Getting Here

Located at the mid-way point between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo County is a coastal region that’s easy to find and easy to get to – whether you plan to drive here, fly here, or take the train. Highway 101 is the most direct driving route, north from LA and south from SF. There is an Amtrak Station in San Luis Obispo, and a County Regional Airport where direct flights to and from Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Phoenix happen daily. Visit amtrak.com or sloairport.com for schedules.

North Coast

Overview

Morro Bay is still a thriving fishing village, with an equally thriving arts community and wonderful oceanside eateries. Very much off the beaten tourist path, the community of Los Osos sits on the southern tidal estuary of Morro Bay, with a glassy bay, and an “eden” of feathered wildlife. Further north along Highway One lies the last of the original California beach towns. Cayucos is a surfer’s haven, a diner’s nirvana, and a vacationer’s dream come true. Nestled among towering pines that overlook the shimmering sea, the picturesque village of Cambria enchants visitors with its historic architecture, distinctive shops and a bustling art scene. Just north of Cambria, find sparkling San Simeon Cove on the left and on the right, look up and glimpse the unexpected twin towers of Hearst Castle gleaming in the sun, and beckoning art and history lovers from around the world. As the gateway to Big Sur, Ragged Point sits at the northernmost border of the county and has breathtaking views, great hiking, plus a charming inn and restaurant.

Packing List

Average temps for Morro Bay range from 42° to 62° F and morning fog is predictable, especially during the summer months. As you move north, temps can vary with the town and time of year, but both morning fog and lower average temps are the norm. Though Alaskan parkas would be overkill, do bring a warm jacket and dress in layers to peel off as the day heats up. And in addition to the standard hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses always suggested for the beach, don’t forget the binoculars for watching whales and birds.

Avila Beach

Overview

On those rare days when the sun isn’t shining anywhere else, count on the clouds to part and the sun to shine down on glorious Avila Beach. With a microclimate so consistent and a small-town charm so enduring, Avila is everyone’s favorite summer getaway. Relax at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and browse the gourmet goodies and fresh seasonal produce at the Avila Valley Barn. There is also a working fishing pier, a gorgeous golf course, and an enchanting 1890s lighthouse.

Packing List

Average temperatures vary little during the year, ranging from the 40s to 60s F from November through April, and from the 50s to 80s from May through September. And since this is the warmest, most sheltered beach in the county, plenty of sunscreen and sunglasses are must-haves. Shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops are the year-round “uniform” here.

Arroyo Grande & Edna Valley

Overview

Starting in the southernmost part of the County, The Edna Valley winds for a dozen miles from Arroyo Grande to San Luis Obispo through Tuscan-style countryside, with picturesque wineries, working farms, and tempting bike trails. Lopez Lake offers 22 miles of shoreline bordered by rugged mountain terrain—ideal for campers, boaters, skiers, and mountain bike adventurers.

Packing List

Being inland means higher average temps (54 – 78° F) and less need for warm clothes and layers than for visiting our coastal cities. Sunny days make for great wine-tasting and equally great hiking, so pack your sunscreen, sturdy hiking shoes, and a wine map. And please, don’t forget your swimsuit; the summer months offer every water sport there is. While tank tops and shorts work well for daytimes, light outerwear is suggested for the cooler evenings.

Inland North County

Overview

With average temperatures a good 10 to 20 degrees warmer than coastal or southern county temps, this area of SLO County features world-class wine country, refreshing lakes for all manner of water sports, and surprising historic landmarks. It’s also some of the most appealing countryside for viewing from hot air balloons and/or bicycles. Cities in SLO’s North County include Santa Margarita, Atascadero, Templeton, and Paso Robles.

Packing List

Locals will tell you that as soon as you climb the Cuesta Grade that leads north on the 101 freeway out of San Luis Obispo, you can expect the climate to change dramatically. And that means colder as well as hotter. In summer, daily average temps are between 80 and 90° F, and in winter, temps can get below freezing, especially in the early mornings. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats are must-haves, but don’t forget warm layers for the fall and winter months. Hiking shoes, a swimsuit, your bicycle, and a wine map will help you take best advantage of all that North County has to offer.

Nipomo

Overview

Nipomo is the southernmost city in the county, and is one of our fastest-growing areas – with good reason. Nestled in the foothills, Nipomo is known for its wide open spaces, acres of avocado and lemon orchards, sand dunes bordering the ocean, and stately rows of eucalyptus trees. Founded during the Rancho Era of Alta California before California itself became a state, Nipomo is where both horses and golf carts are welcomed equally.

Packing List

Average daily temps in this sunny inland valley are 70° – 80° F in the summer, 50° – 65° in winter. This is a true Mediterranean climate, so bring comfortable light layers with one warm jacket, just in case. Need we remind you to bring your golf clubs?

Oceano & Pismo

Overview

Pismo and Oceano are classic California beach towns whose honkytonk character has hardly changed since their heyday in the 1940s. Off-road and ATV enthusiasts will go wild for the Oceano Dunes, where 1,500 acres of natural sand dunes comprise the only park in California where visitors may legally drive vehicles on the beach.

Packing List

Morning fog and cool evenings suggest lots of layers for these typical beach towns that are mostly sunny and warm during the day. Tank tops, sandals, and shorts will help you feel right at home during the summer months; but for midnight strolls on the beach or if you plan to come at Christmas-time, you’ll need a warm jacket and socks. Binoculars will give you a better look at the butterflies, and if you like off-road fun, don’t forget your helmet!

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