Central Coast (California)

The Central Coast is an area of California, United States, roughly spanning the coastal region between Point Mugu and Monterey Bay. It lies northwest of Los Angeles County and south of San Francisco and San Mateo counties.[1] Six counties make up the Central Coast: from south-to north, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz.[2][3]

The Central Coast is the location of the Central Coast American Viticultural Area.

Note: the geographic center of the California coast is north of Santa Cruz, near Año Nuevo State Park. [4]

Central Coast
South Coast of Santa Barbara County
South Coast of Santa Barbara County
Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County
Sunset at Salinas River State Beach in Monterey County
Country United States
State California
2,249,558 (All 6 counties combined)
Ivory Gull, central coast of California
Seagull On The Beach


Big Sur, Central Coast California (9390860723)
Big Sur, California

The Central Coast area was originally inhabited by Chumash and other Native American people since at least 10,000 BC. Many of these communities were coastal, where the people utilized marine resources and dwelt near freshwater inflows to the Pacific Ocean. For example, there were significant communities near the mouth of Morro Creek and Los Osos Creek.[5]

Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo visited the Central Coast, landing in Santa Barbara County in 1542, having sailed from the south.[6]


Central Californian Coastline, Big Sur - May 2013
Central Californian Coastline, Big Sur

The region is known primarily for agriculture and tourism. Major crops include wine grapes, lettuce, strawberries, and artichokes. The Salinas Valley is one of the most fertile farming regions in the United States. Tourist attractions include Cannery Row in Monterey, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the theatres, galleries and white sand beaches of Carmel-by-the-Sea, the golf courses of Pebble Beach and the Monterey Peninsula, the rugged coastline of Big Sur and Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Further south is Morro Rock and the port city of Morro Bay, which is adjacent to college town San Luis Obispo. The Santa Ynez Valley has become a hotbed for wine tasting, with towns such as Buellton, Los Olivos, and Santa Ynez growing in popularity in recent years. It also is home to the Central Coast Film Society,[7] which celebrates filmmakers, cinema and media arts that are from the region, also known as "Hollywood's Backyard."

The area is not densely populated. The largest city in the region is Oxnard in Ventura County, with a population estimated at 203,007 in 2013.[8] University of California campuses are found in Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz, near the south and north edges of the region respectively. California State University, Monterey Bay, founded in 1994, uses facilities donated when Fort Ord was converted from military to civilian uses. California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo, was founded in 1901. California State University Channel Islands opened in Camarillo in 2002, as the 23rd campus in the California State University system.


The six counties that make up the Central Coast region had an estimated population of 2,327,344 in 2014,[9] about 5% more than the population of New Mexico.

Counties by population

FIPS code[10] County seat[11] Established[11] Formed from Etymology[12] Population[9] Area[11] Map
Ventura County 111 Ventura 1872 Santa Barbara The city of Ventura, itself an abbreviation of San Buenaventura, Spanish for St. Bonaventure. 846,178 1,846 sq mi
(4,781 km2)
State map highlighting Ventura County
Santa Barbara County 083 Santa Barbara 1850 Original The city of Santa Barbara, itself Spanish for Saint Barbara. 440,668 2,738 sq mi
(7,091 km2)
State map highlighting Santa Barbara County
Monterey County 053 Salinas 1850 Original Monterey Bay, itself a Spanish portmanteau of monte ("hill") and rey ("king"). 431,344 3,322 sq mi
(8,604 km2)
State map highlighting Monterey County
San Luis Obispo County 079 San Luis Obispo 1850 Original The city of San Luis Obispo, itself Spanish for Saint Louis, the Bishop. 282,887 3,304 sq mi
(8,557 km2)
State map highlighting San Luis Obispo County
Santa Cruz County 087 Santa Cruz 1850 Original The city of Santa Cruz, itself Spanish for holy cross 271,804 446 sq mi
(1,155 km2)
State map highlighting Santa Cruz County
San Benito County 069 Hollister 1874 Monterey Saint Benedict (San Benedicto in Spanish; Benito is the diminutive of Benedicto). 58,267 1,389 sq mi
(3,597 km2)
State map highlighting San Benito County


Travel is almost entirely by private automobile. Because of its position roughly halfway between the major cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, San Luis Obispo is home to America's first motel. The major highway is U.S. Route 101, which runs north-south from Los Angeles, through most of the major communities of the Central Coast, to San Francisco. State Route 1, a smaller but much more scenic route, connects the coastal communities, running through San Simeon, Morro Bay, and Big Sur. Amtrak maintains train service with the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner routes along the Union Pacific Railroad Coast Line that also transports freight. There are no major airports, although Monterey, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo have regional airports with commuter service. Greyhound buses serve most of the region.

Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) operates bus services throughout Monterey County as far south as Big Sur on the coast and King City in the Salinas Valley. MST also offers connection service to San Jose Diridon Station, downtown Santa Cruz, and Paso Robles and Templeton in Northern San Luis Obispo County via regional routes. Santa Cruz Metro Offers services within Santa Cruz County, including connections to San Jose and San Jose State and connection to MST service in Watsonville, heading south to Salinas.

See also


  1. ^ California Central Coast Tourism. Centralcoast-tourism.com. Retrieved on 2013-10-01.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2014-10-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Brent, Jon (13 May 2014). "Covered California enrollment beats projections by wide margin on Central Coast". Kionrightnow.com. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Coastal Geographic Center of California".
  5. ^ Map, The Megalithic Portal and Megalith. "Morro Creek". The Megalithic Portal. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  6. ^ Kathleen Thompson Hill and Gerald Hill (2004) Santa Barbara and the Central Coast: California's Riviera, Globe Pequot, pages ISBN 0-7627-2810-8
  7. ^ Template:Www.centralcoastfilmsociety.org
  8. ^ "Oxnard (city) Quick Facts". United States Census Bureau. United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States, States, and Counties: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  10. ^ "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". EPA.gov. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c National Association of Counties. "NACo - Find a county". Archived from the original on June 5, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
  12. ^ Sanchez, Nellie Van de Grift (1914). Spanish and Indian Place Names of California: Their Meaning and Their Romance. San Francisco: A. M. Robertson. OCLC 4268886.

External links

Coordinates: 35°36′N 121°06′W / 35.6°N 121.1°W

1925 Santa Barbara earthquake

The 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake hit the area of Santa Barbara, California on June 29, with a moment magnitude between 6.5 and 6.8 and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of IX (Violent). It resulted in 13 casualties and destroyed the historic center of the city, with damage estimated at $8 million (about $111 million in 2017).

1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred in Northern California on October 17 at 5:04 p.m. local time (1989-10-18 00:04 UTC). The shock was centered in The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park approximately 10 mi (16 km) northeast of Santa Cruz on a section of the San Andreas Fault System and was named for the nearby Loma Prieta Peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. With an Mw magnitude of 6.9 and a maximum Modified Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), the shock was responsible for 63 deaths and 3,757 injuries. The Loma Prieta segment of the San Andreas Fault System had been relatively inactive since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (to the degree that it was designated a seismic gap) until two moderate foreshocks occurred in June 1988 and again in August 1989.

Damage was heavy in Santa Cruz County and less so to the south in Monterey County, but effects extended well to the north into the San Francisco Bay Area, both on the San Francisco Peninsula and across the bay in Oakland. No surface faulting occurred, though a large number of other ground failures and landslides were present, especially in the Summit area of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Liquefaction was also a significant issue, especially in the heavily damaged Marina District of San Francisco, but its effects were also seen in the East Bay, and near the shore of Monterey Bay, where a non-destructive tsunami was also observed.

Due to the sports coverage of the 1989 World Series, it became the first major earthquake in the United States that was broadcast live on national television (and as a result is sometimes referred to as the "World Series earthquake"). Rush-hour traffic on the Bay Area freeways was lighter than normal because the game, being played at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, was about to begin, and this may have prevented a larger loss of life, as several of the Bay Area's major transportation structures suffered catastrophic failures. The collapse of a section of the double-deck Nimitz Freeway in Oakland was the site of the largest number of casualties for the event, but the collapse of man-made structures and other related accidents contributed to casualties occurring in San Francisco, Los Altos, and Santa Cruz.

