17 Charming Things to do in Cambria, California

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Have you ever heard of Cambria, California? It’s a little seaside town about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco along the Pacific Coast Highway. If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or just someplace new to explore, I highly recommend checking Cambria out!

There’s plenty to do in Cambria, from hiking and biking trails to wine tastings and whale watching.

So if you’re looking for some ideas on charming things to do in Cambria, read on!

17 Charming Things to do in Cambria, California

Things to do in Cambria - a view of Moonstone beach during the golden hour

1. Moonstone Beach Boardwalk

One of the top things to do in Cambria is visiting the mile-long stretch of Moonstone Beach where you can walk along the beach on a cool wooden boardwalk for some breathtaking scenery. After walking on the boardwalk, relax on the sand, catch some waves either through swimming or surfing, and see if you can spot a whale!

Behind the beach is the Moonstone Drive which parallels the boardwalk and gives stunning ocean views of the Pacific coast. You can also choose a spot to park and visit the shops or grab some food at one of the local places on Moonstone Beach.

A neat spot north of Moonstone Beach to visit is the day-use area of Leffingwell Landing. Here, you can take the stairs to see the tide pools and maybe find a moonstone on the pebbled beach. There are also picnic tables and bbq pits if you’d like to have a cookout while enjoying the view.

  • Moonstone Beach Boardwalk | Address: Moonstone Beach Drive, Cambria, CA 93428

2. Take a Hike at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve is a park that has beautiful views along with being perfect for those who love nature! The preserve offers biking, hiking, and horseback riding trails. There are multiple hiking trails to walk on including the Bluff Trail, the Old Forest Trail, the Valley View Trail, and the Overlook Trail.

The Fiscalini Ranch Preserve is free for day use with one parking lot located on Highway 1. Other parking lots can be located on Windsor Drive, which is where you can find the boardwalk on the Bluff Trail.

Things to do in Cambria - the front of Nit Wit Ridge from across the street

3. Tour Nitt Witt Ridge

Nitt Witt Ridge was built by Art Beal, who believed that nothing should be put to waste so he built his house with materials from Cambria–everything including the tire rim poles to the seashell walls.

Art even took some building materials from Hearst Castle! This was the main reason why Nitt Witt Ridge is known locally as the Poor Man’s Hearst Castle.

Nitt Witt Ridge is not liveable, but you are able to see the quirkiness of Art Beal through his designs like the double toilet bathroom, his toilet throne on the roof, and many figurines lining the house.

When he was forced to leave Nitt Witt Ridge in 1989, Michael and his wife Stacey purchased the building and now run the house and personalized tours conducted by appointment only. These tours range between 20-40 minutes and an expected $10 per adult.

  • Nit Wit Ridge | Address: 881 Hillcrest Dr. Cambria, CA 93428

4. Visit Cambria Historical Museum

The Cambria Historical Museum is a tiny place also known as the Guthrie-Bianchini House. The house is one of the oldest homes in Cambria, built in the late 1800s.

After being passed down from many hands (including a Benjamin Franklin rumored to be related to the Benjamin Franklin), Stacie Guthrie purchased the home herself and then sold it to Eugenio Bianchini.

Eugenio and his family lived in the house until it stood empty in the 1970s when it fell into disrepair. The Cambria Historical Society then purchased the house, restored it, and finally opened it to the public at the end of 2008.

With so much history to see in this tiny place, you’ll see a little piece of historic Cambria!

  • Cambria Historical Museum | Address: ​2251 Center Street, Cambria, California
Things to do in Cambria - the front of Rich Man Poor Man Antiques in downtown Cambria

5. Seek Treasures at the Antique Shops

Cambria has a couple of antique shops and each one has so many treasures to sift through! The first, Rich Man Poor Man Antiques has 2 locations – one that is super expansive located in the parking lot right next to Creekside Gardens Cafe, and a smaller one located on the street that I think has more collectible items to find.

The second antique store is located on Main street (literally called Antiques on Main), which has many rooms and a few floors to explore!

Some treasures you might find at these antique shops include old records, furniture, coins, vintage clothes, jewelry, Chinese porcelain, vintage dishes, and more!

