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new england
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143 posts
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My spouse and I are visiting California and will be driving from San Jose to Cambria. We're staying 2 nights in Cambria and then we'll drive back to San Jose. We are planning on leaving early morning, taking the highway (to avoid traffic) to Cambria and heading to the Hearst Castle (late afternoon). I'm looking for recommendations of must see areas/itinerary suggestions for the Cambria, San Luis Obispo, and Paso Robles areas (and any other places in this vicinity). The San Luis Obispo Walking Food Tour is one recommendation that I received. I'm also interested in restaurant recommendations. We will have 2 days to explore.

We're planning on driving the coast back to San Jose and stopping to see sights along the way and are looking for recommendations of places to stop along the way(Big Sur, Pebble beach, etc) We've been to Carmel and Monterey on a different visit. We'll have one full day (morning until evening) to explore on the drive back.

Thank you in advance for the help.

San Francisco
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36,629 posts
26 reviews
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1. Re: Recommendations

The Paso Robles area is a booming wine country: www.pasowine.com

I highly recommend making the 25 mile detour off Highway 101 to visit Mission San Antonio de Padua. There are 21 Missions in California which are central to this area's history. They were established by the Spanish to maintain control of the territory. San Antonio is the one that retains the essential feel for how remote this area was when the Franciscan Padres were in residence. http://missionsanantonio.net/

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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21,267 posts
10 reviews
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2. Re: Recommendations

Things to see/do around Cambria:

Hearst Castle

Leffingwell Landing.Moonstone Beach boardwalk

Hike the trails at Fiscallini Ranch

Shops in the East and West Villages

Dining: Robin's, Sow's Ear, Black Cat Bistro, Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill, Main Street Grill


Paso Robles:

Wine trail off Vineyard Drive/Highway 46

Pasolivo Olive Oil tasting

Dining: Artisan, Sinatra's


San Luis Obispo:

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Downtown shops

Dining: Novo, Firestone Grill, Woodstock's Pizza, Buona Tavola


Additional places to visit in the area:

Pismo/Avila Beach

Morro Bay

Montana de Oro State Park

Hot tubs @ Sycamore Mineral Springs

Additional dining options:

Ventana Grill, Marisol at the Cliffs, Splash Cafe (Famous for clam chowder) all in Pismo Beach

Taco Temple, Windows on the Water, Rose's Landing in Morro Bay


Things to see/so on the drive back to San Jose:

Elephant seal rookery 4 miles north of Hearst Castle

Ragged Point

McWay Falls @ Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Nepenthe/Phoenix Shop (Lunch with a view of the Big Sur coast)

Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Falls Waterfall trail inside Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Bixby Bridge

Point Lobos State Reserve (If not covered in your previous visit to Monterey/Carmel)

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
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29,110 posts
6,099 reviews
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3. Re: Recommendations

We really enjoyed Novo in SLO for dinner - on Kibblesmom list. It has a a nice patio deck by the creek and great food. Its a fun place to go in SLO.


Wineries are very good in the area - and lots of fun,. If interested and since so many things to do, we really enjoyed Opolo and Justin,



Opolo is very close to the olive oil place mentioned above - Pasolivo

Kibblesmom has given you a great list.

new england
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143 posts
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4. Re: Recommendations

Thank you! This is very helpful. Has anyone tried Central Coast Food and Wine tours in San Luis Obispo and have any feedback? It's a 3.5 hour food and wine tour.

Houston, TX
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4,832 posts
23 reviews
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5. Re: Recommendations

Another vote for Novo--our party of four recently had lunch there, at one of the patio tables. We all enjoyed our food and the setting.

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37,186 posts
954 reviews
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6. Re: Recommendations

Novo has excellent food! We enjoyed a very nice lunch there while visiting the area. In Cambria, The Sea Chest on Moonstone Beach Drive is very good for seafood. They do not take reservations or credit cards here.

Enjoy your time at the coast! :)

7. Re: Recommendations

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