Just a few hours north of San Francisco and located directly on the coastline, Cambria, California is home to the great seaside escape of Moonstone Beach, marine wildlife, and historical landmarks.
At times they do experience some cold winters, but you will still be able to enjoy the landscape the coastline gem has to offer. While you are visiting Cambria, you can easily enjoy a scenic view of the Pacific Ocean from the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve or even by taking a stroll on the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk.
Cambria, California, is known for its small-town charm, beachfront, and great food. Many people and tourists find themselves swimming, sunbathing, hiking, or even biking throughout the city.
With plenty of outdoor adventures and activities, the small town has a lot to offer with its local vineyards, ranches, and preserves as well as the beautiful beaches of the California coast. In short, there are an endless number of adventures awaiting visitors in Cambria.
Keep reading to find out all the best things to do in Cambria, California.
The White Water Inn is a charming oceanside hotel, located just minutes from Moonstone Beach and the Cambria Boardwalk. Guests can relax in a variety of on-site amenities including an outdoor swimming pool, picnic area with barbecue facilities, outdoor hot tub and sun deck.
Moonstone Landing is located in Cambria, a city at the very southern tip of the Monterey Bay and the most southerly city in San Luis Obispo County. Located just outside of Big Sur, Moonstone is nestled between Moonstone Beach and the Pacific Ocean on PCH. From your oceanfront room or balcony you can gaze upon the rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs and pristine waters that make up this unique landscape. It also provides easy access to all of Cambria's famous attractions including Hearst Castle, Moro Bay and Cayucos.
El Colibri Boutique Hotel & Spa is a luxury Cambria hotel located near Moonstone Beach Park. Relax on the deck of your suite with views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains or head to the spa for a massage or body treatment. Each guestroom at this boutique hotel in Cambria has an ocean view and a fireplace.
There are many things to do in Cambria for children, families, and adults. Here are the top activities and things to do in Cambria, California.
- Most significant landmark – Nitt Witt Ridge
- Best park – Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
- Best free activity – Moonstone Beach
- Best activity for kids – Stepladder Ranch & Cream
- Best activity for adults – Stolo Family Winery & Vineyards
- Best food – The Cafe on Bridge Street
- Best nightlife – Mozzi’s Saloon
- Best All-around accommodation – Covell Clydesdale Ranch
Best & Fun Things to do in Cambria, California
1. Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
Address: 2799 Bluff Trail, Cambria, CA 93428
Directly behind Cambria’s Main Street, there is an endless preserve known as Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. The preserved wilderness area is 430 acres and can easily be accessed from downtown Cambria.
The ranch extends more than a mile along the shoreline of California, reaching the ocean bluffs. The preserve is filled with grassy terraces and on the inland side of the land is a forest ridge. At certain times of the year, you can see migrating whales, otters, and birds on the ridge.
The preserve has miles of trails to access the entire preserve by foot. It is also open and free to the public every day throughout the year. The Coastal Bluff Trail will track the coastline and exhibit vast views of the ocean. During wildflower season, you can wander the cliffs seeing many different blooming colors.
The preserve offers free guided walks throughout the preserve each month. You can check their calendar on the preserve’s official website.
2. Moonstone Beach
Address: 6216 Moonstone Beach Dr, Cambria, CA 93428
Moonstone Beach is home to a dramatic coastline within Cambria, California. The beach is home to marine life that visitors can see swimming. It is also home to many tide pools along its coast.
Moonstone beach also has multiple bars and a famous boardwalk to view the ocean. You can easily relax by walking on the mile-long beach boardwalk. You can see sea otters play, and during the whale season, watch whales and dolphins.
The beach is also home to a state park, Hearst San Simeon State Park. The park offers access to the beach along with a campground that will allow you to stay overnight. In the early morning of your stay, you can even watch the sunrise along Moonstone Beach.
If you are interested in camping in the state park on Moonstone Beach, click here for more information.
