Is Cayucos worth visiting?
Absolutely, wholly, and completely Cayucos is worth visiting. This town along the Central Coast embodies beach bliss and is a postcard-perfect undiscovered gem sure to sweep you off your feet.
Colloquially referred to as the
Last of the California Beach Towns, Cayucos is a laid-back town of around 3,000 located between Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean in San Luis Obispo County.
If you have doubts about whether Cayucos is a town worth visiting, we think the following weekend getaway will answer that question.
How To Get To Cayucos
Cayucos is located on the Central California Coast, a fertile stretch of the shore roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It's located right off the acclaimed Highway 1 (also known as the Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH), making it a convenient weekend getaway destination for those in SoCal.
The best part? Given its position along Highway 1, the journey to Cayucos is as gorgeous as the destination itself.
Getting Around Cayucos
A classic coastal locale, Cayucos has a central downtown district that is incredibly walkable, irresistibly charming, and pedestrian friendly.
Pretty much every destination in our itinerary is located in town, along either Ocean Avenue or Pacific Avenue. You'll see and hear the beach from every corner of this SoCal town, which makes it extra special and beguiling.
We'll need a car for just two adventures on this trip: a scenic drive on the PCH and a morning hike at Estero Bluffs State Park.
Best Time To Visit Cayucos
While SoCal is known for its blazing hot summers, given its coastal location, Cayucos is a pleasant place to be all year long - summer included. In fact, summers in Cayucos are comfortable, arid, and clear whereas the winters are chilly, wet, and often cloudy.
And if you can handle the dry heat, the town truly comes alive during the summer, with seasonal events and festivals worth seeking out.
Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Cayucos Farmers Market is a dream of a seasonal market, showcasing the bounty of this resplendent region of California. Sweet strawberries, fresh-caught seafood, artisanal honeys and cheeses... this is a wonderful place to explore!
If you prefer to visit in the spring, you'll want to come in March for the annual Sea Glass Festival. Each year, visitors come from all over the country to enjoy a weekend of artisan goods, beachside fun, live music, and an extensive marketplace of the finest sea glass art on the coast. The festival was canceled the last few years, but festival coordinators are hopeful for its return in the future.
10 Cayucos Dr, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
Where to Stay
Given its location right on the shores of the Pacific, pretty much every accommodation in town is going to have amazing views... Cayucos Sunset Inn Bed & Breakfast certainly does!
Cayucos Sunset Inn Bed & Breakfast, 95 S Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
This seaside spot is next-level in every way, with amazing amenities and offerings that channel B&B vibes, with features such as canopy beds, fireplaces, and outdoor terraces.
The rooms are large and well-appointed, and offer total luxury for vacationers.
Address: Cayucos Sunset Inn Bed & Breakfast, 95 S Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA, 93430
The Cayucos Beach Inn
is another great option for lodging in town. The accommodations are admittedly a bit more basic than the Cayucos Sunset Inn...
Cayucos Beach Inn Cayucos, 333 S Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
...but what it lacks in cache, it more than makes up for in scenic views! For optimal vistas, check into one of this inn's second-floor rooms.
This inn is located at 333 S Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA, 93430.
Morning One: Coffee, Antiquing, And Exploring
We're starting the day on the sweetest note possible, with a visit to Brown Butter Cookie Company.
Brown Butter Cookie Company, 98 N Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
Rich and nutty, Brown Butter Cookies are little morsels of deliciousness made with browned butter and a dusting of sea salt on top.
Call us old-fashioned, but the chocolate chip cookies from Brown Butter are really all you need (And yes -- cookies for breakfast is a thing. It's vacation and we're embracing it!)
Pair your fresh-from-the-oven cookies with a latte from Cayucos Coffee, and get ready for a walking tour of the town!
Cayucos Coffee, 155 N Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
Known for its sweet little shops and colorful storefronts, Ocean Avenue is your quintessential small-town Main Street.
We adore Remember When, an antique shop specializing in one-of-a-kind wares with an emphasis on mid-century modern. Wouldn't these seafoam green dishes look perfect in your kitchen?
Remember When, 152 N Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
The whole town is simply delightful to explore; like a real-life treasure from the sea! Just be sure to reserve some extra cargo room in your car for the trip home.
As you wander through town, you'll not only smell those salty ocean breezes, but you'll delight in the delicious aromas of Cayucos's many restaurants.
Cayucos Sausage Co is a beloved local spot with house-made meats, artisan sausages, and deli sandwiches prepared daily.
Cayucos Sausage Co, 12 N Ocean Ave #121, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
Lauded for its sandwiches, this is the perfect place to stop after a morning of shopping. There's something so wonderful about a fresh deli sandwich that you simply can't replicate at home.
Address: 12 N Ocean Ave #121, Cayucos, CA, 93430
Afternoon One: A Scenic Drive And Dinner With A View
If the ocean has your heart and soul, there's no better route than the Pacific Coast Highway. One of the most famous scenic drives in California -- and the entire Pacific Northwest -- this scenic road stretches along Highway 1 for 656 miles, connecting Northern California and Southern California, Oregon, and Washington. The highway rolls right by Cayucos, and we definitely recommend setting out early to take in those stunning shoreline sunrises!
California 1, CA-1, Cayucos, CA, USA
You can cruise down Highway 1 as long as you'd like, but definitely don't stop before reaching Morro Rock.
The 581-foot monolith one of 13 volcanic plugs (remnant necks of extinct volcanoes), lava domes, and geological features between in San Luis Obispo County. It's a commanding sight that's grounding and life affirming, and we guarantee it will take your breath away.
Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA 93442, USA
Back in town, grab a bite for a late lunch at Sea Shanty. It's a local favorite that's been dishing up classic seafood since 1983.
Address: 296 S Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430
Sea Shanty, 296 S Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
The fish and chips are absolute perfection; the kind of salty, soul-satisfying comfort food that makes you feel good.
This seafood shack is also known for its epic desserts, which include over-the-top deliciousness like "The Kitchen Sink," a layering of ice creams, fruit, hot fudge and caramel, and crushed candy bars. (Calories don't count on vacation -- it's science!)
This restaurant will make you feel good, too... it's known for quirky decor (like the collection of caps stapled to the dining room ceiling and the random oddities in its patio) and friendly, welcoming service.
Sea Shanty is a total
vibe that perfectly sums up this SoCal town: artsy, accommodating, and wholly one-of-a-kind.
After all that amazing comfort food, it's time to stretch our legs. We recommend going for a walk to the Cayucos Pier, and take in the beautiful sunset vistas.
This 953-feet-long pier is a town icon and a popular spot for fishing, photography, and simply strolling and enjoying.
Cayucos Pier, Pacific Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
Morning Two: Beaches and Bluffs
New day, new possibilities! This morning, we're headed out to explore some of the coastal landscape we cruised by yesterday; namely, Estero Bluffs State Park.
Estero Bluffs State Park opens up the landscape of the California Coast and invites visitors to explore the landscape and beaches on the northern end of town.
Whether hiking the park's scenic, four-mile trail, watching whales, birding, or splashing about in the SoCal tide pools, everyone is invited to enjoy this precious stretch of unspoiled California coastline.
Estero Bluffs State Park, 750 Hearst Castle Road, San Simeon, CA 93452, USA
This is one of those hidden gems that only locals know about, so you might just have it all to yourself!
A few things to note: the park is free to visit; hours are from 6 a.m. to sunset; and the park has no restrooms or water.
After a morning of hiking the beautiful California coast, we're headed to Ocean Front Pizza for lunch.
True to its name, this family-owned pizzeria is located quite literally
on the beach, with just Ocean Front Avenue between the restaurant and the sand.
Ocean Front Pizza, 156 Ocean Front Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
You can purchase pepperoni or cheese by the slice or order a full-sized specialty pizza, like BBQ chicken or pesto chicken. The toppings, however, are beside the point: all the pizzas here are made with homemade sauce and hand-tossed dough, and it really makes a difference.
Grab a slice or two, an adult beverage, and walk to the beach.
Afternoon Two: Sun, Surf, Sand, And Seafood
Fed and fortified, we're spending a long, lazy afternoon enjoying the crown jewel of Cayucos: the eponymous Cayucos Beach.
Cayucos Beach, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
With turquoise waters and six miles of white sandy shores, this is the place people (and pups!) go to cool off on a hot day in SoCal.
While it's perfectly acceptable to sit, sink your toes in the sand, and day dream the afternoon away, Cayucos is celebrated for its surfing. So, if you feel so inclined, grab a surf board and hit the water!
We're tying a ribbon on this wonderful weekend getaway to Cayucos at a celebrated classic: Schooners.
Address: 171 N Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430
Schooners, 171 N Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
Located in the heart of downtown Cayucos, Schooners is a classic seaside bar and grill serving lunch, dinner, and drinks. This unassuming little spot is a dining treasure, featuring wild-caught seafood, sustainably raised meat, and local produce.
The oysters are a prized menu item; perfectly cold, sweet, succulent, and slurp-worthy. Definitely order a few plates to share!
And the dining experience continues even after your meal is over. Because you simply cannot come to Schooners without enjoying the outdoor oceanfront dining, with expansive views overlooking Cayucos State Beach.
Cayucos isn't simply a charming SoCal destination for a weekend getaway; it's a place that will capture your heart and soul.
Cayucos Pier, Pacific Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430, USA
Have you visited this charming small town in SoCal before? Cayucos is a dream of a place that’s even more enchanting in real life. Come and let yourself be swept away in this beautiful California Coast town!
To discover even more about Cayucos, California in a fun, easily-digestible manner, tune in to OnlyInYourState’s brand new podcast, Not Your Average Bucket List, where we talk all about this charming town. Listen now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
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