Friday, November 20, 2020

Plush Cavalier digs, elephant seals enhance cozy stop on Central California coast


The view from your private balcony at Cavalier Oceanfront Resort on the Central California Coast 
is stellar. You will find you don't want to leave your room, but there's lots to see if you do.


Small, clean, comfy, Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
has all the comforts of home -- plus ocean views.

YEARS AGO, we were looking for a mid-way stop between our niece's home in Redwood City and Port Hueneme's lovely harbor, where we'd spend a few days before heading into the home stretch for San Diego.
The beautifully rugged coastline of Central California has long been a favorite of ours, and during that long ago autumn, we discovered Cavalier Oceanfront Resort.  We've been regulars ever since. It's private, offers fresh air and spectacular views, and especially in these COVID times, it's a healthy way to travel, stay protected and safe without flying.
The town of San Simeon is most famous for the temporarily closed Hearst Castle, that stately and eclectic masterpiece designed by architect Julia Morgan for newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst. But while COVID has put a halt to castle visits, there is still much to recommend this beautiful area.
Gorgeous sunsets await in Central California,
where the ocean views and walking are tops.
CHIEF LURE for us is the resort, nestled on a scenic seaside bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You'll never want to leave your room, with its comfy balcony rocking chairs, spacious relaxing interior complete with desk if you're on a work trip, and splendid day-long views.
   Located on picturesque Highway 1, the laid back but top service hotel is dog and family friendly.  It also attracts wedding parties and families on holiday or reunion.  And it's a favorite romantic stop for couples, including regulars like ourselves.  It's a great base for exploring beaches, the nearby Paso Robles wine country, and the quaint seaside village of Cambria with its fun shops, historic homes and fine restaurants. And yes, elephant on.
WE LOVE the Cavalier for its gorgeous ocean view rooms.  Among bountiful amenities are a welcoming fireplace, with unlimited wood blocks, a smart little bar-frig stocked with a dozen beverages, and plentiful munchies for a kicked-back stay. 
Ocean view rooms, a fireplace and comfy arm
chairs and balcony rockers so you can enjoy
the sea from inside or outside your room. 

Besides large rooms with comfy beds, we are delighted at the efficient room service with a surprisingly complete menu. (We dined in one night on a tasty Caesar salad, terrific clam chowder and decadent chocolate cake.)
The Cavalier has some interesting
touches, including this column,
once part of Hearst's collection.
an extra day so we could visit the amazing critters who inhabit Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery.  Since we discovered the hotel, we've made an annual pilgrimage to see these gentle giants up close and in their element. These magnificent marine mammals lie on the beach, and occasionally swim and frolic, just off Highway 1, along the coastline a few miles north of the Cavalier. The rookery is free, and open to the public, year-round. The rookery hosts the largest seal in the northern hemisphere, and these elephant seals migrate there twice each year.  While offshore, they spend eight or nine months diving down to 5,800 feet, feeding for hours at a time. The rest of the year, they mate, birth, molt, and rest onshore. What a life.
We see them right near the Cavalier, about 90 miles south of Monterey.
THE BUSY but not over-crowded viewing areas are open every day, are wheelchair accessible and free. The nicely designed viewing areas are part of the California Coastal National Monument, protected by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

 The magnificent elephant seals of the Central California
Coast near Cavalier Oceanfront Resort are a wonderful sight.  
WE COUNTED several hundred seals of the estimated 24,000 the rookery hosts during the year.  We spotted several baby elephant seals and a couple giant 5,000-pound adult males, who sport that odd bulbous nose. Females weigh about 1,800 pounds, and newborn pups about 70 pounds. The animal's name comes from the male nose, which resembles an elephant’s trunk. This crazy looking proboscis impresses other males during during mating season when the guys sound a loud loud call to challenge one another. We heard a few!  
A stay on the Central California coast, at our choice,
Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, offers an opportunity to spend
time with the fascinating elephant seal, here snoozing.
 WHAT MAKES the rookery special to us is that the elephant seal is a real  comeback kid.  The species was almost wiped out by hunters. Like whales, they were slaughtered by the thousands from the 18th to the 20th century. Using blubber for oil nearly drove the elephant seal to the extinct list. At one point, only a single colony of 50 seals remained on an island in Baja.
IF YOU CAN pull yourself away from the Cavalier's ocean views, a first-class coffee maker in your room, cocktails in the frig, a fire place and that fabulous bed, the helpful folks at the front desk will guide you to the elephant seals, just a few miles up the road.
They'll also encourage a visit to Cambria, a nearby village worth a few hours. There's also beach time, wine tasting and hiking possibilities.
Even with Hearst Castle's temporary closure due to COVID, there's plenty to do and see. And you can always consider Cavaliar a friendly yet private place to just "plunk down" for a few days. The hotel is a lovely destination in itself.;

An uncrowded bird's eye view from a perch above the Pacific, 
near scenic Point Arena, in northern California.

UP NEXT: We've assembled some of our favorite scenic shots from this current road trip. Come enjoy the rivers, woods, beaches and off-road wonders that can be yours on a safety-minded, short or long driving trip during COVID times.  As we avoid the virus through healthy, cautious living, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us each Friday for a fresh look at travel, the arts, nature, family and more:

Please share the link, too! We appreciate the exposure.


  1. Love the photos of the elephant seals kissing, and the gorgeous "sunset cocktails." Glad you can still travel and be safe.

  2. Fun story and photos, as always. Follow your travels with joy.

  3. Santa Barbara SailorsNovember 22, 2020 at 3:10 PM

    We appreciate the tip on a fine mid-coast's a perfect overnight when qe travel between Santa Barbara and San Francisco. Nice short driving days.

  4. Aren't the elephant seals a delightful discovery? So wonderful to see them protected, and comfortable in this beautiful place.