Students and parents are gearing up for the new school year, which means it’s the perfect time to explore the beautiful Central Coast! San Luis Obispo County, home to the landmark destination Splash Café, offers a multitude of must-visit places for students and their families.
From mouthwatering eats to stunning coastal views and unique cultural attractions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in SLOCal. Here is a list of some of our (and your soon-to-be) favorites!
Splash Café: OK, we’re a bit biased on this one, but Splash Café in Pismo Beach is one of the longest-standing restaurants on the Central Coast. A popular destination since 1989, and one of the busiest restaurants on the coast, we serve more Clam Chowder at this location in one year than other seafood restaurants serve in their lifetime—over 40,000 gallons per year! Our Pismo Beach location is also a certified landmark and the place that truly represents Classic California. We are also a true artisan bakery, featuring freshly baked breads, pastries, desserts, and custom cakes for all occasions.
Attention parents: You can also send your students (or yourself!) Splash goodies, like Clam Chowder and Special Occasion Cakes and Desserts with FREE nationwide shipping through Goldbelly.com!
SloDoCo: At SloDoCo, you can pick from over 100 different donuts. Every. Single. Day. 24/7. With a wide variety of options, they truly make something for everyone. Vegan? No problem. Gluten-free? They got you. Craving chocolate overload? Hey, that’s their specialty! Can’t choose just one? Don’t worry—they have a dozen-sized box with your name on it!
McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams: For innovative, indulgent flavors that are 100% certified organic and made from scratch, head to McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams in Downtown SLO. Each and every scoop is made with organic, grass-fed dairy and features organic cookie and brownie inclusions made in McConnell’s on-site Bake Room.
Also from The Bake Room at McConnell’s Family Dairy, their new House-Baked Cookies are the same top-quality cookies found in McConnell’s ice creams and scoop shops, but flash-frozen and ready to serve after heating in the oven for a few minutes to achieve the melty, gooey interior McConnell’s cookie fans know and love. Packaged in one-of-a-kind, novelty ice cream pints, the McC’s House-Baked Cookies come in three delicious flavors: Chocolate Chunk, Brownie Cookie, and Peanut Butter Crunch.
Battle Axe San Luis Obispo: Battle Axe SLO is one of the newest venues in the area to provide a fun and exciting experience unlike any other! They offer eight indoor ax-throwing lanes that are the perfect idea for your next night out with friends, date night, or event. The only indoor ax-throwing facility in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria. Join them for some rockin’ tunes and high-energy fun! Ax throwing is a great activity for all abilities.
BA Start Arcade: This is the Central Coast’s premier barcade! A family-friendly venue, BA Start Arcade offers 40-plus retro and modern arcade games, basketball hoops, air hockey, ping pong, and 12 pinball machines. There’s also a full-service bar for the 21-plus crowd, as well as a calendar of events that includes live music, DJ battles, arcade and board game tournaments, weekly drink specials, weekly trivia, and so much more!
Montaña De Oro State Park: Montaña de Oro State Park is a breathtaking coastal gem with its rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and diverse ecosystems. We recommend doing Valencia Peak and Bluff Trail Loop—it’s a moderate hike with unbeatable views. Length is 7 miles.
Madonna Mountain: Also known as Cerro San Luis, this mountain offers a relatively easy hike right next to the Madonna Inn! See the gorgeous views of San Luis Obispo and don’t forget to take a selfie in front of the Madonna “M”! Length is 4 miles.
Pismo Preserve: Owned and operated by the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, the Pismo Preserve has a network of trails ranging in difficulty and length, from 1 mile to 7 miles. The best part? Each one has a uniquely stunning view to enjoy!
Downtown SLO: Held every Thursdays 6 to 9 p.m. (weather permitting), this iconic farmers market includes a variety of food, produce, art, and specialty items, as well as many different performances and entertainment. Stroll down Higuera Street to shop, eat, people watch, and make sure to pop by Bubblegum Alley for a public art experience unlike any other!
Arroyo Grande: This Saturday farmers market offers lots of fresh, farm-to-table items, including fish, flowers, and all kinds of fresh produce. It’s held from 12 to 2:30 p.m. in the Village of Arroyo Grande, where you can also see roosters roaming around and enjoy some live music.
Madonna Road Market: Held Saturdays from 8 to 10:45 a.m., this more traditional farmers market on Madonna Road features fresh and local produce from over 60 vendors! It’s the perfect place to find your fruits, veggies, and more for the week.
SLO Brew: SLO Brew opened its doors in 1988 and has remained one of California’s longest-standing brew pubs. Their hand-crafted micro brews, quality dining, and world-class entertainment has made both locations (The Rock and The Lofts) a pivotal component of the Central Coast.
Hearst Castle: The famous Hearst Castle is something you won’t want to miss out on seeing! William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan transformed an informal hilltop campsite into the world-famous estate best known as Hearst Castle—a magnificent 115-room main house plus guesthouses, pools, and 8 acres of cultivated gardens.
Giuseppe’s: In 1988, Giuseppe DiFronzo breathed life into the original Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica in Pismo Beach. Much beloved by locals and travelers alike, Giuseppe’s was an early adopter of the farm-to-fork philosophy. They have three locations: the original restaurant in Pismo, Guisseppe’s Express across the street, and Guiseppe’s in SLO.
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