Lonely Planet has named the Central Coast Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties its fourth top travel destination in the United States for 2014, behind Grand Rapids and Lake Michigans Gold Coast, Yosemite National Park and Boston.
Often dismissed as flyover country between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this surreally scenic stretch of the Pacific coast is California at its best, the travel guide noted on its website.
Laid-back beach towns, sea-hugging Highway 1 (one of the USAs most iconic roadways), cliff-top lookouts, hidden coves, sea lion colonies and other wildlife, fantastical Hearst Castle, Spanish missions, pleasant weather (even if its foggy) and no crowds. Dip inland to the up-and-coming Paso Robles wine country for scenery rivaling Napa and Sonoma, the guide continued.
Lonely Planet also praised San Luis Obispos Thursday night farmers market.