Cambria is situated on the coast of California in San Luis Obispo County. The town, known also as Pines by the Sea because of its towering trees, is surrounded by natural sights while still being within a few hours’ drive of big cities. You can bask in the charming small town vibe, relax on the beach, view wildlife, and reconnect with nature. Opt for a vacation rental in Cambria to enjoy plenty of sun and fun. Here are some of the top family-friendly activities in Cambria to add to your itinerary.

1. Visit Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve encompasses 437 acres of astonishing biodiversity. The coastal ecosystem moves from grasslands and forests to riparian habitats. Nearly a dozen trails weave through the preserve. Meander down the coast on the Bluff Trail, and look for tide pools, or take a stroll through the trees. Walk up along Santa Rosa Creek, and view the wetlands complete with seasonal marshes and tidal zones. There are plenty of animals to see from a rare glimpse of the coyotes and bobcats to black-tailed deer, otters, and western pond turtles. There are dozens of species of birds from the golden eagle and a half dozen species of hawks sandpipers, warblers, and woodpeckers. Print off the bird list before going so that you can check them off the list with the kids.

2. Go Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is available in the preserve as well as throughout the area. Go on a family outing via horseback along the beach, or take them inland through the wooded areas for a relaxing, shady ride. Bring along a picnic lunch, and spend a day in nature.

3. Go Swimming

Don’t leave Cambria without stopping for some swimming at least once. With vacation rentals located on the beach, you can easily take a dip every day. If your rental’s further inland, the Moonstone Beach Park is a great public access spot for the water. Bring your towels and umbrella (and water wings for the kids), and relax while they enjoy the ocean.

4. Stroll the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk

Speaking of Moonstone Beach, stroll down the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk for a relaxing family outing after a day of swimming. Several stores and restaurants line the boardwalk, so you can stop in for some grub at Sea Chest Restaurant or Moonstone Beach Grill.

Find the perfect Cambria vacation rental on is the world's #1 vacation rental search engine with over 10 million properties!

5. Play in the Sand

Cambria is known for the moonstones that wash up on its beaches. During your stroll, go beachcombing for some of these stones, shells, or other interesting objects. Maybe your kids just want to build a sandcastle or look for tide pools. All are great beach activities.

6. Explore Hearst San Simeon State Park

You can stroll up Moonstone Beach to Leffingwell Landing State Park and Hearst San Simeon State Park for some more nature loving. Camp there overnight, or just opt for a day at the park. Take your kayaks out on the water, thanks to the boat ramps, or opt for some snorkeling, windsurfing, or fishing. The bathroom and shower facilities along with picnic areas give you all the amenities of home.

7. Go Boating

Whether you want to kayak down Van Gordon Creek or take your craft out on the ocean, boating is a must-do. Enjoy the salt wind in your face, and point out all the marine life to the kids. If you have kayaks, then San Simeon cove is the place to go. It boasts calm waters—perfect for kids—and tide pools. Sea For Yourself Kayak Outfitters has all the gear you need if you don’t have boats of your own.

8. View the Wildlife

Cambria is rich in wildlife from the dolphins and seals to the local deer, coyotes, and birds. Go on a boat tour to get up close and personal with the marine life. Not only are there whales and dolphins that often make an appearance, but seals also call the surrounding areas home. You might see them swimming around your vessel or sunning on the beach. Take a scenic drive through the hills, and keep a look out for land animals, especially deer.

9. Go Hiking

View animals up close while hiking. Cambria bursts with hiking trails from those at the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve to the Moonstone Beach boardwalk. Hearst San Simeon State Park offers many hiking opportunities such as the 3.3-mile San Simeon Creek Trail that runs along the river and takes you to the Santa Rosa Creek Preserve and Pa-nu Cultural Preserve. The latter contains ruins that date bake nearly 6,000 years. Enjoy the towering pine trees on the Strawberry Canyon Trail

10. Tour Historic Sites

Historic sites aren’t limited to ancient ruins but include local places such as the Nitt Witt Ridge, a 1928-era house that looks like a castle made out of the garbage. In fact, it was built using beach debris and natural items that people had thrown out. The Hearst Castle, another 1920s house, was built in the Spanish style and took 28 years to perfect. Other fun sites include the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Fresnel Lens, Pinedorado Gardens, and Greystone Manor.

11. Visit the Northern Elephant Seal Rookery

Head north a few miles along Cabrillo to Friends of the Elephant Seal, a rookery where you can view the giant animals up close as they lounge in the sun and the pups play. The boardwalk and viewing platforms make it easy to watch the seals without startling them.

12. Enjoy the Food

While in Cambria, do some shopping and eating. Robin’s Restaurant has something for any member of the family from spicy Thai to Mexican and even vegetarian food. Enjoy some quick but delicious food at Boni’s Tacos or Medusa’s Taqueria, or opt for American food at its best at Linn’s Restaurant and Old Stone Station.

Ready to go? Check out these amazing Cambria vacation rentals on