PLAN ON SLO CAL TO HELP TACKLE YOUR BIGGEST NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
SLO CAL is the place where time slows down, and dreams are realized. A four-hour drive from either Los Angeles or San Francisco, SLO CAL’s Central Coast wide open spaces and ease of pace will have your spirits renewed in no time. Whatever your 2021 resolution—to find more serenity, become more mindful of the bounty around you, unplug for a weekend with the ones you love or to expand your palate—SLO CAL has you covered.
RESOLUTION: EXPERIENCE THE CALIFORNIA DREAM
Of the many reasons to visit SLO CAL, one of the most popular is the variety of isolated coastline! Get ready for fewer deadlines and more tan lines while you strap on some flip flops, grab a towel and stake your spot along the SLO CAL coast. Sink your toes in the warm sand in the protected bay of Avila Beach. Or, if you prefer, sightsee off Cambria's rugged cliffs and hunt for moonstones along the shore.
Watch: Until mid-March, the largest seals in the northern hemisphere, Elephant Seals, will be resting on the shorelines of San Simeon. Up to 25,000 elephant seals annually visit The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. With 60 miles of coastline in SLO CAL, you've found your next road trip idea to find many dazzling ocean animals including surfers all along the SLO CAL shores. Perhaps searching for playful sea otters or seals off the Morro Bay Estuary Nature Center and Harford Pier in Port San Luis would turn your head too. But don’t miss the forest for the trees, and keep your eye out in the deeper waters, as the entire population of the eastern gray whale passes through SLO CAL on their migratory pattern and can often be spotted.
Eat: When your tummy begins to rumble, head to Morro Bay Oyster Company, where premium oysters reign king. “The Pacific Gold Reserve” are sweeter than other oysters because they’re tumbled naturally in the tide. Top chefs like New York’s Daniel Boulud and LA’s David Lefevre have served them at their high-end restaurants, too! Find these morsels at local restaurants and fish markets around SLO CAL. Marisol at The Cliffs is another perfect spot to raise a glass and grab your take-out to take in the views of SLO CAL’s spectacular sunset with A+ dining to fulfill any anniversary trip idea list or vacation idea for couples.
RESOLUTION: STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS
See: From March to April, the Carrizo Plain National Monument can produce some of the most vivacious fields of color with their super bloom bouquet. Not guaranteed every year, but when these fields come alive with spring life of flowers, it is a sight to behold. Walk through these spacious fields with your family to create an overload of sensation you’re bound to remember. If you're struggling to find ideas for family vacations, SLO CAL is it! In San Luis Obispo, stroll through five acres of Cal Poly’s Leaning Pine Arboretum. Open 8am-5pm Monday-Saturday, you’ll be transported to five Mediterranean climate regions: Australia, California, Chile, the Mediterranean basin and South Africa, in addition to the New Zealand garden and Palm and Aloe garden.
Shop: When not in pandemic times, visit the Cal Poly university plant shop, near the parking area of the Leaning Pine Arboretum to take a piece of SLO CAL home with you. Shop their selection of succulents and many outdoor and indoor plant varietals. If you don’t have a green thumb and prefer bouquets guaranteed to last for years, check out the dry arrangements from Idlewild Flowers in Los Osos/Baywood.
More to Sea: Bouquets of color and variety can also be found in the 60 miles of SLO CAL coastline in tide pools, but only enjoy with your eyes. Visit with bare feet to minimize your impact on these fragile ecosystems. And watch your step; things can be slippery in marine habitats. San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos and Montaña de Oro are all havens for these wondrously colorful seascape filled with hermit crabs, sea stars, anemones, urchin, limpets, barnacles, chitons, mollusks and turban snails. Greenery in the water, kelp, kombu, rockweed and sea lettuce are also on display.
Eat: If you’re feeling adventurous, take a seaweed foraging tour with Marley Family Seaweeds to discover even more behind the nutrients behind these tide pools and coastline forests. Learn everything you can about the wild superfoods floating in the waters of SLO CAL.
RESOLUTION: EXPLORE WINE COUNTRY
Wine Country isn't as far away as you might think. Four hours from Los Angeles or San Francisco in either direction sits the 250+ wineries of SLO CAL. With two renowned regions at your fingertips—Paso Robles to the north and SLO Coast Wine region the south—plus lots of incredible tasting rooms in Avila Beach, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Templeton and San Miguel to name a few, your next great glass is just around the corner. With these exceptional tasting experiences come stellar vineyard tours, behind the scenes classes and winery stays, too. So, what shall it be? Red, white or something in-between?
Taste: The tasting experiences have been somewhat different in a pandemic, but still happening. If you’re in the market, enjoy a beautiful sipping experience at one of SLO CAL's outdoor winery tasting rooms. And the best part, order a couple bottles to enjoy while you're back home. Some wineries will even ship your tasting experience to enjoy while you plug-in to video chat with a privately guided experiences. We're very accommodating in SLO CAL—all you need to do is decide your preference.
Transport Yourself: If your European dream vacation is unreachable and you’re looking to plan an experience in SLO CAL, look no further than the Tuscan influence of Paso Robles. Settled below Heart Hill in Paso Robles, Niner Wine Estates will transport you to the most idyllic European escape, even if you're just picking up a bottle. British TV producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick take the San Miguel wine experience will draw you overseas as well. In the Adelaida District of Paso Robles, Halter Ranch is owned by a Swiss philanthropist and businessman and offers multi-sensory adventures, from wine and food to the barnyard railroad, Range Rover excursions and private lodging. Growing up in the “Paris of the Middle East” (Beirut, Lebanon), Georges and Daniel Daou bring their European influences to the breathtaking hilltop of Daou Vineyards in Paso Robles. Taste the terroir of France in Paso Robles from L'Aventure Winery, with owner/winemaker roots in Burgundy and Bordeaux, and Clos Solene owner/winemaker originating out of the south of France near the Spanish border.
