The area now called Cambria was once part of the Mission San Miguel. After the Missions were secularized, cattle farmer Don Julian Estrada received 13,000 acres, which he called Rancho Santa Rosa, as a land grant in 1841. After defaulting on a loan, Estrada lost the land to investors who began developing the city. A general store, hotel, and thriving agricultural industries were all established quickly, making Cambria San Luis Obispo County's largest town by 1880.
Today, Cambria makes a fantastic vacation destination, whether you love taking it easy or pushing your body to the limit. Its beaches and other recreational spots help you connect to nature, while its superb dining venues and retail outlets provide big-city conveniences without the crowds. Cambria is also a short drive from Hearst Castle and San Simeon's elephant seal colony. Because of its variety of accommodations that suit all tastes and budgets, Cambria makes getting away from it all so easy.
When to Visit Cambria, CA
Cambria's pleasant year-round conditions make it an outstanding place to visit, no matter what the season. While spring, early summer, and early fall arguably offer the best weather, your decision will probably depend on what you hope to see and do while you're in town.
Summer brings the bulk of tourists, so accommodations can become a little pricier around this time of year. Many feel it's worth paying extra to attend local events like the 4th of July Picnic in the Park and the Gene Cerise Memorial Country Coast Classic Bike Ride.
Nearby Hearst Castle only runs its evening tours during the fall months. Autumn is also the season for Pinedorado Days and the Scarecrow Festival.
Cambria isn't a city that closes down for winter, with the Festival of Trees, the Art & Wine Festival, and the Cambria Film Festival all happening in the year's coolest months.
The wildflowers bloom in spring, helping Cambria look its best from March to May. The local Chili Cook-Off, Car, and Motorcycle Show in April is also a big spring draw for rev-heads.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Cambria, CA:
Averate Rates by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts displaying average nightly cost trends by star rating class in Cambria, CA. Analyze these illustrations to determine the best time to book a room in Cambria for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Cambria, CA
4 Star Average Prices: $358.45
Cambria also has plenty of high-end accommodations for people who want to feel more pampered. Try one of these first-rate luxury hotels.
From the moment you spot its bright blue exterior, you'll know your stay at The Rigdon House in Cambria will be anything but ordinary. It offers king rooms and a range of suites, but for real indulgence, choose one of the luxury king or double queen options. They're much larger, with enormous marble onyx bathrooms and a pair of TVs with digital cable instead of just one set. When you're not in your room or exploring, unwind on the terrace, sun deck, or in the onsite library. The wine and cocktail hour is a welcome addition after a busy day in Cambria.
If you want to swim without the waves, you'll probably prefer Pelican Inn & Suites in Cambria. It has an outdoor spa and pool, heated for year-round fun. A free hot buffet breakfast is served each morning, complete with mimosas. Continue the day with more bubbles and other local specialties by using your free wine tasting passes. From standard rooms to suites, all accommodation features high-end bath amenities, soft robes, deluxe bedding, and coffeemakers for your early morning pick-me-up. Some rooms also have private patios and fireplaces.
Affordable Hotel Options in Cambria, CA
3 Star Average Prices: $164.16
Visiting Cambria needn't break the budget, with a host of affordable hotel options close to local amenities. Try the following hotels offering high quality without high costs.
The whole family can enjoy an affordable getaway at the pet-friendly Sea Otter Inn. This inn welcomes you with fireplaces and views of Moonstone Beach from each room, and fresh cookies and complimentary breakfast are delivered to your door each day, making you feel like a VIP whenever you stay. Outdoor fire pits and a heated pool and spa add to the atmosphere.
Little Sur Inn is another beachfront boutique hotel with remarkably low prices. Its mission-style rooms are charming, with fireplaces, flat-panel TVs, and premium bedding. The oceanfront rooms also have Jacuzzis, as well as balconies for taking in those Moonstone Beach views. Dine al fresco in the garden patio as you savor your free continental breakfast each morning.
