We love San Luis Obispo County, and created this site as a guide for visitors and locals to explore everything this county has to offer. Whether you are looking for beaches, wineries, mountains, great food and drink, fun, events, or sunshine, you can find it all in our small piece of paradise.
Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo County stretches 92 miles along the central coast of California. Comprised of 12 main cities, SLO County (as locals call it) offers the perfect destination for everything from a wine tasting weekend getaway to a day trip to one of our many incredible beaches, or even just a nice break for a fantastic meal on your drive to somewhere else.
Follow us at San Luis Obispo Guide as we explore everything SLO County has to offer, and celebrate all the cities, wineries, fun, events, food and drink, lodging, and people that make this place so special.
Cities of San Luis Obispo County
San Luis Obispo County has 22 cities and towns that make up the majority of the county, each with their own unique flavors and experiences that contribute to the fabric of our piece of the central coast.
Of the 22, the five most popular places to visit in the county are:
- San Luis Obispo, where Cal Poly is located
- Paso Robles, SLO County’s Wine Country
- Pismo Beach, a very popular beach
- Cambria, the art lovers destination
- Morro Bay, home to Morro Rock, the Gibraltar of the Pacific
Learn more about what makes each city and town so special below, and continue to explore with us as we discover all the wineries, food and drink, fun, and events in San Luis Obispo County.
San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo is located in the heart of SLO County, and is the largest of the twelve main cities. Also home to California State Polytechnic University (or Cal Poly as we call it – go mustangs!), this college town enjoys some of the best weather, wine, food, and fun in the county.
Pismo Beach is located in the southern half of SLO County (approx. 10 miles south of SLO on Highway 101), and is know for some of the best surfing and clams on the entire central coast. Visitors and locals alike can spend their entire day at the beach sunbathing, surfing, exploring the dunes on ATVs, and eating all the clams they can muster, likely caught and prepared that same day.
Paso Robles is located in the heart of wine country in northern SLO County (approx. 30 miles north of SLO on Highway 101). With over 200 wineries to explore, locals and visitors can find everything from small label boutiques to nationally recognized labels, and just as many restaurants to pair with their favorite varietals.
Cambria is a sleepy beach community located on the northern coast of SLO County, approx. 30 miles north of SLO on Highway 1. No trip to Cambria is complete without a stops at Moonstone Beach and Fiscalini Ranch Preserve where you can truly take in the beauty of the central coast.
Morro Bay is located along the northern coastline of SLO County, approx. 10 miles north of SLO on Highway 1. You will know you have arrived when you see The Rock on the beach, a massive volcano that is no longer active, and is now a state historic landmark.
Avila is located near Pismo Beach along the southern coastline of SLO County (approx. 10 miles south of SLO on Highway 101), and boasts some of the best weather in the entire county. With that perfect weather locals and visitors can enjoy an ideal day at the beach just about year-round with all the good food, wine, and drinks that come with it.
Arroyo Grande is located near Pismo Beach along the southern coastline of San Luis Obispo County, approx. 15 miles south of SLO on Highway 101. Food is central to life in Arroyo Grande, with the city boasting one of the biggest Strawberry Festivals in the state and one of the best restaurants in the county.
Atascadero is located south of Paso Robles in northern SLO County, approx. 20 miles north of SLO on Highway 101. The city enjoys much of the same wine culture of northern SLO County, but with a stronger hometown vibe that comes through in the fun, food, events, and drink you’ll find here (kids and dogs are often welcome).
Cayucos is located just past Morro Bay along the northern coastline in San Luis Obispo County, approx. 15 miles north of SLO on Highway 1. This quaint beach town boasts one of the best bakeries in the county, and a dog park right on the beach for seaside adventures with fido.
Creston is located east of Atascadero in northern San Luis Obispo County, approx. 28 miles north of SLO on Highway 41. Although one of the smaller towns in SLO County, there are still several wineries, amazing restaurants, and a whole lot of fun that should not be missed!
