I make a point to hit Highway 1 whenever I can to show my kids (and remind myself) what California is really all about. I figure if you call your store The Golden State you should know what you're talking about. The Coast Starlight is still one of my favorite ways to travel. Sit in the Observation Car between Santa Barbara to Hollister you literally have the wide open Pacific on one side and the rolling Santa Ynez Mountains on the other.
On our way to San Francisco we stopped in San Luis Obispo for one night to celebrate a special evening (my son's 12th birthday). The Sanitarium , a gorgeous little bed and breakfast that was absolutely perfect in every way.
Filled with art and music, the friendly staff waited on me and my three boys as if we were their only guests. It was the perfect way to get our week started.