Low-key and utterly charming, San Louis Obispo County (known as SLO) is appealing to many for its celebrated wine regions, historical Spanish Mission, exciting whale watching and those oh-so-tasty, ‘farm-to-table’ restaurants. Included within the county are many beachfront communities such as Pismo, Morro Bay, Cambria and San Simeon, each with its own wonderful character.
An integral part of your Californian coastal drive, SLO will provide jaw dropping scenery along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway 1. San Simeon is the home of the famous Hearst Castle, an extravagant, Gatsby-esque stately home built high up in the hills by publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. Abundant bird and wildlife can be found on the beaches, especially at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, where in winter you will see the (not so) little seal pups being born on the shores. The little seafaring town of Morro Bay has been dubbed one of the best bird watching areas in the country, with peregrine falcons nesting on the 576 foot high ancient volcanic rock that emerges from the ocean and overlooks the bay. Cambria is a quaint beach village with the fantastic Moonstone Beach and bluff top boardwalk, providing a one and a half mile scenic walk. Pismo Beach is livelier and more family friendly; whether you want to saddle up for a horseback ride along the coast or rent an ATV to explore the dunes, spend the day kayaking or even venture out on a whale watching trip. From October to February, you can even see beautiful displays of nature as thousands of monarch butterflies arrive at the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove.
If you are visiting on a Thursday, you’ll find the wonderful Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market on Higuera Street. Celebrating 35 years this year, it is undoubtedly one of the most treasured events in the county and has a long history of bringing locals and visitors together to eat, shop and enjoy live music.