This year, experiencing local/regional cycling getaways has become a new way to holiday. I am so blessed to live in California, one of America’s most sought-after cycling destinations. Recently, I went to central California’s Avila Beach and San Simeon with a taste of Big Sur! My 5-Day Cycling Itinerary will be a perfect trip if you love adventure, challenging routes, coastal views, and pampered post-ride activities.
When people think of short multi-day cycling getaways in California, it’s easy to point towards Northern or Southern California for its robust cycling culture and infrastructure.
However, Avila Beach, a small town of approximately 1,600 residents in Central California, offers a unique experience. This welcoming paradise boasts natural, mineral hot springs, world-class spas, yoga enlightenment, excellent local wines, and amenity-rich accommodations. Now, add gorgeous bike trails merging with coastal bike lanes; you have the perfect combination!
San Simeon to Big Sur dives you deeper into coastal territory right off the famous Pacific Coast Highway 1. Mountains descend into picturesque blue oceans where rocky, untouched beaches provide a home to the 2nd largest seals in the world, the northern elephant seals.
I rode on the edge of cliffs on much of the route that I dubbed “Cliff Cycling”! 🤣🤣 It offers breathtaking views that San Simeon and Big Sur are legendary for.
Here’s the itinerary for the epic five-day Central California cycling getaway from Avila Beach to San Simeon:
DAY 1 / Arrival – Avila Beach, CA
Start your cycling getaway with a stay at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. Check-in no sooner than 2pm, but if you arrive earlier, they can provide access to their outdoor amenities while you wait.
Can I tell you how impressed I am with this place? 😍😍
Its peaceful ambience encourages an enhanced sense of well-being, healthy living, and centered inner-self.
I absolutely LOVE this place! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Stay tuned…I will write a more detailed blog about this resort.
After you’re settled in, you can access three quick and easy/intermediate hikes on-site or visit the Pirates Cove to capture that instagram moment as the sun sets.
NOTE TO GYM RATS & TRIATHLETES:
Avila Bay Athletic Club & Spa is just half a mile away from Sycamore Resort. They offer 5 acres of outdoor fitness including a 25m swimming pool, 2 outdoor gyms, 2 indoor gyms, physical therapists, family activity pool, and multiple tennis courts. Contact sales for a special weekly rate.
Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa / (805) 595-7302 / 1215 Avila Beach Drive San Luis Obispo, California, 93405
Pirates Cove’s Cave Landing or Smuggler’s Cave / San Luis Obispo, CA
Avila Beach Pier / 443 Front St Avila Beach, CA 93424
Pirates Cove’s Cave Landing, Avila Beach, CA
DAY 2 / 53mi Ride, 2,115ft to Oso Flaco Lake
STRAVA ROUTE: https://www.strava.com/activities/5885490873
Talk about the best first impression! 🤩🤩🤩
Gorgeous riding thru here.
The trail takes you to Shell Beach Road entering Pismo Beach. Make a quick stop on Hinds Ave for a Pismo Beach signage photo opp!
From here on out, you will tackle multiple rolling hills ‘til you make it to the farmlands of Arroyo Grande, CA.
I wasn’t expecting a hidden lake in this area.
It was just miles and miles of farmland.
Yet, Oso Flaco Lake did not disappoint.
This place felt magical to me. 🤩🤩🤩
It’s a 1-mile trail that cuts through willow trees and wetland, then carves into the southern part of the Oceano Dunes SVRA.
At the end of the trail, you are surrounded by the ocean and 18-miles or 22,000 acres of sand dunes!
What a great place for a rest stop to enjoy your packed lunch!
There are plenty of bathrooms here. The trail and parking is open from sunrise to sunset.
Pamper yourself after the ride by spending the evening in your in-room mineral hot tub (If you purchased a guest room or suite).
Otherwise, reserve a massage and/or an hour bath in the hillside hot tubs or the Oasis water lagoon. Hot tub / Lagoon rates range from $22.50 to $33 per hour.
For reservations, visit here.