3. Nitt Witt Ridge
Address: 881 Hillcrest Dr, Cambria, CA 93428
Nitt Witt Ridge is registered as a California historical landmark. It is a house in Cambria that sits on about a quarter acre of land.
It was owned by a reclusive artist named Arthur Harold Beal in 1928. He would later spend 50 years carving out the house and making it into his own castle, which he called a “castle on a hill.”
Beal worked as a garbage collector in Cambria throughout the 1940s and 1950s. By making use of what the people in the town were throwing away, he created building materials out of the trash he collected.
The building materials are known as “trash art” as it is filled with things like beer cans, shells, washer drums, tile, car rims, car parts, old stoves, and concrete.
The dwelling is a blend of natural and man-made materials to create contemporary art outside of a home. Some parts of the property are part of Hearst Castle, where Beal reportedly worked as well.
The mass of materials and random placement create a memorial to the reclusive artist and adds to his unique humor and excitement.
If you are interested in touring the Nitt Witt Ridge, it is all donation based and is based on a first-come, first-serve basis, so no reservation is needed.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Three Rivers, California
4. Stepladder Ranch & Creamery
Address: 4450 San Simeon-Monterey Creek Rd, Cambria, CA 93428
Stepladder Ranch and Creamery is a small goat farm that produces goat dairy and ice cream. The ranch creates small batches of homemade goat cheeses from their herd of LaMancha goats. They also have cow’s cheeses from a program known as the Cal Poly dairy program.
The ranch holds tours that are reserved in advance. The tours allow you to go through a cheese tasting experience on the Stepladder ranch.
You will also be able to play and meet the farm’s goats while learning about cheesemaking and the steps the farm takes to create the artisan cheeses, along with tasting limited seasonal cheeses.
The farm is child-friendly and is a great place for the family. While it is a cheese-tasting adventure, you will be able to play with the goats and allow your kids to enjoy the farm experience.
All family members can enjoy the ranch and creamery and take in the small-town atmosphere while petting goats and enjoying the landscape. All visits must be booked online in advance. Interested in a guided goat farmstead tour? Click here.
See Related: Best Spring Break Destinations For Families
5. Cambria Center for the Arts
Address: 1350 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428
Cambria Center for the Arts is an art center that dates back to 1947. The center engages the Cambria community directly by creating an art gallery with local artists and also a theatre to host local plays.
Various local artists in Cambria started the Allied Arts Association, which became the center of the arts that is seen today off of Main Street. At first, they did not house a theatre presence. However, in 1992 they decided to expand to add a theater.
They host an annual film festival and hold shows in their local gallery space. The locals have put a lot into the gallery and usually have some sort of event happening. The gallery has new exhibits every other month, along with different plays.
The center of the arts is open from Thursday to Sunday. On the weekdays, the hours are from 1 to 4 P.M., with the weekend hours being 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. The center is located in a newer part of Cambria known as “West Village.”
For something to do for everyone in the family, this art center is a great place to go. With plenty of artistic options to view, like a theater or a gallery art show, there is plenty of entertainment and art to see in Cambria.
The Cambria Center of the Arts is a nonprofit donation-based gallery. If you are interested in going or attending, you can visit their website for their exhibit and show their calendar.
See Related: Best Things to Do in San Jose, California
6. Covell Clydesdale Ranch
Address: 5694 Bridge St, Cambria, CA 93428
The Covell Clydesdale Ranch is nearly 2,000 acres of pastures that are scattered with Monterey Pine trees and overlook the once-in-a-lifetime view of the Pacific Ocean. The ranch allows you to experience the majestic Clydesdale horses on the property.
The Covell’s ranch is home to about 100 Clydesdale horses of all ages and sizes. They can drive you around, or you can even ride the horses on a guided tour. The tour will take you around the ranch, where you will learn about the history of the land along with the beautiful ocean view.
The family has been breeding Clydesdale horses for over 30 years and even brings them to shows across the United States and Canada. On the ranch, you can ride the gentle giant horses for 120 dollars per rider.
While riding the horses, you will have the opportunity to have the horses walk, trot, or even canter.
