STAYCATION IDEA #1 – CRUISE DOWNTOWN SLO
As one of the top spots for out-of-towner’s family vacations, SLO offers a variety of free and inexpensive attractions that are fun for all ages. Explore all the exciting things to do in San Luis Obispo’s family-friendly downtown area, including the famous Thursday Evening Farmers’ Market, the creek-side Mission Plaza, hiking trails with great views, candy and novelty shops, unique attractions like the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum ($8 for children and toddlers age 2 and up, free for babies), and, of course, Bubblegum Alley. You can keep your crew engaged and happy without spending a fortune.
STAYCATION IDEA #2 – DAY TRIP TO AVILA BEACH
Bring or rent bikes on your staycation, and take a day trip to Avila Beach. Travel along the the flat, paved Bob Jones Trail from Ontario Road through the woods along San Luis Creek into Avila. There, the serene, family-friendly beach awaits, as well as the pier and the interactive Avila Sea Life Center. Stop at the Woodstone Marketplace for a pizza or deli snack, or visit the lively Avila Farmers’ Market. If you’re driving, drop by the Avila Valley Barn, where you’ll find delicious pies and fresh fruits, as well as an ice cream mill and a petting zoo.
STAYCATION IDEA #3 – HEAD NORTH TO HEARST CASTLE
Head north from San Luis Obispo approximately 45 minutes on Highway 1 (Santa Rosa Street) to San Simeon, and see some of the area’s top family vacation attractions along the way. When was last time you took a pit stop at the embarcadero in Morro Bay and let the kids taste the saltwater taffy or gaze at the famous Morro Rock and stretch their legs in the Morro Bay Natural History Museum or Morro Bay Aquarium? (You could also make a separate day trip to Morro Bay, and rent kayaks or go whale watching with Sub-Sea Tours.) Continue north to San Simeon to see the giant elephant seals and their babies lounge on the white, sandy beaches. Keep an eye out for zebras!
A Staycation in SLO County would not be complete without a tour of Hearst Castle ($12 for children 6 – 17 and free for babies and toddlers). Circle through quaint Cambria on the way home, where you’ll enjoy unique dining and shopping, or stop in Cayucos for a tasty smoked fish taco from Ruddell’s Smokehouse and a treat from the Brown Butter Cookie Company.
STAYCATION IDEA #4 – HAVE FUN WITH FIDO
Your favorite family member needs a break from the norm too, so why not include a dogs day out!
PET-FRIENDLY BEACHES AND ATTRACTIONS
- El Chorro Regional Dog Park features a fenced-in “big dog” and “small dog” area, as well as hiking trails and a botanical garden.
- Laguna Lake Dog Park has space for Fido to fetch and roam, and a disc golf course, playground, hiking trails and lake views for humans to enjoy.
- Morro Strand Beach, a popular dog-friendly zone, and other dog-friendly beaches offer miles of open, sandy exploring.
- Bishop Peak and other local hikes where pets are allowed will set your dog’s nose on the trail to adventure.
- Thousand Hills Pet Resort offers dog daycare if you are gone or in meetings for the day, featuring oversized brightly painted dog houses, playgrounds and more.
RESTAURANTS THAT ALLOW PETS
- Grab a delicious dinner at Novo, where pets are welcome to join owners on a beautiful outdoor patio overlooking the San Luis Creek
- Head to Shell Beach to enjoy the dynamic doggy-inclined neighborhood and get breakfast, lunch or dinner at pet-friendly Zorro’s Café, a Mexican eatery named after the owner’s dog, Zorro.
- Enjoy coffee at Sally Loo’s Wholesome Café, named after the owners’ adorable pit bull, with outdoor dining for your dog.
- Several wineries offer dog-friendly wine tasting, such as Edna Valley’s Wolff Vineyards, which pairs sustainable wines with excellent family-operated service, including the company of a jovial lab named Brixie, and Saucelito Canyon winery which also has wine dogs.
SHOP WITH YOUR DOG
- Get a fresh-baked dog treat or a new puppy t-shirt at dog and cat-friendly Tails Pet Boutique in downtown San Luis Obispo
- Lemos, our local chain of pet stores, offers treats, toys and more for your cats and dogs in San Luis Obispo and other surrounding cities.
STAYCATION IDEA #5 – TOUR SLO COUNTY WINE COUNTRY
Take advantage of being a local with Western Heritage Realty’s agent Sarah Barnes and The Wine Wrangler – Locals Get 1/2 off on Sundays on the Level 2 or any ½ day tours. The tours start at 12th and Park in Paso Robles.
TOUR SUSTAINABLE EDNA VALLEY WINERIES ON YOUR BIKE
Grab your bike and helmet for a self-powered, self-led tour of sustainable Edna Valley wineries. Start at Claiborne & Churchill (the first sustainably constructed straw-bale winery). Pick up lunch from the deli at Old Edna to sustain you after your next tasting. Then, mosey over to Wolff Vineyards, which is known for its ecoconscious methods, and enjoy a picnic in the tasting garden. Finally, visit Talley Vineyards, where green viticulture practices have been in place for years, and soak up some solar power on the hillside grounds before heading back to San Luis Obispo.
In addition to hiking, biking, surfing, birding, kayaking, tide pooling and other great outdoor activities for your Staycation, San Luis Obispo County offers these one-of-a-kind (yet budget-friendly) attractions:
- The Charles Paddock Zoo ($4 – 5 for ages 2 and older; free for children under 2)
- Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (free)
- San Luis Obispo Farmer’s Market (free)
- Bubblegum Alley, Free
- San Luis Obispo History Center (free)
- San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (free)
- Wine Tasting (tasting fees in the $5 range)
- Window shopping in downtown San Luis Obispo
- Beer Tasting at Central Coast Brewing (taste 5 beers for $5)
- Art After Dark (first Friday of the month)
- View Monarch Butterflies in Pismo Beach