Historically, the towns along San Luis Obispo County’s unique stretch of Highway 1 long served as harbors and destinations for trade. From the Chumash people and Portola expedition, to whaling in San Simeon and sneaking moonshine at Spooner’s Cove, this region boasts a rich seafaring history.

Fortunately, many structures remain from the heyday of these ports, before railroads and highways displaced the work of cargo and passenger ships. Better yet, they are all open to the public, some for a small fee but many for free. Take in all the piers and lighthouses of coastal San Luis Obispo County, or choose just one or two to explore. Either way, you’ll witness the impact of how this region’s coastal position shaped its history.

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