2003 San Simeon earthquake

The 2003 San Simeon earthquake struck at 11:15 PST (19:15 UTC) on December 22 on the Central Coast of California, about 7 miles (11 km) northeast of San Simeon. Probably centered in the Oceanic fault zone within the Santa Lucia Mountains, it was caused by thrust faulting and the rupture propagated southeast from the hypocenter for 12 miles (19 km).The most violent ground movement was within 50 miles of the epicenter, though the earthquake was felt as far away as Los Angeles. With a moment magnitude of 6.6, it was the most destructive earthquake to hit the United States since the Northridge quake of 1994.

Arctostaphylos tomentosa

Arctostaphylos tomentosa is a species of manzanita known by the common name woollyleaf manzanita or woolley manzanita. This shrub is endemic to California.

It is a resident of chaparral canyons, foothills, and lower-elevation mountains. One specialized habitat in which A. tomentosa is found is the Monterey Cypress forests at Point Lobos and Del Monte Forest in Monterey County, California.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is a plant species of the genus Arctostaphylos (manzanita). Its common names include kinnikinnick and pinemat manzanita, and it is one of several related species referred to as bearberry.Its specific name uva-ursi means "grape of the bear" in Latin (ūva ursī), just as the generic epithet Arctostaphylos means in Greek ("bear-grape").

Central Coast Wine Services

Central Coast Wine Services is a multi-winery processing and warehouse facility located in Santa Maria, CA. Founded in 1988, Central Coast Wine Services serves as a warehouse facilities for wineries throughout the Central Coast (California) and includes a custom crush facility as well as bottling line and winemaking equipment rental. The company owns a branch location in Paso Robles. As of 2007, the facility was assisting in the production for over 40 different wine labels, including the Hitching Post wine label of the restaurant featured in the 2004 American film Sideways.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a brewery in Paso Robles, Central Coast California, and Buellton, California. Firestone Walker is California's fourth-largest craft brewery and is known for producing hoppy ales. Firestone Walker was the sixteenth largest craft brewery in the U.S. in beer sales volume in 2014.The company utilizes a patented variation of the Burton Union system developed in England in the 1800s in its oak barrel fermentation process.Firestone Walker was World Beer Cup Champion Brewery for mid-sized breweries in 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2012.

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes is the largest remaining dune system south of San Francisco and the second largest in the U.S. state of California. It encompasses an 18-mile (29 km) stretch of coastline on the Central Coast of California and extends from southern San Luis Obispo County to northern Santa Barbara County.The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex is home to a unique dunes ecosystem as well as many endangered and threatened species of plants and animals. To protect the dunes environment, much of the Complex has been set aside for conservation. In addition, it is recognized as a National Natural Landmark.Another portion of the Dunes is utilized for recreation, such as camping and Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) use. The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes is owned by a number of federal, state, and local agencies, and private companies, organizations and individuals. These include the counties of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, California State Parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County.

List of celebrities who own wineries and vineyards

The trend of celebrities owning wineries and vineyards is not a recent phenomenon, though it has certainly garnered more attention in today's Information Age. In ancient Greek and Roman times, the leading philosophers, playwrights, politicians and generals of the day often owned vineyards for personal use. Usually celebrities have a large amount of wealth accumulated, which makes the significant investment of opening a winery or vineyard negligible.

There are many reasons that celebrities gravitate to the world of wine. Starting a winery or vineyard, as with nearly any business, can offer some tax benefits. Some celebrities, such as the Italian-American director Francis Ford Coppola, come from a family with a long history of winemaking. Some, such as the British singer Cliff Richard, have been lifelong wine enthusiasts and enter the wine industry in order to do something that they enjoy. Others like the challenge of a new enterprise. Some celebrities enter the wine industry simply because they can.While some celebrities, such as the American actors Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, British association football star David Beckham and his wife Victoria Beckham, own vineyards and wine estates solely for personal use, some celebrities leverage their name recognition as a selling tool in the wine industry. Today celebrity-owned wineries can be lucrative business endeavors. In 2007, Nielsen research of supermarket wine purchases showed that sales of celebrity wines were up 19% over previous years.

Monterey Peninsula

The Monterey Peninsula is located on the central California coast and comprises the cities of Monterey, Carmel, and Pacific Grove, and unincorporated areas of Monterey County including the resort and community of Pebble Beach.

North Coast (California)

The North Coast of California (also called the Redwood Empire or the Redwood Coast) is the region in Northern California that lies on the Pacific coast between San Francisco Bay and the Oregon border. It commonly includes Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties and sometimes includes two counties from the San Francisco Bay area, Marin and Sonoma.

