You’ll certainly want to slow down in SLO—that is, the city of San Luis Obispo. Hip and historic, it’s college and mission town in one, with open space perfect for hiking and mountain biking just a few minutes from a walkable downtown.
Wake up with a double espresso made from locally roasted beans and just try to resist the almond croissants at Scout Coffee, where the weathered brick wall interior is as pleasing as that first cup of joe. Take a walk through downtown and along restored Mission Creek before visiting the 1772 Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, where you can stroll beneath a shaded grape Arbor in the serene gardens.
Or if you’re looking for more of a workout, power up with the Big Sky Café’s Devil’s Mess (scrambled eggs, onions, spinach, and spicy Andouille sausage among other ingredients) before challenging yourself on the single-track mountain biking loops at the 720-acre Irish Hills Natural Reserve. For more mountain biking near SLO, head into the high country just north of town for rides that lead to spectacular views across the county in the West Cuesta Ridge area of Los Padres National Forest.
Before leaving SLO, grab lunch at Taste, where you can take your pick of such surprises as a banh mi sliders, then customize your mac-and-cheese with ingredients that include smoked gouda, pulled pork, and jalapenos.
Next stop, drive north on Highway 1 to the harbour town of Morro Bay.