6 Beaches To Visit On California’s Highway 1 Discovery Route

For those in California looking for a quick weekend get away, these beaches along the California Highway 1 Discovery Route (H1DR) provide everything you'll need for a relaxing and fun filled trip. 

Ragged Point

Ragged Point Beach is so remote, a breathtaking hike is needed to reach this black sandy beach. Known as the gateway to Big Sur, Ragged Point has the same look and feel only Ragged Point is open for business! The trail passes through a tunnel of trees then crosses a clearing before getting to the bluff near Ragged Point. The black sand beach is warm on a sunny day, and often only the shorebirds witness your arrival. Be sure to check the tide height, wave activity, and put on sunscreen before you hit the trail. The Ragged Point Inn has lodging and a restaurant about 1.8 miles north of the Ragged Point Beach Trailhead.

San Simeon Cove

San Simeon Cove is part of the W.R. Hearst State Beach and is a popular spot for picnics, kayaking and fishing and offers BBQ pits and picnic tables located near an 850-foot pier. A hiking trail out to San Simeon Point offers an enchanted walk along a path on the bluffs above the beach. Lacy moss dangles from the eucalyptus, pines, cedars, and cypress that flank the trail. The point at the end of the half mile peninsula trail offers a backward look toward the sparkling cove with breathtaking views of rock formations carved by the sea. The San Simeon cove has lots of active marine life to discover!

Cambria Beach

Located within minutes of Hearst Castle, Big Sur and Paso Robles Wine Country, Cambria is best known for its picturesque windswept coastline. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy beach-front hiking, surfing, fishing and searching for sparkly Moonstones along Moonstone Beach. This stunning white sand beach boasts central coast views that run north and south for miles and offers a plethora of lodging opportunities. There's a wooden boardwalk that runs along the cliffs for nice sunset walks or morning jogs. There's plenty to do in town after your beach adventure at both the East and West Village including dining, wine tasting and shopping.

Cayucos State Beach

Cayucos State Beach is a three mile stretch of beach that starts in downtown Cayucos and runs south along an uncrowded sandy shoreline to the county's most popular dog beach. Lined by hotels and vacation rentals, this wide flat beach is perfect for a day in the sun, kayaking, volleyball or a jog along the waves. You can even walk from the Cayucos beach all the way to the popular Morro Rock or get lost exploring the many great tide pools. The Cayucos Pier is a newly refurbished historic wooden fishing pier in downtown Cayucos offering excellent views of Estero Bay, the rolling hills, an occasional whale or dolphin and Morro Rock. Downtown Cayucos is filled with restaurants, antique shops and historic old western buildings and offers an annual list of popular events throughout the year.

Los Osos Beach

Los Osos is home to Montaña de Oro State Park filled with secluded sandy beaches and ocean side bluffs perfect for hiking along the Pacific Coast. The park's best-known beach is Spooner's Cove, perfect for exploring and picnicking with family and friends; dogs are welcomed when on leash. This beautiful cove has a pebbly beach, tide pools, caves, and unique rock formations to climb around on, especially at lower tides. Naturalists and backpackers enjoy the solitude and freedom found along the park's many trails. The park's name means "Mountain of Gold," named after the golden wildflowers that bloom in spring. You can also launch your paddle board or kayak to explore the Back Bay in Baywood. This is also an excellent spot for bird watching. Some of the most beautiful rocky beach vistas can be found here and along the whole H1DR.

The Whale Trail

The Whale Trail you'll find a place on land to marvel at the Pacific Ocean's amazing marine life from the shore at many H1DR beaches thanks to the new Whale Trail sites. The Whale Trail is series of sites where the public may view orcas, other cetaceans and marine mammals from shore. Today, there are more than 90 Whale Trail locations along the west coast, including the six new locations along the H1DR: the Avila Beach Pier, Cambria, Cayucos, San Simeon, Oceano and at Montaña de Oro State Park in Baywood-Los Osos. The 6 sites in Coastal San Luis Obispo County represents the largest cluster of sites on the Pacific Coast as it spans from California to British Columbia, and plans to extend from Baja California to Alaska by 2018.

For more information on the California Highway 1 Discovery Route, visit

More From LATF USA

Scroll to Top