Head to San Louis Obispo for your next Vacation Destination

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California is a popular vacation destination for a reason. Our lovely coastal state boasts miles and miles of stunning beaches, is home to towering redwoods and bountiful vineyards, and provides countless activities for any number of interests.

Surfing, hiking, shopping, wine tasting, it’s all here. Everyone knows that hitting up San Francisco or Los Angeles is a must for those new to the Golden State, but besides these two cities there are many other gems worth the visit.

San Diego locals love to relax and don’t necessarily need to spend their holidays anywhere else (San Diego has so much to offer, why leave?). However, even those of us blessed to live in such a wonderful area feel restless at times and need an adventure. It’s good to explore and broaden your horizons.

In the upcoming months, there are a few three day weekends on the way, and why not take advantage? Despite the fact that Punxsutawney Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter, it’s never too early to plan a weekend getaway. The brilliant California weather is sure to burst through any lingering signs of winter, anyway. Next time there’s a chance, drive five short hours up the 101 coastline to the beautiful city if San Louis Obispo.

Just far enough up the coast to no longer have quite the same vibe as Southern California but still share the same beautiful weather, SLO, as it is familiarly referred to by locals, was recently determined to be home of the nation’s happiest people. If this alone isn’t reason to visit, I’m not sure what is.

Wake up early and hit the beaches–Montana De Oro, nearby Pismo Beach, and Morro Bay all stand out as top notch places to relax in the sand. Wine taste at Central Coast wines in downtown SLO or hit up the SLO Brewery for a flight of beer and a heaping plate of nachos. Work it off afterward with an easy hike at Laguna Lake Park or a more challenging one at Cerro San Luis. Named by National Geographic as an adventure town, their profile of SLO suggests getting a bite to eat at the Big Sky Cafe and later falling asleep at the Sanitarium, which “offers wood-burning stoves in each room, local artwork, and Moroccan soaking baths.” Work it off afterward with an easy hike at Laguna Lake Park or a more challenging one at Cerro San Luis.

If you’re looking to learn a little bit while there, check out the beautiful Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa for a lesson in California history on one of the free tours. The SLO Botanical Garden, described by San Louis Obispo Vacations as “built to display the diverse native plants and flowers of the Mediterranean climate zones of the world”, is a great place to leisurely explore. If you’re a bit on the quirky side, check out Bubblegum alley, literally an alley covered in the chewed gum of many who walked through it before. Hearst Castle is also among the popular places to visit in SLO country, lived in once by newspaper personality William Randolph Hearst. The property is a must-see, and there a multitude of tours to choose from that highlight different aspects of the estate.

San Louis Obispo manages to escape the tourist town vibe that so many other places with similar things to offer (stunning nature, a plethora of things to do and see, happy and welcoming locals) tend to fall into over time. Whether or not you’re looking for a weekend of jam packed excitement and adventure, or a romantic getaway full of leisurely walks and stellar wine tasting, San Louis Obispo offers a little bit of everything to suit everyone’s interests. Take a tour, drink a beer, or do both! A three-day weekend provides plenty of time for it all.

Photos by Mike Miley and Loco Steve via flickr. 

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