It’s summer and that means road trip season is here! We’ve gathered some interesting sites along the California coast to explore. Whether you’re looking for a bit of history, natural splendor, or stunning architecture our list has something for everyone!
Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park (Carlsbad)
This historic ranch was once owned by actor, preservationist and conservationist Leo Carrillo, who was best known for his role in the 50’s television series, The Cisco Kid. A cowboy on and off the set, Carrillo renovated the property and its original adobe buildings and horse stables to evoke the classic California lifestyle. With open courtyards and native plants throughout, bring a picnic and take yourself back to the early days of ranch life by the sea.
Greek Theatre (Griffith Park)
Head up the coast and stop in Griffith Park, the largest municipal park with urban wilderness area in the United States. Once inside the park, head to the legendary Greek Theatre. Completed in 1930, the canyon site of this 5,870-seat amphitheater was chosen for its good acoustics. Its an excellent place to hear live music under the stars, and has recently been rehabilitated to restore the buildings original features.
Hearst Castle/Neptune Pool (San Simeon)
Situated among the rolling hills of San Simeon is famed architect Julia Morgan’s masterpiece, the Hearst Castle. Also built for William Randolph Hearst, this sprawling estate draws visitors from all over the world and remains one of California’s top destinations. Recent improvements to the estate, such as the meticulous replacement of over 20,000 tiles at Neptune Pool, means it’s a great time to visit this historic monument.
Asilomar Conference Grounds (Pacific Grove)
Located along the Monterey Bay shoreline, Asilomar Conference Grounds has much to offer. The name is derived from the Spanish phrase asilo al mar, meaning refuge by the sea. One might find sanctuary in the historic Julia Morgan-designed buildings while appreciating the natural beauty surrounding the grounds. A popular destination for family reunions and social gatherings, you’ll truly be able to connect with others as there are no telephone or televisions in any of the rooms!
Ferry Building (San Francisco)
The “city by the bay” offers a tremendous (and seemingly endless) number of things to do. If you’re in the mood for great views, good eats, and a sprinkling of people watching, look no further than the Ferry Building. Walk through the Grand Nave, which was meticulously rehabilitated after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, grab an ice cream cone from Humphrey Slocombe, and sit outside on a bench to watch the ferries and seagulls going about their day.
Fort Ross State Historic Park (Sonoma County)
Did you know there was a former Imperial Russian settlement in Sonoma County? This might come as a surprise to many, but the stretch of coastline around Bodega Bay was home to up to 100 Russian colonists by 1812. Today, Fort Ross Historic Parks offers gorgeous natural landscapes (3,400 acres!), historic structures, and interpretive exhibits that highlight the settlement and early California ranch lifestyle. Be sure to check out the wood log windmill which was crafted by hand in Russia, assembled on site with no nails, and erected in time for the bi-centennial of Fort Ross in 2012.
Carson Block Building (Eureka)
In the heart of downtown Eureka is the 19th Century Carson Block building, one of the city’s first commercial buildings, located in the city’s National Register-listed Historic District. The building’s elegant Richardson Romanesque features of redwood with terracotta panels, brick arches and cast iron columns make it stand out amongst the other surrounding structures that evoke the character and style of a frontier town.