Cambria Road Trip: A Fantastic Rainy Weekend Away

cambria road trip
pistachio trees blooming hwy 46 – central valley

During California’s “biggest storm in years” I took a Cambria road trip. It was a girls weekend with my daughters, my mom, my sisters, and nieces. My sister planned it and my mom treated us and it was so much fun.

Pines by the Sea” – visit Cambria tourism

This was a quick trip with a decent drive, 11 hours in the car round trip, for not even a long weekend. However, we never felt rushed and that’s probably because the scenery was amazing. Technically, we only spent 42 hours in Cambria and probably 16 of them we were sleeping.

moonstone beach boardwalk cambria road trip
Moonstone beach boardwalk – go outside

Cambria Road Trip from Orange County

Drive Time

It took us 5-6 hours to go north with stops and a little bit longer heading home since we hiked to Nojoqui Falls in Santa Barbara County. Saturday was the rainiest of the days and apparently that kept everyone off the roads, which was a win for us. Initially, I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about driving 6 hours in the rain. I envisioned gridlock and slow going,  but the rain had the opposite effect: not a lot of traffic and zero accidents. It was smooth sailing, actually.


We drove a loop: 5 north to 46 west 1 north to Cambria. Coming home we drove hwy 1 to the 101 to the 405 and then the 5 home.

I’ve driven all the highways before except for hwy 46 so this was a fun excursion seeing something new. The drive was easy and pleasant. In the central valley you’ll see pistachio orchards and the Lost Hills oil field and many, many, many tumbleweeds. About 5-10 miles before Paso Robles the winery’s come into view, but the best part of this road is from Paso Robles to Hwy. 1. This time of year the hills were rolling and green and stunning.

Play Outdoors

Points of Interest (places we visited this trip)

On the road:

In and near Cambria:

cambria road trip
Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery

In Cambria we did not let the rain stop us from exploring at all and we spent a considerable amount of time outdoors. We stayed at the Cambria Pines Lodge which is a large property with gardens and a few walking trails. Our time was spent walking the gardens on site and exploring the property. Deer can be seen often. The outdoor pool is heated year round so of course the kids swam for an hour on Sunday.

road trip to cambria
post office next to the Jack Ranch Cafe near the James Dean Memorial Junction on hwy 46

Cambria Travel Tip

We grabbed food for lunch one day at Boni’s Tacos a food truck right off main street. I found the recommendation on Yelp and we agree it was yummy. I highly recommend the marinated pastor burritos. So good!

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Have you visited this Central California coastal town?


  1. says

    How did I not see this before we went at the end of summer? I thought Josh was the only one who had been. We got to stay a lazy 6 days and it was wonderfully sunny!


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