Favorite Tourist Attractions on the Central Coast
Here you’ll find the best of San Luis Obispo County’s abundant opportunities to explore its unique beauty, history, arts and culture. You’ll find popular attractions such as the famous Hearst Castle, historic missions, museums, wineries, performing arts, art galleries, antiques, boutiques, estuaries, wildlife and other points of interest.San Luis Obispo County City of San Luis Obispo Pismo Beach Region North County Region
Magnificent Hearst Castle offers daily tours of this historic private 127-acre estate built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The castle consists of unique artifacts, Renaissance art, ornate swimming pools, fanciful gardens and over 165 rooms.
San Luis Obispo
The county is home to two prominent missions. San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, was founded in 1772. Surrounding the mission is Mission Plaza, a venue for outdoor events — festivals, concerts and special events.
San Luis Obispo
From Farmers’ Markets to antiques and unique gift shops, San Luis Obispo County has big shopping experiences in a small, intimate setting. Farmers Markets and quaint antique stores can be found in almost every city on the Central Coast.
San Luis Obispo
National acclaim has been bestowed upon the prize winning wines and premium vineyards in San Luis Obispo County. Over 80 wineries welcome visitors to sample prize-winning selections and current releases.
The Dunes in Grover Beach and Oceano are one of the few places where you can drive your vehicle on the sand. The dunes adjoin the Oso Flaco nature preserve with rare plants and animals.
Pismo and Shell Beach offer long white beaches, rocky cliffs and spectacular sunsets. This classic California beach town offers superb dining and shopping, golf, the dunes, horseback riding, surfing, body boarding, historic 1,200-foot-long Pismo Beach Pier, Built in 1928.
Explore the Historic Village of Arroyo Grande, the Central Coast’s unique turn-of-the-century downtown village. Here you’ll find a unique array of antiques, specialty shops and fine dining, all nestled within the scenic atmosphere of historic buildings, natural beauty, and timeless treasures.
Baywood Park is a small town located next to Los Osos, and has incredible beaches, sunsets, nature preserves and dunes. Relax here, or use as a base to visit other parts of this very scenic county.
A beautiful nature preserve on the coast in Los Osos. Great hiking and sightseeing opportunities. Tidepools. Make sure to visit beautiful Spooners Cove inside the park, which also offers a small natural history museum of local teasures.
Downtown Cayucos still has the small town charm, while being located just steps from a great beach for swimmng, surfing and fishing. Enjoy the pier, great restaurants and antique stores in this charming old town.
Elephant seals can be observed along small coves just south of the Piedras Blancas lighthouse. Populations have grown from a few dozen in 1990 to current estimates of nearly 10,000.
Morro Rock, the near by dunes, harbor and estuary are beautiful to look at and a year-round attraction to visitors. You’ll find wonderful stores, art galleries and boutiques right next to the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
Paso Robles is in wine country and is known for its relaxed ambience and beautiful drives. The scenery is as delicious as the wines they produce. Enjoy wine tasting, historic downtown shopping, and annual wine festivals and car shows.
Harmony is one of the smallest towns in the USA, with just 14 inhabitants. It offers historic buildings with small boutiques, pottery shop, glass maker, several crafters and artisans, and a charming winery overlooking the tiny town below.
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
(Mission Plaza De Tolosa in downtown SLO) This is considered by many to be the most beautiful of all California missions. Founded in 1772 and still an active church.
Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo
The state-of-the-art, 91,500 square foot center located on the Cal Poly campus is the result of a partnership between the city, Cal Poly and the Foundation for the Performing Arts. The 1,350 seat Harmon Concert Hall is acoustically one of the best halls in the world and has been JBL Professional’s exclusive North American test and demonstration site.
California Polytechnic State University
Cal Poly is known throughout the world for its excellence in learn-by-doing education. Largest schools of engineering and architecture in the west. Visitors welcome. Walking campus tours are offered each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. & 2 p.m., except major holidays. Self-guided tours can be taken anytime; call tour hotline 756-5734 for the latest update. Don’t miss the Shakespeare Press Museum, Poly Canyon, horse and dairy units, and the ornamental horticulture greenhouses.
(536 Marsh Street) Built in the late 1870s and deeded to the city by the Jack family in 1974, this historic Victorian home has been fully restored into a “living museum,” giving visitors a glimpse of life at the turn of the century. Admission $2. Call 781-7308 for recorded information about docent guided tours.
County Historical Museum
County Historical Museum (696 Monterey St., next to the Mission) Tells the story of San Luis Obispo’s colorful history via changing displays of old photographs and artifacts. Open Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission.
(5 mi. west of SLO on Highway 1 north) Cuesta College Known statewide for its dedication to lifelong learning, this scenic 150 acre campus, bordered by Hollister Peak and Cerro Romaldo, is open to visitors.
San Luis Obispo’s Children’s Museum
(1010 Nipomo St.) A museum just for children and others who like to explore and learn. Kids can race to the scene of a fire on the back of a fire engine, watch themselves on television or zip down a dinosaur slide. Admission $4. Call 544-KIDS or visit the website www.kids.fix.net for more information.
Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center
(1039 Chorro St.) Not to brag, but our center has received rave reviews from more than one travel writer. Open daily, Sunday and Monday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Maps and complete information on San Luis Obispo and points north and south. Information on Hearst Castle and tickets. National Forest Adventure passes, special event tickets, books, postcards, and other souvenir items also available. Complete calendar of events going on throughout the city and county.
Cypress Ridge Golf Course El Campo & Halcyon Arroyo Grande, CA 93420 489-2781
Laguna Lake Municipal Golf Course
11175 Los Osos Valley Rd. San Luis Obispo, CA 93405 781-7309
Morro Bay Golf Course
201 State Park Road Morro Bay, CA 93442 771-4341 reservations
Explore more than 25,000 historical artifacts, along with a compelling assortment of unique art. With lush gardens, iconic architecture and larger-than-life rooms, Hearst Castle is a world all its own. 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, California 93452
See some of nature’s most beautiful and fascinating creatures, while enjoying breathtaking views of the California coastline. With 17,000 elephant seals, this stunning attraction is a sight to behold. 250 San Simeon Ave., Suite 3B, San Simeon, CA 93452
Enjoy striking views of the Pacific Ocean and get a fascinating glimpse into a time when lighthouses served a critical role in maritime navigation at the famous Piedras Blancas Light Station. 15950 Cabrillo Hwy, San Simeon, California 93452
Sail, fish, hike and view wildlife near a majestic volcanic cap erupting from a colorful and active marina. With a golf course and stunning natural features, Morro Rock offers all-day fun for the whole family. Morro Rock, Morro Bay, California 93442
State Route 1 is a major north–south state highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of the U.S. state of California. At a total of just over 656 miles, it is the longest state route in California.
Downtown Cayucos boasts field-to-table restaurants, antique stores, public art and cafes ― all just steps from the beach. Add a few historic buildings, surf shops, and an old cowboy bar, and you have California coastal living at its finest.