Californian Nature: 9 Best Places To Visit In Cambria, California

things to do in cambria california
| 5 min read

Situated along the Californian coastline, Cambria sits almost exactly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, in San Luis Obispo County. Given the Latin name for Wales, this seaside town is a beautiful spot for those who love the ocean, natural havens and some beautiful and unique architecture!

With a variety of state parks and beaches, Cambria was made for relaxation away from the outside world! You can spend your evenings watching the gorgeous Californian sunset while relaxing on popular Moonstone Beach, or go explore the quirky and wonderful old buildings, such as Hearst Castle or Nitt Witt Ridge! Here are the 9 best places to visit, during your trip to Cambria, California!

1. Hearst San Simeon State Park

West side of San Simeon point
Source: Photo by user Peter D. Tillman used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Situated only 5 miles (8 km) south of Cambria, Hearst San Simeon State Park offers amazing, unobstructed views of the coast. With a leisurely 3.3 mile (5.3 km) walking trail going through it, you can find various information points regarding the natural habitats and plants.

Hearst San Simeon State Park includes various nature preserves, along with campgrounds, where you can bring your family a weekend away! Established in 1932, this 3,409 acre (1,379.6 hectare) park is well worth the short, and very scenic drive!

Hearst San Simeon State Park

Address: 500 San Simeon-Monterey Creek Rd, Cambria, CA 93428

Phone: +1 (805) 927-2035

Website: Hearst San Simeon State Park

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2. Friends of the Elephant Seal

Elephant Seals on Beach
Source: Photo by user Ed Bierman used under CC BY 2.0

If you drive just another mile past the Hearst San Simeon State Park, you’ll come to the much loved Friends of the Elephant Seal observation point. This place is a big hit for families, as it provides an educational experience for everyone, as you watch the adorable northern elephant seals laze around on the 6 mile (9.7 km) stretch of beach, that is the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery.

This place is well worth the trip, as it is completely free with no reservation required to come and see these much-loved sea creatures!

Friends of the Elephant Seal

Address: Plaza del Cavalier, 250 San Simeon Ave, San Simeon, CA 93452

Phone: +1 (805) 924-1628

Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 am-2 pm

Website: Friends of the Elephant Seal

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3. Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

Cambria 1
Source: Photo by user Chetan Kolluri used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Owned by the Fiscalini family for nearly a century, this beautiful coastal ecosystem was sold in 1979 and was planned for development by various ambitious land developers, before the Friends of the Ranchland and, eventually, the rest of Cambria, started donating and raising funds to buy the land before it could be developed.

Various organizations donated to save this gorgeous natural haven, and, in 2000, the payment was finalized. So, now anyone can come and enjoy the peace and solitude of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve while enjoying the breathtaking views of the ocean, It is also a good spot for whale sightings and even playful otters!

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

Address: Cambria, CA 93428

Phone: +1 (805) 927-2856

Website: Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

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4. Harmony Headlands State Park

Harmony Headlands State Park California
Source: Photo by user Chuck Abbe used under CC BY 2.0

Only a short 10-minute drive down the coast will bring you to this little piece of heaven, Harmony Headlands State Park. This place is incredibly peaceful and tranquil, as it’s still relatively unheard of, many reviews saying you will only see one or two other people on any given day!

Perfect for families, it is only a 40-minute hike from the entrance to the shore, where you can see various wildlife along the way, such as rabbits, deer and even the odd snake! With spectacular views of the ocean and cliffs, this place is completely free, providing a cheap and beautiful day out!

Harmony Headlands State Park

Address: Cayucos, CA 93430

Phone: +1 (805) 772-7434

Website: Harmony Headlands State Park

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5. Nitt Witt Ridge

Nit Wit Ridge
Source: Photo by user Damian Gadal used under CC BY 2.0

The most unique and curious place on this list is none other than Nitt Witt Ridge! Its odd name comes from the recluse artist who built this strange house, Arther “Art” Harold Beal (d. 1992). After buying the land in 1928, he spent the next 50 years building this house, using recycled garbage and a number of other odd materials, such as beer cans.

