After you leave Morro Bay, there’s one more quaint little town before the drive through the Big Sur Mountains begins. Take the business route and loop through downtown Cambria. The town offers a few franchise-free blocks of small businesses…
… and a grocery store. Yes, that’s a wood floor and wooden shelves.
North of Cambria, I found one place to access the beach, but I didn’t stay long. Much more extraordinary spots awaited, just up the road.
Cambria provides a good base for visiting nearby Hearst Castle. Perched on a hilltop, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Hearst Castle is the famous estate of publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst.
For the second time, I didn’t visit Hearst Castle, for a couple of reasons. One, it’s expensive: $24 for the self-guided tour, which doesn’t include access to the buildings (that costs more). Two, time: I could easily spend half a day at Hearst Castle, which means I would need to devote an entire day to the area (since you can’t get off to a late start on the drive through Big Sur). So, I spent a moment admiring the castle from Highway 1, then drove on.
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from Morro Bay into the Big Sur Mountains on the Pacific Coast Highway: