Local attractions - Recreation activities

The SLO Life ~ The City of San Luis Obispo
Secluded in the midst of rolling hills amid spectacular beaches, SLO
county offers a blending of history, beauty and recreation.
Highway 101 and the scenic pacific coast highway traverse the county along
the coast and inland.

The center of the county is home to historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa,
the world-famous Thursday Night Farmers' Market and America's first motor
hotel, The Motel Inn. Tree-lined streets, a charming shopping district, and historic
buildings comprise the delightful downtown area with its array of stores,
outdoor cafes, and coffee houses, and galleries.

If downtown is the heart of San Luis Obispo, then Mission Plaza is its soul. The
beautifully landscaped plaza is the background for many events and festivals
throughout the year. San Luis Creek meanders through the Plaza where you'll
find the Art in Public Places project on display.

Parishioners still gather daily for services at the Mission San Luis Obispo de
Tolosa, the fifth in a chain of Franciscan stations in California. Visit the original
padres' residence, now a museum where you'll find Indian artifacts, glassware,
papers, and pictures from days gone by.


WINE COUNTRY
Paso Robles growing wine country, located in San Luis Obispo County, has now officially arrived on the scene. Forbes Magazine recently dubbed it the "The Next Napa," in a special feature story in the January 2003 issue. National acclaim has been bestowed upon the prize winning wines and premium vineyards in the county.

Over 80 wineries, many offering tasting and tours in the Paso Robles and Edna
Valley/Arroyo Grande wine regions - two of California's most exciting and
promising wine-producing regions. Year-around Hospitality

Traditionally "wine country" in California has meant Napa, located in the northern
area of the state, an area encompassing 250 wineries, more per square mile
than anywhere else in the world. For more information, contact the San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau (805) 541-8000) www.SanLuisObispoCounty.com.


HEARST CASTLE
Magnificent Hearst Castle offers tours daily of this historic private estate built by
newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in the early 1900s. The castle itself consists of unique artifacts, Renaissance art, ornate swimming pools, fanciful gardens
and over 165 rooms and sits on 127-acres of land comfortably nestled on top of the mountain.

For nearly three decades, Hearst's ranch evolved into one of
the most magnificent private estates in America, the setting for legendary
parties during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Today, Hearst Castle® is a State
Historical Monument and one of the most popular visitor destinations in California.

Reservations for tours are highly recommended. Within the U.S. call (800) 444-
4445; outside of the U.S. call (916) 414-8400, ext. 4100 or book on-line at
Group tour reservations at (800) 401-4775
www.hearstcastle.com
www.hearstcastle.org


HIGHWAY 1 VOTED AS ONE OF AMERICA’S MOST BEAUTIFUL ROADS
A 57-mile stretch of Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County was officially proclaimed as one of America’s most beautiful roads. "American Byways," are a distinctive collection of American roads, their stories and treasured places.

The scenic stretch of Highway, so bestowed with the award, is now one of
only 23 routes nationwide to achieve such a designation. The U.S. Secretary of
Transportation and the Federal Highways Administration's National Scenic
byways group recognizes certain roads based on six intrinsic qualities ˆ archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic.
www.byways.org.


BEACHES
Visitors to San Luis Obispo County can enjoy almost 100 miles of spectacular
and very accessible coastline. Our beaches range from rugged cliffs as
Highway 1 opens to Big Sur Country in the north, to miles and miles of white,
sandy beaches in the south. Look for 10 beaches along California's Central Coast as they offer something for surfers, kayakers and sunbathers. You won't want to miss Avila Beach, it is one of the most popular beaches because it is considered to be the sunniest and warmest beach in the county.


HISTORIC MISSION HOUSES
San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the 5th mission, is a humble chapel built of logs
which was dedicated to St. Louis, Bishop of Tolosa in 1772, and was the first
mission to use roof tiles. The museum features a rare collection of early California photographs, authentic Serra relics of specimens of Chumash Indian craftsmanship.
Phone (805) 543-6850
www.oldmissionslo.org

San Miguel Archangel, the 16th mission, was founded in 1797 by Father
Lasuen. Under the direction of Esteban Munros, the Indians painted the walls
and ceilings with ornate designs; the original murals are today the best preserved in California.
Phone (805) 467-3256.

