Did you use all your vacation days last year? Chances are you didn’t. According to a Glassdoor poll from 2017, the average American employee takes only half of their vacation days each year.
Maybe it feels like it’s easier to keep working than it is to plan a vacation that maximizes the time you have off each year. But studies show that people who make time for vacations have greater well-being than those who don’t, regardless of income.
The moral of the story? Don’t let those vacation days go to waste this year. In that spirit, we’ve designed a step-by-step guide to spending your well-earned time here in SLO CAL, where life’s too beautiful to rush. Use our guide to plan a trip to remember, whether it’s a solo adventure, girls’ weekend, family vacation or romantic getaway. However you decide to SLO CAL, you’ll be very glad you did.
To use those vacation days wisely, you’ll need to answer a few questions:
How long can I travel?
Some folks have just a few days to spare while others have multiple weeks. Fortunately for both of them, SLO CAL has endless appeal. Nailing down how much time you have to play with will help all the other details fall into place.
What’s my style or pace?
We all have our favorite way and speed to travel. Knowing your style will help you and any fellow vacationers to manage expectations.
Who’s coming along?
Photo credit: City of San Luis Obispo Tourism
Is it the mighty triumvirate of me, myself and I? If so, look for perfect solo activities like a hike on the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, boutique shopping around Paso Robles’s City Park, or surfing Pismo Beach.
Couples will enjoy golfing at Black Lake Golf Resort, Monarch Dunes or Cypress Ridge, taking in world-class entertainment at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre or the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center, or wine tasting along Paso Robles’s West Highway 46.
For families, opportunities for fun abound, with sunbathing on W.R. Hearst Memorial State Beach, funny business at the Great American Melodrama, and watching the life of the Great Northern Elephant Seal unfold at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery.
Girls’ trip? Pick treatments at Sol Spa in Hotel SLO, Dia Feliz Spa at the Cliffs, or River Oaks Hot Springs in Paso Robles and spend an afternoon antiquing in the seaside hamlet of Cambria or the Village of Arroyo Grande.
If Fido’s coming along, he’ll be jazzed to run and sniff with leash-free abandon at Fisherman’s Beach in Avila Beach or pup-friendly sandwich joints in San Luis Obispo like Lincoln Market & Deli, High Street Deli, and Gus’s Grocery.
What’s my budget?
This is, of course, a critical question, but no matter what your bank account looks like, there’s always plenty to do in SLO CAL.
For travelers on a tight budget, SLO CAL vacation planning is a breeze. Choose from a wide array of free attractions, from 80 miles of coastline and beaches to the Historical Cambria Walking Tour, Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, hiking, biking, fishing and more. Dining runs the gamut here, too, including knockout street tacos at Fruitiland La Casa Del Sabor, burgers at Flavor Factory, nachos at Libertine Brewing Co and more.
Folks in search of luxury will find that here, too. Sit down to a multi-course chef’s tasting menu at Michelin-starred Six Test Kitchen, or build your wine cellar with a private consultation and tasting with Tolosa Winery. Golf with an ocean view at Morro Bay Golf Course, Avila Beach Golf Resort or Sea Pines Golf Resort. Or charter a sailboat off the coast of Avila Beach and treat yourself to some of the best whale watching on the West Coast.
Where do I want to stay?
Photo credit: @dolphinbayresort_
- For luxury accommodations, try an intimate property like Hotel Cheval or Geneseo Inn in Paso Robles Wine Country, a coastal escape like Dolphin Bay Resort, or a downtown gem-like Hotel SLO or Hotel Cerro in San Luis Obispo.
Economy lodgings include home rentals, budget-friendly hotels and motels in a wide variety of locations, from downtown settings to quiet rural spots and even near the beach.
Most properties here lie somewhere between luxury and economy. For a complete list of lodging options, have a look at this comprehensive list.
How will I get there? SLO CAL is easily reachable by road, rail or air.
Photo credit: Highway 1 Road Trip
- Air travelers are in luck as San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport flies to 9 airports including San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Seattle (SEA), Denver (DEN), Dallas (DFW), Phoenix (PHX), San Diego (SAN) and Portland (PDX). What’s more, there are thousands of connections just one or two stops away.
By rail, travelers can board Amtrak’s Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner to reach the San Luis Obispo Amtrak station, close to downtown SLO. Amtrak also rolls into the Grover Beach and Paso Robles stations nearby.
To find SLO CAL by car, we’re on the coast midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on Highway 101, and also accessible from Interstate 5 via State Highways 41, 46 or 166. And while all of these routes have their own special appeal, none is more beloved than Highway 1, a scenic route that takes a little longer — and is worth every minute.