Escape the daily grind with these IRL wonders
Wipe the slate clean and reclaim your sense of calm in SLO CAL. Quiet, scenic and totally easy-going, SLO CAL is famous for its “slower” pace of life. It's time to savor the little moments and remember who you were before all the stress of modern life bogged you down. Here, the sun is always shining and the horizon is clear. There's no better place to find your center, no matter your worries. Take a deep breath. We'll show you how to slow down now.
Namaste in the vines
Get your groove back: With sun-dappled vineyards as far as the eye can see, rural Templeton offers up a uniquely relaxing vibe. Downward dog is downright rejuvenating when performed in the vineyard—just ask the kind folks at Castoro Cellars. The certified sustainable winery offers regular yoga vineyard classes throughout the year, including “yoga brunch” events. Greet the crisp morning in the vineyard, enjoy a little coffee or tea, then perform your sun salutations and work up a rejuvenating glow. Afterward, savor applewood smoked bacon, home fries with roasted veggies, fresh fruit skewers and scrambled free-range eggs. Of course, you can also sip a glass of sparkling wine (hey, you earned it).
High tide, low stress
Salt, sea and serenity: Rise and shine on the SLO CAL coast and you'll soon understand why surfers always look so happy. Get up on the chill side of the bed at Vespera on Ocean in Pismo Beach, where you'll reap all the relaxing benefits of beachside living. The beach-house style hotel boasts private balconies with ocean views to spare. An outdoor fire pit, beachfront pool deck and direct beach access allow you to feel truly at one with the ocean. Breathe in and out with the tide until you start to feel a wave of calm wash over you. Repeat daily for a full-body re-set.
Eat clean, keep the flavor
Rethink the menu: Roots on Railroad in downtown Paso Robles is more than your average health food eatery. In fact, the owners want you to question everything you know about traditional noshing. If food is thy medicine, then Roots offers up a full-body overhaul (without sacrificing any of the flavor). Swap out your regular bread heavy lunch for a Philly Cheesesteak Lettuce Wrap made with thinly sliced beef, sautéed peppers, and shredded provolone wrapped in a crisp lettuce cup. Indulge in meaty barbecue flavors without all the fat with smokey organic pulled chicken breast and cauliflower coleslaw. The Thai Chopped Salad is a crave-worthy “treat,” featuring lots of crunchy veggies and a zesty peanut dressing you'll gleefully lick off your fork. With meal prep and catering options too, you're never far from a clean bite—even as you venture back to the vacation rental.
Slow down and fuel up: Feeling too frazzled to sit down for a real conversation with a beginning, middle and end? Resolve to meet your best friends in SLO CAL, where you can cozy up to an incredible cup of coffee while catching up on all of life's adventures. Yes, you'll even use complete sentences again! KIN Coffee, located in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, is the perfect place to gather and gab (and the only place where you'll find activated charcoal and vanilla oat milk latte to sip on while doing so). Drawing inspiration from the 1800s siphon brewing technique—a two-chamber system which percolates over an open flame and mixes the vapor pressure with coffee grounds—this is your morning Joe, elevated. Antique furniture and rustic décor allow patrons to further imagine stepping back into a simpler time. Well, a simpler time, with free WiFi.
Water, sun and chimes: Buying more “stuff” is not great advice for calming the mind and centering the spirit, but some purchases bestow more overall happiness points than others, don't you agree? When life gets hectic, we like to get our hands dirty in the garden (after all, a thriving garden does a lot to lower our blood pressure). The Garden Gallery – a Garden Store on the Morro Bay Embarcadero features pleasant wind chimes and soothing garden décor—plus, you'll get panoramic views of Morro Rock while you shop.
A sweet celebration, just because: You need no particular reason to honor this moment with a rush of decadent sugar—just being in SLO CAL is enough to cheer about! At Delicias De Mi Tierra in Nipomo, you'll be treated to Mexican inspired baked goods and specialty breads crafted to make your tastebuds dance. Marvel at the artful offerings decked out in colorful pink, teal, orange and red (it truly makes new meaning of the phrase “taste the rainbow.”). Take the opportunity to savor the singular bliss that comes from enjoying a fresh-baked morsel made with love. Not because you worked hard. Not because you got that thing done. But because you deserve it, even if all you accomplished today was a successful nap.
Re-wild your nature
Unleash your inner animal: Stretch your legs and allow your mind to wander as you traverse the tree-studded wonderland of Atascadero. With dramatic moss hanging from outstretched oak branches, bright wildflowers dotting the hillsides and plenty of deer and hawk sightings, you'll start the hike stressed and end with a renewed appreciation for the natural world (no, your screen saver doesn't count as “Mother Nature”). With Three Bridges Oak Preserve Trailhead, Cerro Alto Trail, and Stadium Park trails nearby, this family-friendly community offers blood pumping rejuvenation under a clear blue sky. Want a super-easy route with the same natural whimsy? Spend the afternoon strolling scenic Atascadero Lake Park, where swans and ducks gather and the kids can partake in adventures at the nearby Charles Paddock Zoo as their reward.