Depending on the group, it will tell what opportunities you will have when it comes to the horse’s pace. You will ride through the open pasture and even the pine forest with the grazing cattle that are shared on the ranch.
When you are on the horse riding tour, you will be able to take in the ocean view and have endless Kodiak moments and photo opportunities.
To ride, however, children must be at least 7 years old, and there is a weight limit of 300 pounds. There is no helmet requirement, but if you feel it is necessary, you will be given one.
You do not need horse riding experience needed, so if this is your first experience riding a horse, that is completely okay. The ranch will allow you to ride the horse along with pasture, even if it is your first experience.
If you do not want to ride a horse but still want to tour the pasture, you can also go on a vehicle tour. The vehicle tours are normally for groups of one to four people and are priced at 200 dollars a session. You will be able to take in the same wonderful view as you would trail riding on a Clydesdale horse.
Whether it is riding a horse or a vehicle experience, tours are by appointment only. You can see more details on their website.
Don’t forget to protect yourself on your trip with World Nomads travel insurance.
7. Stolo Family Winery & Vineyards
Address: 3776 Santa Rosa Creek Rd, Cambria, CA 93428
The Stolo Family Winery & Vineyards is a nine-acre vineyard with a farmhouse and an old dairy barn. The vineyard has been in use since the late 1800s. It is more inland than other properties in Cambria as it is three miles from the Pacific Ocean.
The vineyards are home to local wines such as Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc.
In 2002, two Italian-Americans purchased the vineyard and decided to make it open to the public in 2004. The vineyard is easily accessible from downtown Cambria, being just minutes from Main Street. The Stolo Family Winery is a great place to taste new local wine on the rural grounds of a historical vineyard.
The vineyard’s gorgeous landscaping, added with a floral garden, is a breathtaking view for a wine-tasting experience. They have a tasting room along with outdoor seating to take in the view of their rural property with livestock and vineyard.
If you are not interested in their menu, you are also allowed to bring outside food to have a picnic in the meadow of the vineyard. Stolo is also one of seven unique vineyards that are part of the Pacific Coast Wine Trail. Wine lovers do not want to miss out on this vineyard adventure. The vineyard is open daily from 12 to 5 P.M. and is by reservation only. To make a reservation, you can do so on their website.
Want to taste more wine? Don’t miss a chance to book a Napa & Sonoma Valley Full-Day Wine Trip From San Francisco or a Napa Valley All-Inclusive Private Full-Day Wine Tour.
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8. Mozzi’s Saloon
Address: 2262 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428
Mozzi’s Saloon is Cambria’s only bar and is also a historical bar that was established in 1866. It is known as “the cowboy bar” in Cambria.
In the beginning days of Cambria, the booming town had only five establishments in what is now known as the East Village. However, after a fire, most of the village was burnt down in 1899, and Mozzi’s Saloon was destroyed by the fire.
In 1905, the saloon would be rebuilt, and then rebuilt again in 1922. Today, the bar has a selection of draft beers and reasonably priced cocktails. They have pool tables, an outdoor patio, and a jukebox.
Placed in the center of the town, they have live music on the weekends and even karaoke on Thursdays. To get a local feeling of Cambria, Mozzi’s Saloon is the best place to stop. You can visit the friendly local environment any time of the week and even check their Facebook page for any events.
9. Café on Bridge Street
Address: 4286 Bridge St, Cambria, CA 93428
Located just off of Main Street, the Cafe on Bridge Street is a lunch restaurant located in a historical building. After opening in May 2015, the small restaurant serves simple foods local to the central coast. All the ingredients are found in the valleys and farms local to the area.
The food is made from scratch daily, and items like soups are rotated throughout the year depending on the weather. It is all food that you might end up preparing for yourself at home.
The cafe also has craft beer, fine wine, and vegan options for every guest. The lunch restaurant is also a winner of the “10 Best Sandwiches in SLO County.” It is a must-stop for every tourist and local in the area.
With a hillside patio, along with their cozy farmhouse, many locals enjoy the Cafe on Bridge Street. If you are on the go, you can also order online before going to explore the town and nearby mountains.
