Falling for “The American Riviera”

“Inspiration Point rewards hikers with stunning views of the greater Santa Barbara area, including the northern Channel Islands.”

Escape to Santa Barbara Along California’s Central Coast.
The focal point of any trip to Santa Barbara is the downtown area, characterized by unique shopping, great food and distinctive architecture.

Santa Barbara, on California’s Central Coast Region, lies between the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the beaches on the Pacific Ocean.

As a reminder of the city’s founding in 1786 Mission Santa Barbara sits on a hill as a home to Franciscan friars and a museum.

Mediterranean-style white stucco buildings with red-tile roofs

“Mediterranean-style white stucco buildings with red-tile roofs” keep the Spanish colonial heritage alive.

And, then there is State Street.

Home to one-of-a-kind boutiques. World class restaurants. Intimate wine tasting rooms. “And local seasonal fare.”

Highlights and Headlines: November 2017

Escape

Not just for college seniors and senior citizens

“If Santa Barbara makes you think of retirees and college kids, you’re not technically wrong: those contingents still thrive here. But thanks to a few new boutique hotels and a budding restaurant scene, the city is now an ultra-chill and just-hip-enough place to hang by the beach for a few days. Here’s your game plan.” Santa Barbara Is the LA Road Trip You Need to Be Taking – gq.com

Polo

Fancy Sports, Fancy Places

“Unlike other areas of the US and the world, sporting events with dress codes and signature cocktails aren’t really a thing in California. But the people behind the SB Polo and Wine fest are here to change that, and not just for the sake of getting fancy for a night.” Interview: Grab your Fancy Hat for The Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Fest – culturecollide.com

Wharf

Historic Stearn’s Wharf

“When completed In 1872, it became the longest deep-water Wharf between San Pedro and San Francisco. Named for its builder, local lumberman John P. Stearns, the wharf served the passenger and freight shipping needs of California’s South Coast for over a quarter century.” Stearn’s Wharf – Visit Santa Barbara

Funk

Artistic Millennials with Boutique Ambitions

““Over the past few decades, this district, which spans the area between the ocean and Highway 101 and is adjacent to the Amtrak station, has enjoyed an upswell of boutique tasting rooms, cafes, galleries, and shops that cater to Santa Barbara’s contemporary side.” The Funk Zone – Visit Santa Barbara

Hiking

Inspiration Point by way of the Tunnel Trail

““For a usually warm, usually busy, always beautiful half-day hike in Santa Barbara, Inspiration Point by way of the Tunnel Trail, is a great bet. Not to be confused with the Inspiration Point offshore on Anacapa Island or the hike to Inspiration Point in the San Gabriel Mountains by way of Echo Mountain, this Inspiration Point rewards hikers with stunning views of the greater Santa Barbara area, including the northern Channel Islands.” Inspiration Point – outdoorproject.com

Downtown

Santa Barbara, Shops on State Street in the city of Santa Barbara in southern California

““The focal point of any trip to Santa Barbara is the downtown area, characterized by unique shopping, great food and distinctive architecture. Whether it’s your first visit or your fifth, you’re sure to find something you’ll love here.” Downtown Santa Barbara – Visit Santa Barbara

 

Sovereignty

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

“The House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R.1491, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act, at a markup session last month. The bill ratifies a Bureau of Indian Affairs decision to place the land, known as Camp 4, in trust.” Chumash Tribe still willing to negotiate into land-into-trust agreement with county –  indianz.com

Luxury

Ritzy Bacara Santa Barbara

“It appears that Bacara Santa Barbara will soon become a Ritz-Carlton as the hotel is currently going through some ownership changes and with the new buyer comes a new management contract for the resort. Currently Bacara Santa Barbara is part of the Meritage Collection.  Is Bacara Santa Barbara Becoming a Ritz-Carlton? – Points Miles & Martinis

Mansions

Hidden Hillside Montecito Mansions

“Hillside homes in this Santa Barbara, California, area have to-die-for views and lots of space for running around” Montecito: A Celebrity Paradise That’s Surprisingly Under the Radar – Mansion Global

Ellen Degeneres in Carpinteria

Carpinteria, a beach town situated in-between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara on the central coast of California. The stylish beachfront property sits right on the sand and has four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms with floor to ceiling windows providing breathtaking ocean views. Sold! Ellen Degeneres snaps up a stylish beachfront property – dailymail.co.uk

 

Wine

Babcock Winery & Vineyards

“His offerings include an entire portfolio of stunning “Terroir Extraordinaire” Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. At the winery, one can also find beautiful estate grown renderings of Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, along with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon that are selected from some of Santa Barbara County’s most stunning vineyards.” Babcock Winery & Vineyards – Visit Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Wine Collective

“Adjacent to the Santa Barbara Wine Collective is sister property, and newly opened Helena Avenue Bakery. This artisan bakery offers rustic, wholesome breads and handmade seasonal pastries. Helena Avenue Bakery also specializes in hand-crafted, made from scratch, baked sweet and savory treats.” Santa Barbara Wine Collective – Visit Santa Barbara

What You Missed in October

But after this year’s wildfires, for the first time ever, Constellation rejected the Old Hill fruit.

