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  • Writer's pictureJefferson Graham

Cambria: pull off Highway 1 and check it out!

Our Highway 1 Central California coast road trip continues!

This week we pull into the charming coastal town of Cambria which is just south of Hearst Castle. Highlights: really nice paved walkways for hikes by the sea and overlooking it, a dramatic Big Sur like coast, fun historic downtown with two parts (west and east) and a great home base for exploring the southern section of Big Sur.

The Castle is about 9 miles up the road, and along the way you get to check out the elephant seals and some rare zebra sightings.

Go a little further and you’ll catch some really striking rocky coastline at the Piedras Blancas lighthouse. And then there are those pies!

The above video tells you all about Cambria, the best photo spots in town and how to get pro results on your smartphone camera. Here’s more!

WALK! The highlight of any Cambria visit is Moonstone Beach, a 1 mile paved walkway by some amazing oceanfront scenery. They call this area “Little Sur,” because of the dramatic coastline. It’s like Big Sur without the windy drives! The other great walk in Cambria is Fiscalini Ranch, another paved walkway that overlooks the ocean.

ENJOY THE COAST Go down into the sand and enjoy view, and make sure to return at sunset for great photo ops. My favorite spot in town is Leffingwell Landing, at the tail end of Moonstone Beach.

SEALS AND ZEBRAS The Elephant Seal Rookery is just south of Hearst Castle, and you’ll see many, many large seals in the sand. In the winter they mate here, and you’ll also see their little pups. A little further north, and there’s more: zebras grazing at the side of the road. They were brought to San Simeon by William Randolph Hearst when he built his castle in 1919, and generations of them have remained ever since.

THOSE PIES Cambria only has about 6,000 residents, but there are four stores to satisfy their hunger for pies. My wife, Ruth told the story of Linn’s better than I could. Read her piece below, and better yet, subscribe to her newsletter.

TOURISM OFFICE Finally, in the episode I recommend that everyone spend less time with Yelp and Trip Advisor and more of it checking in with the people who know best when they come to town: the local tourism office. I met a really smart, knowledge woman in Cambria that I’d love to introduce you to: her name is Lorienne Schwenk, she runs the local Chamber and she can help you with all things Cambria related.

ICYMI, our previous Highway 1 episodes

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