To plan your visit, their full menu is listed on their website, along with their local beer and wine menu.
See Related: California Travel Guide
10. Piedras Blancas Light Station
Address: 15950 Cabrillo Hwy, San Simeon, CA 93452
The Piedra Blancas Light Station is an old lighthouse that is preserved and restored for the public to view along Moonstone Beach. The facility was constructed in France in 1872. The original lens for the lighthouse is displayed in the Veterans Memorial Building.
To be viewed, the lens for the Piedras Blancas Light Station was placed in a glass enclosure by the Friends of the Piedras Blancas Light Station to protect the historic artifact.
Visitors to the lighthouse have access to the Fog Signal Building and the first floor of the lighthouse. If you decide to schedule a tour, it includes a half-mile trail around the facility and property.
You can also view elephant seals, dolphins, and whales from the lighthouse, and you are encouraged to bring binoculars to view all other kinds of wildlife.
Touring the historic lighthouse is by reservation only. Visitations can only be reserved on the government’s website.
See Related: Best Day Trips from San Francisco, California
11. Gardens at Cambria Pines Lodge
Address: 2905 Burton Dr, Cambria, CA 93428
The Gardens at the Cambria Pines Lodge is 25 acres of garden and is home to Cambria’s most magical hotel. The lawn area has secluded pathways, Monterey pine trees, and even outdoor dining.
You can sit on the rustic wooden benches and take in the many acres of flowers and blooming plants. There are fountains and formal hedges that are picture worthy and memorable.
It is a place of serenity and complete relaxation. It is also encouraged to bring your pets to walk with you through the garden as well.
The extensive grounds and gardens have many different gardens, such as a herb garden, rose garden, white garden, green garden, flower garden, succulent garden, and what they call an “organic kitchen” garden. Each garden is connected through pathways.
There is a kitchen and restaurant if you decide to eat in their outdoor dining area. There are hillside forests that allow you to reflect and take in the garden environment that surrounds you. You can also go through the Cambria Nursery and Florist to shop for any plants that they have grown in the garden.
If you decide that you would also like to lodge at the Cambria Pines Lodge to be surrounded by their large garden area during your stay, you can book a reservation here.
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12. Hearst Castle
Address: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452
Hearst Castle is a registered California State Park and a National Historic Landmark, along with being a California Historical Landmark. The Castle was formerly known as the La Cuesta Encantada, or also known as “The Enchanted Hill.”
This historic estate is located in San Simeon, just minutes from Cambria, California. It was built for William Randolph Hearst, a publishing tycoon. His architect, Julia Morgan, built the castle between 1919 and 1947.
Once it was finished in 1947, the estate was filled with 165 rooms, 127 acres of gardens, terraces, walkways, and pools. The American castle became the greatest showplace for Hearst’s art collection and wealth.
Hearst and Morgan had created an estate of 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools, and walkways – an American castle that was destined to become one of the world’s greatest showplaces for his art collection.
The castle is filled with breathtaking views, beautiful archways, grand rooms, and vintage furniture. The castle overlooks the Pacific Ocean and has coastal views that cannot be seen anywhere else.
By reservation only, tourists can visit Hearst Castle through a tour. You can reserve your space online on their website.
13. Cambria Historical Museum and Garden
Address: 2251 Center St, Cambria, CA 93428
The Cambria Historical Museum and Garden is run by the Cambria Historical Society. The museum shows Cambria’s vast history of miners, cowboys, and merchants.
The museum is located in one of Cambria’s oldest houses, known as the Guthrie Bianchini House. The 1870’s home was built by Thomas Clendinen. It is located in the heart of downtown Cambria.
The Cambria Historical Museum has preserved and exhibits Cambria’s historical treasures. While walking through the historical museum and gardens, the exhibits show how the town came to be along with its mining and western history.
The museum has worked closely with the pioneer history in Cambria to accurately show Cambria’s history and the pioneers who made the coastal town a historical treasure.