  • Rich Man Poor Man Antiques | Address: 2094-2114 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428
  • Antiques on Main | Address: 2338 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428

6. Go Wine Tasting at Stolo Family Winery

Wine tasting in Cambria is one of the top things to do in Cambria as you can visit many wineries, each with its own unique taste! One of the top places to go wine tasting in Cambria is Stolo Vineyards & Wineries, owned by the Stolo family.

You do need to make reservations in advance as there are limited reservations and seating. Either way, you’ll be able to have an incredible wine tasting experience in the peaceful vineyards of Northern California!

  • Stolo Vineyards & Wineries | Address: 3776 Santa Rosa Creek Rd, Cambria, CA 93428

7. Visit The Cambria Nursery and Florist

The Cambria Nursery and Florist is a must-visit in your list of things to do in Cambria. The nursery has several display gardens to walk through with so many plants to view that would fit your needs.

If you are unsure of what you’re looking for, ask a staff member and they are so willing to share with you!

Visiting the Cambria Nursery and Florist will not only make your trip more vibrant, but you could also bring a piece of Cambria home!

  • Cambria Nursery and Florist | Address: 2801 Eton Rd, Cambria, CA 93428
Things to do in Cambria - A view of Hearst Castle

8. Visit Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle is another top thing to do in Cambria. This landmark was built by William Randolph Hearst himself in the early 1900s and you can visit this majestic castle located on a hill!

Hearst castle has multiple tours including the grand rooms tour, upstairs suites tour, and an evening tour where the staff dresses up in period costumes!

Hearst Castle is in the midst of a re-opening phase, so check their website frequently and book your tickets early if you want a tour and the Hearst shopping and dining experience!

  • Hearst Castle | Address: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452

9. Walk on the San Simeon Pier

The San Simeon Pier is an 850-foot-long pier that stretches into the water near Cambria. On the San Simeon Pier, you can fish, bird watch, and even do some whale watching! If you like water activities, you can also do some ocean kayaking after visiting the San Simeon Pier.

You can then relax at William Randolph Hearst State Beach, which is where the San Simeon Pier is located. From here, walk the sandy beach to see if you can find some unique seashells or sand pebbles!

***Soundcheck!***

10. See the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery

The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is one of the top things to do in Cambria! You can drive to the rookery, which has plenty of parking because there were plenty of people, and look at blubbery, adorable elephant seals!

The babies are pretty adorable – we happened to go in mating season, and that was not adorable!

Pro tip: Look up “Elephant Seal Vista Point” on your maps app and it will take you directly to the parking lot. You’ll know you’re there if you see a ton of people! Or you start hearing the Elephant Seals.

When you get to the Elephant Seal overlook, you’ll be on a boardwalk overseeing the beach where hundreds of seals are throwing sand on themselves, making semi-farting noises, and having a good time.

You aren’t able to get directly on the beach, so bringing tiny kids here is fairly safe.

  • Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery | Address: lookup Elephant Seal Vista Point

11. Visit Piedras Blancas Lighthouse

A few miles north of the Elephant Seal Rookery, you’ll find the Piedras Blancas Light House, a historical landmark in Cambria you can visit all year round. Tours are by appointment only, so make sure to book your tickets before you go!

From the lookout tower, you can see things like elephant seals and migrating gray whales! There are also trails near the light station where you can walk to view the coastline and continue watching for whales!

The best time to see whales in Cambria is during the months of December through April. You can generally see Humpback Whales from late March through May and Blue Whales from April into summer.

Places to Eat in Cambria

Things to do in Cambria - The front of Linn's Easy as Pie Cafe located in downtown Cambria

12. Linn’s Easy as Pie Cafe

Linn’s Easy as Pie Cafe is one of the coolest places to get dessert in Cambria. The cafe offers sandwiches, wraps, salads, and soups, but it’s best known for its homemade pie, especially olallieberry pie! There are also other desserts such as coconut cream pie, lemon meringue, banana cream pie, and so much more.

