Things To Do in San Luis Obispo (SLO)

Family Events in SLO County

(Note: Please check with direct organizers for any last minute changes and cancellations, before attending an event.)

Upcoming 2023 Events

Through December 24, 2023 - Holiday Plaza & Santa's House Downtown San Luis Obispo at 12PM. Here's my video clip of my walk through Holiday Plaza when Mission Plaza is transformed with Christmas lights last year below. Press the play button.

See Santa's House Hours for pictures between 11/24 - 12/24. Address: 989 Chorro St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Selected Dates in December - Christmas At The Ranch at Santa Margarita Ranch. Train ride tickets vary as there are two different trains. Each passenger ticket comes with hot cocoa and a cookie. Each train ride is 30 minutes long. Diesel Locomotive and Open-Air Train Cars tickets are $25 per adult and $15 per child. The Historic 1800s Steam Train with Rides Inside the Original Disneyland Coaches tickets are $35 per adult and $20 per child. Babies who are 2 years old and under are free. Tickets and FAQs. Address: 9000 Yerba Buena Ave., Santa Margarita, CA 93453. I've been to this ranch before. See my Youtube short video below at Santa Margarita Ranch.

Through December 2023 - Field of Lights in Sensorio (famous art light installations) in Paso Robles is open from Thurs - Sat evenings or Thurs - Sun evenings, depending on the month. Weather permitting only as it's all outdoors. See my videos and photos that I took at Sensorio.

Through December 23, 2023 - Cambria Christmas Market by Cambria Pines Lodge in Cambria, California. There is an admission cost per person. Enjoy 2+ million Christmas lights, Vendor Market, festive food & drink, visits from Santa, live music and more! You  can view my Youtube Short of my walk through Cambria Christmas Market last year (press play below).

I've visited this famous Christmas Market in Cambria with my family. See my IG video reel that I created from my Cambria Christmas Market visit. This is a ticketed event or if you book a room at Cambria Pines Lodge, then it is inclusive. Learn more about Cambria and my brunch experience at Cambria Pines Lodge. Address: 905 Burton Dr. Cambria, California 93428

December 1, 2023 (Fri) - 47th Annual Downtown SLO Holiday Parade in Downtown San Luis Obispo at 7PM.. Nearly 90 decorated floats, marching bands, vehicles, dancers and more. Address for GPS: 811 Higuera St., San Luis Obispo Obispo, CA 93401

December 1, 2023 (Fri) - Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration at 3:30PM in Morro Bay. Enjoy the lighting of the Morro Bay City Park tree for the holidays! Activities begin at 3:30PM. Lighting of the Tree will be at 5:00pm. Address: 734 Harbor St., Morro Bay, CA 93442

December 1, 2023 (Fri) - Santa's Coming to the Embarcadero in Morro BayCome visit Jolly ol’ Saint Nick & get a picture. Admission is free! Santa will be welcoming families on Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm to 8pm and Sundays from 12pm to 4pm the first 3 weekends of December. On Friday December 1st. Santa will be at the Tree Lighting at City Park (see the event right above this one) and will come to his house at 6pm. Santa's house is at the corner of Embarcadero and Front St. On the morrobay.org website, the description says it starts at 4PM but then, in the "Time;" property, it says 5PM, so double check as it gets closer. See pictures that I've taken at Morro Bay. Address for GPS: Embarcadero & Front St., Morro Bay, CA 93442

December 1, 2023 (Fri) - Holiday Harmony at Pismo Beach from 5:30PM - 7:30PM. Free entry event by the City of Pismo Beach. Lighting ceremony starts at 6PM. Snow, cookie decorating and bounce houses. Go towards the Pismo Beach Pier and you will see all of the festivities. We went to this event last year. See a picture of a holiday bounce house that my kids got to enjoy there (below).  See the most recent pictures and videos that I've taken at Pismo Beach on my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sanluisobispomom/reels/
Address for GPS: 100 Pomeroy Ave. Pismo Beach, CA 93449

December 1, 2023 (Fri) - Annual Light Up The Downtown Holiday Celebration from 5:30PM - 8PM at Sunken Gardens in Downtown Atascadero. Enjoy an evening of community entertainment, Santa, complimentary Model-A-Firetruck & Hay Rides, hot chocolate, and more! Address: 6505 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422

December 2, 2023 (Sat) - Breakfast with Santa in Morro Bay Vet's Hall from 9AM - 11AM. $10 per ticket and includes pancake breakfast with hot cocoa bar, entry in the Elf Workshop with crafts, gift making, cookie decorating, face painting, mini gingerbread house station and photos with Santa. Address: 209 Surf St., Morro Bay, CA 93442

December 2, 2023 (Sat) - Grover Beach Holiday Parade at 10AM. After the Parade, Santa's workshop activities for kids begin at Ramona Park in Grover Beach. See a picture of Ramona Park that I took below while I was enjoying a concert.

