Central Coast Holiday Experiences

Looking to escape for the holidays?

The Central Coast offers surfin’ Santas, dazzling light displays, holiday shopping and unexpected experiences. Take a holiday-inspired road trip on iconic Pacific Coast Highway. Explore back roads, turn-offs, incredible beaches and harbors. No need to wait for Christmas Day – give yourself the gift of time to explore all December long.



The Camarillo Premium Outlets are the go-to destination for this seasons Holiday shopping. Get in the Holiday mood by picking out the perfect gifts for all your loved ones. Choose from a variety of stores including brands like Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and Coach. No matter who you’re shopping for this season, you’ll find the best prices and the most variety at the Camarillo Premium Outlets. Location: 740 Ventura Blvd, Camarillo, CA

Bask in the Holiday goodness by taking a stroll through Old Town Camarillo and taking in all the festive decorations. Grab a bite to eat at Twenty88 Bistro or grab a drink in between holiday shopping at Twisted Oak Tavern or the Wine Closet. Score a deal at one of the many bargain thrift stores for affordable and one-of-kind finds.


Celebrate the holiday season in Oxnard. Downtown Oxnard will be abuzz with holiday cheer this season. Find ways to celebrate with Santa sightings, the best spots to see light displays, and how to participate in 12 Days of Christmas!

 Sip, Taste & Tour of Christmas Tree Lane  is happening December 16th, and is nothing short of fun! Enjoy delicious bites from local restaurants and sip on local wines or beer while touring the holiday décor!

The fun doesn’t stop in Oxnard! This year’s theme for the 57th Annual Parade of Lights is “Santa’s Workshop Creates a Spark of Love”! Check out the dazzling displays on the water and take free pictures with Santa at the Holiday Market Place.


Paddle out with jolly old Saint Nick at Ventura’s annual Santa Paddle. The one-hour paddle starts at Ventura Harbor Village bay in front of Ventura Boat Rentals and Brophy Bros. Restaurant. Bring your own equipment, or rent from Ventura Boat Rentals. See decorated homes and lighted boats in the Ventura keys on a private boat tour.



Join the first Annual “Christmas in the Country” this Holiday season at the Elks Event Center. Visitors will embark on a drive through magical holiday light experience at the Elks Event Center with displays presented by local businesses and families. Children will also have the opportunity to put their letters to Santa in Santa’s mailbox for delivery! Health and safety protocols permitting, “Christmas in the Country” may also include opportunities to enjoy hot chocolate, candy canes, Christmas trees, and much more to help bring out the holiday spirit.

The inaugural Festival of Lights Holiday Event and second annual Jingle Mingle Holiday Market this year, along with Food trucks – fair themed of course – a live Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and thousands of lights. The Festival of Lights will be a drive-thru event along the paths and roadways of the fairgrounds, with fair food trucks being located at the end of the drive. The Jingle Mingle Holiday Market is an amazing craft fair showcasing local artists and crafters. While pairing this year with the Santa Maria Fairpark Festival of Lights Event, we are sure to bring in hundreds of shoppers. This is the perfect opportunity to shop local and discover unique gifts for holiday gift giving and a great way to support the artisans in the community.



The Holiday season in San Luis Obispo will kick off the Saturday following Thanksgiving with Shop Small Saturday, celebrating local businesses. Santa’s House, the Classic Carousel, and the 21-foot Holiday Tree will be on display in Mission Plaza, with opportunities for festive family photos.  Location: 989 Chorro Street, San Luis Obispo, CA

Visit San Luis Obispo during its brightest season yet. Local storefronts and streets in the City’s downtown core are uniting to “Light Up Downtown,” an unforgettable walk-able and drive-able event that’s fun and safe for the whole family. Participating businesses’ window displays will be transformed into holiday themed-scapes brought to life by countless lights, both inside and out, to be enjoyed by everyone.  Location: 1135 Chorro Street, San Luis Obispo, CA


Kick off the holiday season at the Pavilion on the Lake in Atascadero! This year, the Holiday Boutique will be offered 100% outside at Atascadero Lake Park next to the Pavilion on the Lake. There will be a variety of vendors that will be socially distanced with face coverings and all of the COVID-19 guidelines in place! A great opportunity to get a head start on your holiday shopping or buy something special just for you.

