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Central Coast Region Profile

In this narrow strip of coastal hills and valleys, discover romantic towns like Carmel-by-the-Sea, historic Monterey and elegant Santa Barbara, nicknamed “the American Riviera.” The region’s classic drive along Highway One, linking San Francisco to Los Angeles, visits Big Sur, Hearst Castle, wine country, and kick-back surf towns.



MAJOR TAKEAWAYS

  • The Castroville Artichoke Food & Wine Festival is a longtime favorite along the Central Coast, as Castroville produces 95 percent of the nation's artichokes.
  • The Ventura County Wine Trail includes nearly 20 wineries and tasting rooms in settings ranging from urban neighborhoods to the bucolic Ojai Valley.
  • Monterey remains an outstanding place to see whales year-round due to the cold, food-rich one-mile deep canyon just offshore.
     
  • Local chefs in the Santa Maria Valley have maintained and refined a signature barbecue style created by ranchers in the mid-1800s, generating interest from foodies around the world.
  • Oxnard is the Central Coast’s cultural hub, providing everything from impressionism to contemporary Latino works at the Carnegie Art Museum, housed in the original Carnegie Library.
     

Counties, Major Cities and Attractions

 

Counties

There are five counties in the Central Coast region of California:
  • Monterey County 
  • San Benito County
  • San Luis Obispo County
  • Santa Barbara County
  • Ventura County
 

Major Cities

This region is home to romantic towns, including Carmel-by-the-Sea, historic Monterey and elegant Santa Barbara, nicknamed “the American Riviera.” Oxnard is the largest city in the Central Coast.
  • Monterey
  • Morro Bay
  • Ojai
  • Oxnard
  • Paso Robles
  • Pismo Beach
     
  • San Luis Obispo
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Ynez
  • Solvang
  • Ventura
 

Major Attractions

Take an epic Highway One drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles to discover secret beaches and soaring cliffs.

  • 17-Mile Drive: Take a drive on this scenic road on the Monterey Peninsula which includes famous landmarks like The Lone Cypress and Pebble Beach Golf Links
  • Big Sur: Enjoy rugged stretch of California’s coastal Highway One, which offers breathtaking scenery
  • Bixby Bridge: One of the most scenic and photographed bridges in California, known for its dramatic views and graceful architecture
  • Channel Islands National Park: Referred to as the “Galapagos of North America,” these eight islands are accessible by boat and offer wildlife viewing, hiking, sea kayaking and more
  • Hearst Castle: Tour the incredible mansion that was once the home of William Randolph Hearst and is now a National Historic Landmark, featuring an unparalleled art collection and picturesque Roman Pools
  • McWay Falls: This 80-foot waterfall flows year-round from McWay Creek in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and is one of two in California that cascade directly into the ocean
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium: Experience innovative exhibits, cutting-edge marine research and ocean conservation leadership at this popular family friendly attraction 
  • Pebble Beach Golf Links: This world-famous golf course features Pacific Ocean vistas and cliffside fairways and has played host to five U.S. Open Championships along with the annual AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Pinnacles National Park: Ideal for hikers and climbers, the park features rare talus caves and towering rock spires that are home to diverse wildlife

Weather

In California’s Central Coast, visitors enjoy mild weather year-round, making it an ideal region for outdoor recreation, wine tasting and much more.

DEC-FEB

65°F/18°C
High
43°F/6°C
Low

JUN-AUG

73°F/23°C
High
54°F/12°C
Low

MAR-MAY

67°F/19°C
High
46°F/8°C
Low

SEPT-NOV

73°F/23°C
High
47°F/8°C
Low

California Welcome Centers in Central Coast

The Central Coast region has three California Welcome Centers:

 

Related Central Coast Images & Video

Related to Central Coast