Cambria is located at According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22.2 km²), all of it land..
Earliest human settlement of this area is associated with prehistoric habitation by the Native American Chumash peoples, who exploited marine resources along the coastal area, with emphasis upon sites that were streamside in nature.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,232 people, 2,816 households, and 1,881 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 727.1 people per square mile (280.8/km²). There were 3,752 housing units at an average density of 437.7/sq mi (169.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.08% White, 0.35% African American, 0.99% Native American, 1.16% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 4.03% from other races, and 2.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.02% of the population.
There were 2,816 households out of which 18.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.63.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 16.4% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 18.0% from 25 to 44, 33.5% from 45 to 64, and 26.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 51 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $45,000, and the median income for a family was $55,745. Males had a median income of $36,193 versus $24,594 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $29,620. About 3.8% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.6% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.
Cambria is home to Coast Unified School District. Coast Unified has one K-5 elementary school, one 6-8 middle school, one traditional 9-12 high school and one alternative high school. The District also serves the communities of San Simeon to the north and Cayucos to the south (grades 9-12) as well as surrounding rural areas.
In the state legislature Cambria is located in the 15th Senate District, represented by Republican Abel Maldonado, and in the 33rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Sam Blakeslee. Federally, Cambria is located in California's 23rd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +9 and is represented by Democrat Lois Capps.
The primary economic activity of Cambria is tourism. Cambria is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, and has dramatic rocky cliffs and beaches. There are many hotels and bed & breakfasts, especially on Moonstone Beach Drive.
Cambria is home to California State Historical Landmark No 939: Nitt Witt Ridge.
Cambria was used as the fictional town of "Canaima" in 1990's Arachnophobia.
Cambria was recently used as the fictional town of "Arcade Bay" in the pilot for the television program Ghost Town.
Cambria may have been used as the basis for the fictional town "Pine Cove" in "The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove (book by Christopher Moore)
Cambria offers a variety of recreational activities. The Fiscalini Ranch offers opportunities for bicycling, dog walking, or hiking. Local beaches offer a venue to boogie board, surf, skimboard or relax. Ocean fishing is conducted off area beaches. Local kayak fishing tours are available.