Grover Beach is located south of Pismo Beach in southern San Luis Obispo County, approx. 15 miles south of SLO on Highway 101.
Harmony is located above Morro Bay on the northern coast of San Luis Obispo County, approx. 28 miles north of SLO on Highway 1. This tiny town may only have a population of 18, but they know all about the good things in life!
Lake Nacimiento is one of the largest lakes in northern San Luis Obispo County, and is located approx. 40 miles north of SLO on Highway 101.
Los Osos is located right next to Morro Bay on the north coast of SLO County, approx. 10 miles west of SLO on Los Osos Valley Road. Montana de Oro State Park is located here, and offers something for every adventurer at heart: hiking, beach combing, tide pools, surfing, fishing, and more.
Nipomo is located near Pismo Beach along the southern coastline of SLO County, approx. 24 miles south of SLO on Highway 101.
Oceano is located near Pismo Beach on the southern coast of SLO County, approx. 15 miles south of SLO on Highway 1.
Ragged Point is located in the northwest corner of San Luis Obispo County, approx. 56 miles north of SLO on Highway 1. Known as the Portal to Big Sur, Ragged Point offers stunning views, beautiful hikes, and delicious food all from one of the most beautiful places on the central coast.
FOOD & DRINK
San Miguel is located just past Paso Robles in northern San Luis Obispo County, approx. 35 miles north of SLO on Highway 101.
San Simeon is the home to Hearst Castle, and the last beach town along the northern coastline in San Luis Obispo County (approx. 40 miles north of SLO on Highway 1).
Santa Margarita is located south of Atascadero in northern SLO County, approx. 10 miles north of SLO on Highway 1. This small town can boast having one of the best steakhouses in the county with The Range located there, and hosts some of the most fun and memorable events at Santa Margarita Ranch.
Shandon is located in the farthest east part of SLO County, approx. 50 miles north of SLO on Highway 41.
Templeton is located south of Paso Robles in northern SLO County, approx. 22 miles north of SLO on Highway 101. With their own wine region, Templeton gives locals and visitors the opportunity to explore a whole other side of north county varietals, and an entire culture of food, fun, and festivals to celebrate Templeton and the north county.
There are four primary wine regions in San Luis Obispo County:
Arroyo Grande Valley
Learn more about the wines of San Luis Obispo County by visiting our Wineries page, and discover all the ways to enjoy the the varietals grown right here on the central coast.
Fun Things to Do
Whether you are looking for a fun day at the beach, zip lining through vineyards, hiking the tallest peaks in the county, or sailing the seas, San Luis Obispo County has it all to offer…and more. Make sure to visit our Fun page to discover all the adventures you can have while here, and all the places you can explore when visiting SLO County.
There is never a shortage of things to do in San Luis Obispo County, with events occurring every weekend at the beaches, wineries, bars, restaurants, parks, and schools that celebrate the food and drink, wine, music, and fun of the county. Make sure to visit our Events page to discover all the live music and food festivals, marathons and 5k fundraisers, film festivals and farmers markets, parades, car shows, and all the other events in San Luis Obispo County.
Food & Drink
San Luis Obispo County is situated on the central coast of California, with the ocean to the west and abundant agriculture to the north and east. This combination of clean, fresh produce, seafood, and local beef, chicken, and pork create the perfect atmosphere for a wide range of inspired dishes and palettes to explore. Visit our Food and Drink page to learn more about all the restaurants, distilleries, breweries, and cider houses up and down San Luis Obispo County, and get inspired to try all the food and drink the county has to offer.
With an abundance of reasons to visit San Luis Obispo County, we thought you might need a place to stay to see everything, and does SLO County deliver. From the seaside hotels in the southern part of the county to the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, and the wine country resorts in the north (not to mention AirBNB and camping!) there is something for everyone. New hotels are being built all the time in SLO County so make sure to check out our Lodging page for information on where to stay when visiting San Luis Obispo County.
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