Sometimes known as the "Middle Kingdom," California's central coast is a peaceful pause between the bustle of the San Francisco Bay Area
and the urban spread of southern California. The Central Coast Region, between Los Angeles and San Francisco, features Los Padres National Forest, the Big Sur Coast, 11 state parks, 16 state beaches, six state historic parks, and two state reserves.
At Big Sur, south of Monterey, Highway 1 follows a coastal route over dramatic bridges and past historic lighthouses. As along the North Coast Region, Highway 101 offers a speedier route somewhat inland. Agricultural communities include Castroville, the "Artichoke Capital of the World," and Gilroy, a garlic lover's heaven. A string of missions extends from San Juan Bautista to Santa Barbara.
During spring and fall the sun shines most of the time. Summer fogs can be thick and cool, while fall brings temperatures in the high 80s.