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San Luis Obispo County California Travel Guide

April 04, 2018

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San Luis Obispo California Travel Guide

Weekend getaway to San Luis Obispo California – I immediately fell in love with this darling coastal city that has both the beach and wine country!  San Luis Obispo County California, also known as SLO CAL, is located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway that’ll make you want to put away your phone and soak in nature, SLO is the place. SLO has the beach, ocean, hiking trails, tide pools, oak forests, fields of wildflowers, farmers’ markets, sea-to-spoon restaurants, and wineries.

SEE ALSO: Best Restaurants In Hayes Valley San Francisco

Here’s my San Luis Obispo California Travel Guide – everything you need to know about the weather, what to pack, where to stay, things to do, and where to eat.

 


SAN LUIS OBISPO WEATHER

Inn at the Pier

The weather in San Luis Obispo County varies throughout the county. In Pismo Beach and along the coast, it usually foggy and windy so I highly recommend packing a windbreaker jacket or light sweater especially if you plan on doing beach activities like dune buggies (we were freezing!). In San Luis Obispo County and Paso Robles, the weather can get quite warm so pack tank tops and shorts. The attire throughout the SLO is casual so no need to pack anything too fancy.

WHAT TO PACK

  • Swimming suit
  • Sunscreen
  • Windbreaker jacket
  • Light sweater
  • Tank tops and shorts
  • Jeans
  • Tennis shoes
  • Flip flops

 


WHERE TO STAY IN SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

We had 3 nights and 4 days in San Luis Obispo County and wanted to stay by the ocean and by the wineries so we stayed 2 nights at the Inn At The Pier and one night at Paso Robles Inn.

Inn at the Pier in Pismo Beach

INN AT THE PIER

Inn At The Pier overlooks Pismo Beach and is walking distance from the pier, boardwalk, shops, and restaurants! Loved waking up in this oceanfront hotel and getting breakfast just a block away at Surfside Donuts. Splash Cafe, the number one spot for clam chowder in Pismo Beach, is conveniently right across the street. We spent our evenings in their rooftop hot tub sipping wine and listening to the ocean!

601 Cypress St, Pismo Beach, CA, theinnatthepier.com

 

Paso Robles Inn

PASO ROBLES INN

Paso Robles is located on the central coast and is known for its famous hot springs, wineries, olive oil production, and almond orchards. We stayed at the Paso Robles Inn – constructed in 1891, Paso Robles Inn has 18 deluxe local winery-themed spa rooms that have private soaking tubs on the patio and fireplaces. After checking into the inn, we had a delicious meal at the steakhouse and then enjoyed wine in the hot tub before sleeping the night away in front of the fireplace. So cozy!

1103 Spring St, Paso Robles, CA, pasoroblesinn.com


 

THINGS TO DO IN SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

 

Kayak on Morro Bay

KAYAKING ON MORRO BAY

Kayaking on Morro Bay State Park Marina with Central Coast Outdoors to the Grassy Bar Oyster Company farm. Morro Bay Oyster Farm raises Pacific Gold oysters and delivers them fresh to customers up and down California. Kayaking was a great way to see and explore Morro Bay!

10 State Park Road, Morro Bay, CA

 

Pismo Beach

PISMO BEACH

Stroll along the San Luis Obispo County coastline at Pismo Beach and the 1,200-foot-long Pismo Beach Pier. Beach activities include horseback riding, fishing, surfing, and fishing, or just simply lounge on the sand. If you get hungry, walk over to the local restaurants for fish & chips, and a bowl of clam chowder.

 

Dune buggy San Luis Obispo

DUNE BUGGING RIDING

I’ve never been dune buggy riding before so this was quite the adventure. Fun fact: one of the scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed here!

328 Pier Ave, Oceano, CA, sunbuggy.com/pismo

 

Hearst Castle

TOUR HEARST CASTLE

Touring the Hearst Castle is a must for any SLO itinerary. The magnificent estate of William Randolph Hearst has 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools, and walkways with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean and the hills and valleys of the Santa Lucias. Hearst Castle is considered one of the world’s great attractions and collections of ancient art. Set aside 2 – 3 hours to explore the Hearst Castle.

Tickets: $25 – $36, buy here

750 Hearst Castle Rd, hearstcastle.org

 

Terrace Hill

WATCH THE SUNSET AT TERRACE HILL

The most magical experience we had in San Luis Obispo County was watching the sunset on Terrace Hill while sipping wine and eating cheese from Fromagerie Sophie. The fields were covered with wild mustard plants in full bloom! Terrace Hill is a short 5-minute hike to the top.

