Must-see attractions in Central Coast

  • G
    Garrapata State Park

    Over 4 miles south of Point Lobos on Hwy 1, pull over to hike coastal headlands, where you might spot whales cruising by offshore during winter, or into…

  • A
    Avila Valley Barn

    At this rural farm stand and pick-your-own berry farm, you can park alongside the sheep and goat pens, lick an ice-cream cone, then grab a basket and walk…

  • S
    Salmon Creek Falls

    Take a short hike to splash around in the pools at the base of this double-drop waterfall, tucked uphill in a forested canyon. The falls usually run from…

  • H
    Henry Miller Memorial Library

    Henry Miller lived in Big Sur for 17 years, some 5 miles south of this now nonprofit alternative art space and community center in the home of his late…

  • M
    Morro Bay Skateboard Museum

    With exhibits, posters and more than 200 skateboards from the 1930s to the 21st century, this excellent privately operated museum is essential for anyone…

  • S
    Sanctuary Exploration Center

    Operated by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, this educational museum near the beach boardwalk is an interactive multimedia experience that…

  • M
    Mission San Miguel Arcángel

    Founded in 1797, Mission San Miguel Arcángel suffered heart-breaking damage during a 2003 earthquake. Although repairs are still underway, the church,…

  • S
    Seacliff State Beach

    Seacliff State Beach harbors a ‘cement boat,’ a quixotic freighter built of concrete that floated OK, but ended up here as a coastal fishing pier. During…

  • P
    Point Pinos Lighthouse

    The West Coast’s oldest continuously operating lighthouse has been warning ships off the hazardous tip of the Monterey Peninsula since 1855. Inside are…

  • S
    Santa Cruz Surfing Museum

    A mile southwest of the wharf along the coast, this tiny museum inside an old lighthouse is packed with memorabilia, including vintage redwood surfboards…

  • M
    Main Beach

    The scene in Santa Cruz, with a huge sandy stretch, volleyball courts and swarms of people. Park on E Cliff Dr and walk across the Lost Boys trestle to…

  • M
    Museum of Art & History

    In Santa Cruz's downtown, rotating displays by contemporary California artists and exhibits that dive into local history are worth a quick look. Recent…

  • C
    Carmel Beach City Park

    Not always sunny, Carmel Beach is a gorgeous blanket of white sand, where pampered pups excitedly run off-leash. South of 10th Ave, bonfires crackle after…

  • I
    Its Beach

    The only official off-leash beach for dogs (before 10am and after 4pm) in Santa Cruz is just west of the lighthouse. The field across the street is…

  • A
    Asilomar State Beach

    Negotiate a 1-mile trail boardwalk through rugged sand dunes. Note this beach is known for riptides and unpredictable surf, and care must be taken when…

  • I
    I. Brand & Family

    This modern tasting room is a good place to try Californian-, French- and Spanish-style wines. A vinyl turntable and retro board games give it a hip…

  • S
    Santa Cruz Wharf

    Seafood restaurants, gift shops and barking sea lions all compete for attention along Santa Cruz's wharf, the longest wooden wharf in the US.

  • H
    Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

    The Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park has miles of hiking trails through old-growth redwood groves along the San Lorenzo River and campsites.

  • L
    Lone Cypress

    Central California's most famous and photographed tree has been perched precariously on a seaward rock for possibly more than 250 years.