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5 Things to do in Central Coast, CA
The Style Sauce Central CA blog post travel blog

North and South California get all the love. I can’t believe I’ve lived my entire life in California and never really spent time in CENTRAL California. Often on long road trips back home to Palo Alto from Los Angeles I’d drive as fast as I could through this part of the state, eager to make it to either to my old home or my new one. 

Well, this trip really changed my point of view of the “middle” of California. First of all, it’s beautiful and soooo charming. I’m really glad we took the opportunity to spend a weekend here. If you’re thinking of making a trip to Central CA, here’s 5 things you should do while you’re around. 

The grand dining room at Hearst Castle

The grand dining room at Hearst Castle

1) Visit Hearst Castle

I didn’t really know what to expect from Hearst Castle, I just knew I wanted to go check it out at least once, even if just for photos (lol). It’s really a beautiful example of architecture, and not like anything you’ll really see in the states (kinda reminded me of the Palace of Versailles or something of that caliber).

It was pretty interesting learning about the Hearst family and their part in so much of California's history. Definitely worth going at least once, and the property is HUGE and really cool for pics. They even have some leftover zoo animals from when the family had an exotic animal zoo on the property so you could spot zebras!

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The tennis courts at Hearst Castle. 

The tennis courts at Hearst Castle. 


2) Taste wine in Paso Robles

I didn’t realize it, but Paso Robles is giving Napa a run for it’s money. We visited Justin Vineyards while there and it was literally breathtaking. There’s one main road that you take where most of the vineyards are. Coincidentally, it’s called Vineyard Drive. Justine, where we went for the day, sits almost at the end of this winding country road. Paso Robles is known for it’s reds - Syrahs and Zinfandels do especially well in the super hot / cold climate, but they also have whites and rosé as well.

Justin Vineyards Paso Robles // The Style Sauce // Best things to do in Central CA


Along the same road where most of the vineyards are, there's also such well-known vineyards as Kiamie, Tablas Creek, and others. Major perk other than the vino in Paso Robles is that it’s STUNNING. You feel like you’re so far away from the city and there’s plenty of country-like photo opps to be had. 

Getting a tour of the caves at Justin Winery. So cool!

Getting a tour of the caves at Justin Winery. So cool!


3) Hang out on the beach

Paso Robles and the other towns that are inland from the coast are especially hot in the summer so you can head to the beach where it’s usually 20 degrees cooler (or even more). There’s lots of surfing and long stretches of sand where we stayed in Cambria, and def stick around for the sunset because they're really pretty here. 

Sunset in Cambria, CA // The Style Sauce // Visit California

4) Drive Up (or down) Highway 1

The "1" is the highway that will take you basically all the way from LA to SF along the coast, if you let it. If you don’t have much time but want to take in the sights, this is the perfect way to see some of the sights and grab some pics in a time crunch. Be aware though that due to heavy rain and mudslides last year taking a mile of the coast into the Pacific Ocean, it is partially closed right now.  Right below Big Sur, above the San Simeon area it stops, so if you’re trying to go all the way through from Southern to Northern CA, you’ll have to go around and cut over to 101 in order to do so. The 1 is close at the base of Big Sur which is a total bummer, but they did re-open Bixby bridge so you can get there to see it if you’re coming from Northern CA. 

5) Do some hiking

Admittedly, we didn’t get to do a lot of this due to enjoying 1-4 a little *too* much this time around, but there’s some really great hikes in the area that our hotel reception at Ocean Point Ranch told us about. There’s even a path that goes all along the beach you can walk up and down which is especially pretty at golden hour. Not really a “hike” but a great walk/ run path either way. Some other hiking areas that were recommended to us were

5 Tips for Visiting the Palace of Versailles
Travel blog // how to visit the Palace of Versailles // Best travel tips // Things to do in Paris // Best day trips from Paris // The Style Sauce blog

If you haven't heard of the Palace of Versailles, it's an incredible Palace (now museum) that was built by Louis XIV, the king of France from 1643 - 1715. If you're thinking about visiting The Palace of Versailles, you 100% should. Just an hour train ride from Paris, it's one of the most beautiful examples of architecture from the 1600's, and it's definitely a great way to spend a day.  Recently we visited and while it was such a cool experience, there's a few things I'll definitely keep in mind for when I go back next, which I definitely will! Read below for 5 tips to know when going to visit the Palace of Versailles.

