Distance: 54 miles
Driving Time: 1 hour
Between Solvang and Pismo Beach, US Hwy 101 passes through a pretty, hilly area where you'll see California live oak trees growing on the hillsides. That is, where they haven't been cut down to plant grapes. You're in the Santa Ynez wine country whose pinot noir wines were made popular by the film Sideways.
Mission La Purisima, one of California's best preserved Spanish missions is about 18 miles west of US 101 on CA 246.
The Nipomo Swap Meet is open every weekend, with up to 450 vendors. Exit at Tefft Street in Nipomo, which is between Santa Maria and Pismo Beach.
You find a detailed description of the Hwy 154 shortcut in the Santa Barbara to Solvang section. Hwy 154 joins US 101 just north of Solvang.
You'll find several small towns along this section of the road that have gas stations and places to get food.