Family Fun Awaits in SLO County

One of the greatest things about San Luis Obispo County is how family friendly it is. From outdoor adventures, to children’s museums, seaside restaurants and shops, and elephant seal watching, San Luis Obispo County has something wonderful for everyone in the family. Here is a three-day trip packed with fun and memories that will last your family a lifetime.

Day One

On the first day, arrive in the beautiful town of Nipomo. This quaint community is nestled in the foothills with a variety of scenic views: acres of avocado and lemon orchards, sand dunes bordering the ocean, and stately rows of eucalyptus trees.

NIPOMO

•Take a visit to Oso Flaco Lake, where you’ll one of the most scenic natural areas all along California’s coast.

•Walk the boardwalk to see find a viewing platform that affords scenic views of the entire San Luis Bay from Point San Luis in the north, to Mussel Rock in the south

Distance from Nipomo to Arroyo Grande: 9 miles (app. 11 min)

ARROYO GRANDE

•Take a drive to Arroyo Grande Creek’s “swinging bridge.”First built from rope in the 1880's, the swinging bridge that crosses Arroyo Grande Creek is justly famous. At 171 feet long and 40 feet above the creek, it is a memorable way to reach a fun destination in the middle of town in an area known as "The Village.”

•Enjoy an afternoon of Fiction, Fun, and Fantasy through popular children’s literature read by local story tellers every Tuesday from 3:30-4:15pm. Held in one of the premier ice cream parlors in the state, Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab, this event will surely please the entire family.

Distance from Arroyo Grande to Oceano: 3 miles (app. 8 min)

OCEANO

•Take the family horseback riding on the beach!

•Try your hand at kite flying on the beach - it's always great kite-flying weather in this neck of woods.

Distance from Oceano to Grover Beach: 2 miles (app. 5 min)

GROVER BEACH

•Rent some ATV’s and be a modern “duneite” with your 4-wheeler freedom!

•Visit The Children’s Interactive Science Center at the Exploration Station. This Center is designed for youth of all ages, and is filled with interactive science exhibits that have been created to inspire and educate.

Distance from Grover Beach to Pismo Beach: 4.5 miles (app. 7 min)

PISMO BEACH

•Have a kid who loves the beach and dinosaurs? Dinosaur Caves Park in Pismo Beach has expansive ocean views and giant creatures to play on, it might be the perfect place to work off some youthful energy.

•After working up an appetite, grab some clam chowder, take a stroll down the pier and put your feet in the sand and soak in the beautiful ocean view.

Distance from Pismo Beach to Avila Beach: 7 miles (app. 10 min)

AVILA BEACH

•Avila Valley Barn is a favorite spot to stop to buy the freshest fruit and vegetables grown locally, pick up a bakery treat or gift item, or just to take the kids to visit the farm pets or go for a hayride and pick fresh produce for the first time.

•Take a guided tour of the historic and beautiful Point San Luis Lighthouse!

Next, make your way toward Edna Valley and beautiful downtown San Luis Obispo to enjoy all that it has to offer.

Distance from Avila Beach to San Luis Obispo: 12 miles (app. 15 min)

SAN LUIS OBISPO

•Visit the Children’s Museum and see what all three stories have to offer for all family ages. Enjoy storybook reading, fun with costumes, dinosaur bone digging, an earthquake shaft, and a movie set.

•Stroll through downtown to witness its charm, restaurants, shops, and the historic Mission of San Luis Obispo and it’s courtyard fountain.

Day Two

For the second day of your family getaway, enjoy an emergence of all the outdoors and wildlife that San Luis Obispo County has to offer. Start at Los Osos, a community where nature still prevails. From the moment you enter the "Valley of the Bears" you enter a truly enchanted part of the California Central Coast.

Distance from San Luis Obispo to Los Osos: 11 miles (app. 16 min)

LOS OSOS

•Take a stroll in Elfin Forest supports more than 200 species of plants, as well as 110 kinds of birds, 22 species of mammals and 13 species of reptiles and amphibians. It is home to rare plants, butterflies, snails and birds. This 4/5 mile boardwalk loop, constructed in 1999, provides access for young and old, walkers and wheelchair users, and protects the forest's sensitive habitat.

•Awe over the majestic Montaña de Oro California State Park and take a seaside hike, search for caves, sea creatures, and wildlife.

Distance from Los Osos to Morro Bay: 5.5 miles (app. 9 min)

MORRO BAY

•Marvel at the Morro Bay rock in this picturesque seaside village.

•Take a family kayak across the sparkling Morro Bay after enjoying some locally caught seafood.

Distance from Morro Bay to Atascadero: 17 miles (app. 24 min)

ATASCADERO

•Enjoy some “monkey business” at the wonderful Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero. Set in beautiful Atascadero Lake Park, the Charles Paddock Zoo is the home of rare Indo-Chinese Tigers, Spider Monkeys, Meerkats, and many more unique species.

•Enjoy a family picnic and near downtown Atascadero’s beautiful fountain

Distance from Atascadero to Templeton: 6 miles (app. 6 min)

TEMPLETON

•Visit the Happy Acres Family Farm in Templeton! You’ll learn how to milk one of the wonderful goats, blend your own fresh cheese to take home, meet the goats in person, bottle feed and snuggle with the newborns, and mingle with the miniature horses and other friendly farm animals.

•Take a walk along the business district that features western-flavored restaurants, antique shops, a museum, and an old-fashioned hardware store.

Distance from Templeton to Paso Robles: 5 miles (app. 7 min)

PASO ROBLES

•See restored and preserved military air crafts, vehicles, and memorabilia at the Estrella Warbirds Museum.

•Enjoy an outdoor concert or farmers market while enjoying unique boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, and landmark buildings.

Distance from Paso Robles to San Miguel: 9 miles (app. 11 min)

SAN MIGUEL

•The historic San Miguel Mission is a must see for its beauty and charm, walk the outside grounds and visit the Mission’s gift shop for some one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

Day Three

On your third and final day of adventure, take it all in with unmatched scenery attractions. Drive to the beach town of Cayucos. This town is full of antique shops and history from the settling of California.

Distance from San Miguel to Cayucos: 34 miles (app. 42 min)

CAYUCOS

•Try your hand at surfing or boogie boarding, with great waves and a long stretch of sand, this beach will surely be a family favorite.

•Fish off the pier, explore the tidepools, or just enjoy some relaxation and fun on the sandy beach!

Distance from Cayucos to Cambria: 13 miles (app. 16 min)

CAMBRIA

•Take a lovely stroll along the unique beach boardwalk that runs from Leffingwell Creek to the southern cove.

•Keep your eye out for harbor sea lions, seals and otters among its rocky coves.

•Then take a peek into an impressive selection of fine restaurants, specialty shops, and art galleries.

Distance from Cambria to San Simeon: 6 miles (app. 7 min)

SAN SIMEON

•Schedule a tour at the world-famous Hearst Castle high on a hill above San Simeon.

•Along the rocky shore, view the elephant seal lounge, otters playing in the surf, and see the beautiful San Simeon Pier that casts out into the turquoise ocean just below Hearst Castle.