Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Harmony Headlands State Park is small but mighty. This coastal swath of land between Cayucos and Cambria has only one trail, the Headlands Trail. But don’t let its simplicity fool you. The flat and easy hike out to the coast meanders west for 1.5 miles on a fire road before opening up to the best part: the coastline and walking its rugged and wild bluffside trail overlooking the Pacific. With no man-made structures in sight (save for a lone bench) you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled out to the Lost Coast. The greenery and drama of the bluffs are so spectacular, it could double as Ireland (at least in winter). This 784-acre open space was once slated for residential development but was saved by the State Coastal Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Board, and State Parks in 2003. Today, Harmony Headlands is where you really get that edge-of-the-world feeling.
TIP: Just north of the trailhead on Highway 1 is Harmony Cellars. They’re creating some great local wines, including a tasty Meritage. Bring a picnic and enjoy their grounds, nestled in the hills overlooking the artisan town of Harmony.
Harmony Headlands State Park is about 7 miles north of Cayucos and 7 miles south of Cambria on Hwy. 1 (map). No dogs at the park. The winery is 2.5 miles north, just off of the highway. It’s open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and there’s a $7 tasting fee.