Spring weather along the central California coast is one of the best times of the year to visit the beach towns.
Harbor seal pups on the beach at Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, CA (4-19-12)
April and May are the months for seeing seal pups. These little pups are survivors and start feeding on their own after just a few months.
Highway 1 Big Sur is the leisurely driving route
On my way to Los Angeles.
I seriously considered driving the Big Sur coast along Highway 1 from Monterey to Morro Bay yesterday since the weather was gorgeous, but the Big Sur coast road adds at least an extra hour to the 135 mile drive to San Luis Obispo.
Highway 1 Big Sur
The fog building in the center of Monterey Bay as I left home in early afternoon meant the fog along the Big Sur coast might roll in and obscure any ocean views. And there always seems to be some part of Highway 1 that has fallen into the sea requiring a one-lane traffic stoppage adding a bit more idle time to the coast drive.
Monterey was baking in 65 degree hot sun and then the temperature rose to the upper 80s just five miles inland from the sea and low 90s once I hit the agricultural fields of the Salinas Valley 20 miles inland.
Highway 101 is the inland central coast road people generally take when driving between Pismo Beach and Monterey when you want to travel fast. Pismo Beach is about 175 miles north of Los Angeles and 245 miles south of San Francisco. For me, Pismo Beach is the halfway point, about 150 miles, when driving from Monterey to LA.
Pismo Beach offers the first Pacific Ocean views visible from Highway 101 once I leave my home in Monterey driving to southern California. I consider this town to be the dividing line between southern California and northern California. I think Pismo Beach might be the most northerly town where there is an official State of California sign calling Highway 1 “Pacific Coast Highway” or “PCH”.
I live by Highway 1 in Monterey and it is named Cabrillo Highway in Monterey County and Santa Cruz County, although everyone just says Highway 1. PCH is a southern California term.
Pismo Beach, California
Best Western Shore Cliff Lodge, Pismo Beach, California
Pismo Beach is a quintessential California beach town with surf, surfers, sand and loads of hotels, motels and vacation rentals. Most of the hotels are independent non-brands, but there are a couple of notable Best Western hotels right on the Pacific’s edge.
Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge
The Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge is literally hugging the cliff over the Pacific. The rooms here on the ocean view side of the hotel have unobstructed views of the ocean.
There must have been a substantial investment to inhibit the cliff erosion around the Best Western hotel and for numerous other buildings along the Pismo Beach cliffs. Pismo Beach is an old beach town where development happened years before the California Coastal Commission regulated development along the coastline since the 1970s.
View looking north from Pismo Beach.
View from hotel balconies of the 2-story Best Western Shore Cliff Lodge.
A gazebo perched on the cliff edge at Best Western Shore Cliff Lodge.
View looking south from Best Western Shore Cliff Lodge, Pismo Beach.
The hotel lobby is nicely decorated with a TV and computer terminals.
The hotel received TripAdvisor 2011 Certificate of Excellence recognition for positive guest reviews.
The pool area of the hotel is between building wings and offers ocean views.
When people ask me where there is a good Best Western hotel to redeem a free night, Pismo Beach comes to mind. Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express are within a few miles, but these other brand name hotels do not offer ocean views.