{ask me anything about anywhere} 3 Days in Big Sur and Hearst Castle?

People ask me for travel advice all the time, and sometimes I just don’t get around to blogging about it in advance. Here’s your chance to ask me anything about anywhere! If I have any good intel–I’ll gladly share it with you.

The question: My husband and I are taking a 3 night trip to celebrate my 40th birthday – and leaving our 3 kids at home with Grandma! We want to go somewhere driveable from the San Francisco Bay Area. Where should we go, and what should we do once we get there?
The answer: One of my favorite long weekend trips from the Bay Area is a visit to Hearst Castle and Big Sur – and 3 nights is the perfect amount of time for it. You can drive down and spend a night in the adorable town of Cambria, about 15 minutes south of Hearst Castle, which has a couple of cute restaurants, a beautiful beach, and is very walkable. There are lots of nice hotels in both Cambria and Cayucos that won’t break the bank. Up the coast a little ways, you can see elephant seals (and it’s mating season!)Then, I would recommend spending 2 nights in Big Sur. Whether you’re looking to stay in a yurt or a world-class luxury hotel, you can do it there. Great restaurants abound, and there are more hikes and gorgeous scenery than you can imagine.
Cambria and Hearst Castle
You’ll need to get your Hearst Castle tickets in advance, as they sell out. The historic residence is simply spectacular! You can learn more about the elephant seals and how to find them on this website.

Moonstone beach is gorgeous for walking, and there are tidepools at Leffingwell Landing if you go at low tide. You’ll be quite close to Paso Robles if you want to go wine tasting in the area – and there are very pretty vineyards there. One of the best views can be found at Daou Vineyards. You can hit up another of the many pretty and friendly wineries on Peachy Canyon Road, like Nadeau, Opolo or L’Aventure. For lodging, Moonstone Cottages is a homey B&B, which is very comfy and right on the beach. Another popular option near the beach is Blue Dolphin InnCayucos Sunset Inn is a little down the road from Cambria but it’s probably the most luxurious option in the area.

My top two restaurant recommendations for Cambria are Robin’s and the Black Cat; both are friendly, charming, and feature seasonal and local food. The Sea Chest is a more casual, raucous spot with excellent seafood choices. You may also want to grab a microbrew at Cambria Ale House.

Big Sur

Big Sur is mostly about hiking, walking on the beach, and enjoying some of the very best views in California (and maybe, the world.) This is a helpful hiking site for the area. Lodging options in Big Sur span the gamut. Of course, if you want to spend $600+ per night at one of the finest hotels in the world, then you can’t go wrong with the Post Ranch Inn. On a more reasonable side, Glen Oaks is a great option. There are some excellently outfitted yurts at Treebones for something a little more unusual.

For such a small town, there are a wealth of terrific dining options. You’re practically required to stop at Nepenthe, and because of the incredible view I will recommend trying to eat there during daylight hours. For lunch, brunch, or just quick breakfast pastries, Big Sur Bakery is a treat. Other favorites in the area include Deetjen’s, the Tap House, and the Wild Coast restaurant at Treebones.

For more Big Sur tips, be sure to read my friend Garrick Ramirez’s recent article in the Marina Times.

I hope you have a great time and a very happy birthday! 

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1 Response

  1. Hey, thanks for the shout-out! In Cambria, I second Blue Dolphin Inn. I also like Wild Ginger for good, um, Asian Fusion. It’s a dreaded category, but food is solid. And do not miss the insanely good taqueria fare at Boni’s Tacos.