego

Start in one of California’s sunniest destinations, not just in terms of the weather, but also in attitude. In the heart of the city, shop in Horton Plaza, or catch a baseball game at Petco Park. See the giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo. Next, explore one of the city’s diverse neighbourhoods,...

San Francisco

Finish your trip in one of the world’s great cities. For a novel way to visit 'the City by the Bay' park your car and explore by foot, bike, and unique public transport. Pedal bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, then explore the lush Presidio, a former military base that is now a...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Discover the awesome sports scene in the Golden State

With nearly twice as many professional teams as any other state, California is big league all the way. But the state’s sports scene goes far...

Ultimate Sports Events
Christina Lauren/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Big-city-worthy events liven the sleepy Central Coast

Bookended by the big cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Central Coast may be known for its mellow pace, but the closeness of those major...

Central Coast Events
Photo courtesy of Monterey Jazz Festival
SPECIAL FEATURE
Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind the scenes tours at California’s theme parks...

Special VIP Tours
Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
May

America's largest and most prestigious cycling event brings many of the world’s top riders to the Golden State. The 8-stage race changes it up...

Amgen Tour of California
Amgen Tour of California
SPECIAL FEATURE
Beautiful locations, luxurious comforts

Get the starry nights, the campfire stories, the cosy sleeping bag and all the best parts of camping in some of California’s...

8 Great Glamping Destinations
El Capitan Canyon
SPECIAL FEATURE
Old-fashioned fun in the Golden State

Historic oceanfront playgrounds, classic city park charmers and boisterous adventures - smaller theme parks and attractions offer an...

Smaller Theme Parks & Attractions
Tai Power Seeff
Solvang
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Solvang

A Danish stronghold makes a charming outpost surrounded by ranch lands and vineyards

Imagine a villagewhere fresh-cut flowers and warm-from-the-oven pastries scent the air. Add gingerbread architecture, twirling windmills and...

Central Coast Missions
Tai Power Seeff

Central Coast Missions

Visit some of California’s most beautiful missions to discover the state’s Spanish roots

Strung like Spanish pearls along an 824-mile trail from San Diego to Sonoma, California’s 21 historic missions offer a wealth of treasures, from...

Santa Barbara ranks in the nation’s top 20 counties for bicycle commuters, with nearly 5,000 residents commuting to work by bicycle.