From Ventura County, north of Los Angeles to Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco, the Central Coast includes some of the classic tourist country of California. Tourism is a critical industry, particularly on the Monterey Peninsula and around Santa Barbara. Popular destinations include Pebble Beach, Big Sur, and Santa Cruz. Population in the Central Coast is concentrated in a series of small-medium sized cities, only two of which exceed 100,000.
Breathtaking vacation spots offer long sandy beaches and rocky coastlines. Outdoor lovers will find ample opportunity for recreation include surfing, water skiing, kayaking, golfing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and bird watching. Artisan villages, festivals, farmers markets, shopping, film festivals, art shows and wine tasting all abound on the central coast.
Agriculture is a major element of the Central Coast. The relatively cool, coastal climates provide ideal growing conditions for crops such as artichokes and strawberries. The Salinas Valley is one of the most fertile farming regions in the United States. Increasingly land has been converted to grape vineyards, especially in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, contributing to the Central Coast’s thriving wine industry. The Central Coast is an American Viticultural Area, a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), United States Department of the Treasury.
A diverse food scene is offered in many of the gorgeous towns notable for their classic architecture, and history. Fresh seafood restaurants in harbor towns, sophisticated bistros, and even the region’s own home-grown tradition: Santa Maria-style barbecue.