Paso Robles, California

Paso Robles ( PASS-oh ROH-buulz; full name: El Paso de Robles "The Pass of the Oaks"; Obispeño: elewexe, "Swordfish" ) is a city in San Luis Obispo County, California, United States. Located on the Salinas River north of San Luis Obispo, California, the city is known for its hot springs, its abundance of wineries, its production of olive oil, almond orchards, and for playing host to the California Mid-State Fair.

Salinan language

Salinan was the indigenous language of the Salinan people of the central coast of California. It has been extinct since the death of the last speaker in 1958.

The language is attested to some extent in colonial sources such as Sitjar (1860), but the principal published documentation is Mason (1918). The main modern grammatical study, based on Mason's data and on the field notes of John Peabody Harrington and William H. Jacobsen, is Turner (1987), which also contains a complete bibliography of the primary sources and discussion of their orthography.

Two dialects are recognized, Antoniaño and Migueleño, associated with the missions of San Antonio and San Miguel, respectively. Antoniaño is "sometimes also termed Sextapay, associated with the area of the Franciscan Mission of San Antonio de Padua in Monterey County." There may have been a third, Playano dialect, as suggested by mention of such a subdivision of the people, but nothing is known of them linguistically.

Salinan may be a part of the hypothetical Hokan family. Edward Sapir included it in a subfamily of Hokan, along with Chumash and Seri. This classification has found its way into more recent encyclopedias and presentations of language families, but serious supporting evidence for this subfamily has never been presented.

Santa Barbara County, California

Santa Barbara County, California, officially the County of Santa Barbara, is a county located in the southern region of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 423,895. The county seat is Santa Barbara, and the largest city is Santa Maria.

Santa Barbara County comprises the Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Most of the county is part of the California Central Coast. Mainstays of the county's economy include engineering, resource extraction (particularly petroleum extraction and diatomaceous earth mining), winemaking, agriculture, and education. The software development and tourism industries are important employers in the southern part of the county.

Southern Santa Barbara County is sometimes considered the northern cultural boundary of Southern California.

Santa Cruz County, California

Santa Cruz County, California, officially the County of Santa Cruz, is a county on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 262,382. The county seat is Santa Cruz.Santa Cruz County comprises the Santa Cruz–Watsonville, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area. The county is on the California Central Coast, south of the San Francisco Bay Area region. The county forms the northern coast of the Monterey Bay, with Monterey County forming the southern coast.

South Coast (California)

The South Coast is a term used in the West Coast region of the United States to refer to both the south Pacific Coast of California and the adjacent resort and residential communities.

It refers for the most part to the Southern California coastal counties of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego due to the cosmopolitan "SoCal" atmosphere and location of major urban coastal centers. Of these counties only the western two thirds of San Diego, coastal half of Ventura, most of Los Angeles and all of Orange are included.However, some sources include the coastal half of Ventura, western part of Riverside, and southwestern part of San Bernardino Counties, and the northwestern corner of Baja California, because of their proximity to the Pacific Coast and because they are in the same bio-region and watershed.

Tablas Creek Vineyard

Tablas Creek Vineyard is a California wine estate producing various Rhône-style blends and varietal wine. The winery is located in the Adelaida district west of Paso Robles in the Santa Lucia Mountains, within the Paso Robles AVA. It is an exemplar of the GSM blend (Southern Rhône), and has been influential in popularizing it in California.

Ventura County, California

Ventura County is a county in the southern part of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 823,318. The largest city is Oxnard, and the county seat is the city of Ventura.Ventura County comprises the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA Combined Statistical Area. It is also considered the southernmost county along the California Central Coast. It is also a separate metropolitan area west of the more populous Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Ventura County has been named the "most desirable" place to live in the U.S. by the Washington Post and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2015. It is home to several of the safest communities in the U.S., including Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Newbury Park, and Moorpark. Overall, crime in the county is 33% lower than California and U.S. rates.Two of the California Channel Islands are part of the county: Anacapa Island, which is the most visited island in Channel Islands National Park, and San Nicolas Island.

California Central Coast
Cities and towns
Cities and towns
Cities and towns
Metro regions
Most populous

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