If you still want to chill in front of a beautiful body of water, but not fight the beach crowds of Pismo, please go to beautiful Lopez Lake. Activities found at the lake include swimming, fishing, horseback riding, wind surfing, a water slide, hiking and camping. When I arrived there, everybody seemed to be at peace. It has a mellow vibe, but combined with lots of outdoor activities. Beautiful, beautiful scenery as well. When I was there, the price of admission was 10 dollars, well worth it, trust me.
Driving north or south on Highway 101 take the Grand Avenue Exit in Arroyo Grande. Turn east onto Grand Ave and head towards the mountains. You will drive through old town Arroyo Grande to Huasna Road. Turn right onto Huasna Road. Huasna Road becomes Lopez Drive. Stay on Lopez Drive for approximately 10 miles. At this point the road ends at the entrance to Lopez Lake. (Signs are posted along the way.)
Oso Flaco Lake is a beautiful area and nature preserve. The lake is wonderful with walkways surrounding the area. Great picture opportunities for sure. The walkway leads you right past the lake to an area with huge sand dunes and a beautiful hidden beach. Go South on Highway One. To get there, three miles north of Guadalupe, turn west onto Oso Flaco Lake Road, this road will dead end at the parking area for this hidden State Park. The cost is 5 dollars to park there. Well worth it for nature enthusiasts.
After that long walk on the beach or to unwind after the long flight to this magnificent area, I say you need to treat yourself to your own private outdoor sauna. Sycamore Spring Resorts has these magnificent sauna's available as well as a lovely garden to stroll through. You can stay on the grounds or just chill for the day. These mineral spring hot tubs are just the thing to enjoy the finer things in life without breaking your wallet. You can rent a tub for under $20.00 for the hour. Also there is a very cool walking labyrith circle around the gardens, a great way to realx the soul.
1215 Avila Beach Drive
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Saucelito Canyon Vineyard and Winery is in the Arroyo Grande Valley, next door to Edna Valley. The reason I have put this winery with my Edna Valley Wineries is because Saucelito Canyon's tasting room is located in the middle of Edna Valley between Edna Road (Hwy227) and Orcutt Road at 3080 Biddle Ranch Road. The tasting room is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and the only place to sample the wines of Saucelito Canyon Vineyard and Winery, as there is no tasting at their Vineyard. The prominent wine is Zinfandel with some of the original cuttings from the 1890's still in use, in fact the old style of "head prune" layout is kept by the present owner's, Bill and Nancy Greenough, on 3 original acres. This is truly a family affair and a boutique winery that concentrates on the perfection of one variety, Zinfandel. They do have other varietals available but I wanted to taste their Zinfandel.
With a new winemaker, Amy Freeman, guiding the Winery along, I am sure that this limited production boutique family winery will be making some wine headlines in the near future. In fact, at the winery is a picture of the winemaker that tells me you don't have to always get down and dirty in the vineyard to make good wine. Amy comes from a winery background with her parents owning a vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills, near Buellton, California. In the tasting room was the very congenial host Bobby de Vries who did the pouring and described the wines tasted. I must admit that the Zinfandel I sampled made me order up a bottle right on the spot. No waiting around to taste anything else. I came to taste the award winning Saucelito Canyon Zinfandel. I saw and I was conquered by the wine.
Starting out as language teachers at the University of Michigan, Clay Thompson and Fredericka Churchill came west to San Luis Obispo to learn the wine business in Edna Valley. Edna Valley became home to them in 1981 and the valley has welcomed their family winery "Claiborne & Churchill" ever since their first crush in 1983. In 1995, a new and permanent winery building was built as a "straw bale building," the first of its kind in California. Walls made of straw within the structure keep a constant cellar temperature for ideal wine storing without any additional heating or cooling.
My wife and I decided to take a look at this winery for the straw bale usage and the fact that here was a success story of a young couple taking on the challenge of wine production from the ground up and maintaining a family business for over 26 years that offers some of the best Dry Riesling and Dry Gewurztraminer we had tried. These two wines are their signature wines and why not. They based the wines on the fruity and dry wines of the French province of Alsace and traditional European wine making techniques prevail with barrel-fermentation and barrel-aging at Claiborne & Churchill.
While we were at the wine tasting bar, Clay appeared and welcomed us to the winery. He even helps set up displays in the tasting room area as we talked. A man for all reasons. As in most wineries, the outside garden was peaceful and had a table where you could picnic as if you were in your own backyard. With the Dry Riesling and Dry Gewurztraminer we purchased tucked in the wine box, we ventured on in Edna Valley, leaving behind a wonderful family boutique winery in Claiborne& Churchill. Located at 2649 Carpenter Canyon Road San Luis Obispo, CA . Wine tasting is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm.
Wolff Vineyards and Winery is a "Certified Sustainably Grown" vineyard. You will hear a lot about this in the future. CSG is all about ecology. Click on the words of Wolff Vineyard for a full ecology report. So what does this mean to us common folk. Well, it shows that some wineries are thinking about helping mother nature out with good sense practices that will help heal the earth. I classify Wolff Vineyards Winery as a family owned boutique winery that cares about more than how many bottles of wine they can sell.
Wolff Vineyards is great for that up close look at the vines. The parking area and around the tasting room have rows of grape vines that show you the progress of the vine from bare to fruit filled depending on the season. Inside the tasting room, I received a great big hello and welcome from Clint Grubb, Winery & Hospitality Operations, who guided me through the tasting. Looking around the room, and you can see the many plaques and ribbons that Wolff has earned making excellent wine. I have a fondness for dogs and when I saw the label on one of the samplings with a big black labrador on the label and the wine was named "Brixie's Red", I was a little sceptical. But I must admit the combination of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that makes up "Brixie's Red" reminded me of Tuscany and Chianti Classico. That was the one for me as I love a big red with my Italian meals I prepare at home.
