Pumpkins, scarecrows and sunny beach days ahead! Fall in SLO CAL is all about enjoying a dose of outdoor fun alongside traditional seasonal festivities like hayrides, cider sipping and apple picking. Truly, it's the best of both worlds, as off-season travelers can expect temperate weather, uncrowded hiking trails, serene coastal vistas and more all while celebrating the turn of the season. Whether you're looking for pumpkin patches, apple picking, festivals or seasonal treats, you'll discover SLO CAL's cornucopia of autumnal wonders as nature intended: completely unencumbered.
Apple picking and tastingBack to Top of List
Apple picking and tasting
How many apple varieties can you name? Fuji, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith—and dozens more—await hungry visitors of SLO CAL's See Canyon each fall season. It's all happening at SLO CAL's rustic apple orchards and farm stands, many of which feature hard and fresh cider served alongside enticing extras like free range eggs, just-picked produce and local honey. Located only a few miles from the Pacific, Avila Valley is uniquely positioned to grow incredibly crisp, juicy apples that burst with that special SLO CAL flavor. Whether you picnic, U-pick, or simply pick up a few provisions for later, you'll get an up-front taste of fall's most delectable crop.
Apple education: Take a crash course in all things orchard-related at See Canyon's popular Gopher Glen, home to hard and fresh cider as well as dozens of exciting, certified organic apple varieties. Nosh on Rhode Island Greening, Skinner, Missouri Pippins, three Limbertwigs as well as super rare and exotic apples—some totally new and never-before-tasted. Hey, you never know: you (or one of your kids) might be the first to bite into a brand new apple unleashed on the world for the very first time. How's that for bragging rights? Still hankering for more knowledge and know-how? With Gopher Glen's friendly growers and pickers often onsite, you can dig into the backstory of new seeds, rootstocks and farming methods just as easily as you can take a bite.
Farm stand open from Memorial Day Weekend through late December (look for the first harvest of apples around July).
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Address: 2899 See Canyon Ranch
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
SLO Creek Farms
Pick your pleasure: This friendly U-pick apple stand isn't just a fantastic place to roll up your sleeves and fill up your basket; it's also a local hangout complete with farm stand and lawn games. The 44-acre organic apple orchard features 40 acres of organic apple trees, three acres of organic vegetables and plots bursting with sweet-smelling organic herbs and flowers (yes, you can also pick this bounty, too). As far as apples go, each variety has its moment in the sun: Fujis (pick between September and late November); Granny Smith (pick between late October and December) and Gold (pick between September and November). If all this sounds like a lot of hard work, might we suggest relaxing in the garden with a tall glass of house-made hard cider?
Farm stand and U-pick apples available September through Thanksgiving
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday
Address: 6455 Monte Road
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Avila Valley Barn
Apples and farm animals: With a rustic U-pick apple orchard, festive hay rides, and a big red barn overflowing with pumpkins, pies, and local treats, Avila Valley Barn has a way of bringing everyone together for an afternoon of fall fun. Encircled by a menagerie of happy farm animals (including chickens, goats, and llamas), you can easily wow everyone in your group with one spectacular roadside attraction (plus, you can grab great barbecue, roasted corn and sweets like ice cream and fudge all in one dynamic stop). It's easy to become distracted by all this bounty, but keep your eyes on the prize: Amazing U-pick apples, including Mutsu, Gala, Fuji, Jonalicious and Granny Smith.
U-pick apples available August through December
Hours: Farm stand open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily
Address: 560 Avila Beach Drive
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Additional farm offerings:
U-pick pumpkins and other seasonal fall produce grown on site.
Corn roaster open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday (or while supplies last)
Chicken Shack & Smoke House Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Sweet Shoppe Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Hay Rides: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday
Pony Rides: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday
Pumpkin PatchesBack to Top of List
Photo courtesy: Jack Creek Farms
Pick a Pumpkin (or three)
Grab fall by the stem: When it comes to picking the best pumpkin, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. Whether you prefer yours smooth and round, bumpy and spotted, or miniature and white, you'll find your perfect gourd at SLO CAL's festive pumpkin patches. But wait, there's so much to marvel at: stick around for hayrides, corn mazes, and farm animals, too.
Brookshire Farms Pumpkin Patch
All-day fun for everyone: Located on the border of San Luis Obispo and Los Osos, this popular patch is rife with activities—and there are so many to choose from! Although anyone can buy the patch's pre-harvested pumpkins, admission to the farm adventure area gives you and your little ones all-day access to hayrides, inflatable slides, rubber duck races, plus an obstacle course, playground and a corn maze. Bring your flashlights to explore the maze at night (if you dare).
Opens October 1
Address: 4747 Los Osos Valley Road, San Luis Obispo, CA
Cambria Nursery and Florist
Find something to take home: Explore the grounds and take home some spooky decorations too. The Cambria Nursery and Florist is a great place to get in the spirit while taking in the extensive selection of seasonal plants and decor. Pick out an heirloom pumpkin or gourd to take home to dazzle up your porch. Fall decorations are available to stock up on at the nursery’s multiple gift shops which carry a variety of seasonal halloween decorations for your home and garden. While there, stop by the pumpkin photo booth and snap a few pictures with the whole family- pups included!
