SAN LUIS OBISPO (SLO)
Current Population – 47,536.
Elevation – 233’ With coastal mountains rising to near 2,000’
Founded – 1772 as a Spanish mission by Junipero Serra
Average Temperature – 59 Degrees Fahrenheit
Notable Tourist Interest – Water Sports, Hiking/Biking Trails
Picturesque towns amidst the Pacific coastal regions of Central California have represented a favorite destination for my wife and I in our road trip travels. Located nearly equidistant between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the laidback atmosphere, seasonable climate, cultural amenities, and natural beauty of these smaller communities have consistently satisfied our tourist interest for brief stopovers as well as longer term stays. What makes SLO so special to us? Here are five reasons why?
CURIOUS MINDS NEED LIFELONG LEARNING
We always look forward to immersing ourselves in the “college town” atmosphere of the main campus of Cal Poly University. Searching for educational/cultural happenings, we spent extended time at Cal Poly during the weeklong visit of Tibetan monks as they constructed a mandala design in the Student Union for the student body.
GRASS ROOTS ACTIVISM MATTERS
Both of us enjoy volunteering our time on the road when we can. Feeling politically engaged on our last SLO stay, we joined a Community Science Walk protest. Marching peacefully through Old Town SLO, we felt empowered that our plea for progressive change would be constructively answered.
STAYING ACTIVE MEANS EXPLORING PACIFIC SHORES
In the greater SLO vicinity, we love the challenge of finding manageable hike opportunities there. Our favorite walk took place at Montana De Oro State Park last spring, when we witnessed awe-inspiring views of the cliffside Pacific along the shoreline Bluff Trail. This coastal gem was not the easiest place to find but in retrospect, getting lost in these wilds seemed well worth the effort.
LIFE SLOWS DOWN IN “OLD TOWN” AMERICA
SLO consistently earns national recognition as among the happiest places to visit in America. One of the best times to witness this positive atmosphere would be the weekly Farmer’s Market along “Old Town” Higuera Street every Thursday evening. Instead of fighting the crowds, however, on our last visit we opted for a slower “West Coast” mentality and savor a relatively quiet, barbecue dinner at the nearby Firestone Grill.
SPECIAL OCCASIONS ADD VARIETY
In spite of our budgetary limitations on the road, splurging for good reason is not out of the question. On last year’s stopover in SLO, we spontaneously decided to add a slice of romance to our long enduring marriage by booking an elegant dinner at the historic Madonna Inn.