About half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the Pacific Ocean is the small town of Cambria. The population is under 5,000. This past week we stayed at the Pelican Resort and Suites on Moonstone Beach right next to the town. We have been going here for the last 25 years and it has not changed much. There is lots of open space in this part of California with not that many people including both residents and tourists. Tourism is the main industry though and now Cambria has facilities so that visitors have some things to do.
The above video is what the main part of Cambria’s Moonstone Beach looks like mid day on a fairly sunny afternoon.
The Main Street looks like this.
But there are lots of cute older houses and stores plus B&Bs.
This is a small B&B right off the Main Street.
There is a wonderful little spice and flower shop that has been there for years. Be sure to go out into the gardens if you go into the shop.
Cambria is loaded with good places to eat. These are all listed and rated on Trip Advisor and AAA. We ate at many of the good ones on our last stay. If I had to pick just one place to eat I think it would be Robin”s. It is good for lunch and dinner. Prices are moderate. Food tends to be “California Cuisine” with a bit of Vegetarian. Service is very good and the people are quite friendly.
Indigo Moon is a lot like Robin’s but just a bit more upscale food. Again, CA Cuisine and very friendly service. We had dinner twice at Wild Ginger which is a mix of Asian food from various countries. Reasonable prices. Good service. Limited seating inside and some outside tables. Main courses tend to be in the 20 dollar area. Indigo Moon is more like 25 dollars, and Robin’s is in between those two.
We also had dinner at Linn’s which is VERY popular. I thought the food was so – so and not as good as the other places I mentioned. We also had Mexican at Las Cambritas and I thought the food was barely passable. Unlike Linn’s, Las Cambritas had few diners in it. Service was fine at Las Cambritas, but the food was not worth going here for.
We had lunch at Sandi’s Deli, and it is highly recommended. We also had lunch at JJ’s Pizza. Service was very good but food was disappointing.
Things To Do.
San Simeon. Hurst’s Castle.
The best mansion visit of any I have been to in the United States. Besides just gorgeous buildings and interiors the setting for this place has to be the best and most scenic of any residence I have ever seen including Europe. It is at 1,600 feet overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Hurst spent decades building this place and many many millions of dollars on the structure plus furnishings.
Do drive up the coast from Cambria. It is only about 80 miles to Big Sur but these are twisty slow miles. If you do get up towards Big Sure have lunch at Nepenthe and go to Pfeiffer Beach.
Just south of Cambria is the tiny town of Harmony. Population 18. They have a glass blowing factory here along with a gallery. In addition there is a nice pottery gallery. We drove to and had lunch at Cayucos. This is a small beach town just north of San Luis Obispo. There is a huge wide public beach here. We ate lunch at the Lunada Garden Bistro. Highly recommended.
We also drove to Morro Bay. We visited the Natural History Museum there. This is a small but good museum with excellent views of the Bay. We ate lunch at the Dutchman’s Seafood House. Food only OK.
Morro Bay is a more traditional vacation type town and if that appeals to you then this might be more of a lively place than laid back Cambria.
I almost forgot the Elephant Seals. About 3 miles north of San Simeon there are some beaches covered in Elephant Seals. Go see them when you are in town.
Be sure you pull off the road and go beach comb. You likely will find moonstones and lots of wildlife. I got this series of photos of a Turkey Vulture one day.
Cambria is one of our favorite beach towns in California. Go see it when you can and if it’s vibe attracts you. Stay more than a day or two. We were there mid April and the weather was perfect. Mild sunny days about 70.