Grab your best buds and head to SLO CAL for a day of food, fun and friendship
Tag a friend! Conveniently located between Los Angeles and San Francisco, SLO CAL is the perfect meeting place for your best buds this November. Plus, when you celebrate Friendsgiving in SLO CAL, there's so much to be thankful for. For instance, in no particular order: cold craft beer, oodles of good vibes, zero traffic jams, clear blue skies, beautiful rolling vineyards, laid back beach days, and plentiful farmers markets bursting with the finest fall flavors. After all, your friends are the family that you actually get to choose. Shouldn't you choose your Friendsgiving travel plans wisely? Follow this SLO CAL itinerary for the perfect day of adventure, selfies and—of course—food!
8:00 a.m. - Get caffeinated in Oceano
Meeting place: Quintessa Coffee Roasters, 1945 Front Street, Oceano
Start your Friendsgiving adventure in southern SLO CAL. The undulating dunes of Oceano are mesmerizing, especially in the brisk morning light. So many discoveries lie ahead on your special day of friend-fueled fun. Take the time now to charge your phones and recharge your energy reserves. Quintessa Coffee Roasters is here to perk up your morning with specialty blends and small-batch brews. Located right off scenic Highway 1 in Oceano, this family-owned shop has the a.m. buzz you need to get the friendly festivities rolling.
Next up: Let's trot! Anyone up for a horseback ride along the beach? If horseback riding isn't your thing, perhaps slip behind the steering wheel of an ATV. Yep, you can totally rev up and down the dunescape (talk about making memories that will last a lifetime). This is so much better than playing tag as kids!
10:00 a.m. - A sweet fill-up in Arroyo Grande
Meeting place: Sidewalk Cafe, 130 west branch St STE A, Arroyo Grande
Linger over a big, hot breakfast and catch up with your besties while forks fly. This is an excellent time to break out the photos of that new baby or go over all the details of your new promotion. Good news is contagious! Everyone may be living their own lives these days, but when you can come together over fabulous food, it's like no time has passed. We suggest ordering up the french toast at Sidewalk Cafe in Arroyo Grande for maximum joy (you'll be served a heaping stack of cinnamon swirled goodness dusted in powdered sugar). Pour on the maple syrup and let the good times roll on. Sharing food—and oversharing in general—are very much encouraged.
Next up: Walk off those calories along the historic streets of the Village of Arroyo Grande. An array of unique antique stores offer up fun for collectors and window shoppers, too. Plus, there's even an ancient Swinging Foot Bridge nearby that's just begging for a wobbly group selfie. Want to get your blood pumping a little more? Enjoy freshwater fishing and water sports of all kinds at nearby Lopez Lake, a truly scenic place for an afternoon hang.
11:30 a.m. - Pleasure at Pismo Pier
Meeting Place: 100 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach
Life is busy. When you're all together, time is so precious. Why spend these moments waiting in line or fighting big crowds? Fall is the perfect time to enjoy SLO CAL's serene, uncrowded beachfronts. The Pismo Beach Pier—the sixteenth longest pier in California with a length of just over 1,200 feet—recently re-opened to much fanfare. A new pedestrian bridge now extends coastal access, connecting Shore Cliff Hotel and Pismo Lighthouse Suites along the coastline, offering unobstructed views of Pismo Beach and the pier. Take advantage of the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll and breathe in the fresh sea air with your fave peeps.
Next up: Ready to roll around in the surf? The whole gang can easily rent wetsuits, boogie boards, surfboards, kayaks—whatever your hearts desire. With surf shops galore, you'll find everything you need to experience the beach first-hand. What better way to bond than wiping out together?
12:30 p.m. - A twist on turkey in San Luis Obispo
Meeting Place: 350 High Street, San Luis Obispo
Start a brand-new turkey tradition! The fam is probably famished by now, so feed them well. Beware, though—you may need a long nap after what we have in store for you. High Street Market & Deli in San Luis Obispo is known for its mouthwatering sky-high sandwiches and laid back patio area perfect for your party. These true sandwich artists have taken traditional Thanksgiving turkey to new heights with a massive stack of turkey, cheese, tomato, lettuce, bacon, peppers, avocado, onion, lettuce, and whatever other toppings you can dream up (sky's the limit here). Make your own DIY sando or order from the locally beloved menu: There's always seasonal sandwiches to salivate over. Oh, and don't forget the craft beer! As if you would.
