The Ultimate California Central Coast Foodie Road Trip

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The Ultimate California Central Coast Foodie Road Trip – gourmet food, wine, spirits, and gorgeous views through California’s Central Coast – starting in Santa Monica, and heading through Oxnard, the Santa Ynez Valley, and ending in San Luis Obispo County.

This post is sponsored by Visit California. All opinions are my own.

I love to partner with companies I know my readers will love just as much as I do – and there is no place on earth like California for a vacation!

I took a four part road trip to taste my way from Santa Monica California, through Oxnard, and on to the Santa Ynez Valley and San Luis Obispo to check out California Restaurant Month, and all the amazing food throughout California’s Central Coast.

To learn more about California Restaurant Month and get ideas for your own culinary trip through California, please head here.

There is never a better time than now to Visit California – heading in the off-season saves a ton of money, but is also ideal for less crowds, and amazing deals, festivals, and specials.

If you haven’t been dreaming of driving up California’s Central Coast – you should – Central California offers some of the most stunnding views of California’s rolling hills, dramatic mountains, and TONS of amazing food and drinks.

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for a list of posts about each destination that made this Central California Foodie Road Trip so spectacular.

Click each one to see more from each spot – like where to eat, where to stay, what to do – and when to go!

This road trip, in all honesty, is designed to NOT be a summer in California trip. I feel really strongly about heading out to vacation whenever you can – and if summer fits your schedule, go then. Ideally though, I would set out on a California road trip in off-season times to take advantage of the best deals – as well as less crowds, and a much more laid back feel!

If you’re not sure when you can get the best deals, I always like to ask a hotel or even the travel board when they suggest coming.

Sometimes just shifting your dates a tiny bit can save hundreds of dollars – giving you a lot more to play with throughout California.

I took this trip in January to take advantage of the fact it was California Restaurant Month – but I also loved the cooler temps, empty highways, and laid back locals that came with an off-season trip through California – I suggest Jan-May or late Sept-Early Dec for this gourmet trek!

Find out more about each destination along this California Foodie Road Trip by clicking on each destination’s link.

Santa Monica – Surf, Sand, Shopping, and Killer Eats!

We start our tour flying in to LAX and heading straight to Santa Monica – the picturesque city by the sea known for the pier, great food, gorgeous beaches and great shopping – and it’s also the town I was born in!!

Click here to check out my tour around Santa Monica’s Restaurant Week, and see things to do, where to stay, and what to eat and drink!

Oxnard – Stunning Beach Views, Channel Islands, and Great Food & Wine

Oxnard is a short drive from Los Angeles – but their large, empty beaches feel miles away!

Oxnard is the perfect place to taste local Ventura County wines, taste cant-get-more-fresh foods grown in the partially agricultural town, and have a whole lot of fun in the surf!

Santa Ynez Valley – Romantic Inland Wineries, Boutique Hotels, a Scandinavian Village, and World Class Cuisine

Santa Ynez Valley, tucked just inland of Santa Barbara, is a cozy and wonderful spot that I dream of someday moving to!

The sleepy and gorgeous towns of Solvang, Buellton, Santa Ynez, Ballard, and Los Alamos are oozing charm at every corner – and bursting with world class culinary picks that will make you want to immediately move, too!

SLO-Cal – Wine, Spirits, Vineyards, and a Whole Lot of Fun.

San Luis Obispo County (nicknamed “SLO-Cal”, or just “SLO”) is a gorgeous county that starts with the cozy beach towns of Morro Bay and Pismo Beach, and turns to rolling hills around Paso Robles and Atascadero, then some mountains around San Luis Obispo.

Outside of the beauty of SLO-Cal’s dramatic topography, the whole area is packed with some of the most delicious food you can find – and world renowned wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries – making SLO Cal the perfect destination for a whole lot of fun!

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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  1. Julie Blanner says:

    This looks like an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Courtney ODell says:

      It was awesome… and one that can fit any budget, style, or group!

  2. Kristyn says:

    This is great & so helpful! It’s time for me to take a trip!!

    1. Courtney ODell says:

      Yes! Or better yet….. you just come with me for another round? 😉

  3. Toni says:

    I totally agree! It’s great to visit places during the off-season! All these food made me hungry! Great shots!

    1. Courtney ODell says:

      It is so fun exploring when the rest of the world isn’t alongside – this trip was the perfect time to drive up the California coast looking for great food finds!