Central Coast Visitor Information

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.

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.

Learn more about the Central Coast Region including these areas:

Monterey County
Oxnard and Ventura
Santa Barbara County

Park Showcase

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Cotillion Gardens RV Park

300 Old Big Trees Rd, Felton, CA, 95018

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Park Showcase

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Ocean Mesa at El Capitan Canyon

100 El Capitan Terrace Ln, Santa Barbara, CA, 93117

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History

The area was originally inhabited by the Chumash and other Native American people since at least 10,000 BC. Many of the settlements were coastal, where the people exploited marine resources and dwelt near freshwater inflows to the Pacific Ocean.

In 1542, Juan Rodriguez, a Portuguese explorer, landed in Santa Barbara. Noted for his exploration of the west coast of North America, on behalf of Spain, Cabrillo was the first European explorer to navigate the coast of present day California. Spanish colonialists traveled along the Central Coast, roughly the route of Highway 1, and created about half of the state’s missions.

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Geography

The Central Coast has 350 miles of the world’s most gorgeous, unspoiled coastline on the Pacific Ocean. Valleys of rolling vineyards and golden hills give way to rugged mountain terrain. The Santa Ynez Mountains, principally in Santa Barbara County, with an eastward

extension into Ventura County, are unusual in being an entirely east-west trending mountain range—one of the few in the United States. Other mountain ranges include the Santa Lucia Range and the Sierra Madre Mountains. The Central Coast’s Channel Islands, near Santa Barbara, are referred to as the “Galapagos of North America.” In Pinnacles National Monument, east of Salinas Valley, are the spectacular remains of an ancient volcano. Massive monoliths, spires, sheer-walled canyons and talus passages define millions of years of erosion, faulting and tectonic plate movement.

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Weather

Mild summers and winters prevail in central coastal areas, where the influence of the ocean generally moderates temperatures that are more equable than virtually anywhere else in the US; in the area between San Francisco and Monterey, for example, the

difference between average summer and winter temperatures is seldom more than 10°F (6°C). Coastal and Southern parts of the state have a Mediterranean climate, with somewhat rainy winters that are mild to cool and dry, warm to hot summers. The cool California Current offshore, enhanced by upwelling of cold sub-surface waters, often creates summer fog near the coast.

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Top Attractions in the Central Coast Area

Butterflies in Andrew Molera State Park, Monterey
Cannery Row, Monterey
Hearst Castle State Historical Monument, San Simeon
Laguna Seca Raceway, Salinas
Monarch Butterfly Grove, Pismo Beach
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey
National Steinbeck Center, Salinas
Santa Barbara Zoo
Wine Tasting, Santa Barbara County

Activities in the Central Coast Area

Asilomar State Beach

Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove is a popular spot for nature walks, surfing, kayaking, …
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Boomers, Santa Maria

Acres of fun, never an admission charge, always free parking. Attractions include batting cages, bumper …
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Central Coast Museums

No Visit to a California destination would be complete without visiting one of the many …
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Central Coast Wine Region

Central Coast – San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge rises to greet you at the top …
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PCPA Theaterfest, Solvang

Here you will enjoy live theatre “under the stars” from June thru October in the …
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Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is recognized as the best seaside park in the world. …
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Discover Exciting Events in the Central Coast Area

Food & Spirit
Just for Fun
Music
Wildlife

Central Coast California Camping & RVing Information

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.