It's been a couple weeks since I visited Cambria, CA near Big Sur and I can't stop thinking about when my next trip to this stunningly beautiful oceanside town will be! If you're planning a weekend getaway and need ideas, go to Cambria. It's the perfect mix of relaxation with the best views of an ocean filled with sea otters, whales, and other marine life and a town with all the wine-filled fun and adventure you need to make the weekend memorable. Here's a recap of my trip that makes me want to go back for more...
From Los Angeles, it took less than 4 hours to drive to Cambria. We arrived a little after noon and were shocked at the ocean view literally steps from the lodge. The air was crisp and refreshing and the view was magnificent. I never knew this existed just a short drive from Los Angeles, felt like a hidden gem that I didn't want to tell anyone about to preserve it's sanctuary-esque getaway feel, but also wanted to tell everyone how amazing it was.
The Cambria Beach Lodge is so cool, it's like the Ace Hotel you wish was by the beach and way more affordable. The style is retro-modern that pays homage to the glory days of Highway 1. You can even borrow one of their complimentary bikes to explore the coast!
Tucked way at the end of an oceanside neighborhood, the Bluff Trail is about one-mile along a boardwalk that meanders above the coastal bluff and has the most breathtaking views along this scenic trail. I was shocked to see as much marine life as I did while walking along the boardwalk. During April, you can see migrating whales, sea otters, and other marine life.
Sea otters are my favorite animals and it was one of the most memorable moments of my life to see at least 40 sea otters in the ocean.
Definitely wanted to come back to this place before I left Cambria. Note to self: bring binoculars from the room that Cambria Beach Lodge provided!
Next stop, WINE!! Our first tasting of the day was at Moonstone cellars with Nate and Ron. I didn't have lunch yet, but figured wine and cheese would suffice ;). Moonstone Cellars is located in Cambria's West Village and their tasting room offers award-winning wines at very affordable prices, and by the way, they were all delicious.
I had a great time talking about Moonstone Cellars and the philosophy of having fun with wine with Nate. I highly recommend making the trip to Moonstone once you're in the village, you'll walk away with at least a couple bottles if not more! I loved the fact that the people in town would stop here on their way to dinner to enjoy a glass or two and the company. It's also dog friendly!
3PM: BACK TO CAMBRIA BEACH LODGE
Bought a couple bottles from Moonstone Cellars to enjoy on the rooftop of the Cambria Beach Lodge where you can lay out with blankets and wine to watch the sunset!
Also made sure to pack a couple of my Back That Glass Up stemless glasses for the trip! They definitely came in handy.
While we were watching the sunset, we saw sea otters and a whale!! Love this place. Never leaving.
6PM: WALK TO MOONSTONE BEACH BAR & GRILL ALONG THE OCEAN SIDE
One of the best parts about staying at the Cambria Beach Lodge is the close proximity it is between everything. We walked along the boardwalk to dinner and took in the scenic views.
7PM: DINNER AT MOONSTONE BEACH BAR & GRILL
Delicious food, great service, and amazing views! What more could you ask for? We had to wait a bit, but no problem since they had a bar. Pre-wine before wine was a great decision!
11AM: DRIVE UP TO RAGGED POINT
After having a quick bite to eat at the lodge's continental breakfast, we headed out for a 30 min drive up to Ragged Point. I grew up by the ocean, but never saw a coastline so untouched by the mark of humans than in Cambria. On one side you see nothing but the bluest ocean color and on the other side, the greenest grass with cows grazing.
The drive was covered in dense fog and once you get high enough up the mountain, it feels like you're above the clouds. We actually never found the trail, but opted to walk around Ragged Point's Inn and take in the beautiful views.
1PM: ELEPHANT SEAL BEACH
On our way back from Ragged Point, we stopped off at the Elephant Seal viewing beach and once I got a closer look, I couldn't believe I didn't see this on the way up. The beach was literally COVERED with female and pup elephant seals who were in their 30 day long molting period. This means they don't eat or drink for 30 days until their molting period is over and then they depart in May back to the ocean. I'll admit, the smell was pretty intense, but it was fascinating to see that many seals on the beach and THAT close.
2PM: STOLO VINEYARDS
Stolo Vineyards sits at the base of a warm and sunny vineyard with a farmhouse and old dairy barn that dates back to the late 1800s. The vineyards thrive in Cambria's unique microclimate, producing unmatched coastal-style Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Syrah.
Not only is the staff incredibly nice and knowledgable, but their wines are top notch. This place is the perfect setting for a picnic (definitely wish I brought one), it would have paired well with one of my favorite rosés from Stolo. They also have fainting goats in the barn (you'll see a pic in the gallery), gorgeous flora and fauna, and picnic tables for those smart enough to bring food...I was not one of them.
All of their wines are 90 points or higher and they are the makers behind the highest ranking Syrah in the WORLD in 2014. Yup, that's right, THE WORLD. They also just went through a rebrand to reflect the elegance and artistry of their wines. I absolutely loved Stolo Vineyards and when you visit Cambria, this stop is a must.
3PM: THE CAFE ON BRIDGE STREET
The Cafe has the BEST sandwiches I've had in a looong time. The sandwiches in this cafe are something that I crave since the day I went there. The staff at Stolo Vineyards highly recommended this place and wow was it worth it. I got the Italian Submarine and now I will never be the same. Cambria changed me.
3:30PM: LINN'S EASY AS PIE CAFE
And whaddya know, next store to the best sandwich shop is the home to Cambria's famous olallieberry pie. It's a local favorite and now one of mine! We actually ended up taking a slice of olallieberry pie back to Fiscalini Ranch on the Bluff Trail to see the views one last time before heading back to Cambria's West Village. Seriously, this place is amazing.
4PM: CUTRUZZOLA VINEYARDS
Finally made it to Cutruzzola Vineyards' tasting room in Cambria's West Village and it was a packed house, standing room only! Reyna, the tasting room manager, was very accommodating and helpful. Fun fact for their 2014 Pinot Noir Giacomino Reserve, they write the bottle number on the label because it was a very small production, only 1,296 bottles. The wines were delicious and I agree with Reyna, her fave and mine was the 2014 Riven Rock - full-bodied and earthy!
6PM: WALK ON THE BEACH AND DINNER AT SEACHEST OYSTER BAR & SEAFOOD
After a full day, we opted to take our bottle of Stolo Vineyard's rosé to the rooftop of the lodge and watch the sunset. I definitely didn't want to leave this slice of heaven and go back to reality.
We then walked next door to the Seachest Oyster Bar & Seafood for some delicious salmon and scampi and of course, wine to pair. After dinner, we had a glass of wine by the fire pit listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach.
2 days in Cambria felt like I actually had a relaxing weekend for once. We did so much in such a short period of time, but being that close to the ocean in a town with a pace that makes you stop, smell the ocean air, and appreciate the marine life around you really makes you feel like you're on vacation even if it's only for a weekend. Go to Cambria, see for yourself and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to email us for tips and info! Cheers!