San Luis Obispo has been called the perfect weekend getaway and the “Happiest City in America.” This beautiful California city is about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and while it’s not your typical tourist destination, many travelers consider it a hidden gem. If you’re thinking about visiting San Luis Obispo—or SLO CAL, as the locals call it—book a cozy room at a premier San Luis Obispo hotel and avoid these five travel mistakes.
Unless you’re planning to drive to San Luis Obispo, you’re going to need a car to get around. The city and its surrounding areas have little public transportation. While the downtown area is a great place to walk, if you want to explore the natural areas away from town, you’ll need a way to get there. Of course, rideshare options like Uber and Lyft are available, but renting a car allows you to see the sites on your own time. And because you’re so close to the Pacific Coast Highway, you may even want to turn your visit to the city into an extended road trip.
San Luis Obispo is located near the coast, but it’s not a beach town. If you want to soak up some sun, sand, and surf, you’ll have to travel about 15 or 20 minutes to the ocean. But it’s worth the trip. Pismo Beach is the most popular beach town in the area, with its sandy white beaches and amazing sunsets. There’s even a boardwalk and pier. If you prefer something a little more secluded, try Point Piedras Blancas Beach. It’s popular with windsurfers and kiteboarders, but keep in mind some areas of the beach prohibit visitors on the sand to protect the elephant seals in the area.
Summer is the most popular time of year to visit San Luis Obispo, which means it can get a little crowded. If you’re not limited as to when you can visit, consider coming during the spring, fall, or even winter. You may experience some fog and wind, especially closer to the ocean and early in the morning, but the weather is typically comfortable year-round, with a few cooler days during the winter.
You won’t find elaborate tourist traps and flashy attractions in San Luis Obispo. SLO is filled with vineyards, parks, and other places that show off the area’s natural beauty. You’re going to find more opportunities for hiking and kayaking than theme parks and chain stores. Speaking of shopping, the city is filled with adorable boutiques as well as charming cafés and restaurants that serve fresh seafood. Make sure to give them a try when you’re here.
Life in San Luis Obispo is a bit on the laid-back side, so keep that in mind when you’re here. It’s the perfect place to turn off your cell phone or leave your laptop at home and just soak up the natural beauty and small-town atmosphere.
When you visit San Luis Obispo, you’ll find so much to enjoy you won’t be able to do everything on your list in just one day, so make sure to reserve a room at Sands Inn & Suites, a premier hotel near San Luis Obispo. Bring the whole family to our pet-friendly inn and enjoy our wide variety of amenities, including an on-site gym, heated outdoor pool and spa, and free WiFi. Our staff is dedicated to making your stay unforgettable, so call us to reserve your room today at (800) 441-4657.