These two towns were the perfect segue from the Central Coast to Southern California. Cayucos sits at the south end of the Big Sur and is a really quaint seaside village, a nice ease back into population. El Capitan State Beach another couple of hours south of there is a hot surf spot near Santa Barbara and felt like the first in a long string of famous surf spots that dot the coast of Southern California.
Cayucos is cute. The whole beach in the town was doggy friendly! Atlas loved that and made lots of new friends. After Atlas was thoroughly exhausted, Millie and I went out to walk the town, check out the pier and get some dinner, which of course was fish and chips. I just love fish & chips when I’m at the beach.
If you’re visiting this cute little town you absolutely MUST stop by the Brown Butter Cookie Company and pick up some cookies for yourself and as many friends as you have. It’s hard to capture just how decadent these cookies are, you simply must try them! DELICIOUS and I’m not usually a cookie fan. Oh, and they ship….
The sunset tonight was gorgeous, again.
While the town was super cute and charming, I didn’t love our campground. It was a bit of a sardine can of RV’s all parked next to each other. My criteria for campsites is a scenic spot with hiking/walking trails right from the site, this didn’t really have either.
Luckily I got in on someone’s cancellation at a beachfront campground a couple of hours south, so the next morning we took Atlas for a walk on the beach and then hit the road.
The drive to El Capitan State Beach was very different to what I’ve grown accustomed to here on Highway 1. The highway leaves the coast and dives inland for an hour or so via San Louis Obispo.
I’d been to San Louis Obispo once before when I was 11. Mum and Dad took my brother and I out of school for 3 months and we spent a couple months traveling around Europe and then the final 2 weeks in the USA. Dad surprised us all hiring a convertible for the drive from San Fran to LA along Highway 1. I don’t remember much of the coastal stretch but I do remember that we stayed in San Luis Obispo and went out to a BBQ restaurant and ate ribs at a shack that had peanut husks and sawdust all over the floor. Remember the Golden Gate Bridge? No. Big Sur beauty? Nope. Strange the things that stick with you. So I had my eyes peeled in case I recognized it but unfortunately I didn’t see it. What a great trip though! I wonder if that’s when the bug crawled inside my head? Curse that darn travel bug! Actually no don’t, I’m quite fond of it by this stage. Thanks Mum and Dad.
The site at El Capitan was just awesome, I’m so glad I made the decision to bail on the last spot early and come here instead! Yay. Our spot looked down across a grassy area, across a paved trail and then out to the ocean. Perfect.
El Cap is a hot surf break but only rarely breaks because it needs a big west swell. As has been the case almost our whole trip down Highway 1, the surf was pretty much non-existent. Still very pretty to look at though, I’m not complaining!
The paved trail near our RV is the Aniso Trail and runs from this beach to Refugio State Beach a couple of miles up the coast. At first I was disappointed to see that the trail was closed off just past the campground due to some erosion damage, however then i realized that we could walk around the closure gate and enjoy a trail with no-one else on it! I took Atlas’ leash off and he was really happy to be able to run free. We hit the trail damage after about 10 minutes or so and decided it was best for us to turn around instead of continue on.
Of course Atlas found a tennis ball in some scrub and wanted to play with it. At one point he was up ahead and I see a cloud of sand coming up from behind a bush. I look over the edge of the bluff and there’s my boy off the lip between the lip and and the top of a small cliff band. The sand-cloud was him trying as hard as he could to get back up the bank over the lip. What the hell, Atlas? That boy. He likes to drop the ball down steep banks and challenge himself to go retrieve it. When it gets too steep I usually confiscate the ball, but I’d missed it this time. Anyway, I think he out-challenged himself this time.
I looked left and right to see if there was an easier way up and there really wasn’t. I cheered him on as excitedly as I could and when he made enough ground to get his head up a little closer I grabbed his collar and helped him get the rest of the way. I’m sure Millie was quite entertained by the whole thing as she was on my chest watching it all unfold. I gave my boy a big hug and after I got done telling him how happy I was he was okay, do you know what he did? Yep, turned around and looked back down the bank; I could almost hear his little tennis-ball-obsessed brain ticking… should I go down and get that ball? Atlas! I called him back and we got home safely.
And guess what? Another gorgeous sunset.
Next stop… it’s a classic!
Thanks for reading. -Elevated