Bob Jones Trail, Avila Beach, CA
18-miles of sand dunes! South of Oceano Dunes SVRA
DAY 3 / Arrival San Simeon / 55mi Ride, 1,676ft to Morro Bay Rock
CYCLING LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE (Wide Shoulders / Must be confident with traffic)
STRAVA ROUTE: https://www.strava.com/activities/5891022662
Sadly say your goodbyes to the Sycamore Springs Mineral Resort & Spa, but give a welcoming hello to the only oceanfront accommodation in San Simeon and Cambria, the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort.
Arrive early to ride and check-in later in the afternoon.
The scenic route is simple and has beautiful wide shoulders.
Go south on the Pacific Coast Highway to Cayucos to taste some of the best cookies in California at Brown Butter Cookie Co, (WARNING: You may just forget your diet, but you are riding and burning calories right? 🤪🤪), then adventure to Morro Bay.
DID YOU KNOW? The Morro Bay Rock formed 23 million years ago and is the last of the (Nine Sisters) extinct volcanic peaks along PCH from San Luis Obispo.
There’s a hidden surprise for you when you ride all the way to the front of the Rock.
Use Embarcadero Road to enter Morro Bay Harborwalk.
This 1-mile trek will end in gravel road, but keep going past the big rock formations.
From there, you will see a vast sea of stacking stones. 😱😱😱
Looks like people have been stacking stones there for years as a spiritual way of giving thanks and celebrating God. It’s a beautiful place to not only absorb the beauty and strength of the ocean, but it’s also a place of hope left by hundreds of people.
How awesome and inspiring is that!? 😍👍🏼
After the ride is complete, it’s definitely time for a bit of R&R once you check in the resort.
Order in-room dining (no additional fees as a room guest, just tip) from Cavalier’s own Coastal Kitchen as you turn on the wood burning fireplace and sit on your own private patio to watch the sun go down.
Ahhh…now that would end the day very nicely!
Stay tuned…will write a detailed blog about Cavalier Oceanfront Resort as well.
DAY 4 / 61mi Ride, 4,215ft to Gorda, Big Sur, CA
CYCLING LEVEL: ADVANCE (Long Climbs; Little to No Shoulders / Must be confident with traffic)
STRAVA ROUTE: https://www.strava.com/activities/5896388372
Last riding day of the trip!
Save enough energy because this is an epic one!
The route is simple and scenic like yesterday, but this time, you go north on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Just 3 miles into the ride, get a glimpse of the Hearst Castle to your right.
Unfortunately, it is temporarily closed for road repairs.
On mile 7.5, stop over the Elephant Seal Vista Point.
You may just get lucky and score a selfie with one of the 2nd largest seals in the world! 🤣🤣🤣
BTW, climbing won’t be an issue on this ride 🤪🤪
You will be too distracted by the cliffside views of the entire ride!
When you reach Ragged Point (the start of the Big Sur coast) on mile 19, restrooms, food, photo-opps, and a garden for stretching at Ragged Point Overlook is a must before more epic climbing.
I can recall three long climbs before hitting Gorda, CA and officially entering Monterey!
It was built in 1852 at the peak of the whaling industry. The only one to have survived when the old San Simeon village faded away by 1910.
Since this is the last day of riding, go all out and enjoy all that the resort has to offer. 🤩🤩
Cavalier has 2 heated pools, 4 outdoor fireplaces, giant-size tic tac toe and checkers, and a beach volleyball court.
If the rides were too easy for you, hit the gym or go for a run on the beach!
San Simeon, CA
DAY 5 / Fin
At the end of the 5-day Central Coast California cycling itinerary, head home, or even better stay and explore some more. Plan your own longer itinerary, lube that bike chain, and get ready to roll out once again! 🙌🏼 🚴🏼♀️🚴🏼♂️ 🙌🏼
For more routes in Central Coast California, visit CycleCentralCoast.com
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Here are books I found helpful about cycling California, traveling America, and bike training below. CLICK on the pictures below to direct you to the products on Amazon. Enjoy!
Any questions about cycling California’s Central Coast? How about planning multi-day cycling itineraries? Drop me a message in the comments below!
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