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Turquoise waters along the McWay Waterfall Trail at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, California
Arnaud Muller/Bogdan Zlatkov
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Morning fog over a vineyard in Paso Robles in California
Arnaud Muller/Bogdan Zlatkov
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  • States:
    California

California’s amazing Central Coast region lies roughly between San Francisco and Santa Barbara.

Travelling the region by car, I took in absolutely spectacular coastal views while in locations like Big Sur, stayed in charming towns like Carmel-by-the-Sea, experienced five-star hotels, sipped at wineries, relished fantastic dining, and even toured a castle – all while enjoying the fresh sea air. Believe me, along the central coast, relaxing, unwinding and indulging is easy!

Carmel-by-the-Sea – An Artistic Beachside Town

Known for its artistic beginnings, the seaside town of Carmel, located approximately 120 kilometres south of San Francisco, has a more European style than other American cities. Strolling down the main thoroughfare, you’ll find boutique shops, art galleries, cafés and plenty of excellent dining options. Of course, as with many of the coastal towns, one of the main attractions is the beach, so be sure to include a visit.

Big Sur – Big Mountains, Amazing Coastline

Travelling south from Carmel, you’ll quickly come into Big Sur Territory. Big Sur is the name given to the region where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise up from the Pacific Ocean. Driving through Big Sur, you’ll encounter some amazing coastline, and there are lots of lookout points, so getting photos is easy. Within the mountains, there are plenty of hiking and camping opportunities, but for those of us who prefer the finer things in life, how about a stay at the award-winning Post Ranch Inn?

The view of the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur is one of the most incredible sights on the central coast.