Today, Nitt Witt Ridge is considered one of California’s most remarkable 20th century folk-art environments, due to the ingenious culmination of materials, making it completely eco-friendly, and even more surprisingly, structurally sound! If you come for a tour, you’ll be expected to give a 10 USD donation at the end, to keep this little nook going!

Nit Wit Ridge

Address: 881 Hillcrest Dr, Cambria, CA 93428

Phone: +1 (805) 927-2690

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday-Sunday: 10 am-5 pm, Monday/Friday: 12 pm-5 pm

Website: Nitt Witt Ridge

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6. Moonstone Beach

Moonstone Beach at Dusk
Source: Photo by user Don DeBold used under CC BY 2.0

Cambria also boasts the beautiful Moonstone Beach, that is very popular with surfers. With a boardwalk that stretches to Leffingwell Landing, you can stroll along the beach and take in the spectacular view. One of the unique things about this beach is, if you look closely at the stones, some aren’t stones at all, instead you’ll find colourful shiny moonstones, the very thing the beach was named for!

Moonstone Beach

Address: Moonstone Beach Dr, Cambria, CA 93428

Website: Moonstone Beach

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7. Leffingwell Landing State Park

Tidepool steps, Leffingwell Landing
Source: Photo by user Gnawme used under CC BY-ND 2.0

After relaxing on Moonstone Beach, you can follow the boardwalk all the way to this beautiful spot, Leffingwell Landing! Many consider the two to be one and the same, but, at Leffingwell Landing, you can walk down the steps to the rock pools, and sit and watch the spectacular sunset that California is so well known for!

Officially part of the San Simeon Hearst State Park, Leffingwell Landing is so popular with locals and travellers, that it is also a popular spot for weddings!

Leffingwell Landing State Park

Address: Cambria, CA 93428

Phone: +1 (805) 927-2020

Website: Leffingwell Landing

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8. Shamel Park

Castle in the pines
Source: Photo by Flickr user Gnawme used under CC BY-ND 2.0

A favourite among families, as the park is equipped with plenty of child safety measures, with park benches and a barbecue spot, Shamel Park sits right next to the Cambria shoreline, providing breathtaking views of the ocean! It’s the perfect place to come to relax and have a picnic after having a dip in the water.

Many commend this place for its tranquillity and convenience, as there are also restrooms on site, with a separate pool if you don’t want to go to the beach, making it easier for young children to have fun while also being safe!

Shamel Park

Address: 5455 Windsor Blvd, Cambria, CA 93428

Phone: +1 (805) 927-4447

Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday: 24hrs

Website: Shamel Park

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9. Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle
Source: Photo by user Jeremy Thompson used under CC BY 2.0

Hearst Castle lies within 250,000 acres (101,171.4 hectares) of the Hearst Estate. With inspiring views of the coastline, Hearst Castle was more affectionately known as La Cuesta Encantada, or ‘The Enchanted Hill’ by the man who saw this place to fruition, William Randolph Hearst. Paired with the master architect Julia Morgan, by 1947 Hearst Castle comprised of 165 rooms, all beautifully designed and decorated with priceless arts and artefacts, and 123 acres (49.8 hectares) of gorgeously crafted gardens.

Hearst Castle is said to hold up to 25,000 priceless artefacts within its walls. William Hearst got to spend his last days here, overlooking the beauty of the Cambria coastline. These days, you can now buy tickets for various different tours of this vast place, one of the most popular being the ‘Grand Room Tour’ at 25 USD per adult and 12 USD for children between 5-12 years. Many reviews warn that there are a lot of stairs to climb along the tour, but luckily they also have a specific tour called 'Accessibly Designed Grand Room Tour’ so you don’t miss out!

Hearst Castle

Address: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452

Phone: +1 (800) 444-4445

Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday: 8 am-4 pm

Website: Hearst Castle

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Californian sunsets!

Cambria is a beautiful, though slightly underrated, part of the beautiful Californian coastline. Take advantage of its quiet beaches and state parks, make memories watching and learning about the adorable elephant seals that lie along the beaches, or have a romantic picnic in Cambria’s various locations that offer beautiful views of the ocean and the Californian sunset!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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