California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 62

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

SAN LUIS OBISPO
AVILA BEACH

Why rush when you're bound for a town
nicknamed SLO? On this drive from Santa Monica
to the happening college town of San Luis
Obispo, the temptations are many and varied,
with multiple stops for surfing, seafood, and
sipping wine en route.

ORCUTT
LOMPOC

Consider renting a convertible to cruise the edge between the Pacific and dramatic coastal mountains before traveling through classic
California ranchlands. Even if you don't have one, just roll down the
windows and savor this drive's combination of cool ocean breezes

RINCON POINT

and that warm California sun.
Before hitting Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, grab break-

VENTURA

fast at one of this food-centric beach city's top spots for baked goods.
Huckleberry Bakery and Café always draws lines-and for good

OXNARD

reason. It's famous for pastry chef Zoe Nathan's maple-bacon biscuits.
Past Santa Monica's broad beaches, the sands narrow considerably
in Malibu, where you can pick up surf duds at Boardriders Malibu, the
brand's first North American store. Another 10 minutes up coast, tour
the Adamson House museum, a 1929 Spanish Colonial Revival with
incomparable views of surfers at iconic Surfrider Beach.

MALIBU

PCH then travels along the base of the Santa Monica Mountains,
where the highway runs just above the waves before rounding a bend

SANTA MONICA

and leaving the ocean at the fertile Oxnard Plain. Oxnard has attractions ideal for a road trip: a pair of automotive museums. At the Murphy Auto Museum, the vintage rides include a 1956 Austin Healey and

Beach. For a quick lunch (and a good look at sea lions and sea

a classic Chevy Woody, while the Mullin Automotive Museum keeps it

otters), continue to the landmark Harford Pier for delectable crab

classy with a collection of pre-World War II French automobiles.

cakes at Mersea's Seafood.

Hop onto U.S. 101 bound for Downtown Ventura and its beautifully

From Avila Beach, it's only 10 miles to San Luis Obispo. After your

restored 1920s buildings, many housing boutiques and great dining.

tour of the Central Coast, take a tour of global cuisines-from South

Seafood lovers should definitely check out the stylish digs and oys-

America to South Asia-while dining creekside at SLO's popular

ter bar at Lure Fish House. Beyond Ventura, look for surfers at Rin-

Novo Restaurant & Lounge.

con Point (another classic California point break), while at Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve you'll see harbor seals on the beach.
After passing the Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito, a coastal
retreat recently reopened along one of the area's most appealing
beaches, you'll arrive in Santa Barbara. Discover a different kind of
at wineries along the Santa Barbara Urban Trail.
Leaving Santa Barbara, you'll travel along the Gaviota Coast and
three state beaches-El Capitan, Refugio, and Gaviota-that may
tempt you to stop for a dip.
After 101 turns inland, follow one of the least-known stretches
of California Highway 1 through historic ranchlands on the way to
Lompoc. Stop at the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, a surprising collection
of tasting rooms for small-production wineries based in the nearby
Santa Rita Hills.
Continue through town and across Vandenberg Air Force Base,
the country's West Coast location for space launches. About 25
minutes past Lompoc, Orcutt is home to the Far Western Tavern,
a go-to spot for Santa Maria-style barbecue.
Rejoin Highway 101 for the stretch through the Santa Maria
Valley before returning to the coast at Pismo Beach. The recently opened boutique hotel Inn at the Pier lives up to its name with
rooms and suites overlooking this vintage beach town's landmark
pier. Many people don't realize that there's another beach town
nearby, but take Avila Beach Drive and you'll discover hidden Avila

62
VISITCALIFORNIA.COM

SA N LU I S OB I SPO

PHOTOGRAPHS: (SAN LUIS OBISPO) SALIMI/EYEEM, (THE LARK) LISA CORSON

wine country in the beach-adjacent Funk Zone, where you can taste


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California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Contents
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover2
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Contents
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