TravelWest Coast USA

Day 18 – Cambria to Santa Barbara (via Pismo Beach)

We were all fairly disappointed in Cambria and I think the issue is that we had followed the traditional highway 1 itinerary … without actually spending very much time on highway one.  So without that coastal route, Cambria is nothing more than an inconvenient diversion and in reality, we could / should have pushed on and spent more time somewhere with a bit of life.

So this morning we looking for something a little more exciting and decide at the last minute to head to Pismo beach which is a town between Cambria and Santa Barbara for no other reason than there seems to be a fairly decent Kayak shop in town and we’re going to do some sea kayaking.  We decide to book a tour at Central Coast Kayaks who were very flexible in offering us a tour at the last minute when we walked through the door!  There’s lots of wildlife to see off the coat of Pismo Beach including seals and sea otters as well as numerous birds.  It’s an interesting and fun tour but two things you should be aware of.  Firstly, a feature of the central coat seems to be kelp floating in the water which, while it is good for the ecosystem, is both unattractive and difficult to kayak through!  Secondly, the number of birds (cormorants and pelicans) means that the area smells of dead fish and bird poo.  This is not to put you off as it’s a really good tour but just so you know J

While at Pismo beach we are distracted by some outlet shopping which consumes another hour or so.  Outlet shopping in the US is generally very good and as the exchange rate to the EURO has dipped recently it seems to make sense to take advantage.  We do.  We’re not big shoppers, well as early retirees we can’t really afford to be, but like most others, we do like a bargain and Tommy Hilfiger shorts at $19.99 are too cheap to resist.

Countryside around Cachuma Lake

Anyway, those diversions mean that we are late leaving Pismo Beach (in fact we only leave late afternoon) which means, because of our tight schedule on Friday, we are going to have to skip most of Santa Barbara.  Nevertheless, on the way we do take a brief diversion off highway 101 and decide instead to follow the scenic inland route down highway 154 which not only passes Cachuma lake but also provides some nice views of the surrounding countryside.

An all too brief visit to Santa Barbera

We arrive in Santa Barbara early evening but there is little more we can do that take a walk along the boardwalk and the pier before a late meal and bed.  Sorry, Santa Barbara, we will need to find more time for you next time!

We’ve booked a points stay here and we’re at the Hampton Inn.  It’s a decent hotel but I can’t really commend it or the location (it was free so that puts it into context).

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