2 Star Average Prices: $99.00
Which Cambria hotels have real discounts?
Cambria hotels help many travelers save with special discount offers for selected guests. These hotels offer some of the best discounts in the village.
Special packages help you save on accommodations and local attractions when you stay at Cambria Pines Lodge. These packages often include free hot buffet breakfasts and restaurant meals and a bottle of wine. Cambria Pines Lodge also emails special discount offers to members of its mailing list. Cambria Pines Lodge ensures that all guests feel special, with premium features like a day spa, outdoor heated pool, and Cambria Pines Lodge Restaurant on site. After a busy day sightseeing, enjoy happy hour specials and live music each night at the Fireside Lounge.
If you can take a midweek getaway, you'll save at Cambria Palms Motel. It offers special discounted rates on stays of two nights or more from Sunday through Thursday nights. Premium bedding, cable TV, tea- and coffee-making equipment, and free Wi-Fi help make each of the motel's recently renovated rooms feel like home. Some even have kitchenettes and private patio areas. Cambria Palms has just 18 rooms to ensure that guests get the personalized service they deserve.
Best Value Options in Cambria, CA
Your money will go further at the following Cambria hotels, with their spacious, well-appointed rooms and no extra charges for the things you really need.
As its name suggests, Moonstone Landing is so close to Moonstone Beach that all rooms have full or partial ocean views. It also offers fireplaces, coffee makers, fridges, microwaves, and plush bedding. The oceanfront rooms even have Jacuzzis and private patios or balconies. Moonstone Landing keeps its prices affordable by not offering free breakfasts or pool facilities. But with so many great local restaurants and the beach steps away, you may never miss these features.
The coastal vibes of Cambria Beach Lodge will have you feeling calmer from the moment you check in. Its rooms are well-appointed, with signature touches you won't find anywhere else, such as wool Faribault blankets, Iron & Resin artworks, and Compagnie de Provence bath amenities. A small daily service fee covers your Wi-Fi, parking, continental breakfast, and use of Linus bicycles during your stay. When you consider how much you'd ordinarily spend on your morning meal and transport, it's a great value.
Get Back to Nature in Cambria, CA
The unspoiled beaches and spacious parklands around Cambria will help you reconnect to nature. Moonstone Beach, Cambria's main beach, is ideal for swimming, surfing, or simply spending time on the sand soaking up the sun and ambiance. Keep your eyes peeled for whales, dolphins, sea otters, and small sea creatures living in the tide pools.
Santa Rosa Creek Beach, part of Santa Rosa Creek Natural Preserve, is a little off the beaten track, so it's perfect for avoiding summer crowds. Two observation decks provide impressive views of the ocean and the bird species that congregate here. Take the stairway down to the sand and wander among the driftwood that litters the beach.
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve is an oceanfront park popular with hikers, horse riders, and mountain bikers. It's also a haven for local wildlife, with sea lions, elephant seals, and migrating whales often spotted in the area. Rocky terrain makes accessing the shore difficult, so stick to the trails that wind through protected forest and grassland. The preserve is especially beautiful during spring, when blooming wildflowers color the landscape.
Lampton Cliffs County Park is much smaller, but this park on Cambria's southern outskirts is worth exploring. Its loop trail winds through an open meadow. Stairs help you access the rocky beachfront. It's not great for swimming, but kids love watching the creatures in the tide pools. Watching the winter swells hit the large rocks is also a real treat.
Shamel Park, in Cambria's north, is another excellent choice for a family day out. This picturesque community park on the edge of a sandy beach has plenty of space for active visitors. Kick a ball around one of the grassy playing fields, enjoy a game of horseshoe, then make use of the picnic tables and grills for a leisurely lunch. Shamel Park also has a kids' play area and a swimming pool, which opens for residents and visitors during summer.
When you've had enough of the daily grind, Cambria is the perfect place for rest, recreation, and rejuvenation. Enjoy the easy access from California's biggest cities on your next road trip.