Exploring California's Central Coast

One of the most beautiful and undeveloped sections of the California Coast lies between Pismo Beach and Big Sur California.  This area, known as the Central Coast, is home to amazing beaches, lighthouses, elephant seals and even a castle. 

We decided to explore this area in our van during the fall after the crowds had left and the weather had turned a bit chilly.  Our first stop was Pismo Beach.  We found a great spot to park and work during the day at Shell Beach Park.  While in Pismo we highly recommend the Ventana Grill for dinner. The sunset view is amazing and the nachos get 2 thumbs up.

After enjoying a day at Pismo Beach we headed further up the coast to our next stop at San Simeon.  This is one of our favorite places to spend time in the van.  There are almost endless vista points to pull over and work, cook or walk the dogs on the beach.

There are 2 "must-see" destinations while in San Simeon.  The first is Hearst Castle.  This State Park offers different tour options of the iconic home of William Randolph Hearst.  Prepare to have your mind blown. Unfortunately on this trip this clouds rolled in and blocked most of the view of the outside of the castle and the view of the shoreline. Another reason to make it back for a third visit!

The next stop you will want to make it at The Elephant Seal Boardwalk at Piedras Blancas Light Station.  Hundreds of elephant seals lounge on the beach sunning themselves.  

elephant seals 40 hours of freedom vanlife

Due to the massive amounts of rain the central coast received last year, Highway 1 is currently closed just as you hit Big Sur.  We took the road as far north as we could to enjoy the view down the coast. 

Our next adventure took us to Paso Robles and as we crossed over the hills we were amazed to be able to spot Morrow Bay and the iconic rock formation in the distance. 

morrow bay via paso robles 40 hours of freedom vanlife travel