Pacific Coast Highway, Cayucos, CA

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A Small, Quiet Beach Town

Su and I have travelled both North and South on the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) in California. We have gone through Monterey and Big Sur all the way to LA. But there is one place along the Highway that seems to continue to pull us back in for an extended stay. That place is Cayucos, CA.

The town of Cayucos, CA looking over the Pacific Coast Highway towards the sunset. Pacific Coast of California.

Cayucos is a small town that extends north from Morro Bay a few miles to the top of the cove. There aren’t any manufacturers, industrial ports, or any kind of industry at all for that matter. Instead, Cayucos is a sleepy beach town with a handful of surf shops, a candy store, a cookie bakery, a few restaurants, and a couple of antique vendors. It’s the perfect place to spend a few nights or a weekend to decompress from the hectic schedule of the city.

Or, as in our case, spend as much time as you possibly can exploring everything the town has to offer.

The Pier

The pier is kind of like the centerpiece of town. It and the adjacent warehouse Captain Cass built are very iconic. They appear on apparel, storefront windows, and logos for some of the town’s small surf shops. We even designed a logo for an event that features the Pier along with Morro Rock and the Morro Bay power plant’s smoke stacks. All three are visual icons of the area.

Cayucos, CA patch and sticker logo.

Walking to the Pier

The last time we visited Cayucos, Su and I took a morning walk to the pier almost everyday. Some days we just strolled down to the pier through the neighborhoods. Other days we took cameras to shoot videos and photos. Here is one such video.

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When to Go

Staying for a bit in Cayucos is always picturesque. And we usually get at least a couple of nice sunsets while we are there. During the Winter and Spring months, crowds are usually smaller and the hills are a fresh, green color.

Where to stay

We have stayed in a number of places. The hotels in town are small and quiet, and some are pet-friendly. You won’t find a Holiday Inn or Best Western in Cayucos. They are all smaller, independently run boutique style places. We have stayed in a few of the hotels in town… and one or two in Morro Bay. You can use the map below to find a great deal on a hotel and explore the area yourself.

Our Hotel Recommendations for Cayucos

Rent a House

Since our visits tend to be for longer periods of time than a weekend, we usually rent a house. It’s usually a better deal for visits of a week or longer. Plus you get the added benefit of a full kitchen and living room. There are a number of companies that rent beach houses in Cayucos. And, while their websites usually leave a lot to be desired, they are reputable companies. We haven’t had much of an issue with them over the years and still go back to rent year after year.

Vacation Rental Companies

Things to Do

Our typical trip to Cayucos usually involves boogie boarding (with a 4.3 wetsuit), surfing, bike riding, and hiking. Walking downtown to explore the shops usually happens at least once or twice. And a visit to the Brown Butter Cookie Company and Cass House Bakery are usually up on the list.

Outside of town there is a lot to do as well. Cayucos State Beach stretches for several miles, starting from the pier heading south towards Morro Bay. It’s a fantastic place to take a long walk on the beach, especially if the tide is low.

Cayucos State Beach with the tide coming in on an early morning walk. Pacific Coast Highway.

North of town lies Cambria, another small beach town with a very nice, albeit touristy, downtown to walk through. A little farther North is San Simeon. San Simeon is a port “town” that was built up by the media mogul William Randolph Hearst. Up in the hills above San Simeon is Hearst Castle, which we will dive into deeper in the future.

Montaña de Oro

One final place worth exploring is a state park to the south located near a town called Los Osos. Montaña de Oro State Park has been a treasure trove of hiking and coastal views. I’ve shot many, many sunsets out there over the years. Take a look at a video we filmed a couple of years back.

We will revisit the area around Montaña de Oro later as we have made some new discoveries and explored some new trails in the area.

Cayucos State Beach sunset at Old Creek Road off of the Pacific Coast Highway in California.

Cayucos is a great stopping point on the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s even better if you have some time to explore. Su and I are hoping to get back up that way soon and head farther North. Maybe as far North as we can go. If you have some good suggestion on what we should check out, let us know in the comments. We will see you soon. Happy Exploring!


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