My Cali Coast – SF to SLO

Photo by Brady Frieden on Unsplash

When I hear that friends are traveling to the West Coast, I immediately start giving my unsolicited advice. My friend, Heidi, will be road-tripping from SF to LA while following her husband, Aaron, as he does the AIDS fundraising ride. These recommendations are for Heidi, but also for anyone else making this awesome trip.

Here is my short list of must visits:

1. Half Moon Bay – we love stopping by Half Moon Bay – grab a coffee, go watch the surf. Or, splurge and stop by the Ritz Carlton for a cocktail and watch the waves.

2. Pescadero, CA – you could almost miss this, but you shouldn’t. Stop by Duarte’s Tavern for the most amazing menu of all things artichoke. We’ve never driven by Pescadero without a short stop for even soup.

3. When we first moved to SF, Costonoa Campground opened. It was the first “glamping” I had heard of. They have camping sites, wonderful outdoor tents with heated beds, cabins and a lodge. Staying here gave us a great way of getting out of the city and outside without needing to have our own camping equipment or much preparation. It has a great little cafe even if you’re just driving by.

4. Right across the street from Costonoa is Año Nuevo State Park. Depending on the time of the year, the beach is filled with elephant seals. Don’t worry about what people say about the smelly seals – it isn’t that bad. I am always amazed at these cool creatures. My advice is to grab a picnic lunch from Costonoa and then head over to the park. It’s a 3-4 mile hike to get to the seals.

5. Santa Cruz is probably on everyone’s itinerary. We spent a lot of time down in this area, but we preferred to hang out in Capitola Village. It’s just south of Santa Cruz and you can sit in several beach restaurants. We like Zelda’s – wait for a table on the beach – get cozy and enjoy Bloody Mary’s or your favorite cocktail.

Note – you should be able to google a route to walk from your campground over to Capitola so you can avoid the parking nightmares and drink more safely.

6 – When you head out of town, you’ll need to fuel up on good coffee. Make your way over to Soquel Drive in Aptos to Surf City coffee.

7. San Luis Obispo – no need to explain – it’s like Boulder by the sea. We like to walk downtown and wander.

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