Devastation in Wine Country
But there’s no place quite like it on the West Coast, and the ship’s operators have been talking up some ambitious plans.

Is it true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?

If so, then it feels like we’re witnessing remarkable stories of superhuman resilience, recovery and revitalization along the Pacific Coast in October.

Devastating fires in Wine Country. Past and future earthquake reminders in San Francisco. Iconic Big Sur rebounding from fires, mudslides, bridge and business destruction and  community  isolation.

Oh, and some good stuff too.

So let’s start our review in the North Coast Region and travel to the South Coast Region, ok?

Highlights and Headlines: October 2017

North Coast Region

“Find a special treasure that helps you remember your time in Humboldt County with fondness. Old Town Eureka is home to a wide array of restaurants, from fine dining to casual eateries. Grab a bite while you’re on the go.

Old Town Eureka in Humboldt County

Throughout the year, the neighborhood is the site of exciting events, including the weekly Farmers’ Market during the summer and fall, and the Redwood Coast Music Festival in the spring.” (http://www.humboldtbayinn.com/things-to-do/historic-old-town)

Sonoma and Napa Valleys

Devastation in Wine Country

The Bucklin family’s relationship with Constellation Brands stretches back more than three decades. That’s how long Constellation — a global wine corporation expected to generate $7.33 billion in revenue this year, and owner of California wine brands like Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood — has bought grapes from Old Hill Ranch, the Bucklins’ 35-acre Sonoma Valley vineyard. But after this year’s wildfires, for the first time ever, Constellation rejected the Old Hill fruit. (Photo: Peter DaSilva, Special To The Chronicle)

Neighborhoods Staying Strong

California fire officials have updated the number of buildings destroyed by wildfires that ripped through Northern California to 8,700.  (Kent Porter / Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

Prevention or Status Quo?

Following wildfires, urban areas tend to build up more densely despite the remaining fire risk, and residents tend to build in only as many fire-defense measures as regulations require, researchers with the U.S. Forest Service and University of Wisconsin found from studying rebuilding after past U.S. wildfires. Rebuilding also often takes years longer than residents realize. In California wildfires studied, just 35 percent of buildings lost were rebuilt within five years, the researchers determined. (Photo: Jeff Chiu, AP / http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/)

Tourism Officials Weigh In

“Tourism officials remain optimistic, saying huge swaths of verdant wine country in the western end of the region remain unscorched and open to wine lovers. Hotels, short-term home rentals and tourist attractions there are operating as usual.”  (MABANGL / EPA-EFE/REX/ Shutterstock) / Los Angeles Times)

North Bay Region

Interior rendering for 135 Belvedere Avenue in Belvedere. The site is for sale for $65 million, which includes the completed structure and the whole property. (Courtesy David Kotzebue Architecture / Marin Independent Journal)

San Francisco Region

Stay Away from Coastal Districts

Earthquake in? The potential impacts of this quake on San Francisco are severe. Heavy, dense apartments built above cavernous garages (also known as soft-story housing), will buckle as the marshy soil beneath them — added in the latter half of the 19th century by zealous developers wanting to extend the peninsula’s real estate — behaves like a liquid. (Business Insider / Google Maps / USGS)

Chinatown Rising from 1906 Earthquake

Earthquake in 1906: Chinatown managed to secure the previous location for their community, and began to refashion San Francisco’s Chinatown as an exotic wonderland for non-Chinese visitors. Look Tin Eli and other Chinatown leaders had a vision of an “Oriental city [of] veritable fairy palaces filled with the choicest treasures of the Orient.” (The Conversation / louisraphael/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA)

Peninsula Region

Rugged Coast near Ritz Carlton

Half Moon Bay. “This quintessential beauty spot has all the hallmarks you’d dream of in a Northern California beach—rugged cliffs, dramatic dunes, fine golden sand, and a magnificent sweep of Pacific Ocean. Extra style points for being home to the regal Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.” (Coastal Living / Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Central Coast Region

Ventana Big Sur Reopens

Welcome to the new and improved Ventana Big Sur, reopening today after months of renovations. As you approach the familiar, rustic façade of the building situated on the coast, you’ll almost wonder if anything is different. (Urban Daddy)

 

