Day Trips from Cambria

Explore the Beautiful Coastal Towns of California

Clocking in at just 5 hours from the LAX Airport, Cambria, CA, is a coastal getaway that offers visitors a quiet retreat, exceptional scenery, and an unbeatable location. Whether you just want to enjoy the historic drive along Highway 1 or you want to discover some new adventures in the towns hidden along the Californian coast, there are plenty of options for fun day trips near Cambria. While you might love just relaxing in your vacation rental, there is a good chance that you'll want to get out and explore without having to stay the night somewhere else. Start planning your next trip today and browse through some of these destinations that are less than a tank of gas away. 

Big Sur

This mountainous and robust region of the central coast of California is often referred to as the "longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States." Big Sur is a beautiful and naturally preserved combination of coastline, mountains, and redwoods and it might be some of the best views you'll see while in California. Enjoy a drive along Highway 1 through Big Sur or stop for some hiking and a picnic. There are no bad options when you make your day trip to Big Sur. 

Distance from Cambria: 1 hour and 45 Minutes

Must Visit: 

  • McWay Falls at Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park
  • Purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach
  • Limekiln Falls
  • Esalen Hot Springs
  • Big Sur Bakery

San Simeon

San Simeon makes for an excellent, quick getaway from Cambria with a short drive time and plenty to do that will keep you busy all day. Pay a visit to the elephant seals that come ashore on the San Simeon beaches. Take some photos and observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. You can also tour the Hearst Castle, which is a hilltop mansion built in the early 20th century for William Randolph Hearst. Go for a wine tasting or a hike and spend a peaceful day in this nearby town. 

Driving Time: 15 minutes

Must Visit:

  • Hearst Castle
  • Elephant Seals
  • Hearst Ranch Winery
  • Coastal Discovery Center
  • Piedras Blancas Light Station

Morro Bay

Morrow Bay is a beautiful beach town with plenty of activities on and off the water. Whether you enjoy fishing, surfing, or just lounging on wide, open beach, Morro Bay has the space and gorgeous views for the perfect beach day. Enjoy golf right by the sea, kayaking, surfing, and ample places to fish throughout this small town. If you want to spend some time indoors, there is also a rich arts scene with many galleries to explore as well! 

Driving Time: 27 minutes

Must Visit:

  • Ancient Volcanic Mound at the End of Morro Rock Beach
  • Montana de Oro State Park
  • Morro Bay Bike Park
  • Main Street Market
  • Art Center Morro Bay

Highway 1 Drive

One of the best ways to get a feel of the area and enjoy an unforgettable experience is to take a drive up and down Highway 1. This iconic highway has wedged itself in history as some of the best views you can get while driving on a highway. Both north and south routes from Cambria feature coastal towns, scenic views, and gorgeous land features that are worthy of stopping for photos or just soaking in. Your time on the coast would be well spent just enjoying the open road with your loved ones and seeing what hidden gems you can discover.  

Highway 1 North Destinations:

  • Ragged Point, 30 Minute Drive
  • Salmon Creek Falls, 40 Minute Drive
  • Slates Hot Springs, 1 hour & 20 Minute Drive

Highway 1 South Destinations:

  • Morro Bay State Park, 30 Minute Drive
  • Pismo Beach, 50 Minute Drive
  • Santa Maria, 1 Hour Drive

San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo is Spanish for "St. Louis the Bishop" and features a wonder mix of Spanish, Mexican, and American influences throughout the city. From the rich history and beautiful architecture, San Luis Obispo is well worth the day trip to step back in time of California's history. There are wonderful vineyards to visit while you're around and some craft breweries that are worth checking out. 

Driving Time: 45 minutes

Must Visit:

  • Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market
  • Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa & Gardens
  • History Center of San Luis Obispo
  • Bubblegum Alley
  • Creamery Marketplace