SLO CAL (San Luis Obispo County) is a land of rugged races and relaxing recovery. With beautiful weather and diverse landscapes, all athletes, no matter their skill level, can find the right course. Signed up for the Spartan Race? Make the most of your visit with our ultimate SLO CAL Spartan itinerary: race, relax, repeat. You set the pace here. A non-stop adventure, a relaxing stay, or somewhere in between – explore the recommendations and trip tips below.  

About Spartan

The Spartan Race is coming to Santa Margarita Ranch on November 4th and 5th, 2023. Spartan tests competitors’ physical and mental strength through a series of obstacle races. Learn more about this event and all the activities surrounding the main contest before you arrive. And while you are in town, be sure you explore beyond the race grounds – immerse yourself in the unique charm of our myriad of communities and their range of offerings. To plan your trip, read on!  

Arrival and Race Prep – DAY 1

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Overview of the Carleton Hotel in Atascadero

Getting here:  

Flying, driving, or taking the train there are no obstacles (unlike on the racecourse) to getting here. Once you arrive in town check-in at your accommodation. Your San Luis Obispo Spartan Itinerary starts now. Looking for a historic victory? The Carlton Hotel in downtown Atascadero was originally built in 1928 and much of that charm is still on display for guests, especially when you select the French period inspired Carlton Suites. If you prefer something a little more coastal to get you in the right headspace for the race, check out the new Hampton Inn Morro Bay. Located along Highway 1, it’s the perfect spot to rest after you take on the Spartan challenge. For a complete list of SLO CAL accommodations click here


Settling in:  

Now that you've unpacked your bags, it’s time to double check you have all the gear necessary for the race. If you need a last-minute item, head to Running Warehouse, The Mountain Air or the local REI in San Luis Obispo. For more great shopping options click here. Once your gear is set, it’s time for carb loading! Buona Tavola in Paso Robles is a local favorite. You can find a full list of restaurants for delicious pasta and more here. Don’t holdback – go ahead, try a couple dishes before indulging in a restful night’s sleep.  

Rest & Recover – DAY 3

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Group cheersing drinks at Ancient Owl in Atascadero


Celebrate a job well done by raising a glass. Wine tasting among the wines or on the beach – SLO CAL has a variety of tasting room locations, wineries and varietals to choose from. Enjoy a bold red from a Paso AVA or a lighter Pino Noir or Chardonnay from SLO Coast Wine region. If beer is more your speed, kick back at Ancient Owl Beer Garden where the beer is always flowing. Or take in the scenery at Three Stacks and a Rock Brewing Company’s bay-side patio with uninterrupted views of Morro Rock. Click here for a complete list of wineries, distilleries, breweries, and more.  


Treat yourself:  

Muscles feeling sore? Time for a pamper session. Pick up Life Elements' CBD Muscle Relief products, made right here in Atascadero, and select a treatment from one of the best day spas in San Luis Obispo. Spa Cerro offers over eight massages to choose from, all of which can be enhanced with the addition of an aroma therapy foot bath. Sol Spa offerings include reflexology and salt stones – known for their healing properties. You can also book a soak in the natural mineral waters at River Oaks Hot Springs in addition to your massage. Want more options? Click here


Adventure Your Way Back to Training – DAY 4

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Man biking on a road through green hills with blue sky and clouds above


Outdoor adventures are plentiful in SLO CAL. Kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, paragliding, ATVing, ziplining, horseback riding, rock-climbing and more. Elevate your adventure by soaring over the hills and vines at Santa Margarita Adventures. Your booking includes 6 ziplines and endless thrills. Hit the iconic waves in Morro Bay – book a lesson with Cal Coast Adventures (a WSL endorsed surf school) or rent equipment at AzHiAzIAm surf shop, and head down the street to the ocean. For mountain climbing, check out The Pad, a local indoor climbing gym, or for more experienced climbers, trek out to Cabrillo Peak. You can explore all outdoor activities here.  


Heart pumping:  

When you are ready to return to a training routine, there are swimming, biking and trail running options nearby. Mountain biking in Los Padres National Forest or road biking along Highway 1 are top-notch. If you’re looking for more of a cruise, take a sightseeing or wine tasting excursion on a bike with Paso Robles Tour Company. You’ll find numerous trails in the area perfect for hiking and trail running. Black Hill is a 2.5-mile trail that rewards hikers with panoramic views at the top. The Irish Hills Open Space trail loop is just under 9-miles and is a wonderful choice for those looking to log greater distances.  

Race, Relax, Repeat 

We hope you enjoy this Spartan San Luis Obispo itinerary packed with things to do beyond the race. As you can see, activities to support recovery and activities to inspire your next physical feat abound. The reasons to return to SLO CAL again and again are endless. Now there’s only one thing left to do: start planning your return visit!