As I headed south from Big Sur, the misted mountains and lush forests gave way to golden grasslands and clear blue skies. For two days I drove up and down these winding cliff top roads, exploring charming towns and sunset beaches. We sipped coffee and wandered around craft shops in the little town of Cambria, where raw moonstone washes up on the beach and an old ranch has been transformed into a nature reserve. When you visit Plaskett Creek, you’ll find a little haven of Americana after the wilds of northern Big Sur.
The 18th century Spanish mission of San Simeon hides itself down a quiet lane. Nestled between the dry foothills and the crashing ocean, it’s a pretty, nostalgic village. A lone church sits back from the road, a poignant reminder of a bygone era. We spent the quiet evenings watching the sun dip beneath the ocean, as surfers rode the last of the waves.