The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.
Though it doesn’t really look like much from Hwy-1, which has grown into a near-freeway to carry all the Hearst Castle traffic, the coastal town of Cayucos is definitely worth a look. Sitting along the coast 15 miles south of Cambria, not far from Morro Bay, Cayucos has a nice little beach, a fishing pier, a range of surfing and skateboard shops, and at least two unusual places to eat and drink. If you like tiki-style bars, you’ll want to save your thirst for a visit to Schooners Wharf (171 N. Ocean Ave., 805/995-3883), with good mojitos and variable food, served up in a landmark bar room downstairs, or on an oceanview terrace above. For great food at fair prices, don’t miss Ruddell’s Smokehouse (101 D St., 805/995-5028), just off the beach, where the no-frills menu features smoked salmon and tuna sandwiches, plus fish, pork, and chicken tacos.