Iconic Big Sur Bridge

With the opening of the bridge, the restaurants and resorts are back to full service, including Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn with a new menu and Ventana Big Sur celebrated its grand reopening and reimagining this month. Highway 1 is not yet passable from Big Sur to San Simeon due to the Mud Creek Slide. Caltrans expects to have that portion of the highway open late-summer 2018. That project will fully reconnect Big Sur and the Highway 1 road trip experience. (Lonely Planet / ©Phitha Tanpairoj/Shutterstock)

South Coast Region

Hotel Laguna in Better Days

The local family that has operated the iconic Hotel Laguna for more than three decades intends to close its doors next month and has filed a lawsuit alleging they are being illegally forced out by the property’s owners. (Laguna Beach Indy)

A Fixture in Dana Point Harbor

“General manager Jay Styles, left, and owner Robert Mardian at the Wind and Sea restaurant in Dana Point, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary. Mardian opened the restaurant after realizing he didn’t want to become a lawyer. (Daily Pilot – Los Angeles Times. Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)”

The Queen Mary in Long Beach

Long Beach. “But there’s no place quite like it on the West Coast, and the ship’s operators have been talking up some ambitious plans.  If you’re not ready to spend the night or brave Dark Harbor, the hour-long Glory Days Historical Tour is offered eight times per day, every day.” (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Peninsula Region’s Highlights and Headlines

Martin’s Beach has been ground zero for beach access activists, surfers and those on the Coastside with fond memories of walking or driving the path from Highway 1 to the relatively small and protected beach.

Maverick’s Extreme Waves
For more than a decade, Coastsiders and visitors have satisfied their kitchen cravings at the Main Street store.
Peninsula Region lies south of San Francisco and north of Santa Cruz on the California coast.

The Peninsula region lies immediately south of San Francisco in San Mateo County. While many residents in Daly City, Half Moon Bay, Moss Beach, Pacifica and Pescadero work and play to the north or south, the Peninsula has its attractions, including some beautiful wilderness areas. The Santa Cruz Mountains divide the region in half north-south, with a large wilderness area that’s great for hiking and mountain biking.

Highlights and Headlines.

Martin’s Beach – Ongoing Story Beginning in 1918

Vinod Khosla’s granting of partial access to Martins Beach called ‘insufficient’

Vinod Khosla Billionaire Denies Beach Access

Although Khosla said he planned to open the gate, he did not do so until Wednesday, two days after lawyers for the Surfrider Foundation filed papers urging the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco to enforce its August ruling that Khosla could not block access to Martins Beach without a permit. The Surfrider Foundation sued Khosla in 2013, arguing that the shoreline had been open to all comers since at least 1918 and belonged to the public.

 

Billionaires don’t get to decide when and how Californians reach the beach

Martin’s Beach Access Challenged by Surfrider Foundation

But last week, the gates suddenly opened. Had Khosla finally done the right thing and restored access to Martins Beach? Not exactly. His representatives told Coastal Commission officials that they would open the gates from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., provided someone on the property was available to do so. Sorry, but that’s not the “maximum access” the law requires, as Coastal Commission officials have rightly pointed out.

Appellate court reaffirms access for Martin’s Beach

Martin’s Beach has been ground zero for beach access activists, surfers and those on the Coastside with fond memories of walking or driving the path from Highway 1 to the relatively small and protected beach. Khosla bought the property from a Coastside family in 2008. A year later, the new owner closed the gate and painted over a billboard that once advertised access to the beach.

Sea Otters Grabbing Beach Time

Ana Nuevo State Park

Año Nuevo offers intense volunteer experience

“Docents work hard at Año Nuevo State Park, but they say the work is rewarding.”

Half Moon Bay

Domoic Acid and Sea Otter

Recovering Sea Otter

“Yankee Doodle munches on a snack at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. The sea otter was recently rescued in Half Moon Bay after becoming sickened by an exposure to domoic acid. Photo courtesy Bill Hunnewell / Marine Mammal Center”

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival 2017: Your guide to food, events

They changed the name of this long-running festival some years back to the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, but let’s face it: If you loathe pumpkin, you’re not the most likely candidate to make the trek to the coast.

Professional pumpkin carver Mike Valladao, aka Farmer Mike, leaves his mark on gigantic orange gourds at the Half Moon Bay Arts & Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

Big Wave Competition at Mavericks

High Flying Mavericks Surfer

Mavericks sale to World Surf League hits a snag

“A surfer takes advantage of big waves at the Maverick’s surf break near Half Moon Bay in January. The sale of the permits to the World Surf League to host a contest at the break may have hit a snag after a company filed an objection to the sale Wednesday. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group)”

WSL paddles into choppy Mavericks waters

Mavericks Big Surf Lineup

In a 95-page “motion to sell” submitted to the court on Wednesday, the former surf contest organizers detailed their wishes to turn over the reins to the World Surf League.

