I do not know much about this area. Let’s start with Paso Robles (Pass of the Oaks), which was established in 1870 by the uncle of outlaw Jesse James, Drury James. A pianist named Ignace Paderewski brought zinfandel vines to his ranch in 1913, to start the industry here. Today, Paso, as locals call it, maintains a Victorian era feeling with a cute town square, and a city ideal for a stroll.
The home of famous Cal Poly is located in the college town of San Luis Obispo. Many of my friends have attended, and the father of a dear friend was the dean here. Still quaint, and ideal for walking, the town is also close to nice beaches, golf, and of course, the wine region made famous by the movie, Sideways. They have an 18th century mission, lots of old Victorians, and some areas worth exploring for tourists.
Pismo Beach has 23 miles of beautiful, white sand beaches. It is the classic California beach town of the Fifties and Sixties, without the glamor. I seem to recall lots of sand between my toes when walking around the city streets, Pismo Beach pier, and nearby sights. It is the only beach that allows dune buggies and ATVs. And dogs are welcome in this little town of souvenir shops and quaint seafood joints. I guess it should be called the “poor man’s” Santa Barbara. Our dog, Buddy loved the sandy beaches here.
The iconic Morro Rock means you have reached the ocean. At 576 feet above the ocean, it is also home to a falcon sanctuary. Kayaking, birding, fishing, and surfing are the main activities here, along with eating piles of fresh seafood. Though it is often called the “Gibraltar of the Pacific”, it is not a British colony! And you can always count on a good dose of fog and mist here, even on the warmest of days.
You can’t go wrong in any of these four towns, since they are all close to the famous vineyards and wineries of the region. Just make sure you have a designated driver, and leave plenty of time for lazy afternoons for winery hopping. Just be careful when the summer crowds arrive.