Discover California’s Central Coast: Free to Roam

You may have come to San Luis Obispo County (SLO CAL) for the adventure, but you’ll want to stay for the moments in between. With plenty of room to wander, the seemingly-endless possibilities will make for an unforgettable experience.

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Alongside all of the adventure offerings, this area is also a bustling hub for food, culture, and much more. We’ve put together an insider guide for those moments in between your morning hike and your sunset surf.

Start your day in the town of San Luis Obispo by biking to one of the many local coffee shops. Grab a latte, hang out, or walk through SLO’s historic downtown before heading out for the day’s adventure, you’ll leave knowing why this town was recently named one of “America’s Happiest Cities.”

The 240-year-old creekside  Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa that SLO is built around is a prominent landmark, and seeps culture into the surrounding area. The spanish-style white-washed buildings and towering camphor trees that line the roadways make for a picturesque scene in the historic streets. 

The same great weather is largely responsible for the county’s lively food scene. The deep agricultural roots are evident in the vast open spaces with grazing cattle, road-side farms, and award-winning wineries that blanket the region. Start your tour up in Paso Robles – the county’s burgeoning wine hub which rivaled Napa Valley in wine production last year –and spend your day rambling down the 101.

From there, cruise on down to Templeton, where historic storefronts are brimming with fresh cuisine and local libations. Keep moving south to the Avila Valley Barn, a regional hotspot. Their farmstand offers a bounty of fruits and vegetables grown on the property and there is always a line for their fresh-baked pies. After you’ve eaten your fill, head out for a stroll at the near-by Bob Jones Trail, which runs through the valley to the coast, making for a relaxing jaunt anytime of the day.

The Village of Arroyo Grande is a must-see if you find yourself roaming a little further south. With roosters wandering the streets that are lined with locally owned shops and restaurants, you’ll find yourself steeped in small-town charm. No matter where the road takes you, there’s almost certainly something fresh awaiting your arrival. Take it from us, you won’t want to miss your chance to take advantage of the local flavors.

We can’t think of a better way to end a day of adventuring than with a stop by the Madonna Inn. The flashy interior and signature pink is a sight worth seeing. Grab a piece of their famous cake and spend the evening planning tomorrow’s escapades.

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Now with direct flights from Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, and more, getting to SLO CAL is easier than ever. Come stay and hang out, we dare you to get bored in this explorer’s paradise.