December 2, 2023 (Sat) - 61st Annual Christmas Light Parade at 6PM in Downtown Paso Robles Theme is "All is Bright". Address for GPS: 12th and Spring Streets, Paso Robles, CA 93446

December 2, 2023 (Sat) - Lighted Boat Parade in Morro Bay from 6:00PM - 8PM. Free to watch. Be dazzled as our fishing, leisure and yachting community take to the water with decorated boats with dazzling lights and holiday cheer. Address for easy GPS: 1185 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442

December 3, 2023 (Sun) - Templeton Christmas Tree Lighting from 4PM - 7PM organized by Templeton Presbyterian Church at Templeton Park. Itinerary is 4PM: Cookies and Hot Cocoa, 5PM: Santa's Special Visit and 6PM: Tree Lighting and Community Blessing. Address: 550 Crocker St, Templeton, CA 93465

December 3, 2023 (Sun) - Santa Margarita Christmas Tree Lighting at 5PM at Santa Margarita Community Park. Join them in the Santa Margarita Community Park for caroling, cookies, coffee and cocoa as we light our community Christmas Tree. Soup Service, provided by the Santa Margarita Lions Club, starts at 5:45 p.m. at the Santa Margarita Community Hall. Address: 22210 H St, Santa Margarita, CA 93453

December 3, 2023 (Sun) - The Holiday Parade in the Village of Arroyo Grande at 5PM. Address for GPS: 307 E Branch St, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420 (There's East Branch and West Branch. Make sure you input East.) You can park for free behind the buildings in the village and then walk through one of the alleys. I find that it's easier to find a parking spot behind the buildings than look for street parking there. See one of my alley walks from my free parking spot in the Village in Arroyo Grande.

December 3, 2023 (Sun) - Christmas in Cayucos Tree Lighting at 6PM. Activities include carolers, lighting of the tree, arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus accompanied by fire engines and children visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Address: Corner of Ocean Ave & D Street, Cayucos, CA 93430

December 6, 2023 (Wed) - Santa's Sleigh at Centennial Park in Paso Robles by Paso Robles Police Department from 6PM - 7:30PM. Come join your local police officers and firefighters for hot cocoa, candy canes, pictures with Santa, and goody bags! Address: 600 Nickerson Dr., Paso Robles, CA 93446

December 7, 2023 (Thurs) - Santa's Sleigh at Oak Park in Paso Robles by Paso Robles Police Department from 6PM - 7:30PM. Come join your local police officers and firefighters for hot cocoa, candy canes, pictures with Santa, and goody bags! Address: 901 30th St, Paso Robles, CA 93446

December 8, 2023 (Fri) - Tree Lighting Event in Grover Beach at 5PM at Ramona Garden Park. Enjoy hot chocolate, caroling and tree lighting ceremony. In their activity book, they said this event is on a Saturday but on the 2023 calendar, the 8th is on a Friday. Check back on this event as it gets closer to see if they meant to print it for Dec. 9th instead or contact City of Grover Beach. Address: 993 Ramona Ave, Grover Beach, CA 93433

December 8, 2023 (Fri) - Christmas Tree Lighting in Los Osos at 5PM. Dazzling lights, festive music, and the most epic holiday vibe. Address: 2180 Palisades Ave, Los Osos, CA 93402

December 8, 2023 (Fri) - Police Department Open House & Toy Drive at Grover Beach Police Department from 5PM - 8PM. Join them for cookies, cocoa and coffee and take a tour of Grover Beach Police Department! On this night, they will be hosting a special toy drive. All toys collected during the open house will go to the Boys and Girls Club of South San Luis Obispo County! Come meet their staff, enjoy some cookies and cocoa, and check out their department and some of the vehicles! Address: 711 Rockaway Ave., Grover Beach, Ca 93433

December 8, 2023 (Fri) - Winter Wonderland in Atascadero from 5PM - 9PM. Atascadero’s Sunken Gardens and the entire downtown will be transformed into a magical snowy paradise! 75 Tons of snow will create a massive snow slide (brought to you by Kiwanis), and two large snow pile areas for the kids! This year’s snow-themed event includes Joe’s Little Train (operated by the Elks Club of Atascadero), bungee jumps, obstacle courses, community entertainment, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and more! Address: 6505 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422

December 9, 2023 (Sat) - Breakfast with Santa at Tar Creek Ranch from 8:30AM - 11AM in Arroyo Grande.

