Explore our regions

Discover everything you expect from a California vacation in the Central Coast’s four distinct regions. Get help planning your own road trip from the people who know the region best — you’ll find local visitor services dedicated to bringing you the best of each region.

Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey Bay make up the four regions of the Central Coast. Here, you’ll find everything you expect from the California coast: miles of rocky shoreline, beaches ideal for swimming and surfing, and panoramic views out over the Pacific. And the enchantment of the Central Coast doesn’t end at the water’s edge: drive inland to discover towering mountains, rolling wine country hills, and even desert-like landscapes.

MONTEREY BAY region

Momterrey Bay

PICTURESQUE

Here you’ll discover towering sea cliffs and fog-cloaked redwood forests in Big Sur, a ballet of ever-shifting sand dunes in Fort Ord National Monument, and maybe even a rare California condor among the ancient volcanic formations at Pinnacles National Park.

FAMOUS SITES

Linger a while to visit the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and Monterey’s historical waterfront, which preserves a bit of the colorful waterfront life John Steinbeck vividly portrayed in the novel Cannery Row.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY

Head to Carmel-by-the-Sea, where a small village feel provides a welcoming haven for a rich arts scene. Farther north, spice up your trip and stop by Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World. And visit bohemian Santa Cruz, famous for its vintage seaside amusement park and its reputation as the birthplace of mainland surfing in the U.S.

san luis obispo region

San Luis Obispo

UNIQUE APPEAL

With over 16 different cities and towns, each destination has its own appeal—from the vintage Main Street-style downtown of Arroyo Grande to the classic California beach town of Pismo Beach, and the legendary Hearst Castle near San Simeon. Quaint Cambria is set among its namesake pines, while tiny Harmony is a onetime dairy community that’s now home to artists.

OUTDOORS

Blessed with numerous state parks and beaches, this is a region for escapes into nature, including kayaking in Morro Bay and hiking the coastal bluffs north of Cayucos or the inland hills of San Luis Obispo or Atascadero.

NATURE

With car-sized elephant seals (the world’s largest) on the beaches north of San Simeon and creative wine-country cuisine in Paso Robles’ historic downtown, there’s no end to the discoveries awaiting you in the San Luis Obispo Region.

santa barbara region

sANTA bARBARA rEGION

WINE COUNTRY

Spend the day sipping and strolling along the path forged by more than a dozen leading winemakers on the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail. Then hit the road again and head to Santa Barbara’s bucolic wine regions, home to world-class wines and small-town charm.

OUTDOORS

Find your own “American Riviera” in the Santa Barbara region. Let the spirit of exploration lead the way: Bask in the sunny beaches of Carpinteria, let the romantic Spanish architecture of Santa Barbara woo you, and embrace the wild North County coast.

CULTURE+HISTORY

Pause at the crossroads of culture, wine, and history in downtown Santa Barbara, where you can visit cultural institutions like the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, then discover California history on a Red Tile Walking Tour. Santa Barbara woo you, lose yourself in the wine making enclaves of Santa Ynez Valley, and discover the western spirit of Santa Maria Valley.

ventura region

Ventura Region

escape the rat race

Just an hour north of the busy urban world of Los Angeles, discover a more relaxed way of life. Welcome to the Central Coast’s Ventura Region, where ocean panoramas dominate and world-class surprises await.

OUTDOORS

From the beach cities of Oxnard and Ventura to the soulful Ojai Valley and the farmlands of Heritage Valley, you’ll find a refreshing mix of sophisticated urban destinations and small-town escapes.

so much to do

A region whose riches include Channel Islands National Park—known as the Galápagos of North America—and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.