If you know me fairly well, you’ve most likely asked me why I go to SLO so often. Did you go to school there? No. Are you visiting friends? No. (Also, if you know me, you’ll know that I have five friends, tops). Did you grow up there? Nope. Well, sort of. 15 years ago the aunt who took me to Disneyland every weekend moved to the central coast for what we all thought would be a short stint.
Lucky for us, it turned into fifteen years, SLO county turned into a second home for our entire family and a future home for many of us. Head to SLO for a week or a weekend and you’ll return feeling refreshed, charmed and extra grateful for small towns.
Here’s where to head if you’re planning on visiting San Luis Obispo county:
Morro Bay: 13 miles north of SLO proper is the little retiree beach town of Morro Bay, where I honestly spend most of my time. Head to Morro Strand Beach with your dog or with your friends or family, take in Morro Rock from afar and collect real life sand dollars instead of buying them from the souvenir shop. Taco Temple has been around for a lot longer than we’ve been going there and that little California-fusion Mexican restaurant has expand their space but still serves killer seared scallop tacos.
San Luis Obispo: Ahh, my favorite city in the whole wide world (for now). I can spend hours in downtown San Luis Obispo reading a book, walking around, drinking a chai latte from Scout Coffee and shopping at all of my favorite shops like Len Collective and these other cute shops. If you’re feeling outdoorsy and have the urge to sweat, hike up Bishop’s Peak along with every other SLO county resident in town and their dogs and admire the view from the top. Afterwards, go to High Street Deli for the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat (just thinking about the Doobie Dip is making my mouth water rn). Just a bit outside of Downtown SLO is the Sunset Drive-in Movie theater, one of that last few in California. The best part about drive-ins? YOU CAN BRING ALL OF THE SNACKS YOU CAN AND WANT TO EAT.
Los Osos: This tiny beach town with virtually no beaches is completely surrounded by coast—you pretty much can’t avoid looking at the deep blue sea the entire time you’re in Los Osos. Hike Montano del Oro to visit the tide pools (with actual starfish!) and eat greasy burgers and onion rings from Sylvester’s Burgers.
A couple things about San Luis Obispo:
- Everyone’s nice here, so don’t bring your city jerkiness to these people.
- Always pack workout clothes and hiking shoes—you never know when you’ll want to pull over and explore.
- Bring plenty of cash. This is the place where I discovered the joy of farmers markets, so discover them for yourself too!
Honestly, this (brief) travel guide to San Luis Obispo is really just a way for me to remind me of the place I love most. I hope you love it too!