The California Travel Diaries: SLO

When planning any trip it’s great to read up on as much as you can before you go away, particularly for a road trip. You really don’t want to be stranded staring at your google maps and hoping for the best! Whether it’s reading blog posts, travel guides or watching YouTube videos, nowadays we have so much access to a wealth of information. Quite frankly, you wouldn’t be doing yourselves any favours by simply “going with the flow”, at least not for the whole trip! About this time last year, I began to plan my California summer travels. I too scoured the internet and turned to my good old fashioned travel book, Lonely Planet’s California (thanks to my brother for gifting this to me!). Thank goodness that I did my research too, otherwise I may have missed out on visiting San Luis Obispo – a little gem in the Californian crown of jewels.

Positioned roughly 3 hours between Los Angeles and San Francisco, San Luis Obispo or SLO as it’s affectionately known, is so much more than just a halfway point. Loved by both the old and the young, SLO encapsulates it’s population perfectly. The town has a youthful energy to it whilst also being complimented by it’s peaceful waves. The relaxed pace and the stunning views make it the perfect destination to sit back and relax whilst sipping wine. If you haven’t guessed it, SLO is a very popular spot for Wine Country tasting tours, particularly in late June.

The Basics

Accommodation:

We stayed for two nights with a fantastic South African host who had lived in California for over 20 years. Friendly, warm and welcome – her home reflected her character. Based a 15 minute walk to the town, with free parking and an en-suite bedroom complete with a coffee machine, I would highly recommend this spot to anyone who needs a room in SLO!

Travel:

Getting around by car in Cali is by far the easiest option, however I would happily cycle around SLO maybe even visiting a winery or 2 along the way

To do:

  • Wineries upon wineries
  • Farmers Markets
  • Beaches
  • Nature Trails
  • Bubblegum Alley

Eat & Drink:

  • SLO Brewing company
  • Libertine’s
  • Tri Tip Sandwiches
  • Clam Chowder

Somewhat tired after our day of exploring Monterey and Big Sur, it was a late Thursday afternoon when we arrived at our Airbnb. As we pulled into the neighborhood where we were staying, we fell just a bit more in love with the Golden State. As scenic as Monterey is, SLO was definitely more on our level and our age range. The views remained on par with Monterey, as our host’s house was set behind a backdrop of a glorious mountain. California really is the gift that keeps on giving! We had limited time to see SLO so unfortunately we didn’t hike up the trails surrounding us, but this is a great idea should you be looking for a long weekend in San Luis Obispo. After we freshened up we took a stroll into town, and to our delight the Farmers Market was in full swing. Families, students and holidaymakers were sprawled across downtown, showing their support to local farmers and businesses in buying local produce, fresh fruit and vegetables. I can definitely see why this vibrant county is so popular with college kids! For dinner we shared a couple slices of pizza and a tri-tip sandwich. The best thing was that we could try all of this delicious food on a traveller’s budget! After a walk in the outdoor market we grabbed a drink at SLO Brewing company before making our way home and coming across Bubblegum Alley. Although unclear when this strange toursit attraction originated, thought to be sometime between the end of WW2 and the 1950’s, it’s worth a visit just for the quirkiness of it. The next day we dedicated to exploring more of Wine Country.

Me at Kynsi Wines

  • Kynsi Wines – Our first stop was at this lovely barn setting vineyard. With a family run atmosphere and chilled out vibes, it was the perfect start to our own wine trail.
  • Saucelito Canyon – This particular weekend in June there was a SLO wine tasting event with Saucelito Canyon being one of it’s stops. As a result there were tacos on offer and live music. We chatted to some lovely American’s for a couple of hours over wine, where we absorbed as many tips from them as we could.  Here’s a shout out to Neil, Deb, Bebe and Jim!
  • Biddle Ranch Vineyard – Set in the Edna Valley, we enjoyed some wine outside overlooking the stunning vineyard which is pictured in my featured image of this post. I’ll let that do the talking.
  • Edna Vineyards – The largest and most established of them all. This winery was impressive and beautifully presented, with each item of decor carefully chosen. Although I personally preferred the smaller wineries with a more laid back vibe, the beautiful grounds and good service was worth a visit.

Later that day we made a trip to Avilla Beach, a small town within San Luis Obispo. To our delight we attended another Farmers Market. Although on a smaller scale to the downtown market in SLO, the quality of produce didn’t suffer. If we had more time I would’ve liked to have a spa day and enjoy the mineral hot springs, go shopping or dare I say, sip some more wine! Instead my boyfriend and I enjoyed the views of the oceanfront as the sun came down.

Late afternoon at Avilla Beach

Before we left SLO we made a trip the next morning to Pismo Beach. Unfortunately our timing meant we were there during the “June Gloom” period. Nonetheless we visited it’s iconic pier and renowned turquoise waters that did not disappoint. You can also enjoy horseback riding across the dunes and capture memories that will last a lifetime at Pismo Beach. SLO CAL was named “the happiest city in the world” by Oprah, and I can definitely support this! It is a beautiful and more affordable county with so many stunning beaches and scenic hikes to complete. There is even something for culture and history lovers to do with Spanish missions to see that date back to the 1700’s! With all the charm and glamour that California holds, San Luis Obispo really appealed to me and I became more and more convinced that one day it may just be a home away from home.

If you enjoyed this you should read:

The California Travel Diaries: Welcome to San Francisco

The California Travel Diaries: Sonoma and Napa

The California Travel Diaries: Yosemite

The California Travel Diaries: Monterey to Big Sur

 

 

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