Marriott Moments: Luxury at The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

This screams wealth – no surprise, at a base cost of high $600s to $800-$900s. Note that this does not include valet parking ($49 for overnight guests) or resort fee ($35/night) which covers the below:

Downtown Half Moon Bay kitchen ware closes

Downtown Retail Shop Closing

“For more than a decade, Coastsiders and visitors have satisfied their kitchen cravings at the Main Street store where they could find a pour-over coffee kettle from San Francisco, cutting-edge stainless steel knives from Japan, clay cookware from Colombia and even fine linens from France.”

 

Crumbling Romeo Pier in County Harbor

Romeo Pier demolition to cost $2.3 million

“The San Mateo County Harbor District put out a bid for demolition of the beloved but crumbling Romeo Pier, but received only one bidder. That bid came in at nearly double the $1.5 million the district envisioned.”

Hiking Pacifica at Mori Point in San Mateo County

Hiking San Mateo – Golden Gate National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service)

“The main entrance to Mori Point is located at Bradford Way in Pacifica. At this entrance you will find two accessible parking spaces and an accessible restroom. There is an accessible entrance to the left of the trailhead gate. Old Mori Road is relatively flat which makes for a nice, leisurely stroll. You will encounter lots of native vegetation and wildlife. The surface material is a compacted natural material. After about a ¼ mile to your left will be the entrance to the Lishumsha trail. You may choose to take this route which will provide more of a strenuous hike or you may choose to continue on Old Mori which becomes an elevated boardwalk.”

Hiking Elevations

 

What’s It Like to Be a Local?

Its placement on the California North Coast is indisputably beautiful. The area, often shrouded in fog and very definitely behind the Redwood Curtain, is very different from the rest of California.

Huntington Beach spiritual leaders bless the ocean
Father Christian Mondor, 92, of Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic Church in Huntington Beach arrives to conduct the annual Blessing of the Waves on Sunday at the Huntington Beach Pier.

 

O.K. I’m biased.

I get to live in the South Coast of California.

Before I moved here I wondered, “What’s like living in such a beautiful place?”

  • Most travel stories focus on where to find a B&B for a weekend.
  • Or which restaurant to reserve a table overlooking the beach sunset.
  • But, those are just extended weekends.
  • Or at best about how to cram as much in as you can in one week.

But, what is it really like to become a local?

And, not just in Southern California.

But in unique communities beginning in Humboldt County and traveling south to San Diego.

Check them out to get a flavor.

Eureka. Humboldt County. Old Town Eureka

Old Town Eureka

“Old Town is the thriving, cultural heart of Eureka, California and the region. The area is an attraction for visitors and locals alike. Its placement on the California North Coast is indisputably beautiful. The area, often shrouded in fog and very definitely behind the Redwood Curtain, is very different from the rest of California. The vibrant art scene that has grown up there in the final decades of the 20th century led to the declaration that the city was one of the 100 best art towns in America.”

Sonoma Coast. 33rd Annual International Coastal Cleanup Day!

Sonoma Coast Coastal Cleanup Day!

“California Coastal Cleanup Day is Saturday September 16th, 2017. It is one of the country’s largest volunteer events of the year and many of the clean-up efforts will be occurring right here on the Sonoma Coast.”

Fort Bragg. Mendocino Coast. Secret Beach Entrances.

You Have to Wait for Low Tide

“At low tide you can find the entrance to a tunnel through a rock wall that provides access to this interesting spot. The wall is at the north end of Seaside Creek Beach at an approximate address of 30000 Shoreline Highway, Fort Bragg.

Belvedere. North Bay Region. Unbuilt Marin House Seeks Record Sale with $65 Million Listing

FILE – In this March 29, 2016, file photo, (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP, File)

Interior rendering for 135 Belvedere Avenue in Belvedere. The site is for sale for $65 million, which includes the completed structure and the whole property. (Courtesy David Kotzebue Architecture)

San Francisco Region. An Earthquake Expert Says There’s One Neighborhood in San Francisco She’d Never Buy a House (San Francisco’s eastern shoreline).

San Francisco’s eastern shoreline

The potential impacts of this quake on San Francisco are severe. Heavy, dense apartments built above cavernous garages (also known as soft-story housing), will buckle as the marshy soil beneath them — added in the latter half of the 19th century by zealous developers wanting to extend the peninsula’s real estate — behaves like a liquid.

Half Moon Bay. Peninsula Region. Commission Warns of Legal Action.

Martin’s Beach – HB Review

Martin’s Beach is a beloved spot by many throughout the Coastside. Now, the California Coastal Commission says it will step up efforts to reopen it to visitors.”

Santa Cruz. Central Coast. Santa Cruz County Median Home Price $815,000 in July.

