This Central Coast Holiday Road Trip & Shopping Guide covers the Highway 1 region, from Los Osos to Cambria. From handmade gifts to locally-grown ingredients for a homemade pie, our People & Place serve up everything you need for the holidays. Hands-down. Bring along visiting friends and family and enjoy earning bonus points at each Local Rewards location mentioned!
Here are 8 ideas for your itinerary from our Education Outreach Manager, Vincent Delgado.
1. Start Shopping in Los Osos
“Miner’s has something for everyone! Even the person on your shopping list who has it all. The gardening and outdoor section is full of beautiful décor.” — Vincent
Miner’s Ace Hardware in Los Osos is the stop if anyone’s wish list features power tools, grilling accessories, anything Yeti, or even a Kitchenaid stand mixer. They have a wide range of high-quality gift ideas for the people in your life who like working with their hands.
Plus, Miner’s Ace Hardware locations on the Central Coast participate in SESLOC Local Rewards business, which means you earn bonus rewards points¹ when you use your HomeFREE Checking™ debit or Visa Signature Rewards® credit card. You can redeem your points for gift cards, cash back, and many more awesome rewards at seslocrewards.org², helping you stretch your holiday budget.
2. Hike the Bluffs at Montaña de Oro
“Tranquil, beautiful, relaxing. Just a few words to describe Montana de Oro. It’s a great place to appreciate the beauty of this region.” — Vincent
Take a refreshing walk through nature — Montaña de Oro state park in Los Osos offers a variety of beautiful, ocean-view trails for all skill levels. Or, explore the tide pools at Spooner’s Cove. It’s the perfect backdrop if you need any pictures for a last minute holiday card!
3. Head to the Harbor
“Morro Bay isn’t just any other seaside town. There’s plenty do from the fresh seafood, unique shops and water excursions, make sure Morro Bay is a stop this holiday season.” — Vincent
Head over to Morro Bay for a delicious meal at Rose’s Bar & Grill, a casual spot with unbeatable ocean views. They’ve been serving up an affordable surf and turf menu and handmade cocktails since 1942. And since they’re a participating Local Rewards business, you’ll earn bonus rewards points when you pay with your eligible SESLOC debit or credit card.
Have someone on your shopping list that is interested in hats? Walk next door to Morro Bay Hat Company, another participating Local Rewards business. They have a wide variety of styles and sizes, so there is truly something for everyone.
If you plan your visit for the December 2, stick around for Morro Bay’s annual Lighted Boat Parade in the evening— a unique holiday tradition that spectators can enjoy from Embarcadero. Boats are decorated with lights and holiday magic, competing for prizes and dazzling the community.
4. Pick Up Some Unique Stocking Stuffers
“These cookies are so unique and delicious and are always a hit as a stocking stuffer!” — Vincent
Next stop, Cayucos to drop by Brown Butter Cookie Company. This Central Coast staple is famous nationwide for their unique shortbread cookies. They’ve even been featured in the New York Times, Sunset Magazine, the Today Show, Westways, and more! Pick up a couple bags of cookies for an impressive stocking stuffer — be sure to use your eligible SESLOC debit or credit card to earn bonus rewards points on your purchase.
5. Get Dessert for Your Holiday Dinner
“The perfect store for a delicious dessert and picking up gifts for the cook in your family. Every holiday gathering, I volunteer to bring desert from Linn’s, and it never disappoints.” — Vincent
Continue up the road to the charming village of Cambria, and stop by Linn’s Gourmet Goods for one of their famous pies for your holiday dinner dessert. This Local Rewards participating business also sells a variety of locally made gifts like make-at-home mixes, jams, candies, snacks, teas, kitchen items and more.
6. Pick Up Some Supplies
“This is a neat locally owned grocery store.” — Vincent
Cookie Crock is the longest continuously operated independent super market on the Central Coast. While you’re in town, stop by and pick up some supplies for your holiday baking — you’ll be impressed by their selection of locally sourced items, low prices, and service with a smile. You’ll also earn bonus rewards points when you pay with your eligible SESLOC card.
7. Dine at Moonstone Beach
“Between the view and the food, I can’t pick which one is better. Great place for lunch or dinner regardless of the occasion.” — Vincent
Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill is known for serving some of the best seafood, steak, lamb, chicken, and pork dishes that the Central Coast has to offer. Located on Moonstone Beach, visitors can sit back and enjoy the gorgeous open ocean view and delicious dishes. And since they are a participating Local Rewards business, you’ll earn bonus rewards points on your purchase when you pay with your eligible SESLOC debit or credit card.
8. Check Out the Christmas Markets
“A perfect way to get in the Holiday spirit with the whole family. This is truly one of the best lights displays I’ve ever seen!” — Vincent
The Cambria Christmas Market is a spectacular local attraction inspired by traditional German Christmas markets running from November 24 through December 23. Wander through the expansive outdoor light display. Browse the market featuring local vendors selling handmade goods and imported traditional German décor. Enjoy live entertainment and local food and drink (or German spiced Glühwein) in the Biergarten. This event is extremely popular, so be sure to book tickets in advance.
The town of Harmony also hosts an annual pop-up Christmas Market featuring locally made crafts, food, and wine. Check it out on Saturday, December 16.
If you’re looking for more holiday inspo this season, check out our tips for other holiday day trips around the Central Coast. Or, check out the complete Local Rewards Business Directory here.