Tickets are $15 a person and includes breakfast, photo with Santa, holiday activities, crafts, music and more. 
View a video reel of my past visit during the Halloween season at Tar Creek Ranch: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVJJwH7BIpq/ Address: 2514 Huasna Rd, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

December 9, 2023 (Sat) - Santa Margarita Stroll from 5PM - 8PM. You can visit Santa at the Educated Gardener from 5PM - 7:30PM. 22210 El Camino Real, Santa Margarita, CA 93453

December 9, 2023 (Sat) - Annual Cayucos Christmas Open House from 5PM - 8PM. Enjoy free rides on a horse-drawn Calistoga wagon or tractor-pulled wagon. Craft tent and The Grinch will be there for photo opportunities. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in their Victorian home at "D" St. & Ocean Avenue. All activities are free sponsored by the Cayucos Chamber of Commerce. GPS Address: N Ocean Ave & D St, Cayucos, CA 93430 See a picture of the pier around the holidays during my walk along Cayucos Pier below.

December 10, 2023 (Sun) - Tree Lighting & Snow at Elm Street in Arroyo Grande from 5PM - 7PM. Free event. Santa tree lighting, food and toy drive, snow, s'mores table, food vendors, photos with Santa and more. Address: 1221 Ash St., Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

December 14, 2023 (Thurs)- Tin City Forklift Parade and Holiday Shopping in Paso Robles from 5PM - 8PM. Parade starts at 6:30PM. Bring the kids for your complimentary photos with Santa in the Parklet across from Etto and Field Recordings. Address for GPS: 3070 Limestone Way, Paso Robles, CA 93446

December 16, 2023 (Sat) - Holiday Magic at Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero from 10AM - 1PM. General admission (fee, not free) to the zoo is required.

The zookeepers step in as Santa’s Elves to prepare gifts for the animals. Santa will be at the Zoo to help welcome visitors and deliver gifts to the animals. View pictures that I've taken at Charles Paddock Zoo: http://www.sanluisobispomom.com/blog/charles-paddock-zoo Address: 9100 Morro Road, Atascadero, CA 93422

December 25, 2023 (Mon) - Merry Christmas! 

Read about my staycations in San Luis Obispo County and romantic dates in SLO on our blog section.

  


Staycation Experiences Around San Luis Obispo County:

December 31, 2023 (Sun) - New Year's Eve Bonfire in Downtown City Park in Paso Robles from 7PM - 11PM. Free community-wide New Year's Eve celebration. The ball will drop at 9PM. Address for GPS: Spring St &, 12th St, Paso Robles, CA 93446

2024

January 1, 2024 (Mon) - Carlin Soule Memorial Polar Bear Dip at Cayucos Beach from 9AM - Noon. This is an annual family-friendly event. The dip is at noon but they start selling t-shirts at 9AM. 
Ongoing - Every 2nd Saturday of every month, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art has a free monthly family art activity for kids from 11AM - 1PM. Free and open to the public. Address: The lawn outside SLOMA’s Mission Plaza double doors - 1010 Broad St., San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 

As more events are announced in San Luis Obispo County, I will add them here to this page.

Free Things To Do in SLO

Monarch Butterfly Grove

You'll find Monarch butterflies around here seasonally from late October - February (sometimes longer) but this state park is always open and free with occasional special events! The grove is located between Grover Beach and Pismo Beach and you park off the road. There are no designated parking areas. Once you walk around the grove, if you are up for it, you can actually head to the beach continuing on the trail towards the back! The trail heading towards the south side is beautiful. See pictures and blog of the Monarch Butterfly Grove and the Meadow Trail that connects to it. Address: 400 S Dolliver St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449




Bubblegum Alley

Bubble Gum Alley in Downtown San Luis Obispo is always free to explore! The walls are filled with bubble gum and you are welcome to add to the collection. Address: 733 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401



Avila-Pismo Beach Trolley

This FREE trolley service connects you from the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets all the way to Port San Luis via Avila Beach, Avila Valley (Avila Barn, Bob Jones Bike Trail, Avila Hot Springs Resort, and KOA campground) and various resort hotels in Shell Beach and Pismo Beach. Connections from the trolley are available at the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets for SCT (Route 21 and Route 24) and RTA (Route 10). The trolley runs in 3 seasons with varying schedules. Regular schedule runs Friday, Saturday, Sunday. to see more info, go to the Avila-Pismo Beach Trolley website.

Elephant Seals in San Simeon

Come see the elephant seals in their natural habitat in San Simeon! Also part of SLO County and located close to Hearst Castle, any visitor can park near designated parking areas near the beach to see the elephant seals. Of course there's no admission because you're viewing them in their natural home. Amazingly, you can get close to them without them being bothered by it (but not too close!) and they seem to be so used to human visitors. There's a boardwalk and viewing area. Address: 250 San Simeon Ave, San Simeon, CA 93452. See more elephant seal pictures and a full review of San Simeon.

Playgrounds for Kids in SLO County

Sinsheimer Park in san Luis Obispo


Sinsheimer Park in San Luis Obispo is huge with a large playground area and a green hill where kids use cardboards to slide down. They have a lot of sitting areas and a large parking lot. Address: 900 Southwood Dr, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Mitchell Park in San Luis Obispo

Located in downtown San Luis Obispo is Mitchell Park with a large playground, picnic tables and public restrooms. Parking is street parking. Address: 1400 Osos St, San Luis Obispo, CA 9340

Meadow Park in San Luis Obispo
Not too far from the famous Madonna Inn (about a 5 min drive) is a park with a playground and a trail called Meadow Park. With a lot of green grass area, families can come here and enjoy a picnic on a nice day out. Parking in their little lot can be difficult if the courts are used but there is street parking available. See all pictures that I've taken at Meadow Park. Address: 2333 Meadow St., San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Playground at SLO Botanical Garden in San Luis Obispo

During normal days, you'd have to pay to enter SLO Botanical Garden but every month, they host a free Family Day where everyone gets in for free. Once you enter the gates, next to the SLO Botanical Garden is a large playground with a parking area and benches. It's typically quiet when my kids and I come here. They have swings, slides, and it's very spacious. We would hang out at the Children's Garden at the SLO Botanical Garden first on Free Family Days and then end up at this playground. See my Instagram video reel of my SLO Botanical Garden adventure with my kids. Address: 3450 Dairy Creek Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

Dinosaurs Caves Park in Pismo Beach
Located in Pismo Beach is the beautiful Dinosaurs Cave Park with a playground. Right on the edge of the park are the cliffs with amazing views of the ocean! You can't miss a visit here. Like with any public parks, it is free to come here but the views are definitely world class as you see the cliffs and ocean. To see more pictures of Dinosaurs Caves Park and the cliff view there, go to: this blog entry: Dinosaur Caves Park Cliff Pictures. Address: 2701 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Chumash Park in Pismo Beach
Located in Pismo Beach is Chumash Park that has a large playground with a soft ground. There's also a basketball court, trail and clean private bathrooms. It's located around a residential street. Address: 156 Ventana Dr., Pismo Beach, CA 93401

Spyglass Park in Shell Beach
Spyglass Park (see my Instagram video reef of the breathtaking ocean view at Spyglass Park) is right by the bluffs too but smaller than Dinosaur Cave Park. Surrounded by homes, this park is a bit more private with a smaller parking lot and playground but still open to the public with a restroom. You'll find owners walking their pets here and people sitting on one of the benches and taking in the beautiful ocean view. See videos and more pictures of the ocean that I've taken at Spyglass Park. Address: Spyglass Dr, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Avila Beach Park 
With a pirate theme, right by the beach and close to shopping, tourists with kids and local families come here for swings, slides and sand fun! I've chaperoned for a field trip at the Central Coast Aquarium and it's right by this park. Two kindergarten classes were able to have a picnic here at the same time with enough space to fill a few more field trip groups! See pictures of the Avila Beach Pier and the Avila Beach. Address: 50 San Juan St, Avila Beach, CA 93424

16th Street Park in Grover Beach

16th Street Park is the largest park with a playground in Grover Beach. They only have one section as a playground, unlike other playgrounds that separate them for the little ones. It is meant to be in all-inclusive playground. I'd be wary about bringing little kids as my younger son has been buillied by older kids who were hanging around the area. One time, two older kids (maybe Middle School age) approached one of my sons and was encouraging him to try drugs if he wanted to "feel special". It was so sad that this happened. My son told me right away and I made sure I was right next to him. Those older boys were throwing around slurs and saying a lot of bad stuff that I know most parents do not want their little ones to hear. I'm not saying I would expect it to happen often but a couple of extremely bad experiences is enough to make me be a little hesitant to bring my little boys here. I have not encountered problems like this at any other park that I've visited. Address: 16th Street & Mentone Ave., Grover Beach, CA 93433

Hero Park in Grover Beach

Hero Park is located in Grover Beach area and has a playground for the smaller kids. It's located in a quiet residential area. It is street parking only. It has a basketball court and tennis courts. Address: 1600 Farroll Rd, Grover Beach, CA 93433

Elm Street Park/City of Arroyo Grande Parks & Recreation Park

Also known as Elm Street Dog Park, this has both a playground and dog park. There is also a Park & Recreation building there that has preschools and special programs for kids. Throughout the year, the City of Arroyo Grande would host special events here for the public. Address: 1221 Ash St, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