Olalliberry is genetically 1/3 raspberry and 2/3 blackberry found at the Linn family farm. You can order a whole pie to take home or a slice to enjoy at the cafe.

Linn’s Restaurant, which is not to be confused with the cafe, is more visible from Main street if you would prefer a sit-down dinner. There is also a small cafe inside Linn’s Restaurant, but you’ll find the actual Linn’s Easy as Pie cafe about a minute’s walk behind the restaurant.

  • Linn’s Easy as Pie Cafe | Address: 4251 Bridge St, Cambria, CA 93428

13. Robin’s Restaurant

Robin’s Restaurant is off Main street and a must-visit eatery in Cambria. The food at Robin’s has an Asian flair so you’ll find dishes such as Thai Green Chicken and Tandoori Chicken Breast along with fish and steak. I would recommend going to Robin’s for dinner when you are visiting Cambria.

  • Robin’s Restaurant | Address: 4095 Burton Dr, Cambria, CA 93428

14. Creekside Gardens Cafe

Creekside Gardens Cafe is a breakfast and lunch cafe in Cambria that offers egg scrambles, omelets, and sandwiches. The Monterey Scramble was delicious, but if you’re wanting a sandwich, check out the French Dip! After eating brunch, you can head right next door to the Rich Man Poor Man antique store!

  • Creekside Gardens Cafe | Address: 2114 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428
 Things to do in Cambria - hand holding Whalebird Kombucha in the gardens of Lily's Coffee House on Main Street in downtown Cambria

15. Lily’s Coffee House

If you’re looking for a good cup of coffee and some breakfast items, Lily’s Coffee House is the place to go. They offer delicious scones like the Blackberry Lime and filling breakfast burritos, too! There is even a garden outside for you to enjoy your meal with some laid-back music.

  • Lily’s Coffee House | Address: 2028 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428

16. Boni’s Tacos Truck

Boni’s Tacos Truck is tucked behind some bushes so you might not notice it at first. However, you can’t miss it as the lines are always curving out to the parking lot right next to the truck! The one thing you cannot miss when visiting Boni’s is their well-known Al Pastor tacos!

Do keep in mind that the taco truck is only there on the weekends, so make sure to hit up Cambria on a Saturday or Sunday!

  • Boni’s Taco Truck | Address: 2253 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428
Things to do in Cambria - Pafoua holding Mint Chip ice cream in a cup in Mojo's Village Bean on Main street in downtown Cambria.

17. Mojo’s Village Bean

Mojo’s Village Bean is a coffee shop in Cambria that offers coffee and tea to start your day off right! If you are craving ice cream, like I always do, they will serve you a very hefty scoop (or two)! Their ice cream is very soft – I got the mint chip and cookies and cream.

The coffee shop is also located right next to Antiques on Main, but you might want to do your shopping before getting a drink.

  • Mojo’s Village Bean | Address: 2320 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428

Map of Things to do in Cambria, California

Key: Blue – things to do | Purple – restaurants | Orange – accommodations

Places to Stay in Cambria

Things to do in Cambria - the front of Cambria Pines Lodge
Courtesy of Expedia | Cambria Pines Lodge

Cambria Pines Lodge

The Cambria Pines Lodge is a charming hotel stay in Cambria. Since it’s inland, you won’t have beach access, but Moonstone Beach is a quick 5-minute drive.

As the name implies, the exterior looks like a lodge so you’ll feel cozy just walking right in! Cambria Pines Lodge has amenities such as free wifi, flat-screen TV, and more unique benefits like gas fireplaces and a private patio.

If you would like to bring your pet, you must reserve over the phone, which is a nice compromise to having your 4-legged friend with you! There’s also a complimentary breakfast and you can reserve dinner at the restaurant on site.

  • Cambria Pines Lodge | Address: 2905 Burton Dr. Cambria, California 93428

The Rigdon House

The Rigdon House is nearby Cambria Pines Lodge and also offers a quaint stay in Cambria. The staff is friendly and they also offer happy hour to guests. You’ll also find great amenities like free wifi, flat-screen TV, and private suites.

