Our California Coast Road Trip, Day Two: Oxnard to Pismo Beach

After one night in Oxnard to stock up on road trip supplies (click here for that post), it was off to Pismo Beach…and we had BIG PLANS for along the way. Unfortunately, as the best laid plans sometimes do, those plans started off with a huge bang…of a bust.

Our itinerary had us departing Oxnard early and heading to Grant Park in Ventura to see Serra Cross. Unfortunately, although we’d checked operating hours in advance, the park was closed when we arrived. After the requisite teasing from my pre-teens (“Mom, aren’t you supposed to be a TRAVEL AGENT??!!”), we shook it off and headed on to our next destination, U-Pick Blueberries at Restoration Oaks Ranch in Santa Barbara. Blueberry season typically ends sometime in late July/early August. But the website indicated that there were still plenty of blueberries left for picking, so we thought we were golden. We were wrong. When we arrived, it was clear that the season was over. On the bright side, the staff was kind enough to let us wander through their beautiful fields anyway.

Fortunately, things started to pick up once we got to the Wine Ghetto in Lompoc. In this

spectacular off-the-beaten-path place, dozens of local wineries host tasting rooms. For a nominal fee, you can wander in to any one of these storefronts and sample some amazing wines! We stocked up on enough bottles to last throughout the course of our road trip, making in the perfect stop for the first full day. And best of all, we got some expert recommendations for wineries to visit along the way.

After some sandwiches from our cooler in the trunk, we set out to explore one of these recommended wineries: the Presqu'ile Winery in Santa Maria. While I liked some of the wines I sampled in Lompoc better, Presqui'le's grounds are absolutely stunning (see first pic in this post). The kids and hubby were able to get some fresh air while enjoying the screen time that kept them safely occupied, and I was able to chat up the locals while enjoying a wine tasting that kept me safely occupied :).

The next stop on our itinerary was Arroyo Grande. This cute little California town is home to so many hidden gems: restaurants, a famous swinging bridge (see pic above), and about a million free-ranging roosters and chickens! While you’re not going to get any sweeping views here, it’s the perfect place to stop and stretch your legs.

Finally, we arrived at our home for the next two nights: The Seacrest Oceanfront Hotel in Pismo Beach. You guys, this place was amazing. We could have seriously stayed a whole week here. Sweeping ocean views, private beach access, a fun pool, lots of space to play yard games (or just to let the kids run free), spacious family suites, and free breakfast!!

I knew the kids would be tired from the long drive, so I did some research in advance and discovered that one of the most popular restaurants in Pismo Beach (Splash Café) would deliver. This place specializes in everything from clam chowder to fried seafood to hot dogs, so it’s the perfect fit for families. I’m telling you, there is nothing quite like some poolside music and fresh seafood while you watch the cliffs turn lavender during a California sunset.

And with that, Day Two was complete! Check back soon for Day Three, a full day in Pismo Beach!


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