If the destination rather than the journey is your focus on a trip from the Bay Area to the Central Coast, skip coastal Highway 1 and take Highway 101 to Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and beyond. Along the way, you and yours can soak up some history at two of the 21 Franciscan missions established in California between 1768 and 1853 on orders of the Spanish Crown. Missions San Miguel Arcangel and Nuestra Senora de la Soledad are serene places great for photography, contemplation and picnics. Well behaved leashed dogs are allowed on the grounds; ask at the counter if your pet can accompany you in areas where admission is required. Both of these historic places are well worth a stop if only for a quick look around.
Photo: "Mission San Miguel Arcangel"- Janet Fullwood