Tracing El Camino Real, "the Royal Road" in honor of the Spanish monarchy which financed expeditions into California beginning in the early 1700's, will encompass 21 missions that comprise California’s historic mission trail. The 1920's bronze mission bells placed along the highway let motorists know they were traveling the historic
El Camino Real.

WILDLIFE
Besides the area's impeccable scenery and climate, San Luis Obispo County
provides refuge to a wide variety of birds, marine life, and animals. Elephant
seals, sea otters, gray whales are some of the examples of marine life, with the
winter months being the best time of year to see them in abundance. Whale watching off the coast is very popular.

Monarch Butterflies cling to their chosen trees in winter as they migrate by the tens of thousands to our coastal communities.

BIRDING
There's a reason why the Audubon Society has consistently dubbed this
county to list of top ten birding sites. The Morro Bay Estuary is one of the largest
unspoiled coastal marshes in the state and attracts over 200 species of native
and migrating birds.

Farmer’s Markets
San Luis Obispo County offer an abundance of fresh, local produce available right from the grower’s truck. Each week, every community in the county, holds a farmers market, they sell a variety of seasonal produce to residents and visitors alike.

In the city of San Luis Obispo, every Thursday evening is a party, featuring not only fresh produce, but a street fair environment, including a variety of music and entertainment. Plus, local restaurants roll out their barbecue pits for a tempting array of barbecued specialties. You will find quaint antiques and unique gift shops located throughout the county.

GOLF GALORE
About a dozen golf courses offer a variety of terrain and levels of play.
The scenic courses offer lush scenery, ocean views and challenging holes.
Also, set your mind to ease about getting on the greens - the avid golfer will be
amazed at the availability of tee times, even on the weekends.

ARTS AND THEATRE
The county offers numerous events coordinated by arts organizations including
a street chalk painting festival, Open Studios Tour and Plein Aire Festival. In
addition, the area boasts nearly thirty art galleries and two hundred local artists.
For performances, the spectacular Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center,
located on the campus of California Polytechnic University offers a variety of
musical performances, theatrical acts and local fare every month. New to the
area is the smaller, more intimate Clark Center for equally stunning
performances.

Holiday ideas

THE GREAT OUTDOORS; Silver Listings
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Central Coast Outdoors
PO Box 6893
Los Osos
Toll-Free: 888-873-5610
Phone: 805-528-1080
Incredible outdoor experiences with high quality day & weekend trips. Featuring
the best hiking, biking, and kayaking the region has to offer.


City of San Luis Obispo - Parks & Recreation Department
1341 Nipomo Street
San Luis Obispo
Phone: 805-781-7300
Visit our website for information and maps.

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Carrizo Plain National Monument
Phone: 661-391-6000
Nationally protected wilderness area deep in the interior of the county. Bird-
watching, hiking, camping and more. Follow all safety precautions and other
guidelines before entering this very remote, rugged and uninhabited area!

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Juan Bautista de Anza / National Historic Trail
Phone: 510-817-1323
Discover the route of Juan Bautista de Anza, who led a contingent of 30
soldiers and their families from Mexico to San Francisco in 1775-76. Trail
follows much of Hwys 1 and 101 in the county.
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Piedras Blancas Historic Lighthouse
Highway 1
San Simeon
Toll-Free: 888-804-8608


SPA / MASSAGE
Cliffs at Shell Beach, The Soothing Seas Spa
Inn at Morro Bay
Olallieberry Inn
Oxford Suites Therapeutic Day Spa

DINING & NIGHTLIFE
San Luis Obispo County offers a wide variety of dining choices including
American, French, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Seafood and more.
Many specialize in gourmet food and wine. Included in the wide variety of cuisine: regional sourdough bread, international coffees, handmade natural preserves, award-
winning ice cream, amber ale brewed on site, pressed apple cider, handmade
chocolates and highly-acclaimed local wines

There is an active nightlife in several of the towns in the county. Many places
offer live entertainment from local and touring bands and entertainers.


FAMILY FUN
If you are looking for a great place to visit with fun activities for kids, San Luis
Obispo county has it all. Not only are the beaches ideal for body boarding, tide-
pooling and seashell hunting, but the kids will be happily entertained at the
Charles Paddock Zoo, San Luis Obispo Children's Museum and Morro Bay's
Natural History Museum.