Harmony Headlands Hike with Kids, Cayucos

blue logoThis article was first published on SLOCAL.com as part of my SLO County Tourism Ambassador role as a SLOCAL Storyteller. I was one of five chosen writers selected to share local attractions for our regional tourism board. Check out the cool places everyone went here

trail brochureFor kiddos like mine who may not have the patience for a full-fledged grownup hike, the Harmony Headlands Trail is a totally doable 1.5-mile trek. Just enough for the fam to get outside, get some fresh air, and see what there is to see off the beautiful Highway 1 Discovery Route.

Harmony Headlands is a 784-acre State Park reaching out toward the coast. You can hike there from 6 a.m. to sunset and there’s dirt parking with room for about 10 cars at the entrance off southbound Highway 1, five minutes north of Cayucos.

There’s one portable restroom next to a teensy wood-slatted vacant ranch house near the beginning of the trail. Make sure to put the kids on your shoulders to peek into the windows! It’s super cool looking. But I also have a thing for old buildings. It looks like maybe it was most recently used as a ranger office, maybe? When we peered through the dusty glass, we saw lots of wasps crawling on (luckily) the old window’s interior.

Kids walking in mud on hikeMy 3- and 5-year-olds took this hike in the winter, so it was super muddy and we didn’t make it very far down the trail. But, you know, kids love mud. So it wasn’t that they were mad, they just wanted to sit and play and poke at the gunky stuff with sticks. Which is fine by me – as long as they’re outside and having fun!

kid with giant hiking stickIn fact, 3-year-old Wyatt decided the only way to adventure was with the biggest stick he could possibly find. Then he dragged that new prized possession everywhere he went.


Had I just went on the hike with Bowen, sans kids, we would have loved to reach a further point on the trail to witness those expansive views of the Pacific that the Harmony Headlands is famous for. Alas, I’ll still wear my new mud expert status with pride.

Mom and daughter on muddy hike selfie


Except, eventually, Wyatt fell front-first into a giant wet and sloppy mud puddle, leaving us to hunch over on the sidelines, peel off his wet clothes and clean him with a seemingly endless pile of wet wipes in a seriously comical series of actions that culminated in me literally giving him the shirt off my back. 

Hiking back to the car on trail to parking lot

But that’s just #Momlife for ya. 🙂



About Tonya Strickland

Tonya Strickland is a journalist and Instagram influencer in the family and travel niche. A former newspaper reporter, Tonya shares unfiltered #momlife content about places to go with kids. Her family moved from California's Central Coast to Washington state in August 2020. Their adventures now continue in the Pacific Northwest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *