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Pismo Preserve Hike Review

April 25, 2024
Pismo Preserve is a great place for hiking and to get a wonderful birds-eye view of the Pismo Beach Pier! It's free to park there but there are only a few dozen parking spots available. During the spring time, be prepared for seasonal allergies as flowers and plants bloom and can create a reaction to your body if you're not used to the pollen here. However, Pismo Preserve has the best and easy-to-find hiking trail! I highly recommend this hiking trail to tourists and locals.
Pismo Beach Preserve Photos
I enjoy coming here to hike with my family and also with another friend while my kids are at school as I live only a couple of miles away from this spot. Here's a video clip of my ocean view after a 30 min hike in.

Even from the parking lot, you can see an amazing view of the coast line. Before you start your hiking journey, I recommend taking a picture of the trail map, in case you lose reception, so that you can still access a map from your photos.
Map of Pismo Preserve in Pismo Beach
There are many lookouts along the trail and it doesn't matter where you start, they are all enjoyable views. Don't forget to bring some water in a reusable water bottle (more environmentally friendly) as some parts of the hiking trail have an incline and you can get easily winded on a hot day. Sunscreen and a hat are also very helpful to have for this hiking trail. Come prepared. From my adventures here at Pismo Preserve, I've had a group of people come up to us before to ask us for help because they were lost. It didn't look like they brought enough water so please be prepared and bring water! I've also seen a man on a one-wheeler trip and fall right in front of us because of the rocks on the hiking trail. Be careful!
View of Ocean from Pismo Preserve

Pismo Preserve Address: 80 Mattie Rd, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Other Local Hiking Suggestions:


What To Do Indoors in San Luis Obispo For Kids

April 15, 2024

When the weather isn't nice or it's rainy, staying indoors is the safest thing to do. When you have kids, trying to entertain the kids without a playground or outside activities can be tough. Fortunately, there are options for indoor activities for the kids.

Here Are Some Suggestions on What To Do Around San Luis Obispo County on a Rainy Day:

  1. Take the kids to the museum. There are two children's museums in San Luis Obispo County: one in Downtown San Luis Obispo (SLO) and one in downtown Paso Robles. There is also a railroad museum in downtown San Luis Obispo called San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum that is all indoors. It is very kid-friendly.
  2. Take the kids to the local library. There are about a dozen libraries in San Luis Obispo County. Our two favorite ones are in Downtown San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande. They both have a nice kid's section with Legos and other activities. Sometimes they even have free special events for kids. During the school year, they have preschool story times during the week days.
  3. Take the kids to the Exploration Discovery Center in Grover Beach. It's not a museum but it is a wonderful kid's playing center that is mostly indoors! They have an area focused on STEM, a play grocery section, a play veterinarian section, and more.

    See more pictures that I've taken here at Exploration Discovery Center when my kids were younger. I would say this place is most appropriate for kids under 10 years old, in my opinion.
  4. If you want a place to eat with a kid's play area, I've taken my kid's to SLO Public Market and McDonald's with a playhouse, Pismo Bowl for bowling and arcade fun, and Hot Shot Billiards and Family Entertainment Center for arcade fun as well.
    • See pictures that I've taken at the SLO Public Market. The kid's play area is upstairs on the second floor in the main building. If my husband is there with me, then he would wait for the food and I'd bring my kids to the play area so they could play for awhile longer. I'd say the toys are more appropriate for preschoolers or little kids.

      When they have special events, they do close the entire second floor so keep that in mind.
    • For the Mcdonald's with a playhouse, I only know of one McDonald's in all of SLO County that has it for kids and it's located in Arroyo Grande. Here is their exact address: 410 E Grand Ave, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420. It's located close to The Village of Arroyo Grande.
    • Pismo Bowl is a really great place to have fun bowling but my kids especially like their arcade area. They serve food and drinks there. They are located only a block away from the Pismo Beach Pier.
    • HotShots Billards & Family Entertainment Center in Pismo Beach has an arcade and an area that sells food at the far end from the entrance. Just keep walking past the pool tables.Hot Shots Billiards Review
  5. Take the little ones to the Central Coast Aquarium, located in Avila Beach. It's a small aquarium and I could probably walk through the whole place in 15 minutes, but for the little ones, if they like to observe, they might be able to stay around for awhile longer than that to see all the sea animals there.

    My kids have also gone to this aquarium for field trips in Elementary School. I've chaperoned for a field trip at this very aquarium before. Read my full review and see pictures that I've taken at the Central Coast Aquarium in Avila Beach.
  6. There is an indoor bounce house in San Luis Obispo County located in Atascadero called HOPS Bounce House. They are open every day except for Mondays.

Reading Suggestions:

Suggested Supplies for a Rainy or Cloudy Day


Bell's Los Alamo Restaurant Review | Michelin Star Restaurant on Central Coast

March 17, 2024
My husband and I had a recent date night at Bell's in Los Alamos and our date night experience was completely elevated when compared to all of the date nights we've ever had. I'm still on cloud 9 when I look back at all of the food that I enjoyed there with my husband.

Bell's Los Alamos is located in Santa Barbara County and attracts many visitors from other parts of California and even outside of California for their renowned farm-to-table French cuisine experience. They earned a Michelin star! I highly recommend coming to this Central Coast restaurant to celebrate a special occasion or for a romantic date night. 

With a prix fixe menu offer only for dinner, I actually like this format from Bell's very much. The first three items on the menu were not choices but the last three items were choices that you can pick from three different options. I think Bell's Los Alamos does this right and it makes the dining experience really fun! I ordered a nice port and tonic to accompany my meal. It was refreshing and the ingredients balanced well together for a nice and sunny early evening.
Bell's Restaurant Drinks Review

What We Ate
First to eat and as noted on the menu, we were presented with the Santa Barbara Sea Urchin with caviar. Delicately put together on top of a small crepe, it was so fun to eat and the different textures danced well in my mouth. It was delicious and a new adventure for my taste buds!
Santa Barbara Sea Urchin with Caviar
Next, we were presented with a nice salad and their freshly baked seeded sour dough bread. I didn't take a picture but have taken a video of it on my instagram reel of my Bell's Los Alamos dining experience. The salad was simple but you can tell the salad was locally sourced and the dressing was extraordinary. The sourdough bread was also very wonderful with the cultured butter. 

For my choices, I chose the French Omlette (sic) and it was plated so beautifully! The greens and sauce accompanied the omelette so well and I liked it better than my husband's choice: Wild Mexican Shrimp Pain Perdue.
Bell's Appetizer MenuBell's Prix Fixe Menu
For my next choice, which I liked to call my "main course", I picked the Petrale Sole (fish) while my husband picked the Steak au Poivre. Both would be excellent options if you are torn between the two. I decided to stick to a more pescatarian diet this time, even though I did have a couple bites of his steak. 
Bell's Los Alamos Main Courses for Dinner
For dessert, I chose the Mt. Tam as I've been on a very big cheese kick lately. I enjoyed the savoriness of my dessert. My husband chose the Chocolate Bouchon which he absolutely loved. It was very decadent. I also took a couple of bites of that. (Please excuse the dotted mess on the tablecloth below. I thought about editing it out but decided to be more real because sometimes we are a little bit messy.)
Bell's Restaurant Desserts
At the very end, the server gave us a Mignardise which were some chocolate bites and I loved them. It was a great finale to our romantic date night.

If you're looking for places that offer a kid's night out or parents' night out program so that the parents can have a date night, go to my blog entry that has a list of places that offer kid's night out or parents' night out events in SLO County.
Go to my instagram to see my video reel of my dining experience at Bell's Restaurant in Los Alamos.

Reservation Experience for Bell's

We hadn't planned to dine at Bell's Los Alamos until a few days before and when we had initially checked their reservation times for Saturday, it was all booked up! So, I decided to put our names on the waitlist. Then, on the very morning of Saturday, I decided to check their reservation availability again on Tock and saw that they had an opening! So I took myself off the waitlist and snatched the 6:15PM time! Since each reservation dinner was allotted 2.5 hours for dining at dinner time, it closed out the other times and I basically took the very last reservation availability. I knew this because when I checked back a few minutes later after depositing for our reservation, there were no times available for other patrons anymore! In order to reserve our reservation, we were required to deposit $25 for each person and it went towards our bill. I think this is a good move to avoid customers from flaking out as much as possible. They only have so much room and a good business like this would know how to capitalize every space.

I was concerned about how long our dinner was going to take so I emailed Bell's later that day (they don't have a telephone number) and I asked if there was a possibility that our dinner could take shorter than 2.5 hours because we had another commitment and if not, we'd like to see if we could box up our desserts to save time. It's a 5 course prix fixe dinner and I didn't know what to expect. Surprisingly, they emailed me back shortly after and said that we could finish up dinner before the 2.5 hour allotment and that if we were cutting it close, they'd be happy to box our desserts! I was so impressed by their proactiveness and communication! We didn't have to box it because we decided to show up earlier than our reservation time.

Los Alamos is not located within the same county as San Luis Obispo but it was close enough for us to have a special dinner. As mentioned, we got to Los Alamos early and decided to walk in to see if Bell's could accommodate us early. If not, we would just roam around and explore the area a bit. So, we walked in at 5:30PM with a 6:15PM reservation. We asked if they would be able to accommodate us earlier than our reservation time. With smiling faces, they checked our names in the system. They were more than happy to seat us right away! I was so impressed with their quick responses and eagerness to make it easy. I'm definitely coming back here again! With incredible food and fantastic service, it is a no wonder that they have a Michelin star!

Read my other restaurants reviews for the Central Coast.

Date Night Ideas:


Epoch Estate Wines Tasting Room Review | Templeton, CA

March 2, 2024
Epoch Estate Wines Tasting Room Review | Templeton, CA
Located in Templeton and in an isolated area, Epoch Estate Wines offers wine connoisseurs a unique tasting room experience. Their architecture is sleek and clean inside and their outdoor seating area has a nice view of the vineyards from up high.

My husband made reservations online so when we got seated, the tastings were already set up on the table for us with 5 different glasses of wine. It was a nice presentation and we were glad to have been seated in the center of the main tasting room. 

The lighting and ambiance of the tasting room was cool and relaxing. I really enjoyed looking up inside as their offices were upstairs and gives the place a really elegant look. Even though they said there were only offices on the second floor, I wish I could have taken a look! 

They require reservations for tastings and it states so on their website. However, they are available daily, starting at 10AM. Just plan ahead accordingly and make that reservation so that they have enough staff to serve you.

We were very impressed with how professional and knowledgeable our wine attendant was. The experience was very comfortable. The wines were exquisite and I liked every glass that we tasted! We were so impressed that my husband and I joined the wine club that very day! Every year, we are club members of 3 or 4 local wineries in San Luis Obispo County. Once we let one go, we carefully go on a hunt to pick a different one by researching extensively online.

Although it was too cold to have a tasting outside, their view is pretty amazing. On a warmer day, it would nice to relax outside.

See a video of my seat while looking around the room at Epoch Estate Wines below.

Epoch Estate Wines Address: 7505 York Mountain Rd, Templeton, CA 93465

I've visited over 50 wine tasting rooms in San Luis Obispo County. Epoch Estate Wines has made it to my top 10 favorites. See my current top 10 wine tasting rooms/wineries in San Luis Obispo County as a local.

Suggested Supplies for the connoisseurs:


Austin Hope Winery (The Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar) Review

February 19, 2024

We went to The Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar to try Austin Hope wines to celebrate a belated Valentine's Day.

My husband had made reservations a few days before and we were able to get an early reservation at 10:15AM. Most wine tasting rooms in Paso Robles don't open until 11AM so this was a really nice option for an earlier tasting. They gave us a private seating area with a view of the vineyards. The wines were excellent, especially their Cabernet Savignon. We were so impressed with Austin Hope wines that we joined their wine club membership that very day and gave up our Stephen Ross wine membership.

Our Wine Tasting Adventure in San Luis Obispo County

Currently, we are wine club members for 3 different places and we try not to exceed 4 at any given time. After moving to San Luis Obispo County, we've really enjoyed being so close to all of the wineries and learning more about wine. Thus far, we've visited over 50 wineries/wine tasting rooms in all of San Luis Obispo County (including Edna Valley and Paso Robles wine countries. See my top favorite wine tasting rooms to visit and hang out. As our palates have changed, our preferences in wines have also. We've been regular members of Tolosa Winery for a few years (read my Tolosa Winery review). We used to be members of Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery, Stephen Ross Wine Cellars and Sextant Wines. We are currently only members at Tolosa Winery, Austin Hope Winery (The Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar), and Sans Liege Wines (read about my date night at Sans Liege Wines Tasting Room in Pismo Beach during our Pismo Beach date night).

While at The Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cella, we also saw a woodpecker there while we were enjoying our tastings. See my video of the woodpecker at The Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar


About Me

San Luis Obispo Mom Originally from San Diego, California, I'm a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, we now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here, the exploration continues.
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All photos (except for ads) on including: homepage, 'Family-Friendly Things to do' page, 'SLO Restaurants' page,'Mom Groups & Childcare' page, and 'blog' page were taken by me so they are my original content and belongs to this blog/website.

To find family-friendly activities in the SLO area, go to the 'Family-Friendly Things To Do' page.

Some of the links are just useful local information that I'm sharing for free and some are commission-based products that may help me earn a small commission for each sale to upkeep with the fees of running this local blog.

Are you planning on relocating to San Luis Obispo County from a different place?

Suggested Supplies for Your Big Move