Taste the Central Coast
Your Itinerary to Wine and Dine in the Heart of Central California
San Luis Obispo County is quickly becoming one of the largest and most popular wine regions in California. With its Mediterranean climate and miles of rolling hills, it is the perfect combination for cultivating agriculture.To explore the area and meet vintners, farmers, chefs and purveyors of all things pleasing to the palate, here’s a three-day suggested itinerary with overnight stays in Paso Robles and Pismo Beach.
Day One – Historic Paso Robles
Begin this indulgent visit in Paso Robles wine country, the first of two main wine regions in the county with lunch in the heart of historic Paso Robles. A top choice for locally grown products is Thomas Hill Organics, a true farm-to-table experience with organic food with seasonal produce directly from their gardens.Or, try Artisan, an American bistro serving local and organic produce, and proteins that are wild caught or sustainably farmed with no growth hormones or antibiotics. The wine list features top products from Paso Robles’ most respected vintners. Both are in the city’s Park Square in downtown, steps from several tasting rooms to sample the Paso Robles wines.
To visit Paso Robles wineries, a great choice is a locally owned touring company called The Wine Wrangler. It departs from the Paso Robles Inn, one of the Historic Inns of America, the cornerstone of Paso Robles since 1891 and the first night accommodations.Known for many attributes, the Inn has deluxe spa rooms with outdoor, private hot tubs on patios or balconies using the town’s natural artesian hot springs. The Paso Robles Inn Steakhouse has been the choice for great dinners for over 50 years.The current menu includes regional wines, locally grown food including produce from the Inn’s organic kitchen garden, locally grown beef and Morro Bay fish, and local cheeses, olive oil, fruits and nuts.
Paso Robles Hotel and Restaurant:
Day Two – Templeton, San Luis Obispo & Pismo Beach
Depart to the small town of Templeton and drive into the country side to Happy Acres Family Farm for a two hour tour of a California state-licensed working goat dairy (advance reservations are required.) Visitors learn the process of making goat cheese and other products from goats’ milk like lotion and soap, how to milk a goat, bottle feed baby goat “kids”, and taste the cheeses.
Distance from Paso Robles to Templeton: 7 miles (approximately 15 min)
Next stop is the second wine region in San Luis Obispo County, Edna Valley, but first, lunch at Big Sky Café in downtown San Luis Obispo. Save room for their signature beignets.
Edna Valley, a U.S. designated AVA (American Viticulture Area) area, is home to more than 30 wineries. The San Luis Obispo VintnersAssociation has an informative website listing partner vineyards, vintner backgrounds, tasting room hours, driving directions and wine tasting map.
Distance from Templeton to San Luis Obispo: 26 miles (app. 30 min)
In the afternoon, head to the ocean for the sunset and overnight stay in the Pismo Lighthouse Suites in Pismo Beach. The all-suite Pismo Beach hotel gives travelers space to stretch out and the location delivers local eateries within walking distance, like The Cracked Crab for casual dining, or Steamers of Pismo, located on the bluffs of Pismo Beach with a panoramic view of the Pacific coastline. Locals recommend the award-winning clam chowder.
Pismo Beach Hotels:
Distance from San Luis Obispo to Pismo Beach: 13 miles (app. 15 min)
DAY THREE – PISMO BEACH
Pismo Beach’s decidedly throwback breakfast choices focus on locally owned coffee houses and cafes. One favorite is the Old West Cinnamon Rolls, known throughout the western United States and beyond, which got its start as a purveyor of dinner rolls at county fairs.
Rather than more vineyard-hopping on the last day, in Pismo Beach, the wines come to the visitor. At Tastes of the Valleys, the locally owned wine store and tasting room carries approximately 650 wines and almost every wine is available by the glass, for a great way to sample before deciding on a few favorite bottles to take home.
Another option is the San Liege Tasting Room, home to handmade wines from the best vintners on the Central Coast, where owners pour small-production, sought-after wines.
Martin Resorts’ Pismo Beach hotels offer a late check-out option to get as much relaxation in as possible at their oceanfront heated pools or spa services in the comfort of your own room.
Itinerary assistance was provided by the San Luis Obispo Visitors & Conference Bureau.