Picturesque, quaint, and brimming with charm, Cayucos is the coastal community of your peaceful California dreams. Known as the “Last of the California Beach Towns,” Cayucos promises a tranquil existence filled with sunny beach days and plenty of local shops and eateries. Cayucos is also bike and Golf Cart friendly! It’s common to see locals skating, biking and riding around in golf carts to get to and from downtown while visiting friends and favorite spots.
Between the untouched coastline, the majestic wildlife, the proximity to San Luis Obispo, and beloved local amenities, you’re bound to lead a fulfilling and tranquil life in Cayucos. Read on to learn about this coastal community’s history, best features, and what living in Cayucos has in store for you.
There are several theories of how Cayucos got its name. It was once home to the Chumash and Salinan people, and Chumash is the word for “kayak” or “canoe.” Another theory is that the town was named after a Mexican land grant awarded in 1842 called Rancho Moro y Cayucos.
Fast-forward to 1867, Captain James Cass arrived and settled on 320 acres with the intent of farming. Cass was more interested in the shipping business, so he began a shipping company with his business partner, Captain John J. Inglas. Though William Babcock established the town of Cayucos in 1875, Cass is credited with putting the town on the map. You can learn more about this charming beach town at the Cayucos Historical Society and Museum.
1920’s Photo taken by Brittany Hensley’s Great Grandpa of his wife and children. He ran a surveying crew for Hwy 1.
Lady Paige – Photo taken by Brittany Hensley
Playing outside is a favorite pastime among Cayucos residents. The town offers six miles of white sandy beach, allowing families to spend hours soaking up the sun, building sandcastles, and splashing in the Pacific. What separates Cayucos from other beach communities is its two dog-friendly beaches, giving your well-behaved canines a chance to frolic in the sand and socialize with other pups. I suggest Toro Creek Dog Beach, my girl, Lady Paige loves it!
When you wish to take to the sea for a quiet respite, head to the Cayucos Pier at Cayucos State Beach to fish for halibut, skate, surfperch, white croaker, and the occasional starry flounder. If you’re more of an adventurer seeking a thrilling dive in the water, try kayaking, surfing, or tide-pooling. Bring a picnic for a relaxing afternoon, or enjoy an unforgettable date of night fishing with your love.
Estero Bluffs State Park
The Estero Bluffs State Park hiking trail is perfect for connecting with nature. The park boasts stunning ecosystems and habitats, including marine, estuarine, riverine, coastal salt marsh, freshwater marsh, grassland, and more. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot endangered species here, like the snowy plover. You’ll also encounter a beached boat called Point Estero when making your way through the trailhead. When the tide is low, you can wade out to the boat from the shore for tide-pooling.
Tour the town’s murals
Living in Cayucos, CA, is filled with little surprises. Few newcomers know the city features several murals, these artistic features are best explored in person, so bring this tour map to capture the street art’s beauty firsthand. Don’t forget to see the mural at the skatepark – you don’t want to miss it! Also, you’ve got to go by Schooners to get your picture taken with the wooden pirate statues! If you’re in Cayucos, it’s a must!
Who knows what treasures await in the lovely antique stores of Cayucos? There are a handful of stores to browse, making it easy to plan an afternoon of antiquing before heading to local eateries to grab a bite to eat. Check out Main Street Antiques, Remember When, Jennifer’s Unique Boutique, and the Cayucos Antique Street Faire for one-of-a-kind collectibles, antiques, and vintage goods. These wonderful shops are located on Cayucos’s main street, Ocean Ave., which is also home to many other lovely shops and restaurants.
Me with my girlfriends at Schooners!
Fortunately for visitors and locals living in Cayucos, CA, there are plenty of restaurants to visit from morning to night. If you need a good caffeine jolt first thing in the morning, stop by Luna Coffee Bar for an eye-opening Red Eye and a filling breakfast burrito. Next time you meet neighbors for a morning cup of ambition, head to Cayucos Coffee for a palpable community vibe, house-made quiche, and excellent coffee. Once sufficiently caffeinated, stop by Brown Butter Cookie Company for some delicious brown butter sea salt cookies — you deserve it! If you prefer a proper breakfast, stop by Hidden Kitchen…they have a strange and enticing menu of the most amazing waffles and tacos and are wildly popular for visitors and locals alike!
Stock your refrigerator with premium meats and snag a sizeable sandwich for lunch at Cayucos Sausage Co. All of the deli’s offerings are preservative, nitrates, nitrites, and MSG-free, so you can shop here conscientiously. And what’s the point of living in a beach town if not to savor delectable seafood? Get to Duckie’s Chowder House for chowder, fried fish, and sandwiches while enjoying beautiful bay views.
Dinner dates and family suppers are well within reach in Cayucos. Whether spending the evening with your sweetheart or grabbing a quick lunch with friends, Schooners is the place to dine…with a great view, super menu and drinks to boot, they are an iconic Cayucos landmark!
If you want a hometown, Americana atmosphere with the best burgers, shakes and desserts that you will be talking about for years to come…look no further than the Sea Shanty – open for breakfast, lunch and dinner!