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From the epic grandeur of Big Sur to the scenic Santa Barbara coastline nicknamed “the American Riviera,” this region of picturesque hamlets, jagged sea cliffs, and rolling wine country has long mesmerized visitors with dreamlike beauty. A drive along Highway 1 is an absolute must—be sure to leave time for stops at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Hearst Castle, and a San Luis Obispo County beach town or two. Cowboy culture still permeates Paso Robles and environs, and so does the low-key wine scene. Discover hidden gems in the Santa Ynez Valley, Ventura County, and pretty much everywhere else.

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