Lime Kiln National Park (11:30 am)
We wouldn’t have found this cool secret spot if it wasn’t for the fire in Big Sur. Very cozy atmosphere with short shady trails!
Location: about 14 miles south of Julia Pfeiffer park.
No street parking here and parking will cost $10.
The entrance can be very hidden if you are heading south (although there are signs). Expect to make a very sharp left turn (almost a U-turn). However, it’s relatively easy to find if you are heading north (on your right before the bridge).
This is a great option for camping too (3 camping areas; 1 with an ocean view!)
There are 3 trails (Lime Kiln, Waterfall, and Hare Creek). They are very short (1.5 hours total to cover all 3 trails).
Beginning of the hike
Very shady, secluded hike. Lots of squirrels. Redwood trees. Great choice for a hike even during the afternoon since it’s covered by tall redwood trees.
Elephant seals at San Simeons (2:30pm)
This is a quick stop 30 miles south of Lime Kiln Park. There is a huge parking lot (free) here on your right if you are heading south. It’s hard to miss. Park your car and walk along the coast and enjoy the views of sea lions frolicking in their natural habitat. It was super windy so bring a light jacket.
Moonstone Beach at Cambria (7 miles south of San Simeons)
Very secluded. It’s a nice little walk about a mile round trip along the beach. Free parking.
Ruddells’ BBQ at Cayucos. (4pm)
A hole in the wall with yummy fish tacos and sammiches. We got albacore and salmon tacos, $6 each. 3-4 tacos should be enough for 2 people but we chose to leave a little room for the famous chicken pies 2 blocks east: A Deli and Pieman Pies for some bomb chicken pot pie ($7).
If you like cookies (and really who doesn’t), there is a famous Brown Butter Cookies shop across the street. Their honey cookies are a must try.
Stayed at Los Osos Airbnb ($78 including fees)
Kay accidentally took a bite from the goat food bowl because he thought it was an apple for us!
Montana De Oro: 10 minutes drive
We are so glad we stayed in Los Osos because we would have missed this gorgeous hike if we didn’t! Here is the park brochure/map. You can pretty much drive around the whole place and pick out whichever to hike. We chose to hike the bluffs. Parking: if you look at the map on the brochure, park at the “P” located northeast of “Bluff Trail”.
The entire trail offers an absolutely gorgeous beautiful view. It’s gorgeous from every angle. We saw some of these unique-looking sharp crystally rocks that we have never seen before. The Bluff Trail is rather an easy hike that can take you about 3 hours if you do roundtrip for 4 miles. However, you can walk as much or as little as you wish and turn back. There’s no shade any where, so I think super early morning for sunrise or late evening for a sunset hike would be the best. There are benches all over the trail, facing a gorgeous ocean view. Great to have a picnic too.
Feed the Ostriches in Solvang.
It’s something that is great to visit at least once in your life. When they tell you to use both hands, you hold on for dear life to those pans! These birds are hungry and they will take you by surprise if you’re caught off guard.
You pay $6 per person to get in and get 1 bowl of food per two people to feed the ostriches. Ostriches are such funny looking creatures!
Nojoqui Falls near Solvang (77 miles drive from Los Osos)
Very short hike: round trip in just 25 minutes. After being spoiled by amazing weather in Big Sur, this was relatively a hot, dry hike, and the waterfall was dried out. It was very shady though. If you are looking for a diversion around Solvang this is a really nice spot. It’s mostly up hill so if you walk slow expect a slightly longer walk. I can see how this could be a hidden gem with the waterfall flowing.
Things we wanted to do but didn’t get a chance
- Esalen hot springs: 1am-3am Hot springs; $30/person only with RSVP (check their schedule)