Continuing our story from yesterday (if you missed it, click here), here’s part two on how to make the most of your weekend pioneering, with a closer look at our itinerary for Saturday:
Wake up with the sun to catch local surfers playing in waves feet from your room. Don’t miss the buffet breakfast at Fogcatcher Inn with a make-your-own-waffle station. Kids or adults can watch the action from the wooden boardwalk or inside the driftwood teepees. Discover sea life between exposed pebbles and rocks. Walk between boulders of sandstone, spotted with patches of thicket, to look for moonstone agate, after which the 30-acre Moonstone Beach State Parklands are named. Best found after storms, jade, jaspers and other semi-precious stones will also sometimes appear.
Head north on Highway 1 for about 15 miles to Piedras Blancas Light Station, part of the Piedras Blancas Marine State Reserve, to get your walking tour of the land around the lighthouse and learn about the early lightkeepers and their dedication to marine safety despite their harsh living conditions. See historic structures being replicated or restored. Your volunteer guide from the Bureau of Land Management will take you to gaze at Piedras Blancas Rock, part of the Piedras Blancas State Marine Conservation Area, designed to protect and replenish endangered wildlife. Depending on the month you go, you might see migrating gray whales. You’ll see seagulls, pelicans and cormorants easing their way around the craggy rock, gifting the rock its lovely white color. Continuing down the trail, you’ll happen upon the remains of a humpback whale that washed ashore in 2008 and its carefully reassembled bones to showcase its once magnificent presence. From there, see the lighthouse from a different perspective and hear the calls from the nearby elephant seal rookery, where during the holiday months 25,000–30,000 elephant seals nurse their young. Other times of the year, when it’s not as crowded for them, they’ll come ashore to molt or give birth and go back out to sea. A bit south of the light station there is a viewing area with a parking lot. You’ll be just feet away from the protected area.
Stop for lunch a bit further south at the Cafe at Bridge Street, which serves burgers made from Hearst Castle cattle before heading to your tour of the legendary Hearst Castle. Yes, it’s everything you’d imagine a rollicking millionaire newspaper magnate’s estate would be if he lived in the Roaring Twenties. Built 1919–1947 on 127 acres, the 115 rooms are impossible to see in one day. Tours leave every 5–10 minutes and focus on specific segments of the estate. Don’t miss the columned Neptune Pool or the indoor Roman Pool, designed after ancient Roman baths.
Reward the kids for listening so patiently at Brown Butter Cookie Company, back south on Highway 1, and let them run across the Cayucos Pier with Morro Rock rising out of the ocean. There is a small skatepark north of the pier divided into two sections, one with a deep, pool-like drop-in for experienced riders and another with a wide half-pipe ramp for novices. The boys brought their scooters and skateboards and had a blast working off some energy — with the local kids’ encouragement.
Back in Cambria, check out the trails of pink and purple as the sun sets into the sea at Moonstone Beach for your last night of discovery. Head three minutes into the small town to dine at Madeline’s Restaurant. Named after the owner’s daughter, they make you feel like family as they adjust the menu to serve your needs. Finish off your night with wine from their wine shop or dessert.
Check back tomorrow for part three, and a look at our itinerary for Sunday.
With the new year comes the move to make changes in your life. Whether big or small, we often make New Year’s resolutions to improve ourselves in the year ahead. Instead of only focusing on personal goals, plan resolutions for the whole family. Gather your loved ones and envision travel goals for the new year. Here are some suggestions for travel inspiration.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills makes staying in a suite even sweeter! Guests who book one of the hotel’s elegant suites are offered complimentary use of a luxury BMW for the length of their stay. While Beverly Hills has so much to offer, having a car gives you the freedom to see even more of Southern California, whether it is driving up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu, or continuing on, past Santa Barbara, to Santa Ynez wine country.
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort in Northern Thailand introduced transparent Jungle Bubbles in 2019. The bubbles allow for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the night observing majestic elephants in their natural habitat during a stay in the unique accommodation. Now, the resort is offering families and small groups the chance to take part in this unique opportunity with a new, two-bedroom Jungle Bubble Lodge.
The Family Vacation Guide analyzed more than 100 resorts in the United States to find the top-rated ski resorts for U.S families. Factors such as the total length of ‘easy’ runs, the cost of a lift pass for a family of four and the availability of people movers went into the ranking of each ski resort.