Rancho Grande Playground and Park in Arroyo Grande

Rancho Grande Park is one of the bigger parks in San Luis Obispo County that is very kid-friendly. It's a bit isolated and in a hilly part of a residential area in Arroyo Grande. It has two separate playgrounds with a small section for the little ones. Many families host birthday parties here. Address: 500 James Way, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

Lopez Lake Playground in Arroyo Grande

Located at the Lopez Lake Recreation Area that is run by San Luis Obispo County, this playground is convenient for those who are camping there or hanging out for the day. There is an entrance fee to enter this county park. During the summer, they open up their Mustang Waterpark, which is an additional fee. Read our review of Mustang Waterpark. If you drive an electric car, make sure you charge your vehicle ahead of time as you won't see much anything except for nature for a long bit before reaching this recreation area. Address: 6800 Lopez Drive Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

Oceano Playground Park in oceano
This large playground is only 2 blocks from Oceano Beach with a lot of green grass area! It has an open space layout. Be careful about not stepping on dog poop on the grass as we always see them when we'd come visit. Address: 1330 Dewey Dr, Oceano, CA 93445

Del Mar Park in Morro Bay
Del Mar Park is a lush nine-acre park featuring an outdoor basketball court, amphitheater, roller hockey rink, children’s play area, horseshoe pits, and two great barbecue and picnic areas.  Address: Island Street & Panorama Drive, Morro Bay, CA, 93442

Tidelands Playground in Morro Bay

Tidelands Playground does not have the traditional playground with swings and slides but it has a ship structure for kids to climb! I love the phenomenal view here of the Morro Rock. It has a large parking lot, which makes it easy. I've chaperoned for a field trip in Morro Bay before and we'd stop here for lunch. It was ample room for three classes and it could fit a lot more, easily. Address: 301 EmbarcaderoMorro Bay, CA 93442

Atascadero Lake Park

Located in Atascadero and next to the Charles Paddock Zoo is a large green park with a playground and a nice lake. The playground makes it very convenient for the kids after the zoo. They don't sell food at the zoo so you can bring a picnic here at this park (right outside the zoo) and enjoy a little a break. Address for GPS: 9100 Morro Rd, Atascadero, CA 93422

Nipomo Regional Park in Nipomo

Located on the outer edge of San Luis Obispo County is Nipomo. Nipomo Regional Park is the largest park of the bunch as it's also a sport complex. Every year, local organizations host special events to the public here. I've been to an Easter egg hunt a few times with my kids and we'd always have a great time. Address: 904 W Tefft St, Nipomo, CA 93444

Lawrence "Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles

Lawrence "Larry" Moore Park is located in a residential area that is near Wal Mart in Paso Robles. They have trails that you can walk on, a playground, basketball courts, and a soccer field. It doesn't have swings but it has a couple of small slides. There is street parking right by the park. Address: 155 Riverbank Ln, Paso Robles, CA 93446

Downtown City Park in Paso Robles

Every time that we are in the downtown area of Paso Robles, it's a mandatory visit to the playground the Downtown City Park. It has swings, slides, areas designated for little ones and also a seesaw that fits 4 kids. Close to a lot of restaurants, shops, wine tasting rooms and even a movie theater, this is very centralized playground. It is street parking and on very busy tourist seasons, it can be hard to find parking. Address: Spring St &, 12th St, Paso Robles, CA 93446

Popular Beaches to Explore in San Luis Obispo County

San Luis Obispo County is lucky to have beautiful and many kid-friendly beaches including: Avila Beach, Morro Bay, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach. Here are a few suggested activities to do by beach.

Avila Beach

One of the best well-kept beaches, this beach town covers the bases for wine enthusiasts and families. They have swings right on the sand of the beach, a small pier, a full playground nearby and many restaurants along the beach. During the spring (mid-April) through summer months, they have a seasonal Avila beach farmer's market on Fridays from 4pm - 8pm. You can also take advantage of their free beach trolley during these busy months from Pismo Beach Outlets to many stops at Avila Beach, including First Street, near the farmers market. See pictures of the Avila Beach farmer's market and Avila Beach pier.

Avila Valley Barn
Free to park and free to visit the barn animals here!
 
Read more details about Avila Valley Barn! Address of Avila Valley Barn: 560 Avila Beach Dr, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

San Luis (SLO) Lighthouse
Go visit the Point San Luis (SLO) Lighthouse located on Avila Beach. This lighthouse is owned by Diablo Canyon Power Plant and runs tours on Wednesday and Saturdays year round for different times. There are more tour times during busy seasons. Costs are different for adults and children. Proceeds go towards their restoration efforts. Address: 1 Lighthouse Rd, Avila Beach, CA 93424
This aquarium is very, very small so if you're on a budget, I would consider skipping this one. However, it's right by the playground in Avila Beach so it is tempting to visit. Prices for admission is different for adults and children, and free for children 2 and under. If you have an EBT card, the admission price is significantly less. They have seasonal camps for kids throughout the year. See a list of summer camps for kids throughout San Luis Obispo County.

To see more pictures of Central Coast Aquarium taken by SanLuisObispoMom.com, click here.
Address: 50 San Juan St., Avila Beach, CA93424

Avila Beach PIER
You can find whales coming through here which makes Avila Beach so special. The Whale Trail sign is located at the entrance to Avila Beach Pier just off Front Street, adjacent to unique shops, tasting rooms, charming boutique hotels, vacation rentals and restaurants. The main Avila Beach Pier is currently closed for repairs. Address: Pier 3 Port San Luis, Avila Beach, CA 93424

Additionally, you can go on another pier at Avila Beach that is further down from the main road called Port San Luis Obispo Pier, also known as Harford Pier.

This pier is my favorite of all the piers at Avila Beach. See pictures that I've taken at Harford Pier/Port San Luis Pier. Address for GPS: 3950 Avila Beach Drive, Avila Beach, CA 

Pismo Beach

The most famous SLO beach is Pismo Beach and attracts the majority of the tourists who come to this area. Come to the Pismo Beach Pier to take in some beautiful ocean views. 

With clean beaches, a lot of shops and restaurants, many tourists, local families and surfers come to Pismo Beach for a nice day out. The boardwalk is also a nice stroll along the beach in Pismo Beach.

Oceano Dunes, part of Pismo State Beach, is only 3 miles south of Pismo Beach. Read more about Oceano, California.

HotShots Billiards & Family Entertainment at Pismo Beach
Don't let the word Billiards throw you off from coming here with your kids! They have a lot of arcade games in the back with some centered on little ones! You can buy food or draft beer while the kids have some fun. 

It's very close to the Pismo Beach Pier. You can park in the beach parking lot there and walk here. We came here with the little ones around 8pm and it is still family-friendly.

There is never an admission fee to enter the game area. Bring your quarters. Otherwise, bring cash to dispense some quarters here. Addre
ss: 250 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Grover Beach

As the smallest San Luis Obispo beach in South County of SLO County, Grover Beach is a local quaint beach area. Grover Beach is right in between Oceano and Pismo Beach and part of Pismo State Beach. The town is inviting with a lot of restaurant options. 

Grover Beach and Sand Dunes Beach Entry
There is entry to the beach from Grover Beach via Grand Ave. Limited vehicles are allowed to park pass the check point or toll road because this is where you can enter your 4x4, ATVs and trucks and cars on the beach!

If you are planning on spending a long time at the beach here, walk to this entry point by parking down the intersection where there is public parking available, behind Fin's Restaurant. See more beach pictures of Grover Beach taken by SanLuisObispoMom.com

Grover Beach Playground on 16th Street
About 16 blocks from the ocean is a residential playground that is open to the public in Grover Beach! With soft grounds, swings, slides and picnic tables, kids can roam freely with a lot of grass area. This is a great neighborhood park and there are also ADA-friendly swings. Address: S 16th Street & Mentone Avenue, Grover Beach, CA 93433

Cayucos

Located in the Northern part of San Luis Obispo County, this small beach town has a pier and a playground on the sand of the beach all centrally located side by side. There are many restaurants for you to dine at and the vibe is very relaxing. This town neighbors Cambria, another beautiful beach town in San Luis Obispo (SLO) County. 

Morro Bay

As one of the more popular places to visit for visitors and tourists traveling in San Luis Obispo County, Morro Bay also has a lot of activities family can enjoy. With trails, surreys and kayaks for rent, many tourists come here to enjoy some outdoor activity as well as some water fun.

Check out the weekly farmer's market here as well. Link to Morro Bay's SLO farmer's market info and other markets in SLO.

Morro Rock
An idyllic backdrop for Morro Bay, Morro Rock is the last of the (Nine Sisters)  extinct volcanic peaks along Highway 1 from San Luis Obispo. This 576' tall landmark stands at the mouth of our harbor and is home to nesting Peregrine Falcons. The Morro Rock is huge.

You can't miss it and this volcanic plug attracts many tourists. There is a beachside right by the rock too and a trail that you can walk around alongside.

Always free. See more photos of Morro Rock. GPS Address: 1300 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA, 93442

Sea Otters
See the Sea Otters for free right at the T-Pier on the bay! It's of course free to see them because this is their natural habitat! You'll see baby sea otters on the mommies. It's a cute sight to see and worth the drive coming here.

Morro Bay Trolley
Only operating seasonally and links the North Main Street and Downtown Business Districts, Embarcadero, and State Parks. Cost is only $1 per ride. Children under 5 ride free. They may have discontinued this, post-pandemic.


Paso Robles

Paso Robles, California is famous for their wineries and is located in the North County part of San Luis Obispo county. From award wining wines from dozens of wineries all over Paso Robles, it is a haven for wine enthusiasts. There are also a lot of kid-friendly things to do in this special town. Read about wineries that we've visited in Paso Robles.

They also have a nice downtown area with cool shops and delicious restaurants lined up for you to explore.

Paso Robles Children's Museum

The Paso Robles Children's Museum is a two story museum located in the downtown area of Paso Robles. It may be a bit intimidating for the smaller toddlers but it's still a great place for the kids if you're nearby. See more pictures of our visits at Paso Robles Children's Museum in this blog post. It is much smaller than the San Luis Obispo Children's Museum only open a few days out of the week, depending on their staff coverage for the season. Address: 623 13th St,Paso Robles, California 9344

The Ravine Waterpark (only open during summer season)
Open only during the hot summer months, The Ravine Waterpark is a great size for the family. Parking is free so you only pay for admission. On really busy days, the parking lot can get full so come early. You can also rent cabanas here. See hotels closest to The Ravine Waterpark in Paso Robles. See a list of hotels close to Ravine Waterpark in Paso Robles.

They offer active-duty military discount with valid military ID. Address: 2301 Airport Rd., Paso Robles, California 93446

California Mid-State Fair
Only 12 days during July, the California Mid-State Fair takes place at Paso Robles Event Center. Many famous singers come and perform! It gets really hot in Paso Robles around this time (like the 100s at peaks) so if you have a medical condition, please be careful.
With carnival rides, hundreds of vendors and great eats, it's fun for the whole family. Address: 2198 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, CA 93446

Sensorio Field of Lights


At night, there is a famous light art display  in Paso Robles that you can visit by buying tickets called Sensorio Field of Lights. It's great for families, romantic dates and tourists . See pictures that I've taken at Sensorio in Paso Robles. Someone took me here for my birthday and we also took my husband here to celebrate Father's Day! You can bring a wagon or stroller to push the kids in because it is quite a walk! They don't allow outside food in but they have a few options to enjoy! Sensorio Address: 4380 Highway 46 East Paso Robles, CA 93446

I've dined at 16 different restaurants in Paso Robles of San Luis Obispo County. Read my reviews for all the Paso Robles that I've visited.

Check out the blog section to read about our most recent visit or activity in SLO County. 

Free Story Time 


Story times are great for little ones to get a chance to listen to stories with other little ones as well. They are always free at libraries and book stores like Barnes & Noble.


San Luis Obispo County Library Story Times

Story times at the public libraries are always free and great for the kids. They are usually located in the kid's section that has toys and computers for the kids to use. To see all story times at libraries all over the San Luis Obispo county area, go to the library story time page. They are always free.

Barnes & Noble Bookstore Story Times

In the past, Barnes & Noble usually hosted a free story time for children in the Children's area but after the pandemic, they have paused the program. There is a kids' area located on the second floor so take the steps or elevator up! They also sell toys at this level too. Address: 894 Marsh St Bldg G, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 

SLO Farmers Markets (ongoing weekly as weather permits)


San Luis Obispo Farmers Market in downtown

San Luis Obispo Farmers Market in Downtown is iconic to the Central Coast and takes place every Thursday from 6PM - 8:30PM from November - February and 6PM - 9PM from March - October on Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 between Nipomo and Osos. Seasonally, Chorro Street and Broad Street may also be in use.

San Luis Obispo Market on madonna Road

The San Luis Obispo Market near Madonna Inn is at address: 325 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405 (World Market/Embassy Suites parking lot) in the middle of a large shopping center and take place on Saturday mornings from 8AM - 10:45AM.

Morro Bay Farmers Market

Morro Bay Farmers Market is located at Spencer’s Fresh Markets parking lot at address: 2650 Main St., Morro Bay, CA 93442 takes place on Thursday afternoons takes place from 2PM - 4:30PM.

