Area Info

The central coast of California provides a diversity of lifestyle, entertainment and climate. From Parkfield and San Miguel in the North County to San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach in the South, and from Atascadero inland to Morro Bay, Cayucos and Cambria along the coast, there's something for just about everyone here!

What was once an area devoted almost entirely to dry land farming and ranching is now rich in wineries and various orchard groves, and thousands of people instead of hundreds now call this area home.

Drive out to Parkfield (population 37) and see the famous San Andreas Fault. The drive is nice, especially in springtime, and if you like, the Parkfield Café is open every day but Wednesday. It's a quiet little place to visit…gives you a feeling of getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Other scenic drives include Santa Rita Road out of Templeton all the way to Whale Rock Reservoir in Cayucos and back to Templeton or Paso Robles by way of Highway 46. In springtime the hills are green and wildflowers are blooming profusely. Take your camera and capture some spectacular views.

While down on the coast, you'll want to visit Hearst Castle and in February and March the elephant seals are calving further north past San Simeon. In Morro Bay, take a boat tour in the fall to do some whale watching.

Expect wide variations in temperature from inland to the coast and have a sweater or jacket handy…you'll need it. It is also often foggy on these northern beaches.

As you might expect in these "touristy" areas, there are lots of little shops and restaurants up and down the coast.

For a warmer experience, head south down Highway 1 to Avila Beach. In summer there are often jazz concerts in the evenings. You may also want to visit the golf course there.

If the oceanfront isn't your forte, you may prefer a visit inland to one of the area lakes. San Antonio Lake and Lake Nacimiento provide camping, fishing and water skiing. For fishing only, try Santa Margarita Lake.

For shopping and dining, there are great places in both ends of the County; Creston boasts the Loading Chute and the Long Branch for down-home cooking and steaks. Templeton has AJ Spurs, McFee's, and the Beef Palace. No reservations required and no need to dress up fancy (that's my kind of eatin'!) Paso Robles can also please your palate with anything from pizza and burgers to fine steaks and seafood dishes. Visit San Luis Obispo for a "downtown" experience in shopping and dining which has become something of a rarity in small towns across the country. Take plenty of quarters for meter parking, or plan to use the public parking garage and walk the streets. You really can "shop 'til you drop" in San Luis Obispo.

From the Mid State Fair in late July-early August and the Pioneer Day parade, held annually in October, to the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly University; from winery tours to car shows, and with great local talent as well as world famous entertainment, you will find there is something for just about everyone here, so get out and enjoy.