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About California Regions  ·  California Regions  ·  Santa Barbara - Paso Robles

Santa Barbara - Paso Robles Region

Californias coast is perfect for a classic road trip vacation or a quiet getaway in one of the many small villages between Santa Barbara and San Simeon. The weather is generally mild and sunny all year with cooling ocean breezes. Inland, a growing California wine region offers travelers from the coast a reason to stay and enjoy the rolling hills and country roads near Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo.
For more vacation planning information, go to the Central Coast pages in the Top Destinations section or the Santa Barbara Coast pages in Top Destinations.

Santa Barbara-Paso Robles Region Map

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Starting in the north, along the California coast, San Simeon and Cambria (the place to stay and dine) are two places worthy of more than a day's visit. Hearst Castle, with multiple tours and excellent facilities is the most popular State Park in the system. This is where William Randolph Hearst came for vacation (as did the Hollywood stars and starlets who were invited to join him). Where else can you see what obsessive unbudgeted construction married with an unbelievable setting produces? If you think the striped horses grazing nearby look more like zebras, they are.
Heading down the coast, there are a cluster of small to medium size towns to explore, including Morro Bay (home of the Rock), San Luis Obispo, Avila Beach and Pismo Beach.
Inland, take a detour to see a faux Danish village called Solvang if you wish to see a real windmill without crossing the Atlantic. Don't miss the pastries while you look around the town.
Backed by the Santa Inez Mountains and fronted by the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is hemmed in along the coast, limiting growth and industry, probably the reason everyone loves the place. With great weather, a top state university, the beach, red tile and stucco Spanish architecture, what could be better?
The hills beyond the coast in this region were once bypassed by visitors but now there are several important clusters of vineyards and wineries rivaling their famous cousins in Napa and Sonoma. Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara all have a nearby "wine country" with many places open for touring and tastings. Naturally, the sunny dry climate with cooling marine breezes are perfect conditions for grape-growing - "Mediterranean" climate, in fact. 


Ron Niebrugge
Pismo Beach dunes offer swimming, tidepooling, board sports and beachcombing on the coast near San Luis Obispo

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