There is an outdoor patio where you can socialize and enjoy being in nature. The Rigdon House is also pet-friendly, so you can hang out with your pet in Cambria!

  • FogCatcher Inn | Address: 4022 Burton Dr, Cambria, CA, 93428

FogCatcher Inn

The FogCatcher Inn is directly across the street from Moonstone Beach. If you would like to wake up every day and be able to walk on the beach boardwalk, this would be the place for you!

The inn is also a charming hotel-like stay with all the amenities of free wifi, LCD TVs, and pet-friendliness. With the ability to easily get to the beach within walking distance, the FogCatcher Inn would be a very convenient stay.

  • The Rigdon House | Address: 4022 Burton Dr, Cambria, CA, 93428
Things to do in Cambria - the sunset on Moonstone Beach Boardwalk

The Best Time to Visit Cambria, California

The most ideal times to visit Cambria are usually April through June when you’ll experience just the right amount of chill and warmth.

You can also visit Cambria in the fall during October or November. The weather will be cooler, but you’ll miss the crowds that come during the summer months.

How Many Days Should I spend in Cambria?

The perfect amount of days to spend in Cambria, California is usually 2-3 days. This gives you enough time to explore all the different things to do in Cambria, sample some of the local cuisines, and stay refreshed for your next location.

There is so much to see in this area that you could extend your stay and head south to Cayucos and San Luis Obispo County or go up north to San Simeon and east to Paso Robles. You can even take day trips out to Pismo Beach or Big Sur.

Things to do in Cambria - a view of all the elephant seals laying on the beach in the day time

Is It Worth Visiting Cambria, California?

The short answer is, yes!

Cambria is definitely one of the best places to visit on California’s central coast. The small coastal town has a lot of amazing things to see and do like tastings at wineries, lighthouses, parks, boutique shopping, restaurants, and more! If you’re looking for some peace and quiet away from the hustle-and-bustle of city life, Cambria is the perfect place to visit!

Final thoughts on things to do in Cambria

When you’re visiting the great state of California, make sure to see Cambria along the Pacific Coast Highway. This small town is a coastal paradise that offers something for everyone. From the famous Hearst Castle and nearby beaches to world-class restaurants with locally sourced food, there are plenty of things to do in Cambria. 

Did I miss anything? What are some other fun activities around this area? Let me know!


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My Favorite Travel Tips + Resources

Here is a quick glance at all my go-to travel tips and resources that I use to plan every trip! For more information, check out my travel resources page.

  • Booking flights: I use Google Flights to check all routes and find the best flights. Then I compare them with Expedia (for reward points) and Skyscanner (for the lowest prices) before I book.
  • Accommodations: I love budget-friendly rentals or booking at a hotel where I can earn points. For hotels, I go through Booking.com or book directly with Marriott (for points + rewards). When I travel internationally, I’ll book through Hostelworld for very budget-friendly stays. For vacation rentals, I usually look through Airbnb, but you could also use Vrbo. Expedia also has some great bundles for hotels, flights, and car rentals altogether.
  • Transportation: For travel in the United States, I love renting through Expedia with Enterprise or Thrifty. They have been consistent and provide the best customer service. For international travel, I’ll book through Rome2Rio or Eurail for trains or bus fares.
  • Travel Credit Card: I book all my travel (flights, hotels, car rentals) through my favorite travel credit card. I also use this card for everything on my trip including dining, excursions, and souvenirs. Apart from earning 5x more points towards free travel, there are amazing benefits: no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement (so I can book worry-free), fraud protection, emergency assistance – it’s really a great deal! Check it out here!
  • Vaccines and Medications: Check the CDC website for updates on necessary vaccines to enter a country, including updates on Covid-19 and recommended places to visit. I recommend getting all the vaccines you need before you go!
  • Tours + Experiences: I absolutely love my tours! Everything from eerie walking ghost tours to food tours, I’ll usually book something every trip either through Viator or GetYourGuide. I also love LastMinute.com for very affordable tickets to theaters and other experiences in Europe.
  • What to Pack: I almost always travel by backpack. For products I like, check out my packing guide page for all the things I take with me on different trips.