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 barroom downstairs or on an ocean-view 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.

Map of Pacific Coast through California's Central Coast.
Map of Pacific Coast through California’s Central Coast.