These low (and no) cost family activities prove that SLO CAL provides wonderment for all

Family vacations can add up fast, but that doesn't mean you need to spend an arm and a leg in SLO CAL. Pack the car, grab your bag and prepare to be wowed by SLO CAL's low (or no) cost family-friendly activities. Whether you take in a movie under the stars or get creative with a box of crayons, you'll be surprised to see how many great ways you can bring your loved ones together on a budget.


1. Family outing gets wild
Where: Atascadero
Cost: $5-$12

Take a walk on the wild side. Head to Atascadero for the Charles Paddock Zoo. SLO CAL’s only zoo, this is your one-stop spot to find creepy critters and furry foxes. The Charles Paddock Zoo has been delighting families for decades with its array of fascinating animals hailing from around the world. After meeting a multitude of exotic animals, relax at the Atascadero Lake Park. If the youngins still have more energy to burn, rent paddleboats or kayaks and journey around the lake. Afterward, enjoy a picnic among the lapping water as the younglings test out the monkey bars. 



2. Doodle like you mean it
Where: Morro Bay
Cost: Free

Color outside the lines. The rise of adult coloring says a lot about our culture as whole, don't you agree? It's time to put down the tablets, laptops and iPhones and pick up the crayons, watercolors and markers! The Zen Doodle Adult Coloring Book Club at The Art Center Morro Bay is the perfect place to unwind by the sea. Allow your inner child to roam free with all the colors of the rainbow at your fingertips. Who knows, your teen might even crack a smile and help you color in that complicated mandala!


4. Never leave your seat
Where: San Luis Obispo
Cost: $4-$10

When the sun goes down, the screen lights up. The whole family will love pulling into the perfect parking spot to catch a double feature film (for the price of one). San Luis Obispo's Sunset Drive-In is always playing the latest theater releases and keeps it fresh with updating the lineup each Thursday. Head to the snack bar for freshly popped popcorn, cheesy nachos, and an array of candy. Pro tip: don't forget to turn your car on intermittently if you're running the battery for the radio!



5. Enjoy the show with front row seats
Where: San Luis Obispo
Cost: $20-$37

Head for the San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre, located in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo for a play you and your kids can agree on. With new shows being introduced to the theater on a regular basis, there is sure to be a performance fit for the whole fam. With an intimate layout, there's not a bad seat in the house. Following the performance, downtown San Luis Obispo offers plenty of family-friendly eateries within walking distance or, head to the farmer's market on Thursday night and let the kiddos pick out their own fruits and veggies.


6. The elephant in the room
Where: San Simeon
Cost: Free

The drive along Highway 1 offers stunning views the whole family can relish over. The most unique, however, may be the large population of elephant seals that call San Simeon home. Make your way to the Elephant Seal Vista Point for a perfect spot to witness the action. The kids will love watching the massive seals splash, swim and scooting along the beach.