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week
Address: 2801 Eton Road Cambria, CA
Chesebrough Farm Pumpkin Patch
You can't miss it from the road: Why not make this stop a family tradition? At Chesebrough Farm in Templeton, adorable scarecrows stand guard over more than 60 varieties of pumpkins, gourds and winter squash. Discover an old-fashioned roadside stand bolstered by modern perks, like customizable pumpkin scarring (think of it like a pumpkin “tattoo”), and even a pumpkin and winter squash cookbook you can take with you. Speaking of dinner, pick up a few armfuls of edible squash and corn grown onsite!
Hours: CLOSED for the 2023 season, check them out in 2024!
Address: 790 Moss Lane, Templeton, CA
Jack Creek Farms Pumpkin Patch
Life on the farm: The oldest pumpkin patch in the region, you wont want to miss Jack Creek Farms in Templeton. This farm transforms from a happy summer farm to a fall pumpkin lovers delight! Their Happy Acres experience includes farm animals, a fort maze, tractor tire garden, hay stack, corn bin and many other old time family farm activities. Pick from over 100 different varieties of pumpkins grown onsite while enjoying one of their famous cherry and apple cider slushies.
Hours: Open Monday and Tuesday - Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday - Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Address: 5000 Highway 46 West, Templeton, CA
Nipomo Pumpkin Patch
A pumpkin for every personality: Looking for a patch chock full of affordable pumpkins ranging in size from four ounces to 200 pounds? Head to Nipomo! The Nipomo Pumpkin Patch in southern SLO CAL is all about the old school art of growing gourds (they grow more than 50 varieties). You might even learn a thing or two for your own gardening game! Let me tell you—a selfie with a 200-pound pumpkin is liable to get a lot of likes on Facebook (pics are encouraged). It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, indeed.
Open September 23 - October 31
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Address: 668 Eucalyptus Road, Nipomo, CA
River K Pumpkin Patch
Room to roam: When a pumpkin patch has been around for some 50+ years, you can be pretty sure it's well worth the visit. Sure, you'll explore a vast array of pumpkins of all textures and sizes as well as enjoy festive hayrides at this Paso Robles mainstay. But the real star of the show is a massive corn maze stretching more than three acres. Yes, we said that right. Three acres! Be careful: it's easy (and fun) to get lost!
Open Oct. 1-31
Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Address: 5670 North River Road, Paso Robles, CA
Scarecrow Festival & MoreBack to Top of List
Cambria Scarecrow Festival. Photo courtesy: Highway 1 Discovery Route
Get into the community spirit
Join the fun: Experience SLO CAL like a local when you take part in the area’s colorful local fall events! From foodie fests and carnival rides to whimsical scarecrows and fine wine, you’ll discover just what makes SLO CAL so special (hint: it’s the people!)
Cambria Scarecrow Festival
Give them something to crow about: For more than a dozen years, SLO CAL's colorful coastal scarecrows have greeted Autumn visitors with fistfuls of straw, elaborate hand-made costumes and vibrantly painted smiles. The Cambria Scarecrow Festival continues to feature hundreds of scarecrows bowling, bathing, painting, pedaling, fishing and—yes, even flying—through Cambria, San Simeon and Harmony Oct. 1-31. Created by local youth and businesses, you'll get a festive wallop of local color just by taking a spin around town.
Atascadero Fall Festival
Thrills for the whole family: Carnival rides, craft beer and live music come together to create a festive celebration at Atascadero’s Fall Festival, held in Sunken Gardens Friday, Nov. 17 through Sunday Nov. 19. For the mighty fine price of free, enjoy music from 30+ bands on two stages, carnival rides and games (including a Ferris Wheel illuminated in front of the historic city hall building), local arts and crafts vendors, delicious food, craft beer, seltzer and wine, and more. The best part? With three days of nonstop fun on the roster, you won’t miss a moment.
Harvest Wine Month
Grow wild: In SLO CAL, we sure love our wine (and the busy harvest time is a flavorful expression of that passion). Barbecues, live music, winemaker dinners, barrel tastings and more unfold across the Paso Robles wine region each October! Plus, with more than 250 wineries ranging from family-owned and funky to opulent and awe-inspiring, the party can be as casual or upscale as you desire. Vertical flights, gourmet pairings or a game of horseshoes? All of these can be in your future when you celebrate harvest season in Paso Robles. In fact, there are as many local grape varietals as there are experiences to explore. Cheers to that!
Central Coast Railroad Festival
Chug into the station: Train enthusiasts, this one’s for you! The annual Central Coast Railroad Festival, hosted Oct. 6-8 throughout the region, promises to deliver your need for steam, speed and history. Marvel at these spectacular feats of engineering with exhibits at the SLO Railroad Museum, Oceano Depot, Paso Robles Pioneer Museum, and Dana Adobe, among other SLO CAL locales. You can even check out real life replica model railroads presented by the SLO Model Railroad Association. Whether you’re a wannabe engineer or just a casual admirer, you’ll find a reason to hop on board.