1300 Bishop St, San Luis Obispo, CA

 

Halter Ranch Vineyard

Halter Ranch Vineyard

HORSEBACK RIDE & WINE TASTING HALTER RANCH VINEYARD

Wineries are a must if you’re visiting San Luis Obispo County- it’s the third largest wine region in California! The vines were dormant when we went in April but the weather was perfect. The grapes grow from May to August, and harvest is in September.

Historic Halter Ranch is a vineyard and winery located in the heart of the Paso Robles’ Westside Adelaida District. The 100% estate-grown wines are sustainably farmed on westside limestone soils. Tradition and innovation mix at Halter Ranch to produce Bordeaux and Rhône-style wines.

Central Coast Trail Rides does a scenic two-hour guided horseback ride through historic Halter Ranch winery’s 281 acres every Sunday 9 am to 11 am, and 1 pm to 3 pm. Includes a cheese and charcuterie plate at a hillside picnic spot overlooking the reservoir, vineyard, and winery. Finish in the Halter Ranch Tasting Room and enjoy a complimentary tasting of current release wines. Riding through Halter Ranch on horseback was such a lovely experience and was the best way to see the beautiful winery!

Book here: halterranch.com/visit/vineyard-horseback-tours.php

8910 Adelaida Rd, halterranch.com

 

Len Collective

SHOP IN SLO DOWNTOWN

SLO downtown is filled with local shops and boutiques like Boo Boo Records that sells hundreds of old records, Human Kind that carries ethically sourced and fair trade items, and Len Collective (pictured above) a woman-owned curated shop.

 

San Luis Obispo bubble gum wall

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY BUBBLE GUM WALL

Don’t leave SLO downtown without blow a bubble at bubble gum wall!

733 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA

 


WHERE TO EAT IN SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

 

Splash Cafe

SPLASH CAFE

If there’s a line around the block, then Splash Cafe must be serving up something delicious. After asking the locals, Splash Cafe does serve up the best clam chowder (30000 gallons of fresh clam chowder per year to be exact). Skip the line by ordering pick up over the phone.

197 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA, splashcafe.com

 

Scout Coffee

SCOUT COFFEE

Your morning cup of coffee couldn’t get any brighter at SLO’s local coffee shop, Scout Coffee.

1130 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo, CA, scoutcoffeeco.com

 

Nourish SLO

NOURISH

Grab breakfast local healthy cafe, Nourish, that’s connected to Hotel Granada. Nourish has vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

1126 Morro St, San Luis Obispo, CA, nourishslo.com

 

Tri Tip sandwich

OLD SAN LUIS BARBECUE COMPANY

The iconic food item that San Luis Obispo County is known for is the Santa Maria Style Tri-tip sandwich and the place to go is Old San Luis Barbecue Company.

670 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA, oldsanluisbbq.com

 

Flour House in SLO

FLOUR HOUSE

Frittura di pesce (fried cod, shrimp, and squid caught here in SLO!), Naples-style pizza with prosciutto, arugula, and burrata, and rosé – one of my favorite meals in San Luis Obispo County.

690 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA, flourhouseslo.com

 

FRAMAGERIE SOPHIE

FRAMAGERIE SOPHIE

This carefully curated local cheese shop carries 60 to 80 different cheeses in the case. The artisan and handmade cheeses are mostly from Europe. We picked up a couple of cheeses for the picnic at Terrace Hill!

1129 Garden St, San Luis Obispo, CA, fromageriesophie.com

 

Batch Ice Cream

BATCH ICE CREAM

Double scoops of old-fashioned ice cream in a waffle cone at Batch. If you like ice cream sandwiches instead they have those too!

1108 Broad St, San Luis Obispo, CA, batchslo.com

 

Sidecar SLO

SIDECAR

California craft cocktails at their finest. The Prima Ballerina cocktail is made with a chickpea water matcha green tea foam (vegan) with Rittenhouse Rye.

1127 Broad St, San Luis Obispo, CA, sidecarcocktail.company

 

Copper Café at Madonna Inn

COPPER CAFÉ AT MADONNA INN

If you have a sweet tooth, you’re going to be in heaven at the Cooper Café. There’s a reason why the cakes, pies, cookies, and pastries are world-famous. We got the black forest cherry cake, banana cream pie (our favorite), and coconut cream pie.

100 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA, madonnainn.com/coppercafe.php

 

SEBASTIAN’S

Sebastian’s is located on the way to Hearst Castle and happens to have the very best Heart Ranch burgers, salads, and sandwiches.

442 Slo San Simeon Rd, San Simeon, CA

WRITTEN BY:

Jane Ko is the blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog. She is a social media marketer, blogger, food photographer, and the host of the largest SXSW food crawl. Lives in Austin, find her on Google+

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