Four-bedroom solar-powered geodesic dome home

“The seller is asking $998,000 for this four-bedroom solar-powered geodesic dome home on 3.3 acres at 235 Dorrance Road in Boulder Creek. List price in June was $1.08 million.”

Pacific Grove. Central Coast. Pacific Grove’s Butterfly Parade and Chautauqua Days to branch out.

Pacific Grove’s Butterfly Parade and Chautauqua Days

“The local pageant and accompanying activities, part of the traditionally two-day event that have taken place since 1939 (excluding during World War II), are getting a makeover thanks to The Heritage Society of Pacific Grove’s board member Dixie Layne. Layne was responsible last year for putting together the new 90-minute bus tour featuring the Pacific Grove landmarks from the lives of Monterey Peninsula residents John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts.”

Cambria. Central Coast. Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve ~ Experience the Ranch

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

We also help manage the property for the public by organizing volunteers to remove invasive plants, maintain trails and plant native species to help Mother Nature replenish her bounty.

Santa Barbara County. Central Coast. Chumash Tribe still willing to negotiate into land-into-trust agreement with county.

Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

“The House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R.1491, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act, at a markup session last month. The bill ratifies a Bureau of Indian Affairs decision to place the land, known as Camp 4, in trust.”

Ventura. South Coast Region. Check Out This Crazy Drone Footage of a Humpback Whale Trapped in Ventura Harbor.

A 35-foot Humpback Whale

A 35-foot Humpback Whale was trapped in Southern California’s Ventura Harbor and was lured to freedom by wildlife officials using an underwater microphone to broadcast whale calls

South Bay. South Coast Region. Lottery to open for hikers who want to trek all 67 miles of Santa Monica Mountain’s Backbone Trail.

Santa Monica Mountain’s Backbone Trail

“Guided hikes begin Jan. 13 on the trail’s western edge in Pt. Mugu State Park near the L.A.-Ventura county line and end April 28 at Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades.”

Orange County Beach Towns. South Coast Region. Huntington Beach spiritual leaders bless the ocean at annual service

Huntington Beach spiritual leaders bless the ocean

“Father Christian Mondor, 92, of Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic Church in Huntington Beach arrives to conduct the annual Blessing of the Waves on Sunday at the Huntington Beach Pier. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley)”

San Diego. South Coast Region. Gray whale makes a pit stop in Carlsbad lagoon

A young California gray whale in Tamarack Beach

“A young California gray whale swimming near Tamarack Beach Monday afternoon slowed traffic and drew more than 300 spectators before it disappeared in the waves a few hours later.”

What You Missed in September

So, shh.  Don’t tell them I told you. Here’s what you missed along the South Coast Region.  They’re in no hurry to encourage you to return to their local playgrounds.

From Point Loma in San Diego to Carlsbad in North County
Here’s a handful of beaches that don’t get the credit — or the crowds — that they deserve.

While you’re busy with back-to-school schedules and work routines, locals celebrate open parking spots on narrow beach streets.  They celebrate bright gorgeous sunsets which illuminate Catalina Island on a darkening horizon.

So, shh.  Don’t tell them I told you about what you missed along the South Coast Region They’re in no hurry to encourage you to return to their local playgrounds.

Top Ten After Labor Day Stories

1. Part seven of our Seattle to San Diego excursion sets off from Santa Monica and makes a lazy path along some of Southern California’s most memorable stops before ending up in idyllic Laguna Beach. From the historic grandeur of the Queen Mary to surf-loving stretches of Huntington Beach, from Newport Beach’s seafood palaces to the alluring cottages of Crystal Cove, it’s a sunlit sojourn. Coastal Living.

From San Diego to Ventura Beach Towns

2.  “The gray whale, who was between 15 to 18 feet long, was spotted in Dana Point Harbor. It swam into a shallow children’s area called Baby Beach and circled a pier.” Daily Mail.

This aerial photo provided by DolphinSafari.com
  1.  “Luckily for San Diegans, with a little effort, you can almost always find a mellow surf spot that isn’t overrun with 12-year-old surfing prodigies and semi-professionals without day jobs. Here’s a handful of beaches that don’t get the credit — or the crowds — that they deserve. Thrillist.
From Point Loma in San Diego to Carlsbad in North County
  • Carlsbad– Terramar
  • South Carlsbad – Ponto
  • Cardiff-by-the-Sea – George’s
  • Del Mar – 8th Street
  • North Pacific Beach – Tourmaline (Old Man’s)
  • Ocean Beach – Pescadero (aka Pesky)
  • Point Loma – Garbage, Sunset Cliffs

4.  Hundreds of local surfers and ocean lovers made a symbolic pollution awareness statement when they fought through choppy waves like warriors and paddled all the way around the Ocean Beach Pier. San Diego Union Tribune

Pollution Awareness in Ocean Beach.

