Warm, sunny days, cool nights, mountains and beaches and friendly people are good enough reasons to visit San Luis Obispo County. But don't forget our flora and fauna! For starters, find the latest events in San Luis Obispo County on our events calendar above. Scroll down the page further to see some of the ongoing local favorite activities.
Activities Around SLO County
San Luis Obispo County offers world class mountain biking and excellent road bike opportunities. Mountain trails are easily accessed from downtown San Luis Obispo, Highway 101, and Montaña de Oro State Park. Several road ride loops offer an alternative to off-road riding, taking you through quaint beach towns and villages of the Central Coast with relatively few hills. The Bob Jones Bikeway, accessed from Highway 101 near Avila Hot Springs, is a local favorite. It offers several miles of peaceful riding away from motor vehicles along shady San Luis Obispo Creek.
Fishing and Sailing
The nearby town of Morro Bay is renowned for its excellent fishing. The ocean here offers a wide variety of fish depending on season and water temperature. Charter a boat for a day on the water at Virg's Fishing, 1215 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442, 805-772-1222.
Sailing the Central Coast is a great way to see areas that aren't reachable by car or foot. The Morro Bay Yacht Club, located at 541 Embarcadero in Morro Bay, 805-772-3981, is a great place to get in touch with boat enthusiasts who always need crew. If you are experienced, you may want to join in a race. The yacht club also offers sailing classes for those who already have the desire but haven't got the skills.
Hiking: Views, views, views
Many well-maintained trails with a variety of difficulties, microclimates, and scenery wait to be explored. A few of the most popular and convenient hikes are listed briefly below.
Montaña de Oro State Park: Local favorite with great ocean views and a variety of easy and moderate hikes
Montaña de Oro State Park is probably your best bet for close hiking and nature walks close by, with nine major trails of varying difficulty, terrain and views. This state park is miraculously free of charge. There are many places to enjoy a picnic lunch with a view of waves crashing against beaches and cliffs. The Coon Creek trail is an excellent choice for a hot day. This trail follows a lush creek bed up from the coast for several miles with very little uphill. Shade from the native trees and cool water flowing next to the trail keep you cool. You can also choose to hike on a trail that follows the coast the entire way from the campgrounds to the end of the park. Finally, for the adventurous, try climbing the Ridge Trail, closer to park entrance. It will take you up several hundred feet for a panoramic view of Morro Rock, the entire park, and the bay.
Morro Bay State Park: Easy hike in Morro Bay AND great views
In Morro Bay, the hike up Black Hill offers spectacular views as well as a light cardio workout. This trail can be accessed from the Morro Bay State Park campground parking lot, a twenty minute drive from the SeaVenture. The total hike is only about three miles roundtrip and should take less than an hour and a half at a relaxed pace.
Bishop Peak Open Space: Fun hikes, great views, large open spaces
The trail up Bishop Peak in San Luis Obispo (1200' elevation gain, 4.4 miles round trip) traverses several microclimates to arrive at panoramic views of the city. The 360º view from this local favorite includes Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, the city of San Luis Obispo, and the vineyards of the Edna and San Luis valleys.
For a more relaxed hiking experience, try the well-marked Felsman Loop, in the Bishop Peak area. This hike is rated easy to moderate, with few uphill sections. It winds through oak woodland, chaparral, and expansive grassland areas. Red-tailed hawks and other birds sail overhead, hitching a ride on the breeze that comes up from the ocean.
Los Padres National Forest: Wide range of hiking options for every type of outdoor enthusiast
Los Padres National Forest encompasses nearly two million acres in the rugged coastal mountains of central California. The forest stretches across almost 220 miles from the Big Sur Coast in Monterey County to the western edge of Los Angeles County. The Sierra Club Trail Guide maps out eleven adventurous trails in this vast wilderness, including three beautiful trails in the nearby Lopez Lake area.