Pismo Beach Farmers Market

Pismo Beach Farmers Market takes place right by the beach at Pismo Beach Pier at Pomeroy and Hinds Ave., Pismo Beach, CA 93440 every Wednesday from 4PM - 7PM between April - September only

Arroyo Grande Village Farmers Market

The Arroyo Grande Village Farmers Market takes place in old downtown Arroyo Grande at address:  193 Olohan Alley, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420 takes place on Saturday Afternoons from noon - 2:30PM

Arroyo Grande Smart & Final Parking Lot Farmers Market

The Arroyo Grande Smart & Final Farmers Market is conveniently located at Smart & Final parking lot at address:  1464 East Grand Avenue, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420 and takes place on Wednesday mornings from 8:30AM - 11AM

Nipomo Swap Meet & Flea Market

Nipomo Swap Meet & Flea Market is fun and takes place every Sunday from 6AM - 6PM, weather permitting. They also have train rides called Choo Choo Safari inside the vicinity! It's great for kids! You pay a car entry fee of $4 to enter the Swap Meet & Flea Market to park. They have fresh produce, awesome Mexican food options all around the area and good yard sale type finds. Address: 263 N Frontage Rd, Nipomo, CA 93444

Attractions

San Luis Obispo Children's Museum

Prices: $10 for adults & children, $6 for seniors 60+, $8 for military members, $3 with EBT card for SNAP benefits and children 2 and under are free. Every once in awhile, they would have "Moonlight Hours" where anyone can come for free between 5pm - 7pm. Look out for that. See more pictures from our visit to San Luis Obispo Children's Museum. Currently, they are only open during certain morning or afternoon hours for a few days a week. Address: 1010 Nipomo St., San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Paso Robles Children's Museum

Located in the northern part of San Luis Obispo County is the Paso Robles Children's Museum. It's significantly smaller than the San Luis Obispo Children's Museum but the little ones will still enjoy it. It's inside a 2 story building in downtown Paso Robles, California and there are many restaurants within walking distance. They close at 4pm and are only open for selective days so make sure you plan your visit accordingly. Address: 623 13th St,Paso Robles, California 93446

Charles Paddock Zoo

Admission Prices are: $10 for ages 13 and older, $8 for ages 5 - 12, $5 for ages 3 - 4 and Free for children 2 and under. See more pictures of Charles Paddock Zoo taken by SanLuisObispoMom.com. They also have a senior price at $9 if you're 65 and older. Charles Paddock Zoo Address: 9305 Pismo Ave., 
Atascadero, CA 93422

Hearst Castle

SLO County is home to the famous Hearst Castle! Now as a museum, the castle is open every day for the public. Ticket prices are more for adults compared to kids' prices but it's free for children under 5. Hearst Castle Address: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452. See more pictures and a full review of Hearst Castle from SanLuisObispoMom.com. 

San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum

This is a 2 story museum that's great for kids and any train enthusiasts! Children 3 and under are always free here. Regular adult admission is only $5 and $3 for children ages 4 - 15 years old. They are opening for limited hours due to the pandemic. They have special events throughout the year. Address: 1940 Santa Barbara Ave, San Luis Obispo, California 93401

The Ravine Waterpark

Located in Paso Robles, this Waterpark is only opened during the summer time from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Prices are Regular $36.99, Junior $28.99, Senior $21.99 and Children under 2 are free. Every year, they seem to have increased their prices by $2. They also sell season passes. Address: 2301 Airport Rd., Paso Robles, California 93446. Find hotels closest to Ravine Water Park.

Museum of Natural History - Morro Bay

I chaperoned for a field trip at Museum of Natural History in Morro Bay and after visiting here, this place is now my favorite museum for all of SLO County! The museum is small but still educational. You can see a wonderful view of Morro Rock. There are walking trails around it with phenomenal views. The museum is free for children who are 17 years old and under! Price for adults is only $3 each. Here's a picture that I took looking out of the window with the view of Morro Rock while inside of the Museum of Natural History.

Morro Bay's Morro Rock is one of the more famous landmarks of San Luis Obispo County. Read my blog entry about Morro Bay. Address of Museum of Natural History in Morro Bay: 20 State Park Road, Morro Bay, CA 93442

Birthday Party Ideas

Pacific Flips Gymnastics Birthday Party

Pacific Flips has two locations: Grover Beach and Santa Maria. We've planned a birthday party for our child at the Grover beach location and had an excellent experience. Their birthday packages are either for 90 minutes or 2 hours. Parents are welcome to come watch.

They set up 2 tables ahead of time per your reservation and you just bring your decoraton. For more pictures and details, read about our detailed experience in this Pacific Flips Birthday blog entry.

Central Coast Aquarium Birthday 

For a  2 hour slot, you can have a birthday party for your child at the Central Coast Aquarium in Avila Beach. They host birthday parties on Saturdays and Sundays.  Their minimum birthday packages start at $250 and include 12 children for that price (additional cost for more kids).

To see more pictures of the aquarium, read our review blog entry of Central Coast Aquarium

Go to the SLO family-friendly restaurants section to see restaurants with a play area. These places are great options for birthday parties.

As always, you could always reserve a spot at a park with the city office for a particular date within San Luis Obispo County for parties.
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