5.  “The Lido Bridge is a popular place for kids to jump into the water in Newport Beach and authorities are trying to make the danger apparent to the public. Los Angeles Times (File Photo)”

Look Before You Don’t Leap in Lido.

6.  “U.S. News recently published an article on the “Top 6 Experiences in Southern California” and we are proud to say that each (and more!) is found in Ventura, a laid-back beach town. Ventura has fantastic weather year-round, earning it descriptions like “the land of eternal spring.” Whether you want to surf, paddle-board, kayak, jet ski, catch a professional surfing tournament or take a surf lesson from a professional surfer, we have it all.” Visit Ventura

Visit Ventura

7. An Airstream perched above Malibu, California is available for rent starting at $500 per night. All photos via Airbnb. Curbed.

Malibu Dreaming

8. Newport Beach. “The Balboa Peninsula institution, which opened in 1977, played a slideshow of pictures from the 1980s through the 2000s. Many guests were couples who met at the bar.” Daily Pilot.

50 Years at Malarky’s

9.“The yacht Stimulus is docked on Balboa Island. A man who stole it in 2014 was arrest on suspicion of trying to steal it again on Tuesday, Sept. 20, in Newport Beach. (Photo by Sam Gangwer, Orange County Register/SCNG)”

(Courtesy of Craig Brewer)

10.Newport Beach. The program would last 1 to 2 years. The buoys are equipped with software that detects sharks larger than six feet and beams a signal to lifeguards so they can investigate or close a beach when one is spotted.

Beware. Beach Closings.

The software can tell the difference between a shark, seal, and dolphin, says Aussie surfer Ian Cairns, who lives in Orange County and is a representative for the company.  “You have a virtual barrier that simply enables sharks to be detected and within seconds the lifeguards are notified about an incursion,” he says.

Top Ten Best West Road Trip Summer Stories

“The sharks are now getting bigger. They may be able to tolerate slightly cooler conditions. The bigger they get, the less likely they are to migrate…”

Beware. Beach Closings.
“24th annual Civil War reenactment goes forward in Huntington Beach. Despite increased tensions around the country surrounding Confederate monuments.”

 

1. Big Sur –  Central Coast:  Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties.

“Every day, the isolated stretch of Big Sur loses $300,000 in revenues, according to Kirk Gafill, manager of the world-famous restaurant Nepenthe. San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties could face a $554 million loss in revenue due to closures, according to a recent study by Visit California, which promotes tourism. The economic impact could ripple out further, if visitors cancel summer plans to the Golden State. “Santa Cruz Sentinel

2. Sharks – South Coast Region: Capistrano, Dana Point. Oceanside. Central Coast Region: Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara. Peninsula Region: Half Moon Bay.

“Sharks are thriving in Southern California but dying in San Francisco Bay. In Southern California, great white sharks have begun to arrive after spending the winter off Baja California. Recently, one of the sharks bit a chunk out of a mother’s leg as she swam off San Onofre State Beach.

Shark bite victim. “A doctor said the victim was “remarkably calm” through the ordeal, adding her strong physical condition was a major factor in her survival. Korcsmaros is an aerobics and fitness trainer in Corona del Mar and a mother of three — aged 16, 22, and 24. Korcsmaros had multiple tooth marks on her right side, extending from her shoulder in a semicircular pattern to her lower pelvis. She also had lacerations on her right arm, an open chest wound and multiple rib fractures and had lost about a liter of blood, doctors said.” Los Angeles Times

Beware. Beach Closings.

“Lifeguard crews who had been searching by boat and helicopter for shark activity in the water off Newport Beach reopened the state beach. Lifeguards had reopened the beach between the Balboa Pier and the Wedge.”Los Angeles Times

Dana Point. San Cemente.““The best evidence I have is that the last two winters none of those animals have migrated south to Baja but one — a 2-year-old, 8-foot shark,” Lowe told patch.com. “That, we attribute to El Nino because the water [temperature] never got below 60 degrees. “The sharks are now getting bigger. They may be able to tolerate slightly cooler conditions. The bigger they get, the less likely they are to migrate ” patch.com

“Surfers are back at it again off Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz, just one day after a shark attack near Steamer Lane. Over on Santa Cruz Main Beach, locals and tourists sat on blankets and chairs enjoying Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk free movies on the beach.” KSBW

Santa Barbara County. We were in waist-deep, blue-green surf at Padaro Beach, the sweet little stretch of paradise you can see from Highway 101 at Santa Claus Lane. It was late morning on Sunday, a gray, cool day, with surprisingly warm water. Los Angeles Times.

Half Moon Bay. A tape measure shows the spread of teeth marks in Pat Conroy’s kayak. HM Review.

3. Best and Worst Beaches. South Coast Region. Central Coast Region. San Diego, San Clemente and Santa Cruz.

Fabulous Fun at the Hotel del Coronado

Coronado Beach dropped from No. 7 last year to No. 9 this year. The website describes the beach fronting the Hotel del Coronado as the “toast of Southern California; it is a veritable oasis by the sea …” Dr. Beach.

“The San Clemente Pier came in No. 2 on Heal the Bay’s annual top 10 Beach Bummer List. Shark sightings have closed stretches of the beach recently, but swimmers should also worry about bacteria levels.” (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Santa Cruz. In 2017, only the third most contaminated. In October, the city-created Cowell Beach Working Group released data that recent steps to address the issue, believed to be caused by animal waste, had reduced bacteria counts by about 50 percent.

4. Mavericks. Peninsula Region. Usually a winter story. In May contest crashes. 

The End of The Big Surf Competition?

“Mavericks Invitational board member Brian Overfelt itemized that claim. He said it includes $1.25 million left unpaid per an intellectual property agreement with Cartel, $450,000 in remuneration for his work and that of contest founder Jeff Clark and his wife Cassandra, $360,000 in sponsorships lined up before Cartel allegedly scuttled them, and $85,000 or 10 percent of the gross revenues made by Cartel on the Mavericks name.” HMB Review.

“In August a 95-page “motion to sell” submitted to the court on Wednesday, the former surf contest organizers detailed their wishes to turn over the reins to the World Surf League. HMB” Revew.

5. Martins Beach. Peninsula Region. Vinod Khosla. Surfrider Foundation. 

“The ruling, filed Wednesday, doesn’t settle the tangle of litigation over public entry to the sweeping crescent south of Half Moon Bay. But it does affirm a lower court decision that billionaire Vinod Khosla has to unlock the gate to Martins Beach Road while the legal fight continues.” LA Times.

Access Denied. Granted. Still Not Open.

“The controversy over Martins Beach began in 2010, when Khosla closed a gate at the top of a private road that provides the only access to the cove from Highway 1. The previous owners, the Deeney family, had allowed the public to visit the beach for decades — advertising the spot with a billboard and operating a store and restrooms — in exchange for a modest parking fee.” Mercury News.

“The family that sold Martin’s Beach had, for almost a century, allowed surfers, fishing enthusiasts and others to reach the sand on foot or by car via an access road. Eventually the family provided public restrooms, a parking lot and a general store. Khosla posted “do not enter” signs, hired security and shut the gate.” LA Times.

6.  US Open in Huntington Beach – South Coast Region

“Thousands will crowd the shoreline Saturday through Aug. 6 for the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, as they did here in 2015.” (File photo | Daily Pilot)

Surf City’s Open

“Huntington Beach´s Brett Simpson surfs the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier, site of the U.S. Open of Surfing on July 29-Aug. 6. Simpson, who won the contest in 2009 and 2010, will try to become the first three-time winner since Rob Machado won it in 1995, 2001 and 2006.” (Courtesy of Brian Bott) LA Times

7.  Jack O’Neal – Central Coast: Santa Cruz, Pleasure Point

Jack O’Neill Windsurfs in Santa Cruz.

“Jack O’Neill windsurfs off Santa Cruz August 5, 1982. Inventor of the wetsuit and surfing world icon, O’Neill died at his Pleasure Point home Friday.” (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel file)

“On Sunday, thousands gathered at Pleasure Point, both in the water and on the cliffs, to remember surfing legend Jack O’Neill.” (William Scherer — Contributed) Santa Cruz Sentinel

8. 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love

“50th anniversary of the Summer of Love this year, it’s time to chill, man. Here are places in San Francisco and the Bay Area to celebrate the Summer of Love:” LA Times

“1960s art is all over Haight-Ashbury, ground zero for the Summer of Love. This mural, of the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, is seen on a Wild SF Walking Tour.” LA Times

50th Anniversary of that Lovin’ Feeling.

“Perhaps no art form more exemplifies San Francisco’s Summer of Love than the music of the era. It led an explosion of culture and expression in the balmy summer months of 1967, and a counterculture revolution swept through the city by the bay. Tens of thousands of young folks swarmed to the Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park, and they brought with them the sounds of change.” SFTravel.

9. Monterey Pop 50th Anniversary. Central Coast. Monterey. Debut of Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix, Joplin and Garcia.

At the 1967 festival, the lineup spanned the sweet folk-rock of Simon & Garfunkel and the Mamas & the Papas, the scorching R&B of Redding, the fiery blues-rock of Joplin and her San Francisco-based band Big Brother & the Holding Company, the blue-eyed soul of Johnny Rivers and the exotic ragas of Shankar. LA Times.