1) Make sure you visit the gardens.

We got to the Palace of Versailles not realizing the sheer vastness of the property and quite how expansive the gardens alone are. One could spend at least 3 hours alone just wandering around the fountains and different gardens, so make sure you check out this portion of the property. You can also rent boats at the lake towards the bottom of the property which is super cool and I definitely want to do next time! 

Palace of Versailles Gardens // The Style Sauce blog // Travel blog // Paris travel tips

2) Give yourself plenty of time.

Again, this place is MASSIVE, in a way that is totally incomprehensible to myself... I mean HOW was it built in 1650??! SO insane. Anyways, we spent about 4 hours there and it definitely wasn't enough time to see it all. You could spend that long just walking in the gardens area, so make sure if you go you have at least a half day to spend and try to see Marie Antoinette's quarters, which are separate from the rest of main house.

Palace of Versailles // The Style Sauce blog
Palace of Versailles // Travel blog // Paris travel tips // The Style Sauce blog

3) Don't go on a weekend.

So, we went on a Sunday which we didn't know is the busiest day for the Palace. It was a really big bummer that every time we wanted to take a photo there were people walking in to them. It took us way more time than it would have just waiting for people to get out of our pictures, and since it's so pretty you'll definitely want to document the whole thing. Trust me, avoid the weekend and try to go on a weekday if you can. Early morning or later in the afternoon is also less busy than the middle of the day usually. 

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4) Make sure you get there at least an hour before close (and get an audio guide!)

Another bummer was that we did the gardens first, not know that they close the audio guide rentals an hour before they close the actual Palace down. Meaning you can go walk through the Palace but they won't give you the guides unless you're there at least an hour and half before closing. Had we known, we definitely would have done the museum part first and NOT the gardens, which are self guided unless you pay for a tour guide.  We walked through not realizing, and once we saw people with audio guides went up to the front and tried to get the. Once we ran back to the front, even though the Palace wasn't closing for another hour, they wouldn't give us audio guides, which was a really big let down. I was trying to translate some of the French on the signage in the rooms for my boyfriend, Brian, but it felt like we missed a ton of the history and meaning of what we were looking at because we didn't have the audio guide. So make sure when you go you grab one of those, especially if you're English speaking.

The Palace of Versailles // How to get to the Palace of Versailles // Best travel tips France // Day trips from Paris // The Style Sauce travels // travel blogger // Travel blogs

5) There's food there, and wine!

We weren't sure if we could get  lunch or wine at the palace, so we stopped in town at a place that really wasn't very good before we went. When we arrived I found out there is literally a Ladureé inside where you can have champagne and macaroons, not to mention other restaurants that actually looked SO good. Next time, I'll skip the mediocre sandwich in Versailles to eat at the actual Palace.

Definitely a lot of mirror selfies available while you're there ;)

Definitely a lot of mirror selfies available while you're there ;)

6) It's best in the Spring. 

It's beautiful no matter what, but I definitely would love to go back in the Spring when all of the gardens are blooming, and the sun is out. I'm sure the boats on the lake would be so fun to do on a nice day with a bottle of rosé.  They do have flowers everywhere regardless, but if you can make it in the Spring I think it'd be the prettiest for sure! 

Palace of Versailles // The Style Sauce blog // Travel blog // Paris travel tips

If you haven't been to The Palace of Versailles, you really should go next time you're in France. To say it's breathtaking is an understatement. You really can't even begin to understand how gorgeous everything is until you get there and see the sheer scale and opulence and attention to art and detail. It's one of the most stunning places I've ever been and I can't wait to go back. Feel free to reach out if you're going soon, I'd love to share some more pointers!

xx, Genevieve 

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