The Cambria Historical Museum is a great place to relax and see the history of the town. The gardens allow you to get fresh air and take in the coastal city’s peacefulness where most of its history resides.
There is no reservation needed and they are open from 1 to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. While it is free of charge to go to the museum, they do encourage donations to maintain the museum and continue their research.
Getting around Cambria, California
When you are traveling to Cambria, California, you will need to find a way to navigate the city. To get around the city, it is best to rent a car to quickly get from place to place.
You can also rent bikes at the Cambria Electric Bike Company or the Cambria Bike Kitchen. Most tourist sites are easy to get to by bike and are sometimes preferred by travelers. Some bikes can also be rented from hotels or beach resorts, or other bike rentals in San Luis Obispo, the nearby city.
There is public transportation known as the SoCo Transit that can take you to some places, such as Moonstone Beach and Hearst Castle. There is also a free trolley that runs in the summer throughout Cambria from Thursday to Sunday.
Travel by Car
To see all the sights in Cambria efficiently, it is best to travel by renting a car. If you are traveling as a group or with a family, the best way is to travel together on your own time.
Traveling by Bike
A common option to partake in is renting a bike in Cambria, California. There are many places to rent bikes in the city as it is a regular travel option for tourists and locals.
If you decide to rent a bike, you can rent one at your hotel or at a bike rental shop. Cambria, California, also offers a bike trail that takes you along the coast with multiple stops throughout the city. Through the bike trail, you can see the coastline and take in the cool, salty breeze.
Uber and Lyft are used throughout Cambria, California. The apps offer easy and affordable options to get around. You can easily eliminate any issues by using ride-share apps to get around and also do not have to worry about renting a car.
If there are days when you will be finding other accommodation to get around Cambria, this is also a great option.
What is Cambria, California, known for?
Cambria, California, is known for being a coastal gem. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, tourists flock to Cambria during different seasons to take in the historical landscape.
Home to whales, seals, and dolphins, people from all over the world take out their binoculars to take in the coastal views and wildlife. Not to mention, it is home to multiple historical landmarks, like Nitt Witt Bridge and Hearst Castle.
What are the best tourist attractions in Cambria, California?
When it comes to the best tourist attraction in Cambria, California, you may find yourself going to Nitt Witt Ridge or even Hearst’s Castle. The artistic adventures are historical landmarks in California and are attractions for tourists around the world.
Seeing the lighthouse along with going to Moonstone Beach to see whales, dolphins, and seals is also another prominent thing to do in Cambria, California. The options are endless.
The Pacific Coast Wine Trail is a must-do for all wine enthusiasts. Cambria’s Stolo family winery is just one of the vineyards you can explore on the trail.
What are some fun things to do in Cambria, California?
If you are not sure if you want to visit Cambria, California, or are wondering, “Is Cambria, California worth visiting?” You are in luck. Cambria, California, has coastal views that you can’t find in any city.
The small town allows you to take in the view of the Pacific Ocean while going to artistic places like the Cambria Center for the Arts and Nitt Witt Ridge. There is also great food and many places to see by hiking or riding a bike.
The Cambria Art and Wine Festival is a great way to experience both the local art scene and the vast array of wines the area offers.
What is the best thing to do with kids in Cambria, California?
When it comes to kid’s activities within the coast gem, the best places to go in Cambria, California are Cambria Center for the Arts to enjoy art and a fun theater show, Stepladder Ranch & Creamery to enjoy the goats and ranch, and Moonstone Beach, to see wildlife and the ocean.
There are endless activities for children to take part in Cambria, California. When it comes to the whole family, the coastal city has plenty to offer for people of all ages.
What are some things to do in Cambria, California, when it’s raining?
When it is raining in Cambria, California, you can take part in many indoor activities. You can head to the Nitt Witt Ridge and tour inside, see a show at the Cambria Center for the Arts, or even grab something to eat at the Cafe on Bridge Street.
While the coastal gem is known for its outdoor adventures, there are endless activities to take part in if you can’t go outside.