10. Confederate Celebrations Where the North and South Compete. North Coast Region: Duncans Mills. South Coast Region: Huntington Beach

Civil War West Coast Style

24th annual Civil War reenactment goes forward in Huntington Beach. Despite increased tensions around the country surrounding Confederate monuments.

Duncans Mills Northern California’s largest civil war reenactment and one of the largest reenactments west of the Mississippi!

Goin’ Coastal

“California Regions – the last leg of your journey. From the desert and the mountains to the sea. Ending In Santa Monica at the Pier. It’s all there if you dare!”

Seemingly Endless Southern California Beaches
And, when standing at the end of the pier you look at the beaches to your left and right, you realize your next road trip adventure calls you with its siren song.

You want rugged?

Check.

You want mysterious deserts?

Check.

You want Redwood coastal wilderness?

Check.

In California the travel regions vary greatly, ranging from  the rugged interior mountains to the harsh southern desert to the forested northern coastal regions.

California’s 10 travel regions are broken down into:

California’s Ten Travel Regions
  • Southern California
  • Desert
  • Central Coast
  • San Joaquin Valley
  • Sacramento Valley
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Gold Country
  • Bay Area
  • North Coast
  • Shasta Cascades

If you’re interested in the Desert and part of the Southern California region, you may enjoy the “California Regions” edition of “Best West Road Trips – Route 66

Get Your Kicks on Route 66

“California Regions – the last leg of your journey. From the desert and the mountains to the sea. Ending In Santa Monica at the Pier. It’s all there if you dare!”

The Mother Road ends at the Santa Monica Pier.

Well, not exactly, but the attraction more than makes up for historical inaccuracy.

You can’t drive any further west unless you plan to plunge into the Pacific Ocean.

Here’s my recommendation.

Park.

Stroll out onto the pier and take a selfie at the End of the Trail sign.

Near the intersection of Route 66 and Pacific Coast Highway

Then go for it.

Make your way past the crowds and attractions to as far as you can walk.

Then standing there at the end of the pier look at the beaches to your left and right.

Turn around and look back to where you came.

That’s when you realize your next road trip adventure calls you with its siren song.

The iconic, and more breath-taking scenic road trip on Pacific Coast Highway.

That’s what we did.

World Famous Hotel Del Coronado

We invite you to retrace our coastal steps.

We begin in the South Coast Region with the historic beach Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.

Then we head north with the ocean on our drivers side.  

Always on our drivers side.

We hug the coast, not necessarily always on PCH, but  traveling through Southern California beach towns to the laid back Central Coast, into the Bay Area and finally to the North Coast before terminating at Pacific Northwest towns and destinations like Tumwater and Port Angeles, Washington.

Mapping Out Your Best West Road Trips

We’re taking our time.

Exploring everything we can on  a road trip in sequence.

One town after another up the Pacific Coast.

Vacation beach towns, missions, piers and light houses.

And so much more.

More for road trippers, vacationers and more for anyone who wouldn’t mind moving to a resort community.

Fall in love on vacation, stay for a lifetime.

 

Life Along the Central Coast

Every morning before work and school locals surf their favorite spots like Pico Creek.

The Captivating Pull of the Sea in Cambria
Cambria celebrates visitors (and locals) with their own unique sense of style.

If you’re looking for a fun, unique, vacation or are planning to add Cambria to your Central Coast bucket list of best places to live, here’s a quick snapshot.

Cambria — where the pines meet the sea.

Cambria Architecture
  • Antique and Art Shops,
  • Boutique Restaurants.
  • Farmers Market.
  • Beautiful Vistas.
  • Beach-front Boardwalks.
Stroll Along the Boardwalk

What’s like living in such a beautiful place?

Every morning before work and school locals surf their favorite spots like Pico Creek.

Before Work or Schools

Cambria celebrates visitors (and locals) with their own unique sense of style.

How?

  • With specialty gift shops.
  • With apparel shops
  • With one-of-a-kind stores offering uniques treasures to suit your lifestyle.

Chain stores?

Nope.

Only an eclectic array of stores to stimulate your tastes.

Leisurely Stroll

You never know what you might discover when you explore the town.

That’s not all.

Live music at a dozen venues attracts a variety of artists playing rock, pop, funk, folk, and jazz.

But, that’s still not all.

There’s the Pacific Coast Wine Trail stretching 28 miles along the coast between Morro Bay and San Simeon (home of Hearst Castle), just north of Cambria on Highway 1.

What will you find?

Cayucos Cellars in well, Cayucus to Hearst Ranch Winery in San Simeon.

Traveling from Paso Robles?

Highway 46 West from 101 connects you to Highway 1 and Cambria and Hearst Castle.

From San Luis Obispo?

Travel north Highway 1.

For more stories and resources visit us on the Central Coast Region digital magazine.