The Cerro Alto trailhead offers hikes just about a half hour's drive from the resort. The trailhead is nestled in a lush riparian valley—a running creek makes this area dense with trees, green plants, and bird life year round. Starting at over 1000' (about 300m) in elevation, these hikes offer glimpses of some of the life in the higher elevations of San Luis Obispo County. You can hike to the top of Cerro Alto Peak, which at 2600' (~800m) is one of the highest peaks in the western part of the county.
Learning to kayak in an area with fairly calm waters such as the estuary or Morro Bay can be fun family experience. Kayaking the Morro Bay Estuary is perhaps the best way to see this serene nature preserve. The labyrinthine channels through the low tide of the estuary make for hours of casual fun as you paddle past birds, fish, and invertebrates that most people never get to see. Kayaks can be rented from Kayak Horizons in Morro Bay on an hourly or daily basis. They can get you outfitted and guide you to some of the more interesting places for kayaking.
Elephant seals can be seen birthing, raising pups, and fighting for territory in California's largest mainland rookery on the northern edge of Morro Bay, a short walk from Highway 1 in San Simeon. These marine mammals are truly massive. They can weigh more than a small car.
Threatened California sea otters also make Morro Bay home. Look beyond the breakers and you may spot a sea otter floating in a bed of kelp.
The Great Gray Whale makes its passage up and down the coast twice a year. The children will enjoy tide pooling at Hazards Beach in Montaña de Oro State Park.
Guided whale watching tours leave the San Luis Pier and Morro Bay on a daily basis in winter. For departure times and tickets, inquire at Virg's Landing, 1215 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, 805-772-1222.
Pismo Beach and the Central Coast play host to millions of migrating Monarch butterflies each winter. Drop by the famous Pismo Monarch Grove to see eucalyptus trees covered with these colorful butterflies.
The grove is located on Highway 1 at the south boundary of the city of Pismo Beach. From the SeaVenture, head south on Hwy 1 for eight-tenths of a mile, past downtown Pismo Beach. The Monarch site will be on your right. Parking is available by meandering through the North Beach campground and following signs, and also past the campground, on either side of Hwy 1 at the main access point to the Monarch site. The beach is only a short walk away.
Sky Dive Pismo Beach offers the ultimate California skydiving experience! Jump out of a perfectly good airplane, freefall over the Pacific Ocean at 120 mph, and land directly on legendary Pismo Beach–with your friends and family right there waiting for you!
Skydive Pismo Beach is located on the beautiful California Central Coast, just off the historic Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) at 201 W Grand Ave. We offer spectacular views of the shoreline and mountains from 8,000′-10,000′-13,000′–no other dropzone in the country can compare.
After you have surfed Pismo Beach, give the waves of Morro Bay a try. You can rent a board and wetsuit at several surf shops in town, and arrange for a lesson too. In the bay proper waves tend to be smaller and are excellent for learning, while the big waves lie to the north and south. For a great day of waves and soft sand, head out to the sandspit at Montaña de Oro State Park. Be sure to grab the latest surf report!
A Fabulous Few Days in Wine Country (SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, CA) – It is something a lot of inland Central Californians already know, especially when they are looking to escape the brutality of summer’s heat. If you want to spend a couple of fabulous days enjoying weather, wine, and natural wonders – San Luis Obispo County provides several opportunities for a great retreat. Take your time to travel to San Luis Obispo County. Whether you are driving or flying in, the country side is beautiful and there is no reason to rush — it doesn't seem like you get there any faster anyway. Give yourself time to enjoy your hotel on the first night. You will want to be up and out early, there is much to do and see. To plan your wine tasting trip visit SLO Wine Country – where you can find a map of wineries to explore on your own or find more information on one of the many wine tours available.
Margarita Adventures offers four ziplines that soar over majestic oaks and valleys amid a breathtaking backdrop of vineyards, mountains and forest. The zipline canopy tours are designed to accentuate the larger mission: to promote a deeper appreciation for our natural surroundings and heritage.
Located across the street from the Ancient Peaks Winery tasting room at 22719 El Camino in downtown Santa Margarita, just one mile east of Highway 101 between Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. From either direction on Highway 101, take the Santa Margarita exit.
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