The last of the California vintage surf towns – Cayucos

Saturday, January 15th, 2022

Cayucos surfing

Sunset surfer

Considered by many to be one of the last California vintage surf towns, Cayucos is a surprising fusion of small-town soul with a world beat. Its village charm, vast stretches of spectacular California coastline, some of the best food and wine, family dining and shopping in the region makes Cayucos a favorite for locals and visitors.

The name, Cayucos, is the Spanish word for the canoes used by the Chumash who originally inhabited the area. The town took its name from the original Mexican land grant, Rancho Moro y Cayucos.

Shopping, strolling and surfing

Surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, skin diving, swimming, and boats are certainly traditions rooted in the town’s relationship with the ocean.

The buildings are an eclectic collection of architecture that house local businesses including antique shops, gift shops, candy and ice cream shops, surf shops, fine dining, and an old-world tavern. The Cayucos Pier, originally built by town founder, Captain James Cass in 1867, is a popular location for fishing, strolls and watching surfers, dolphins, sea lions and otters. The annual New Years Day Polar Bear Dip is held in full view of the pier. Hundreds of people show up each year to take the icy plunge and cheer on the swimmers.

Sea glass collectors and beach walkers enjoy miles of shoreline. Serious beach walkers can hike the beach from Cayucos to Morro Bay, except at high tide. Leashed dogs are welcome along most of the beach and there is a small section along the way known as Dog Beach, one of the few beaches where dogs are allowed off-leash.

Kites, wind and waves

It’s not unusual to see a few kites, or more, dancing in the breezy beach sky. The breeze makes the beach a perfect place to see how high your kite can go and how many tricks you can make it do.  The wind and waves create perfection for some brisk windsurfing and the waves are known to give surfers some challenging rides.

Always something to do

Just off Highway 1, and about 30 minutes from Hearst Castle, Cayucos is a great place for a travel break or to spend a few to several days. There are a variety of hotels and accommodations, many with beachfront views, and lots of things to do and see for the entire family.

A town also famous for many different street fairs and festivals throughout the year, Cayucos has held on to its charm all through the COVID-19 restrictions of 2020 and is working on plans for returning these festivals, according to state and county guidance.

Discover all there is to see and do in Cayucos by checking out the Cayucos Chamber of Commerce event calendar at


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