Travel Guide // Cambria, CA

Where to Stay:

Beachfront Hotel

As a beach town, Cambria offers plenty of lovely hotel options right on the coast. Jomana and I didn’t stay in a hotel so I can’t give any proper reviews, but we drove past several as we were exploring the beaches there and they looked gorgeous! This website features four different inns available on the beach in Cambria, and of them I specifically remember being amazed at Moonstone Cottages when we drove by. Rather than a typical hotel building, the rooms are broken off from each other into a mini village of little cottages by the beach. So cute and perfect!

Rent a cottage

Although the California coast gets a lot of attention in Cambria, the pine forests there are also magnificent. The landscape is truly remarkable with the mountains coming up so close to the beach…it’s a very different feel from the beaches in Southern California! Renting a cottage or private apartment can be cheaper than a hotel, and also allow you to enjoy both the clean pine-fresh air and the beach. Cambria is quite small, so staying off of the shore doesn’t mean you’re far away from it.

The cabin we stayed at was located a 1-2 minute drive from the main street and less than 5 minutes from the beach so we by no means felt like we were sacrificing the ocean to stay in the mountains. It was very clean and impossibly cute, with wood floors and white walls. There were lots of windows and the doors were split so you could open the top halves without the bottoms. It was PERFECT for letting in beautiful natural light and deliciously fresh mountain air. I posted a bunch of pictures of the interior here and here. I highly recommend it!

There are also plenty of private apartments for rent at Airbnb.

What to Eat:

Robin’s

We ate a delicious and extremely filling dinner here on Saturday night. The decor was really interesting, with vines growing in from the outside to line the walls and beams indoors. It was too cold for us to sit outside, but there was a REALLY cute patio area that would be nice to eat on for lunch or a warm evening.

Lily’s Coffee House

We stopped here for some coffee and scones to enjoy back at our cabin. We picked it based on it’s really good reviews on Yelp, and we weren’t disappointed. The service was so friendly and the shop was eccentrically decorated with random little trinkets and mirrors. Be forewarned, it is a very small cafe so it might be better to get your food/drink to go. All of the pastries looked amazing, and we LOVED the scones!

Linn’s

This restaurant also came highly recommended for their ollalieberry pie, which did indeed turn out being SO GOOD. Ollalieberry is a highbred berry that’s a result of like six crossbred berries and it is grown primarily in California. Even if you don’t get pie here, you should definitely try it at some point!

Other

Only being in Cambria for one full day, we obviously didn’t have time to try every restaurant in town…but here are a few other restaurants that looked cute from the outside and have good reviews online:

NOTE: Restaurants closed super early! As in they close around 9, even on weekends. We (stupidly) didn’t check the hours before hand and took our time sightseeing and getting ready on Saturday, only to realize around 7:45 that we had to rush if we wanted to get dinner at all.

Things to Do:

Walk around Main Street

Lined with little boutiques and restaurants, Main Street is a must-see even if you don’t go into any of the shops. It’s pretty small, so it’ll take less than an hour to walk up and down both sides, but I highly recommend taking your time and doing some browsing!

Lucia Apothecary

One of the shops on Main Street that I HIGHLY recommend is Lucia Apothecary, where you can shop body products like sugar scrubs and oils. There is a basin in the center of the room where the shop assistant will help you test out a sugar scrub of your choice with warm water, and then give your hands a quick rub with a matching oil. Not only did my hands turn out softer than I’ve ever felt them, but EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT in the store was handmade by one woman. You can feel the personal touch!

Wine tasting

There are plenty of wine tastings you can do in Cambria, and we were really happy with the one we went to at Moonstone Cellars! The server was extremely helpful and it was only $7 for 6 VERY generous tastes…seriously, the tastes were at least a quarter of a glass. Considering $7 is an average price for one glass, it was a bargain. We ordered a cheese and cracker plate and it wasn’t fancy, but it was good. The cellar was dog friendly which was AWESOME because there were several cute dogs hanging out in there.

Moonstone Beach + boardwalks

Called Moonstone Beach because it’s actually covered in moonstones, you can walk along the water and collect pretty stones for yourself. Even if you choose to stay on the amazing boardwalks, the view is still gorgeous and highly recommended.

Hearst Castle Tour

You simply CANNOT be in the area and not visit Hearst Castle. It’s only a fifteen-ish minute drive from Cambria and you’ll see both an example of incredible architecture and stunning landscape. I’ll have a Hearst Castle guide soon, so keep your eyes out for that!

Nitt Witt Ridge

It only takes a minutes to drive here from Main Street, and even if you don’t take a tour it’s worth a look. This house was built in the mid 20th century by an artist/recluse who constructed the building completely with garbage from Cambria and Hearst Castle!

Other tips:

  • We were REALLY cold being in Cambria in March, so if you go in the off-season you won’t be able to lay out or anything. However, we did beat the crowds and enjoyed the town at a slow pace.
  • Driving there from Southern California was an easy drive, and I highly recommend taking the scenic Pacific Coast Highway.
  • There’s a herd of zebras that live in the mountains/fields between Hearst Castle and Cambria. If you’re driving to/from Hearst Castle, keep your eye out for them.
  • I hope this guide was helpful to anyone looking to visit beautiful central California this year! Be sure to comment with any additional questions :]
    • WHAT IS THIS PLACE A WONDERLAND? You’re always exploring the most beautiful places on this planet earth!

    • WHAT IS THIS PLACE A WONDERLAND? You're always exploring the most beautiful places on this planet earth!

    • Hima

      1. Every time we drive back and forth from LA to the Bay, I make sure we take 1 all the way down because the views seriously cannot be beat. Especially when you’re in Santa Barbara/Goleta, and all you see is this gorgeous expanse of deep blue reflecting the clouds or blue sky. It’s so calming! The ocean and mountains are definitely my happy place because even just thinking about it improves my mood. My absolute favorite thing in the whole world to do, even when the water is cold as hell, is walking along the beach barefoot in areas where the sand is still wet and the water comes up to tickle your toes.
      2. I’ve been to hearst castle! I don’t remember it very well but I remember the indoor pool, and that they might have had alligators there at some point? I might be making that up, but whatever.
      3. I bet that first picture was edited with C1 on VSCO. Please tell me I’m right