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Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

New York City, New...
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Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

Hi everyone,

We are making a driving trip from LA to SF and after reading much reviews, I am still torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria. Cambria has great reviews but the pictures doesn't say much about the beach. The beach seems rocky and the sand was not that spectacular. Pismo beach has great views over the cliff and nicer resorts, but some said the visitors in the area were not that desirable?? I know I can't have it all, but I don't want any disappointment and I am only doing this once in this lifetime, at least for now. So, please help me to fill in any information you can. We're in our 30's, enjoys calmer relaxation places, fine dining and beautiful landscape. Thank you in advance!!

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1. Re: Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

For a calmer place, go with Cambria. This is a beautiful area of the coast. Check out Robin's, Black Cat Bistro and sow's Ear for great restaurants. www.centralcoast.com. :)

Perth, Australia
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2. Re: Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

Cambria .. there are some nice hotels along Moonstone Drive.

http://seecambria.com/

www.cambriainns.com/sandpebblesinn.html (a few hotels on this website)

http://www.fogcatcherinn.com/

I would also stay a night in Carmel. Such a gorgeous town.

http://www.carmelcalifornia.com/

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

Thank you for the dining recommendations!!

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

Eaglemaniac, I am thinking about staying in Monterey. Is Carmel a better choice based on our needs? We are planning to visit the aquarium in Monterey, but we have a car and don't need to stay next to it. Thanks!!

San Francisco
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5. Re: Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

The beach at Cambria is not a "lay out your towel and sunbath" kind of place. There is a wonderful wooden boardwalk that follows the beach, somewhat above, that makes for a lovely walk but the beach itself is rather rocky. Pismo, however, is larger and less quaint.

Monterey vs.Carmel -- while the two are very close there is a lot of difference between the two. Carmel is much more a village (albeit with a lovely beach) while Monterey is much larger. You might also consider (if you're looking at B&Bs especially) Pacific Grove which is also on the Peninsula and close to both. I'd suggest wandering over to the Monterey Peninsula forum and reading some threads as I believe this questions is asked rather often on that board.

So. Cal
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6. Re: Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

Coming from NYC I think you'll find anywhere along the Central Coast calmer, I know I do.

When we stop in Pismo Beach we stay in Shell Beach at The Cliffs Resort and I've never seen "undesirable" characters. One of our favorite things to do while there is make a quick trip to Sycamore Mineral Springs outdoor hot tubs. They're private, surrounded by oak trees on a hilltop and at night the stars are magnificent. You'll sleep like a baby. The freeway runs thru Pismo but I've never been bothered by it.

Cambria you'll find is VERY serene- not a lot happening there but you'll EXHALE without a doubt. Think of the forest meeting the sea and a retirement community. Staying there overnight will also give you some additional zzzzz's before you drive Highway 1.

Either place I'm sure you'll be able to unwind!

So. Cal
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7. Re: Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

In case you're interested here's the link for the hot tubs.

Have a great trip!

http://www.sycamoresprings.com/relax/

San Jose, California
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8. Re: Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

I always think of Pismo Beach (and Shell and Avila) as beach towns and Cambria as a coastal town. Like you have noticed and others have confirmed, the beach at Cambria is rocky and not a beach for wandering barefoot in the sand or laying out. It is a beautiful area and a nice, quaint town with an artistic bent.

If you want sandy beaches, then Pismo, Shell, or Avila is the place for you. None of these towns is super lively or a party area, so you will get relaxation at all of them.

I am not sure what the report of undesirable visitors is about. I guess a lot depends on your perspective. Maybe the person reporting that is used to staying in resort areas with access limited to those who can afford the resort prices? Maybe they saw some bikers? Who knows. Whatever the reason, don't worry - there aren't any roving gangs or anything in Pismo Beach. It is a nice town.

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9. Re: Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

The hot tubs is defnitely worth checking out, thanks for the suggestion socalbeachbum97!

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10. Re: Torn between Pismo Beach and Cambria for overnight stay.

november_moon, thanks for telling me the differences and it does help with my decision!