Next up: Walk the few blocks into downtown San Luis Obispo and check out SLOMA (San Luis Obispo Museum of Art) or simply shop the many locally owned boutiques located in the downtown epicenter. Don't miss Bubblegum Alley, which just begs for a selfie (and, if you so wish, you can even add your own sticky addition to the historic wall). Nearby Los Osos and Montana de Oro offer up spectacular hiking opportunities—head out now and you'll still catch plenty of SLO CAL sun.
2 p.m. - Check into Morro Bay charm
Meeting Place: 1170 Front Street, Unit C, Morro Bay
You've already explored so much of SLO CAL and it's only 2PM! It's probably time to check in to your lodging (and you're probably looking forward to a blissful nap). With it's old school harbor view and bustling Embarcadero, Morro Bay is a great home base for your entire crew to regroup and chillax. Morro Bay’s newly opened Salty Sister at Morro Rock hotel is now the closest lodging property to the iconic Morro Rock and offers a stunning panoramic view of the bay from a private roof-top deck. With six individual units designed with a beachy feel (and beautifully decorated living areas with high wood-beamed ceilings and hardwood floors throughout), you'll be living that SLO CAL lifestyle. It's like you're back in the dorms—just with a lot better food and way better decisions!
Next up: You've got to try some taffy, right? Stroll the Embarcadero together and marvel at the fresh seafood being hauled in by local fishermen and women. Shuck the afternoon away at Grassy Bar Oyster Company's live tank facility, where fresh oysters are stored in pods that you can purchase right out of the water! Enjoy these local delicacies fresh on the half shell or take a bag to go from the new retail shop. Talk about a killer appetizer (just don't fill up too much).
3:30 p.m. - Imbibe in Atascadero
Meeting Place: 5840 Traffic Way, Atascadero
Hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere! Head to Atascadero for regional craft beer, cider and fine local wines. At The Raconteur Room, the drink menu is as eclectic as the ambiance, and always evolving with the seasons. Listen to live tunes, spin a few records (remember those?) or just kick back and exchange a few stories from yesteryear. Crazy to think that the 90s were thirty years ago. Now is the time to cheers to the fact that, one day, these will be the good old days.
Next up: Stroll downtown Atascadero and check out the local shops on Traffic Way. Be sure to mosey over to the historic double domed rotunda located in Sunken Gardens. Nearby, you'll find the iconic Carlton Hotel, with its stately columns and unmistakable grandeur. Nearby Santa Margarita is home to Margarita Adventures, where you can sip local wines and get your fill of thrills while zip-lining above the vineyard! Think you can squeeze all that in before dinner? Well, you can certainly try.
4:30 p.m. - Super supper in Paso Robles
Meeting Place: 3070 Limestone Way, Paso Robles
Dine early so you can fit even more fun into your evening. In Paso Robles, the growing season never stops! That means you and your friends can nosh on incredible produce in spring, summer, and fall. This time of year, you'll find locally raised meats and regional seafood paired with farm-fresh squash soups, crunchy kale salads topped with Paso Robles-grown walnuts and almonds, a plethora of roasted root veggies, coveted Chanterelle mushrooms and everyone's favorite, tangy citrus and creamy avocado (which we're extremely lucky to have both 365 days a year). Tin Canteen—located in nearby Templeton’s own industrial district-turned-foodie paradise—offers up fresh pasta made in house at the adjacent pasta factory, Etto Pastificio, as well as wood-fired pizzas topped with all the fall bounty Paso Robles farms have to offer.
Next up: Nearby Templeton is home to a plethora of small, boutique wineries and distilleries where the wine and spirit-makers will welcome your group with open arms. Look for tasting rooms hosting late afternoon fall events, including live music shindigs. Just make sure you call or click ahead first. Groups are great, but it's always good to check in before you go. You may also want to check out these great stops before you head to dinner, depending on seasonal hours.
6 p.m. - Make memories with a mind-bending exhibit
Meeting Place: 4380 CA-46, Paso Robles
Your best friends light up your life, there's no doubt about that. Now, celebrate that sentiment in the most literal way possible. End the evening with a remarkable exhibit bound to be talked about in your circle for years. We're talking about Bruce Munro's exhibit, “Field of Light” located at Sensorio in Paso Robles. “Sensorio,” which translates to “a gift for the senses,” is just that. Explore a 380-acre, immersive open-air exhibit space nestled among the rolling hills of Paso Robles' famed wine country. Fifteen of those acres are adorned with thousands of strategically placed LED lights, allowing visitors to walk and immerse themselves in the illuminated work. Could there be a brighter way to close an exciting weekend with friends?
Next up: Plan next year's Friendsgiving early! SLO CAL is always offering new and exciting epicurean and outdoor adventures all year long.