RESOLUTION: SUPPORT LOCAL
One thing is for sure: SLO CAL has many local purveyors and artisan makers to browse in shops, pop-up markets and boutiques. Perhaps the best feature is proximity to all those wineries and breweries scattered right in the middle of wine country. Hey, who says you can’t chill when supporting local? Plus, life is too short to drink boring beer. SLO CAL is at the epicenter of the craft beer explosion. With dozens of craft breweries—including microbreweries producing small batch rotating taps and larger beer establishments with beer gardens and food trucks—there is a craft beer experience for every taste. Don't forget to take a few growlers, crowlers or cans home with you! Better pack that cooler.
Local Brews: Humdinger Brewing supports the cool Arroyo Grande craft beer scene (also home to popular Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company). Humdinger’s IPA-forward beers also feature some lagers. The Humdinger was created by two brewers, Lee Samways and Justin Amy, who met through local home-brewing clubs. Taste their dreams realized! This is what happens when one resolution meets another. Looking for a super casual, family-friendly brewery to bring the whole fam for a long afternoon of sipping in the sun? The Backyard in Paso Robles features 24 taps of craft brews. Plus, with corn hole, shuffleboard and a kid's game area, everyone's invited to hang, even the puppy.
Shop: Of course you’ll want to take some time to browse our marvelous antique stores in Paso Robles and the north coast, especially. You may want to try San Luis Obispo’s Len Collective, or there’s The Mercantile at Cattaneo Bros and The General Store in Paso Robles for all your jewelry, giftware and goods. Everyone’s going to want a souvenir, frothy or not.
RESOLUTION: FIND YOUR FOODIE FOOTING
If you find yourself in a culinary rut, SLO CAL has just the dish to get your tastebuds back on track. With diverse dining, cozy coffee and cocktail creations, you’ll soon find yourself immersed in a world of fresh flavors from morning to night.
Coffee: Coffee and chill. You don't have to be a coffee snob to order a hot cup at WithCo Coffee. The newly opened java hangout located in San Luis Obispo's booming Creamery Marketplace is ground zero for single-origin coffees, all of which rotate throughout the year. You can also pick up a cup of chia pudding or an amazing fresh-baked pastry while you're at it. The owners of Kreuzberg Coffee drew influence to create their open-air, eclectic patio-driven shop in San Luis Obispo after becoming nostalgic for those shops found in Berlin. Enjoy the SLO CAL breeze with an imported or domestic brew when you’re not craving caffeine with them, for the full German experience.
Dine: Located just a stone's throw away in San Luis Obispo's Creamery Marketplace, you'll also find Mistura Restaurant, offering up unique Peruvian dishes that are sure to expand your culinary knowledge to new parts of the globe. Explore modern gastronomy with a constantly evolving and eclectic menu that features sustainable, local and native ingredients all with a Peruvian twist. Looking for a sophisticated spot to nibble small plates paired with local libations? Follow the canopy of colorful hanging umbrellas at LaDonna's in Atascadero.
Nightcap: One last drink before you head off to bed? Stop by Nightcap, an exclusive cocktail lounge at Granada Hotel & Bistro in San Luis Obispo featuring exquisitely crafted cocktails, bites, and sipping spirits. Better yet, hotel guests receive convenient access to the lounge throughout their entire stay when you finally dust off your suitcase.
RESOLUTION: DO SOMETHING ADVENTUROUS
SLO CAL is the perfect place to shake off those winter doldrums and renew your perspective on the world. Life is meant to be lived fully, so fill up your cup in SLO CAL. Now is the time to dive headfirst into new experiences that truly push you out of your comfort zone and into a world of beauty and culture. Yes, you will have to get off your couch to do this. But we promise—it will be so worth it!
Paddle: Bust out the sunblock and make a break for the water. Yes, we're talking about SLO CAL's aquatic attraction, Estero Adventure. Imagine commandeering an electric pontoon boat. You'll spend the day privately floating around Morro Bay's scenic harbor, where seals and otters are known to pay visits. Totally silent and with minimal environmental impact, the boats offer a relaxing ride around the bay—plus, protective roofs and adjustable panels allow for a genuinely chill, private ride. Reserve your rental at the Estero Inn (boats launch from the hotel dock). Kayaks and paddleboards are also available for hourly rental.
Soar: Madonna Inn is taking you to new heights, on a high-flying trapeze. Hour-long lessons either at 1:30 p.m. or 3 p.m. are brought to groups of up to 10 people by the acrobatic professionals at Circus Vargas & Pneumatic Arts. Private classes of up to five people are also offered Thursday through Monday at noon.
Learn: Cass Winery has a whole slew of learning adventures for guests including olive oil pressing, archery, beekeeping, winemaking, cooking classes and photography workshops. So wherever your adventure bone is inclined, visitors may want to inquire with Camp Cass to see where you can enroll.
RESOLUTION: FIND HAPPINESS ALL AROUND
With studies showing people are 97% happier having a trip planned, give SLO CAL a chance to win your heart. Our wide-open hiking trails, distanced beaches and globally-influenced take-out selections will transport you to another world—welcoming you to the life you always wanted in SLO CAL.