Insider’s Guide to the Coast of SLO, California

Have you experienced the true beauty of California’s coastal hillside? Do you want to know what lies over and between the coastlines? Well, look no further, cause I have a trip mapped out so you can see California the right way.


First Day:

Santa Barbara

  • Stop for lunch at Cold Spring Tavern


  • Explore the Old Mission of Santa Ines

Morro Bay

  • Stay at the beautiful Morro Bay Inn

Second Day

San Simeon

First Stop, Cold Spring Tavern

This is the place where I discovered onion rings, ranch, and buffalo burgers all at the same time. It’s a great place to stop on your way up the 101 Freeway for lunch; a SoCal biker’s regular. If you’re lucky to go on a sunny weekend, you’ll see a buzzing crowd and the possibility for live music!

Cold Spring Tavern

When you get off the 101 in Santa Barbara, your GPS will direct you through a gorgeous mountain on Stagecoach Road. Feel free to explore the hills before you settle down for food, because you’ll want to leave as soon as you’re done at the tavern!

Next Stop, Solvang

About X miles/minutes from Santa Barbara sits a small Danish town called Solvang.

If you are looking for a unique getaway, the historic Danish village of Solvang offers the best of the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara wine country in a relaxed and peaceful setting. Indulge in authentic Danish pastries at our world-famous bakeries.

Source: here

My favorite stop in Solvang is the Old Mission Santa Ines. Here you’ll find gorgeous gardens of California poppies, questionably-appropriate statues, and a lot of history! It doesn’t take too much out of your day, and it’s free. So go learn something at the Old Mission, or take a creepy picture!

Old Mission Santa Ines

Last Stop, Morro Bay Inn

Time to get a good night’s rest! Where better to lay your head than at the crust of a wave?

Only x miles/minutes from Solvang, sits Morro Bay. This coastal city is known for Morro Rock, an ancient volcanic mound at the end of Morro Rock Beach. The rock sits within Morro Bay State Park, home to lagoons, trails and a bird-rich saltwater marsh. Morro Bay State Park’s Museum of Natural History features exhibits on ecology and local Native American culture. Trails lead up Black Hill for views over the city and Morro Bay.

Morro Bay Inn

Morro Bay Inn sits right at the coast of a golf course town. If the views aren’t enough, Morro Bay is known for their gorgeous wildlife–more importantly, heron birds. You’ll be able to watch them soar across the bay from your balcony, or marvel at the black long-necked double crested cormorant birds in the trees beside you. (Yes, that’s a thing!)

First Stop, Hearst Castle

Good morning, sleepy head! We’re off to a castle in the sky! (That’s a reference to Ghiblifans.) Well actually, it’s a castle on a very tall hill…and you need to take a trolley to get there.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle’s history begins in 1865, when George Hearst purchased 40,000 acres of ranchland. After his mother’s death in 1919, William Randolph Hearst inherited thousands of acres around San Simeon, and over time, he purchased more. The spread eventually encompassed about 250,000 acres. With architect Julia Morgan, Hearst conceived a retreat he called La Cuesta Encantada — Spanish for “Enchanted Hill.” By 1947, when Hearst had to leave the remote location because of his fragile health, the estate was still unfinished even though it comprised 165 rooms and 123 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways — all built to Hearst’s specifications and showcasing a legendary art collection.

Blurb from History of Hearst Castle

What Happens Next?

From San Simeon, you can either choose to keep going at hit Big Sur, go further on to San José, or turn back… Follow for next steps, and for more California road trips!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Renie Notices Most

Renie Notices Most

Solving your problems one anagram at a time.