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California’s Secret Beachside Wine Region

San luis obispo mountains.

You may assume that a coastal wine area value flying for lies solely on the opposite aspect of a transatlantic flight—Lisbon, Santorini, even Cape City. However California’s Central Coast is hiding an underrated wine area wrapped in rolling hills and fringed by rocky shoreline.

A sprawling rural county principally generally known as a cease on scenic Freeway 1 between L.A. and San Francisco, San Luis Obispo is greatest recognized for Hearst Citadel and the coastal freeway lookout factors over Morro Bay. However pulling off Freeway 1 to remain some time at a mattress and breakfast or a classy boutique lodge means slowing down SLO-style and discovering a world of artwork galleries, quaint city facilities, and an array of hand-crafted methods to expertise California delicacies via the native and sustainable meals motion. With 250 wine producers, Paso Robles and SLO county make up the second-largest wine area in California—simply behind Napa and Sonoma.

From olive oil producers and distillery and farm trails to craft beer and, sure, plenty of wine, there’s one thing for each palate.

Slowing Down in SLO: San Luis Obispo County

When selecting lodging or a in search of a quick meal in SLO, you may discover that there are only a few chains—and nary a drive-through in sight, because of an area ordinance banning them. A cluster of arts and farming communities near the seashore, SLO is a trendy mixture of cowboy and surfer cultures that invite you to decelerate. Right here’s the best way to combine R&R with outside journey in SLO, whether or not you’re in search of a romantic getaway or a family-friendly keep.

Keep in Fashion

Kinney slo and madonna inn hotels in san luis obispo.Shannon McMahon

There’s a lodging choice for each fashion in San Luis Obispo County, and staying in a number of totally different locales is a good suggestion when you’re wanting to slot in each the seashore and the vineyards.

Downtown San Luis Obispo is a central jumping-off level for each, with loads of lodges strolling distance from the historic SLO city middle’s outlets, galleries, and eating. The Kinney SLO is a quieter artwork lodge with a pool and firepits, situated steps from the bustle and college-bar scene (California Polytechnic, higher referred to as Cal Poly, is right here) of Higuera Avenue.

In the event you’d moderately be within the coronary heart of the school city, the fashionable Granada Lodge and Bistro can also be a worthwhile al-fresco eating vacation spot; watch for a desk on the property’s completely ambient bar, Nightcap. Throughout Higuera Avenue, the beer-stocked SLO Brew Lofts are in style with the youthful crowd for apartment-style suites full with a document participant and library of vinyl to select from. Close by points of interest embrace the city’s historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, and the SLO Museum of Artwork.

For extra family-friendly digs 5 minutes (driving) away, the retro Madonna Inn is a famously pink motel-style resort that was inbuilt a Swiss-chalet type within the 1950s. Keep right here to decide on your personal kitschy themed room and benefit from the giant spa, or go to for a meal on the wildly adorned Copper Café and peruse the property.

Wine lovers will need to keep in Paso Robles—wine nation. The historic Paso Robles Inn’s new boutique property, The Piccolo will convey a trendy new roof deck and wine bar to the town’s quaint city middle. A few of the county’s greatest eating places and nightlife spots are close by, together with high-quality eating at Il Cortile, and a not-so-secret speakeasy, Eleven Twenty Two.

Pattern Native Flavors at Tin Metropolis & the Distillery Path

Tin city san luis obispo.

The rolling countryside of Paso Robles elements to disclose a hidden gem off of Freeway 101: Tin Metropolis, a contemporary outside enterprise park that’s grow to be house to greater than a dozen small wine producers, plus distilleries, breweries, a cider home, eating places, and meals outlets. Meandering among the many companies and outside patios is the right solution to pattern the various flavors of San Luis Obispo in a single place. Take your decide of the locations to imbibe and play garden video games, head to Tin Canteen for recent pasta and wood-fired pizza, and don’t miss Negranti Creamery to attempt a flight of artisanal goat-milk ice cream flavors—or you possibly can persist with the usual cow-milk model.

One other option to style the fruits of the area is alongside the close by Paso Robles Distillery Path. The brand new partnership hyperlinks a dozen farms and vineyards by means of craft spirits, typically created from wine waste: the pores and skin and seeds that may be distilled into your spirit of selection. The craft distilleries that make up the path, together with Re:Discover, Bethel Street, Azeo, and Pendray’s echo California delicacies’s mission of sustainability by turning waste into spirits starting from gin and vodka to brandies, grappa, and candy liqueurs.

Expertise the SLO County Farm Path

San luis obispo, california, farm trail.

