Recently, we had a staycation in Atascadero in the Colony District area. Atascadero is an inland part of San Luis Obispo County and definitely has a different vibe from the famous San Luis Obispo city and Pismo Beach area. I was so excited to be able to explore the area a bit but what motivated me to do this was having an Atascadero Lakeside Wine Passport.

Even though it implies wine, this passport also includes a good handful of breweries! Because of the pandemic, the wine festival that they normal plan couldn't happen so instead, they got 2 dozens businesses together to form a passport. You buy the passport and then get complimentary tastings through the end of the year.

It's going to be impossible to hit all of the places in a day so we are breaking it up into regions and targets. For instance, for this staycation, we visited three breweries/beer houses in Atascadero. We targeted these places because we could walk to them as they were less than 1 or 2 blocks from each other. Bonus is, it was also only 1 - 2 blocks from the hotel we stayed at.

I did a lot of research before figuring out which hotel was best to stay in Atascadero. We narrowed it down to The Carlton. It's located in the middle of all the action and only a block or two (or across the street) from a handful of breweries. Uniquely, this hotel is a historic hotel and very luxurious in feel. Everything is of high class quality. As part of our passport, if you call The Carlton and mention that you have an Atascadero Lakeside Wine Passport, they will give you a better rate than what's published online. However, it would be a prepaid reservation as we had to prepay ours.

The Carlton

The Carlton is definitely inviting and there's a designated private parking area for hotel patrons. You can also park on the street as well. Since we're staying on a Sunday night, the two hour restriction wasn't in place and we parked on the street overnight as it was a closer walk to the front door of the hotel from our car that way. We're also glad that we brought our own water bottles. There were two water bottles in the hotel room but you'd have to pay for them. I'm also really impressed by their bathroom. There is a separate shower area and a separate big bathtub! All the fixtures are so fancy.

On my Instagram:
See my video clip of The Carlton on IG

My favorite photo of The Carlton that I took:

Amazingly, staying at The Carlton came with amazing surprises.

There are two restaurants located inside The Carlton: Nautical Cowboy Steakhouse and Back Porch Bakery! We tried out both of them!

These are both well known to the community. Back Porch Bakery is only open from the early morning though about 2pm. Their array of croissants are delicious! They also have breakfast sandwiches and make a mean craft coffee! The steakhouse doesn't open until 5pm. However, if you're hungry between the closing of the bakery and the opening of the steakhouse, there's a lot of restaurant options around the block within walking distance. This made our staycation so convenient and enjoyable. We really enjoyed the Santa Maria style BBQ at Nautical Cowboy Steakhouse and the kids enjoyed the hot dog and chicken tenders that they ordered from the kid's menu. Both came with fries and a drink for the kids.

Places we visited for this staycation in Atascadero included:
  1. Ancient Owl Beer Garden & Bottle Shoppe - This beer garden is super kid-friendly with an all outdoor space to drink. There's a creamery right in between the seating areas so you can go and get a treat for your kids. I brought my kids their own lunch boxes with snacks so that they'd have some snacks to munch on as my husband and I took advantage of a free pint that came with our Atascadero Lakeside Wine Passport. I think they offer free juices to the kids but we didn't ask for them. However, I saw other tables with kids enjoyed them.
  2. Tent City Beer Company - This is a smaller brewery but still a wonderful visit. As part of our Atascadero Lakeside Wine Passport, 3 complimentary tastings came with our flight and we got to pick them.
  3. Wild Fields Brewhouse

    Of the list, this was the most kid-friendly visit! There's an arcade and free toys to borrow for the kids to play with! I was so impressed. The selection for beer was great and there's a good food menu for vegans and non-vegans. As part of our Atascadero Lakeside Wine Passport: 4 complimentary tastings came with our flight and we got to pick them. My husband and I also ordered a banh mi to share while we were here to tide us over until our steakhouse later that evening. My kids were still full from their snacks from their lunch box munches earlier. The banh mi was vegetarian and it came with house chips! It was delicious.
After visiting 3 places, we were ready to walk back to The Carlton hotel (just 2 blocks away) to rest our feet and then got ready for our steakhouse dinner. 

The only thing I would change is I wish I had ordered some dessert to-go from the Nautical Cowboy Steakhouse before paying our bill and returning to our hotel room. I started craving something sweet a couple of hours after that.

See video clips of my tastings at Ancient Owl Beer Garden & Bottle Shoppe, Ten City Beer Company and Wild Fields Brewhouse on IG.

See a list of other hotels in Atascadero.

This staycation at The Carlton in Atascadero was so pleasant. We're so glad we were able to squeeze this trip in before the kids start school again in a couple weeks. I'll blog about our next trip in the future when we use our Atascadero Lakeside Wine Passport again later this year for places we haven't visited yet.

Other Blog Posts;
Read About the Wineries I've visited in SLO County.

Beer Making Kits for the Home:

Winery Reviews:

Visit to see personal reviews for over a dozen other local wineries in Edna Valley and Paso Robles.