Family travel: Central California’s Untouched Grandeur

I’ve been busy wrapping up an article about our trip to Central California for fall break. It truly was a breath of fresh air after what feels like a year of non-stop stress.

Not-so airy? The long drive to get there.

Las Vegas is my least favorite place on earth but the kids have never been there. It marked the halfway point so we gave into Hadley’s pleas and made a quick detour. As we were cruising along The Strip, we noticed the car was making funny noises. Now, some of you might remember the nightmare-that-was-last-summer, my Honda Pilot’s steady demise and the thousands of dollars in repairs we’re still paying off as it sits in our garage, undriveable. And if our Pilot is sitting on our garage waiting for us to pay off last summer’s bills while we scrape together enough money to get a newer one, that means it was Jamie’s car we were driving that was having problems.

Oh, the joys never end.

Fortunately, it was only the water pump that went out and was relatively easy $600 fix. Three hours later, we were back on the road, which made for a REALLY long, miserable drive that made me wonder “is this really worth it?”

Thankfully, Central California was that and so much more.

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Central California: A Wonderland of Untouched Beaches, Castles and Dunes

We leaned into our strokes, our kayaks carving across Morro Bay and onto the flanks of Morro Dunes Natural Preserve. In a flash, Hadley and Bode were gone. It took them a few minutes to resurface and I chuckled as I saw them jumping, rolling and skiing down each peaked dune. Since entering middle school, I’ve mourned that their childhood is slipping away but for this eclipse in time, they were kids again.

My family traveled to San Luis Obispo County along the coastal Highway 1 for fall break. When I told people where we were going, they queried “San Luis Obispo…where?”

Located halfway between San Francisco and Orange County, this untouched region in Central California is  known for the dramatic Hearst Castle with the Pacific to the West, 100+ wineries in the San Joaquin Valley to the east and a smattering of quaint coastal villages in between. With the recent announcement of United Airlines’ direct flights from Denver to San Luis Obispo (SLO to locals), it’s more accessible than ever.

San Luis Obispo and the Madonna Inn

From the moment my friend Jennie told me her parents honeymooned at the this outlandish landmark hotel in San Luis Obispo looks like the Mad Hatter was set loose in Casa Bonita with 110 themed rooms, a world-famous waterfall urinal and CLICK TO KEEP READING

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