If getting outdoor with out imbibing is extra your tempo, San Luis Obispo’s sustainable farms supply all varieties of enjoyable and academic actions. Situated close to Tin Metropolis, Templeton Valley Farms is certainly one of 9 properties, from creameries to lavender and rose farms, which have partnered with instructional FARMstead Ed to type the SLO County Farm Path. Courses and experiences vary from cow milking courses and alpaca visits to “Backyard to Glass” kombucha mocktail tastings, and olive tree plantings. See extra on the altering array of experiences right here.

Go Olive Oil Tasting

SLO cal olive grove.

One other SLO tasting alternative sans alcohol occurs to be the most effective, and least expensive, issues to do in San Luis Obispo: olive oil tasting. Kiler Ridge Olive Farm is a hilltop operation with an expansive view of SLO County. It’s free to go to and prices simply $5 for olive oil tastings (provided Thursdays via Mondays) that embrace all of the farm’s Tuscan varietals. The outside tasting patio overlooks the property’s expansive grove, and also you’ll end out your pattern flight with olive-oil-topped salted ice cream and a brand new understanding of the oil you in all probability typically purchase off the grocery retailer shelf.

Stroll Atascadero Middle

Atascadero city hall and downtown.Shannon McMahon

SLO County is rife with historic city facilities like Atascadero’s, they usually’re all distinctive. Atascadero historic previous as a hub of the ladies’s suffrage motion of the 1900s (its founder established the American Lady’s League) is clear in its road artwork, galleries, and on a free tour of the Metropolis Corridor. Atascadero Metropolis Corridor and surrounding “Sunken Gardens” additionally host a quarterly neighborhood wine and beer stroll (tickets are about $20) that welcomes locals and guests alike to wander by means of close by companies for stay music, snacks, and native beer and wine samples. Free film nights on the Metropolis Corridor garden, the summer time live performance collection, and Atascadero Farmers Market are additionally crowd favorites. See an up-to-date listing of occasions in Atascadero right here.

Drive Scenic Freeway 1 to Cambria

Cambria, california.

These scenic Freeway 1 pull-offs are a street journey must-do for a cause—Morro Bay’s rocky shoreline and SLO County’s beachside arts city of Cambria are a number of the most scenic locations on California’s Central Coast.

And what’s a comfortable arts group and not using a mattress and breakfast? Keep an evening on the Olallieberry Inn to sleep in one of many city’s oldest houses and get up to specialty selfmade meals that includes all issues olallieberry, together with Montecristo sandwiches slathered with the candy berry’s jam and a backyard salad punctuated by the treasured native berries. The music-themed inn is a soothing property and backyard that additionally gives personal transportation to and from SLO wine excursions within the space in the event you’d like to remain shut the seashore in your complete journey.

Cambria’s downtown is a worthwhile artwork stroll of cafes, outlets, and esteemed galleries like Patrick Gallery, Riccardo Gallery, and Mission Gallery. Store after which stroll to close by Moonstone Seashore’s straightforward boardwalk, or head to close by Fiscalini Ranch Protect to stretch your legs.

Discover (and Hike) Downtown SLO

You possibly can’t go to San Luis Obispo with out exploring its beating coronary heart: Downtown SLO. Stroll by way of the town’s historic Mission and select from downtown eateries like Mint + Craft cafe, Goshi sushi, and Style Craft Eatery. Head to the Junk Women, a regionally liked gallery and craft memento retailer, to select a scavenged piece of metallic and switch it into your very personal souvenir—assume metallic spoon-handle rings and classic books repurposed into spiralbound notebooks.

Mountaineering is a superb factor to do in SLO if you wish to slot in with the locals. Decide a simple route just like the downtown-adjacent Lemon Grove Loop Trailhead of Cerro San Luis (marked with a particular “M”), or deal with one thing greater like Bishop’s Peak for a two-hour-long route. Each will earn you bragging rights that you simply made it up one of many space’s 9 volcanic plugs referred to as the 9 Sisters.

Go to a Luffa Farm

Luffa farm in nipomo california.Shannon McMahon

Do you know luffas—also referred to as loofahs—develop on farms? One of the distinctive properties you’ll be able to go to in SLO is the Luffa Farm, a small operation in Nipomo that teaches guests about rising and drying out the gourds to create the pure sponges—an affordable and waste-free various to buying processed or plastic sponge brushes. You possibly can decide your personal luffa if the greenhouse fruits are in season, peel again the husk and take your personal pure luffa sponge residence. Visiting is free, for now, however the instructional expertise and souvenir warrants a beneficiant tip.

San Luis Obispo is filled with surprises. And whether or not you’re a real oenophile, trying to study extra about varietals, or just extra impressed by the seashore or farms, a mixture of culinary-inspired outside experiences and the bucket-list shoreline makes San Luis Obispo a sprawling coastal wine area value exploring.

Extra from SmarterTravel:

SmarterTravel’s Shannon McMahon writes about all issues journey, and skilled San Luis Obispo as a visitor of Go to SLO Cal. Comply with her travels on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

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