Editor’s note: A couple of months ago we announced the launching of our new Cambria Ambassador Program. Partnering with bloggers throughout California, we’ve invited them to use their photography, outdoor, and food and beverage expertise to give travelers like you an exclusive preview of Cambria.
Most Californians know Cambria as a romantic seaside retreat with cozy B&Bs, hip art galleries and charming gourmet restaurants. It’s definitely all those things — but it also makes a great family getaway.
My husband and two daughters recently spent the weekend exploring the region, using the new El Colibri Hotel & Spa as our home base. The hotel is a gorgeous Mediterranean-style property, conveniently located next to Cambria’s downtown restaurants and the 1 1/2-mile-long Moonstone Beach Boardwalk.
We started our adventure at Outback Trail Rides, where Aussie Mick Harper and his crew took us on a scenic 1-hour tour through Fiscalini Ranch. This was our kids’ first time horseback riding, and Mick made sure they had a fun and enjoyable ride — even pointing out a koala along the way. (You’ll have to join the tour to see it for yourself!) Our ride ended with a trip to the oceanfront bluffs, where we enjoyed stunning views of the Cambria coastline.
The great thing about El Colibri is that you can walk almost everywhere. We found several casual family restaurants nearby, including Main Street Grill (a casual brewery/sports bar with great fish and chips) and Sandy’s, a charming little deli with hearty sandwiches and salads. (My favorite was the Big Sur Tuna Sandwich!) Cambria’s East Village, a few miles south, is where you’ll find many of Cambria’s galleries, wineries and gourmet restaurants. We found Linn’s to be a great family restaurant, with delicious homemade olallieberry pies and burgers from Hearst Ranch.
Speaking of Hearst Ranch, no visit to Cambria would be complete without a visit to Hearst Castle. Located just 7 miles up the road, Hearst Castle offers a variety of tours for every age and interest. Our kids loved checking out the Roman Pool and spotting the zebras grazing on the hill. After touring the grand rooms of the castle, we spent the rest of the afternoon checking out San Simeon Cove, where you can rent a kayak or tour the Coastal Discovery Center. While you’re here, be sure to stop for lunch at Sebastian’s General Store, which has great burgers and wine tasting. On select days, you can treat yourself to sheep’s milk ice cream from the Negranti Creamery Ice Cream truck. (Try the maple pecan, fresh mint or blueberry cinnamon swirl!)
Wildlife watching is another fun activity for the kids. On your way in to Cambria, you can stop by Morro Rock to view the sea otters resting in the kelp, or head into San Simeon for a look at the elephant seal rookery. Leffingwell Landing in Cambria is a great place to spot migrating whales.
As you can see, our family vacation in Cambria was packed with a variety of fun outdoor activities. To give you a better idea on what to expect, I filmed these video guides about Cambria for my YouTube channel, California Travel Tips. I sure hope you enjoy them!
Outback Trail Rides
Elephant Seal Rookery
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