Road trips from Southern California: Central California
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( Robert Eckel )
Distance: 219 miles one-way
Thanks to the path of the Coast Highway and the charms of Cambria (north) and Morro Bay (south), a lot of people leave Cayucos alone. But families, pay heed: Here's one of the state's last remaining old-fashioned middle-class beach towns. Homegrown motels, a public pier, a deep inventory of vacation rental houses, inviting bakery, raffish saloon and swing sets on the beach. Classic Independence Day parade too. www.cayucosbythesea.com.