12/05/2014 04:15 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Treasures of California's Central Coast along Highway 1

Remember what poet Robert Frost said about taking the road less traveled?

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

Exploring destinations that may be off our usual radar offers endless benefits and opportunities for unique discoveries. They often have surprising and unexpected rewards - ones we can't possibly imagine.

One of those destinations is California's Central Coast. Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on California's Highway 1, is a series of sleepy towns and seaside villages against craggy cliffs with jaw-dropping vistas and endless sand dunes. The place harkens back to a simpler time. Tall buildings are scarce. Many towns have few traffic or no traffic lights and most of the noise comes from the sea otters or sea lions populating the beaches. "Morro Bay and the Central Coast are what many waterfront towns in Southern California used to be," says Jeff Anderson, a 60- year Morro Bay resident who, along with his siblings, owns the Anderson Inn in the heart of Morro Bay. "We have an unspoiled little community. Maybe it's less sleepy now, but it hasn't grown. When I was a paper boy 50 years ago, there weren't much less than 10,000 people living in Morro Bay and there are still about 10,000." Many of these towns are part of California's Highway 1 Discovery Route, where rolling vineyards meet the ocean.

To learn about some of the great gems of California's Central Coast, click on this story in