The City of Atascadero is delighted to present its annual Light Up the Downtown Holiday Celebration Drive-In to be held on Friday, December 4, 2020 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm in the Sunken Gardens, Downtown Atascadero. Due to COVID-19, it will be a scaled down, but safe event for the entire family to enjoy!

The Annual Holiday Magic celebration is back at the Central Coast’s ONLY Zoo! The zookeepers have stepped in as Santa’s Elves to prepare gifts for the animals. Santa will be at the Zoo on Saturday, December 19th to help welcome visitors and deliver gifts to the animals. Join Santa and the staff for some Holiday Magic at the Charles Paddock Zoo to enjoy the festivities!


Morro Bay gets into the holiday spirit while remembering its fishing roots with a giant tree made entirely from commercial crab pots.  All December long you can find the Morro Bay crab pot tree on the South T-Pier.  It is the perfect spot to snap a festive family holiday picture with Morro Rock in the background.   Location: South T-Pier at 1185 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA

Make a splash with a new holiday tradition.  Animals spotted on the Morro Bay Whale Watching Tour include humpbacks, gray whales, dolphins, sea otters, and even the occasional orca or blue whale!  Location: 699 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA


The Cambria Christmas Market will not return in 2020 but will be replaced by the Lights at Cambria Pines. This light display will still incorporate many of the beloved light displays from the Cambria Christmas Market but will undergo many changes to ensure guest and staff safety, including limiting the number of people with access to the lights. Enjoy 2 million lights, authentic German food, sweets and drinks and more. The Lights at Cambria Pines will only be accessible for guests staying at a Moonstone Hotel Property, including the Cambria Pines Lodge, J Patrick House & Inn and Sea Otter Inn, who are booked on the Christmas rate, November 27 – January 2 (closed December 24 and 25).



Redefine winter wonderland this season… Travelers can experience a European-inspired, one-square-mile village where secret passageways lead to Hugh Comstock fairytale cottages and architecture transports visitors into a Charles Dickens-inspired wonderland in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The village’s stone-paved alleyways and curlicue-roofed shops provide a picture-perfect backdrop for holiday shopping and festive eating.


Stock up on great holiday gifts and snacks for your road trip at the iconic Casa de Fruta resort! A beloved California destination for over 110 years, Casa de Fruta is open for safe, socially distanced shopping and family fun. You’ll find farm-fresh produce, nuts, candy, wine, and gourmet goodies as well as plenty of outdoor space to stretch your legs.  Location: 10021 Pacheco Pass Highway, Hollister, CA

Looking for something fun and different to do with the family over the holidays? At Gilroy Ostrich Farm, you can stay socially distanced while getting up close with the world’s biggest birds!  As you tour the open-air farm, you’ll learn all about these fascinating creatures and also visit with alpacas, sheep, pigs, and more. Buy advance tickets online or at the California Welcome Center Gilroy.  Location: 5560 Pacheco Pass Highway, Gilroy, CA

Find great gifts in Gilroy for everyone on your holiday list! Grab your face masks and shopping bags and save 25-65% on all your favorite designer brands at the expansive, open-air Gilroy Premium Outlets. Or explore historic downtown Gilroy, where you can find truly unique treasures at locally-owned antique stores and charming boutiques. Start your shopping spree at the California Welcome Center Gilroy!  Location: 8155-6 Arroyo Circle, Gilroy, CA


Download or request a Central Coast Visitors Map here.

To further assist you in planning your Central Coast road trip, check out this helpful Itinerary here.

Discover all Central Coast Regions here.

November 2020


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