Art in the Park at Dinosaur Caves
Stock up on holiday presents early: Shop, eat and enjoy the view! Held 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 1 & Nov. 5 in Shell Beach, Art in the Park at Dinosaur Caves Park is the perfect place to gather unique holiday gifts (or anytime gifts) while savoring expansive views of the coastline below. The outdoor art festival features more than 50 awesome artists and vendors selling everything from glassworks, pottery, jewelry, textiles, furniture, sculpture, paintings, photography, bath and beauty products, gourmet food, plants and more. Groove to live music or sample local food and beverages without paying a penny for admission. Kind of seems like a no-brainer, right?
Octoberfest at Madonna
Grab your lederhosen: Cold beer, hot brats and lively German music--what could be a better way to ring in October? If you’re looking for a taste of SLO CAL’s diverse brews paired with authentic German grub, this Sept. 30 event held at the Alex Madonna Expo Center should be on your fall itinerary. Loosen up with live music, stein hoisting, hula hooping, fun contests, prizes and more. Needless to say, this one’s for the grown-ups 21+ only (although kids at heart are more than welcome to join in the shenanigans).
Fall TreatsBack to Top of List
Fall Treats Galore
Here in SLO CAL, something deliciously decadent lurks around every corner in the fall. Reach for ribbons of rich caramel and heaping handfuls of cinnamon, cardamom, maple, and clove. From coffees to cakes, it's inevitable to slip into the fall spirit when hitting this foodie fall guide.
Feeling extra sweet? Dive into one of Avila Valley Barn's sweetest creations - the Cider Float. Sip on locally made apple cider with vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and cinnamon sugar. The cherry on top is house-made donuts. While you're there, take a stroll through the pumpkin patch and a photo in the field of sunflowers.
Throw it back to a nostalgic popcorn treat of yesteryear—with a twist! Paso Almonds' Brittle Corn is a combo of two popular fall offerings: fresh-popped popcorn and chewy, almond-studded brittle. Made in small batches in San Luis Obispo, this is one treat you'll savor all through the fall season (and perhaps even want to gift later in the year—if you have any left). See why the Los Angeles Times called these morsels “Fresh, perfectly crunchy, addictive and chock full of roasted almonds.” Find them in shops all around SLO CAL including The General Store, SLO Sweets, and more.
Follow your nose to Sally Loo's Wholesome Cafe, and you will be handsomely rewarded with pumpkin waffles, sprinkled with pecans and sliced apples. Inside this charming community-loved coffee shop (located in San Luis Obispo's Historic Railroad District), you'll find baristas mixing up the autumnal beverages galore, including hot chocolate, seasonal lattes, and thick milkshakes. We suggest the house-made Chai, made with fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, whole cloves, cardamom pods, black tea, and your milk of choice (dairy, almond, soy—there's always something new to discover), it's basically fall in a cup. And best of all, all sales from the pumpkin waffles, butternut squash tacos and apple brie sando, will all go to benefit charity.
Pumpkin and Maple Pecan Ice Cream
Having a bad day? Not on our watch! Wrap your lips around a double scoop of pumpkin or maple pecan ice cream, made right here in SLO CAL. Also available in sandwich form, the pumpkin and gingersnap package will fill you up like the sweet treats you used to sneak from grandmas kitchen. Negranti Creamery, located in Templeton's Tin City, is a wonderland of dairy delights. Made from local sheep's milk and mixed with local ingredients, every pint is a love letter to SLO CAL's robust flavors.
Fall Themed Donuts
Can SloDoCo in San Luis Obispo and Atascadero get any more wonderful? Try their fun fall and Halloween-themed donuts to celebrate the autumn season. Of course, their maple buttermilk, maple old-fashioned, maple bacon and maple chocolate chip are still on the shelf as part of over 100 donut selections! If pumpkin is your ingredient of choice, try the pumpkin pie pillow. You won't regret diving in to indulge your sweetest desires. Next stop: the pumpkin patch!
Iced Apple Chai Cider
When downtown SLO, stop into Skipper’s Brew on Monterey Street to sample their iced apple chai cider, made with Masala chai and their house-made apple cider. Grab a cup and browse the bevy of surrounding shops around SLO. Whatever the weather, you can choose between having the cider served hot or cold.
Apple Compote Pancakes
When visiting your favorite elephant seal or spying for zebras and lighthouses off of scenic Highway 1, stop by the San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill, where they are celebrating fall in a big way. Warm apple compote pancakes topped with a dollop of cream and powdered sugar will fuel you up for your next adventure.
Always a sure-bet in San Luis Obispo, Scout Coffee not only offers an assortment of latte syrup and sauces from scratch but also has pumpkin milkshakes on their fall menu. With the heat still in full swing, stop in to cool off and treat your tastebuds to this decadent delight. While you slurp—or spoon, whatever your preference—enjoy their scratch-made bakery selections like pumpkin shortbread cookies, pumpkin bread with streusel topping or apple hand pies with salty caramel.