If you're looking for a weekend getaway, San Luis Obispo County, or SLO as it's commonly referred to, has a multitude of hotels and activities to offer a weekend traveler. Located on the central coast of California, SLO is home to Hearst Castle, DAOU vineyards, the Monarch Butterfly Grove, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, and hundreds of miles of walking and biking trails, sure to excite any outdoor enthusiast.

Check out ESD's sister publication—Edible San Luis Obispoto find out more about the area.
Hero: Sunset view in San Luis Obispo. Image: expictura/iStock. Above: Elephant seals vista point. Image: Laurens Verhoeven/iStock.

Getting to San Luis Obispo

By air—Fly from San Diego International Airport into San Luis Obispo County Regional airport (Alaska Airlines offers a direct flight). If you're a wine connoisseur, Alaska offers the option to check a case of wine for free with the airline.

By ground—SLO can be mapped out via major highway roads if you're driving. Suppose you're coming from the east side of California to visit. In that case, you'll have a chance to view gorgeous California’s central region. 

Where to Stay in San Luis Obispo

If you’d like to stay in SLO proper, then Hotel San Luis Obispo is a new, modern urban resort that embodies the essence of SLO. It’s gorgeous, complete with a full spa, steakhouse, and art bar.  Also, enjoy Hotel SLO's complimentary water bottles and filtered water refill stations throughout the property. With the downtown area steps away, you'll find the ideal balance of location and service, along with a relaxed Central Coast vibe. ADA-accessible accommodations are available as well as for your fur babies. Make sure to call ahead if you're going to bring your pet.

Hotel Cerro is another new hotel in nearby Paso Robles designed with many comfortable amenities. The guest rooms, suites, and residences are spacious and contemporary. Their hotel amenities blend attentiveness with sophistication and sustainability. With super-fast, fiber-optic Internet, you can make this a work getaway!

If you’re looking for a more coastal feel, then Cavalier Resort in San Simeon is your spot. It is located along 900 feet of scenic California coastline. It features a relaxed vibe, friendly service, and all the creature comforts of home. This an excellent staycation resort for those who live in the SLO area; get warm and cozy up by the wood-burning fireplace and enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific Coast and the Pacific Ocean. Located just off Highway 1 and three miles south of Hearst Castle, this resort is a short drive from the seaside village of Cambria. Less than 10 minutes from the Elephant Seal Rookery, making Cavalier Oceanfront Resort a perfect pause when traveling along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway.

For a one-of-a-kind experience, Madonna Inn offers 110 individually-themed guest rooms in a beautiful historic inn on the Pacific Coast. With live music, horseback riding, hiking, and tennis courts, you'll find great travel-based activities to do during your stay. They also have a Tesla charging station to juice up your car once you get there.

Paso Robles wine country. Image: ehughes/iStock.

What to do In San Luis Obispo County

You'll never run out of fun and exciting activities to fill your vacation in SLO. Tour Hearst Castle and view the elephant seals, the Sensorio (field of lights), and Bubblegum Alley. Then, walk around Downtown SLO and check out the Thursday night farmer's market, Pismo Beach, and Avila Beach. If you have more time, check out Avila Hot Springs, Oceano Dunes, the Cambria Film Festival, Morro Rock, Montana de Oro State Park, and the Piedras Blancas Light Station.

San Luis Obispo Wine Trail. Image: ehughes/iStock.

Where to Eat in San Luis Obispo County

Foodies and wine lovers will have many activities to choose from in SLO. Favorites to try include touring Paso Robles Wine Country, Tetto rooftop bar at hotel Piccolo, Fish Gaucho, and Schooners restaurant and bar in Cayucos for fantastic sunset views.

Ready for more food options? Then definitely check out Spearhead Coffee in Paso for your morning Joe, Olive Oil Tasting at Kiler Ridge in Paso, and Daou Vineyards for excellent food and wine tastings. In addition, the local restaurant Les Petite Canailles was recently featured in the New York Times, as was the newly reopened Carisa in downtown SLO, Linns in Cambria for dinner, and Hearst Ranch Winery for amazing views.

SLO is a dream destination for agritourism with wineries, amazing food options, and many fabulous organic, farm-to-table restaurants. I would highly recommend taking a road trip through this region on the Pacific Coast Highway for some of the most spectacular views that California has to offer.

Avila Beach. Image: Nature, food, landscape, travel/iStock.
No items found.
About the Contributor
Christina Kantzavelos
Christina Kantzavelos is a freelance writer and the owner and editor of the award-winning gluten-free and health-conscious travel and lifestyle blog @BuenQamino. She enjoys writing about food, travel, health, culture, and sustainable living in San Diego and beyond.