Wolff has a quaint patio under the shade of a huge tree near the tasting room. You can bring along a picnic to have while enjoying a bottle of "Brixie's Red". They are located at 6238 Orcutt Road in Edna Valley and the tasting room is open from 11 am to 5 pm.
Edna Valley is outside of the city of San Luis Obispo's main shopping area. Start at the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, appropriately where the first vineyard was planted in the county, and take Broad Street (Hwy 227) south from downtown SLO past the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, known as McChesney Field and turns into Edna Road. Only a little over 4 miles and you have arrived at one of the premier wineries in the Edna Valley appellation, "Tolosa", located at 4910 Edna Road San Luis Obispo.
Tolosa has a state-of-the-art tasting room that is modern with a glass bar that has lit cut outs on the walls behind with bottles, glasses and vases sitting in the cut outs. You can see many of the stainless steel wine tanks through a glass partition from the tasting room with a plaque telling you of the self-guided tour of the wine making process. Cork floors and stainless steel ceilings put a finishing touch to the tasting room. There is a table in the tasting room with stemware having pieces of fruits, seeds, and leaves, so that your senses may catch the aromas and flavors of what the featured wine on display may contain.
The tastings are at the wine bar, but there is a wonderful patio just outside the tasting room with tables and chairs with a modern water fountain, overhead canopies and a view of the crushing machines. If you spend time at the tables with a bottle of Tolosa wine and some snacks, you are also in for a treat of the private aircraft coming in for a landing at the nearby airport. Now and then a small commercial jet will go over to add to the excitement.
The wines of Tolosa are rated high with many in the 90 range. In their own words, Tolosa says that "our goal is to produce a perfectly balanced wine and to stay true to the characteristic of the grape varietal." The perfection in their wines comes from the winery using only the top 10% of the fruit for estate bottling. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the main estate wines at Tolosa. I found the Chardonnay to my liking and approved it with a purchase of a bottle or two. Tasting Room Hours: Daily, 11 am - 5 pm.
Located in Atascadero, about 15 miles north of SLO, is the Charles Paddock Zoo. This is a very small, but good zoo. The cost is only 5 dollars admission. As small as the zoo is, it has a good variety of animal life and has a cool walking path which easy to follow. Good for about 3 hours of your time.
first thing I noticed when opening the door to our room was an over powering smell of mildew. we burned incesne to make the room more livable. then we where charged $50 smoking fee, when my wife and I are both non smokers. I think it is funny that the maids "detected" a smoke smell. but are unable to detect the mildew smell that they should be cleaning. I will never stay here at the Madonna Inn again.
Go to Central Coast Wines during Farmers' Market (every Thursday evening all along Higuera Street) and taste featured local wines, only $4!! The people there are friendly, and the wines there are reasonably priced.
Located at the end of Higuera, towards south
Located in El Chorro Regional Park off of Highway 1 between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay, The Botanical Gardens is a nice place to take a stroll and check out some wonderful and rare plant and flower life. Best of all it is free. It is fairly small but growing and will take 2 hours tops. Nice place to use your macro lens so you can get those nice close-up photo ops.
OK, so it's a long way off the beaten path from SLO to Cholame, CA. A total of 50 miles: some 16 miles via 101 to Altascadero then 34 miles on Route 41 to the intersection with Route 46. This intersection is known as James Dean Memorial Intersection and the the location where James Dean was killed in a car accident.
James Dean was just 24 when he died, after starring in only three movies: Rebel Without a Cause, Steinbeck's East of Eden, and Giant. He then started a brief racing career. While traveling from LA to Salinas for a race, he was killed at this unusual y-shaped intersection by a driver who cut in front of him while attempting to turn left, resulting in a head-on collision.
Music Man is a guitar manufacturing factory located in San Luis Obispo, California. We went there in 1998, phoned from S. Francisco asking for the opportunity to visit the factory and the answer was simply: YES! You cannot imagine the happiness of my boyfriend (now husband), who has been playing guitars for 16 years and loves both Music Man guitars and Ernie Balls accessories (founded by an Italian called Ernesto Palla!). The visit lasted 1 hour, we were followed by the marketing manager (a very nice American guy) and we were both enthusiastic! In 1998 it was not possible to buy a guitar there BUT California is FULL of guitar shops...you will find a huge range of Music Man. And I can assure it: they are 90% handcraftly made. That's why they are so expensive and their sound is so special....
Address: 151 Suburban Rd.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA
the bob jones bike trail offers beautiful scenery and the chance to see some wildlife as well.
get off the freeway at the "port san luis" exit. keep going straight until you reach a dead end. turn right and follow the windy road until you reach avila beach. watch for the crosswalk as you will be parking before you reach it. turn left and park on the dirt or on the street. cross the crosswalk and you will see a sign that reads "bob jones bike trail".
take the 101 to los osos [get off on los osos valley road], follow los osos valley road past los osos and into montana de oro. keep driving and you will come across a eucalyptus forest. keep an eye out on the right hand side. you will pass a few signs that say "no dogs" and go up a big hill. on the right there will be a large dirt parking lot and a sign and a port-a-loo. park and walk towards the sign and down the path. keep walking down the path and you will find a beautiful place perfect for rock-pooling and fishing. there are lots of amazing sea creatures to be seen such as starfish, rockcod, crabs and many others!
be sure and make sure its a low tide or else you will not get to see much. :[