When you want to see the sights but you don’t want to deal with traffic, crowds, or any of the other annoyances of tourism, “flightseeing” (yes, that’s a real word) is the option for you. What better way to explore an area than from the windows of your aircraft? The California Central Coast has many sites that are even better viewed from the air. Here are just a few of the best places to “flightsee” (no, that’s not a real word, but it should be).
The Nine Sisters
The Nine Sisters are a row of dormant volcanoes that stretch from the Edna Valley wineries to the ocean at Morro Bay. The chain of peaks begins with Islay hill, next to the San Luis Obispo Airport, and ends with Morro Rock, an iconic landmark that rises from the ocean. Along the way, besides the peaks themselves, the views include fields, hills, lakes, and farmland. Flying the length of the sisters will give any pilot a great overview of the San Luis Obispo Valley and all the sights it has to offer.
Montana de Oro State Park
While there are many beaches up and down the coastline of California, most are crowded with houses, visitors and roads. Since Montana de Oro is a state park, an occasional hiking trail is the only sign of humans in an otherwise natural, untouched stretch of beaches, hills and rock formations. This is a must-see on any trip along the California coast. (website)
Oceano Dunes Natural Preserve
Just west of Oceano lies 1,500 acres of sand dunes. These dunes have been the site of several Hollywood movies including Pirates of the Caribbean and The Ten Commandments. This remote and beautiful expanse is ideally seen at sunset and from the air for a truly stunning view. (website)
Nestled among wineries in Paso Robles, Heart Hill is an unexpected surprise for anyone passing by. Composed of a grove of trees, this adorable heart-shaped landmark can be seen along Highway 46 West. This spot is worth it for any pilot traveling to or from the coast along this route. (website)
“Chapel Hill” by Anita Ritenour is licensed under CC BY 4.0 / Cropped from original
Serra Chapel is a hidden treasure where the Paso Robles vineyards give way to the rolling hills of Shandon. This small sanctuary is perched on a hill just off of Highway 46 and is the site of both weekly services and music festivals. Any pilot can skip the long, steep trek up the footpath everyone else has to take to enjoy a view of the mission style chapel. (website)
Hearst Castle is a well known tourist site and a gem of the central coast. Built by William Randolf Hearst in the Meditaranian style, this site not only has beautiful buildings and pools, but beautiful grounds with wild herds of zebras surrounding the main site. You can skip the price of admission by taking your own tour from above. (website)
The Central Coast is a beautiful place with so many things to see from the air. These are a few ideas to consider when you next get the urge to go flightseeing. If you’re flying in the area, stop by our FBOs in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles and say hi.