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California Central Coast Travel and Lodging

by Cathy Enns

The California Central Coast is perhaps one of the most sought-after vacation spots on the planet. With its sprawling beaches, beautiful hiking spots and a wine industry rivaling that of Napa and Sonoma, California Central Coast travel can satisfy those suffering even the most severe case of wanderlust.

The beauty of California Central Coast travel is that there are sightseeing opportunities with lodging options close by—whatever your needs might be. Whether you’re planning an elegant weekend with someone special, or you’re on a limited budget, you can plan a visit to California’s Central Coast. Travel choices here welcome all comers.

If you’re seeking an indulgent vacation, you need to look no further than The Cliffs Resort or Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa in Shell Beach. Both boast a breathtaking seaside view atop a towering sea cliff. Nestled in a secluded setting, The Cliffs features spa packages, wine country tours and an oceanfront swimming pool kids love. Dolphin Bay, a gorgeous “all villa” resort, boasts the renowned Lido Restaurant, offering artisan meals prepared with locally-raised organic food.

Of course, it wouldn’t be proper to cover California Central Coast travel and lodging without mentioning the famous Madonna Inn. Opened in 1958 and featuring 110 themed rooms, the Madonna Inn attracts visitors from all over the world. The unique rooms keep everyone entertained, from newlywed couples to families with wide-eyed children.

Many people venture out to California’s Central Coast for the wine alone. The region’s popularity is approaching that of Napa Valley, yet it boasts a calmer, less touristy feel than does northern California. For adventurers looking for a wine-infused weekend, there are endless opportunities. Wine festivals and wine tours are plentiful here. Wine trolleys offer great ways to observe the scenery and visit tasting rooms in comfort. With hundreds wineries in the area, the Central Coast will not disappoint even the most seasoned wine drinker.

Wine country lodging covers a spectrum of choices. At the high end, you can indulge yourself at the famous Hotel Cheval or the popular Paso Robles Inn, both located in the heart of Paso Robles’ charming downtown area. Or choose La Bellasera Hotel and Suites with its perfect location for exploring wine country, or the historic Carlton Hotel in nearby Atascadero. You might also be interested in a lovely bed and breakfast like Hummingbird House in tiny Templeton.

A trip to California’s Central Coast just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the famed Hearst Castle. Perched atop a hill on the Santa Lucia Range, the castle features breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, while accentuating the sweeping countryside it’s built upon. Hearst Castle offers four tours, allowing visitors to choose exactly what they’d like to learn about its history.

When you plan a day at Hearst Castle, a stay at a hotel or B&B in nearby Cambria or Cayucos is a natural choice. The Sand Pebbles Inn in Cambria, just steps away from famous Moonstone Beach, is very popular, as is Cambria Pines Lodge, nestled in the trees on a hilltop. Just a few miles down Highway 1 you’ll find Cass House in Cayucos, built in 1867 and restored just a few years ago in a project that spared no attention to detail.

For the frugal traveler, a great variety of economical lodging options can be found up and down the Central Coast. Motels and smaller inns are aplenty in the region, making a trip with a conservative budget very possible. You can still find family-owned properties with character, such as the Melody Ranch Motel in Paso Robles, the Edgewater Inn in Pismo Beach and the Seaside Motel in Cayucos. The well-known chains are here too, such as Motel 6, Quality Inn, Holiday Inn Express and a range of Best Western properties.

There’s something for everyone on the California Central Coast. Travel here and be prepared to take in the amazing scenery, drink some great wine, soak up the sun and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

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