Now that we moved to Central California, it’s exciting to revisit some of the places I loved going to while growing up. I also love the fact that it is all new to my husband and I am his personal travel guide. When thinking of what to do for our 5 year wedding anniversary, we thought we would just lay low and go to dinner. Everything changed when my husband casually slipped in that he signed us up for a 10k in Santa Monica. Immediately I thought of driving back home by way of highway 1, that way he could see how beautiful it is and we can spend the night somewhere. Who doesn’t love staying in a hotel on the beach?
After running in Santa Monica, we jumped on highway 1 and headed straight up the coast. Honestly the central coast is so beautiful, we could have stopped at every small town but we had a plan to check into our hotel and relax by the beach. We did pull over at many vista points because the sights were to breathtaking not to.
After two and a half hours, we arrived in Pismo. I tend to pick hotels based on suggestions and/or reviews on Yelp. This time I went with Yelp and booked a room at The Sand Castle Hotel. I was happy to see that our hotel was directly located on the beach pier and also that parking was free! So far so good. We checked in and the staff let us know that they upgraded us to a King Suite for free. (This is not an ad, I paid to stay here). Hooray! Once we arrived to our room, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the room was huge, had a kitchenette, a balcony and was best of all extremely clean.
Another great feature of the hotel is that they currently offer a free continental breakfast and complimentary tea, coffee, & cocoa all day. They are currently adding a bistro, so that will be handy when you just want to grab food there. The best part, at least for me, is that the ground floor and third story both had a huge balcony on the beach side with fire pits, couches, and games. We loved watching the sunset out there as well as early morning, listening to the waves crash. They have local wines, beer and champagne available for purchase and they allow you to keep the engraved glasses.
Pismo has grown tremendously since I last visited. There are a lot more restaurants and places to walk around and shop in addition to the pier. We went for dinner at my favorite seafood restaurant, The Oyster Loft. It’s a little on the pricey side however they have the freshest seafood and their oysters are amazing! I’m a fan of the more brinier ones and they suggested The Grassy Bars from Moro Bay. They also make a soy minuet in house that compliments perfectly. Since my husband is a whiskey drinker, I suggested a smoke old fashioned for him. It is served in a cocktail glass with a large ball of ice and a side decanter of bourbon infused with smoke that they gently pour into your glass. The aroma is almost as intoxicating as the drink. He was pleasantly surprised. We sat at the bar, which they allowed us to bring in our 1 year old and we were dressed very casual.
When we got up in the morning, we stopped in San Simone to see the Elephant Seal Vista Point so that our son could see the hundreds of seals that lay out on the beach. Then we went straight to Big Sur. There are many great places to hike, camp and even eat but so far my favorite place to eat, primarily for the view is Nepenthe. You can see miles and miles of the Pacific Ocean, while you eat or drink a beverage. Definitely not one to miss on your drive.
After we had a quick bite it was back on the road again. We drove through some quaint little towns and would have stopped if we had more time. California has so much to offer and it was nice to finally feel some crisp, fall weather. Where’s your favorite spot on the central coast?