A Beach Weekend in Cayucos

A Beach Weekend in Cayucos
Usually, those looking for a beach vacation in California look to the southern part of the state, where the scene is crowded and hipsters are common. Those wanting something a bit more like the California of yore should consider traveling farther north. In the Central Coast region, the hamlet of Cayucos is a hidden gem that offers beautiful beaches and a chance to quietly commune with nature.

From Southern California, leave the 101 in San Luis Obispo for Highway 1, and travel north past Morro Bay to Cayucos. Those coming from northern or central California will leave the 101 at Paso Robles and cross over Highway 46 to connect with Highway 1 south. From Highway 1, take the Cayucos exit to your lodging. The “downtown” area is just a few blocks wide, but it contains everything you need for a quiet weekend with family, friends, or a loved one.
Tourism is an important part of this area’s economy, and so there is a great variety of places to stay. Hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfasts are all represented, giving tourists looking for a quiet or romantic weekend for two a choice of lodging. For many of these, it’s possible to park the car, bring your suitcases into the room, and then walk for the duration of the weekend. The beach, the pier, and restaurants are all located within a few blocks of the downtown area.

Families and larger groups will probably want to find a vacation rental, and there are many of them available in the area. These of course vary in terms of price, size, and location, but they provide a great way to host a crowd, do your own cooking, and relax in the company of loved ones. There are many companies online that offer rentals in this area, making it easy to find something that suits the particular needs of the group.

Once situated, the beach awaits – and there are a trio of beaches to choose from. Cayucos City Beach is located to the south, offers little to nothing in the way of amenities but is a beautiful place for a long walk. To the north, Estero Bluffs State Park is similarly undeveloped, but offers trails, tide pools, and beachcombing. Between these two areas lies Cayucos State Beach, which is the family friendly beach. Located right by the pier, this area offers picnic tables, restrooms, showers, a play area for children, and lifeguards. There are more tide pools here, and this is the area best suited for swimming, although the water will be relatively cold.

Opportunities for fishing and water play abound in Cayucos. One can fish at night from the pier, although parts of it are currently closed due to safety issues. Surf fishing is available from the beaches, and kayak fishing trips can be arranged through Good Clean Fun Surf and Sport (which also rents kayaks, surfboards, and stand-up paddleboards.) The nearby towns of Morro Bay and San Simeon both offer opportunities for half-day and full-day deep sea fishing trips. Even those who aren’t “fisherpeople” will benefit from all of the angling opportunities, as fresh fish is available for purchase year-round from markets and restaurants.

Because Cayucos depends on tourists, there is some shopping available, although most of it is geared towards items needed while on vacation. There are food markets and restaurants in town, as well as specialty stores devoted to items such as kettle corn, ice cream, and other treats. The Cayucos Brown Butter Cookie Company is a notable local business close to the pier, offering the eponymous cookie as well as seasonal flavors throughout the year. There are also a few antique stores and art galleries offering walk-in shopping, as well as a used bookstore.

Brown Butter Cookie Company, 98 N. Ocean Avenue, (805) 995-2076

Good Clean Fun Surf and Sport, 136 N Ocean Avenue, (805) 995-1993

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the Cayucos City of Commerce, with Good Clean Fun Surf and Sport, or with the Brown Butter Cookie Company. I have paid for items at these places with my own funds.

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This content was written by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.