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Parks and nature in San Luis Obispo County

Top parks

Park
“Walk/hike through gorgeous eucalyptus forests to the pristine California coastline. Walk through tide pools or just pull up a piece of sand and breathe in the fresh air.”
  • 104 locals recommend
Park
“The butterflies are more active in warm, sunny weather. If it is cold look for the clumps of them in the trees. There is a nice walking path through the grove to the beach. Entrance and parking are free.”
  • 66 locals recommend
Park
“montana de Oro State park,Swinging Bridge in vi;;age,101 wine tours, port San Luis Lighthouse! Pismo Beach and Avila Beach.”
  • 46 locals recommend
Hot Spring
“Make a reservation for a mineral hot spring tub beneath the beautiful trees on the way to Avila beach. you can take a picnic and wine and make the most of your hour time slot. Large groups of 10 can get the oasis pool! ”
  • 48 locals recommend
Park
“Straight down El Morro is Baywood Park, where you will find the Back Bay Cafe for great coffee, breakfast, and kids cocoa. You'll also find other restaurants, the dock, a small market, a bakery, taverns, and art studios. Montana de Oro State Park is about 15 minutes away- just go west on Los Osos Valley Road. It is known for spectacular bluff views and trails for hiking, biking, and running. There you will find Spooner's Cove and the Bluff Trail which gives access to tide pooling at Coralina Cove.”
  • 23 locals recommend
Park
“A great place to eat your take-out lunch from any of the local restaurants, or finish off your dessert from SLO Sweets, right across the street”
  • 19 locals recommend
Pier
“The Pismo Pier is a nice stroll, with a beautiful view. The downtown area nearby has cute beachy shops and restaurants. A great place to watch the sunset!”
  • 20 locals recommend
Park
“Wonderful nature walk with really close up views of the ocean below the bluffs. There are homemade artistic benches where you can sit and chat or open your picnic lunch. You may see Sea Otters, Seals, Pelicans, Seagulls, Egrets, other sea life, bob cats, coyotes, and lots of happy dogs with their owners.”
  • 18 locals recommend

Playgrounds

Playground
“For amazing views of the ocean from the cliffs. Easy walking around the park along the coast. Take a picnic or go for sunset. Also on some Sunday's they have a small craft fair.”
  • 23 locals recommend
Park
“This is a great family park in North Morro Bay. Pickleball courts are open at 9am. ”
  • 5 locals recommend
Playground
“A sweet little park at the south end of the Embarcadero with picnic tables. Nice place for seeing Sea Otters, enjoying a picnic, and watching a sunset.”
  • 5 locals recommend
Trail
“The City to the Sea bike trail follows the Pacific Coast Railroad right-of-way along San Luis Obispo Creek to Avila Beach. Starts at the parking lot right off the 101 freeway and ends at the beach.”
  • 2 locals recommend
Playground
“Our most favorite park not only to take the kids to play but also for the adults to have a BBQ on the girls. Or just sit on the picnic tables and watch all the bay activities going on.”
  • 1 local recommends
Playground
  • 1 local recommends
Playground
“We used to go to this park as kids. (I liked playing in the wooden boat.) The park is ok, but if you cross the street, you almost always can see otters floating in the bay.”
  • 1 local recommends

Beaches

Mountain
“Walk on the board walk while snacking on some local salt water taffy or stop and eat some local seafood. Enjoy a view of the iconic Morro rock and watch sea otters within close proximity. ”
  • 47 locals recommend
Scenic Lookout
“These mammoth Elephant Seals travel long distances to mate and have their young here. The males have a big 'hammer head' and the females have the typical pristine seal head. Sometimes you might even witness a female giving birth. (I did) You don't want to get too close to them or they might feel threatened. There are really nice docents to chat with and answer any questions. There is a parking lot to the North where you can park, go through the fence and go for a beautiful hike and see more Elephant Seals and scenic views.”
  • 49 locals recommend
Beach
“Drive your four wheel drive vehicle onto the beach shoreline, sit and soak up the sun and play in the waves all day, then make a sand pit fire for your group to gather and enjoy. ”
  • 24 locals recommend
Pier
“The Pismo Pier is a nice stroll, with a beautiful view. The downtown area nearby has cute beachy shops and restaurants. A great place to watch the sunset!”
  • 20 locals recommend
Beach
“Enjoy a stroll thru Oso Flaco Lake that leads you to the dunes. There are picnic tables for you to enjoy a meal half way to the dunes. ”
  • 17 locals recommend
Trail
“A hike with little to no elevation gain, walk from highway 1 to the crashing waves and back! ”
  • 12 locals recommend
Beach
“Unique small town located right on the coast. Avila Beach has shops, restaurants, a pier, and one of the nicest beaches to enjoy what the Central Coast has to offer. There is a farmer's market that runs April thru September on Fridays 4 to 8pm.”
  • 127 locals recommend
Beach
“A wide expanse of tall, undisturbed dunes leading down to the ocean attract hikers to this preserve. You can also rent ATV's and sand buggy's to explore the dunes.”
  • 11 locals recommend

Trails

Trail
“very easy bike / walking trail through the Avila Golf Course and ends at the beach”
  • 25 locals recommend
Trail
“Cerro San Luis Obispo Loop Trail is a 3.9 mile heavily trafficked loop, the trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.”
  • 13 locals recommend
Trail
“A hike with little to no elevation gain, walk from highway 1 to the crashing waves and back! ”
  • 12 locals recommend
Trail
“This area is known for great hiking trails. Some trails are easier than others and there are plenty of websites with hiking info. This isn't the easiest hike, but it's one that is probably the most well known. Below are two different trail entrances: To get to the Highland Drive Trailhead: From Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo, take exit 203 B to Highway 1 North. Drive north for one mile toward Morro Bay and turn left onto Highland Drive. Continue another mile to the cul-de-sac at road’s end. Roadside parking is available. Alternatively, you can start from the lower trailhead on Patricia Drive, which is also used for Felsman Loop Trail. Trailhead address: 1 Highland Drive, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405 Trailhead coordinates: 35.30115, -120.68916 (35° 18′ 04.1″N 120° 41′ 20.97″W) To get to the Patricia Drive Trailhead: From Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo, take exit 203 B to Highway 1 North. Drive north for one mile toward Morro Bay and turn left onto Highland Drive. Drive half a mile and turn right onto Patricia Drive. Go another half mile, where you will spot the trailhead on the left. Roadside parking is available. Trailhead address: Patricia Drive, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405 Trailhead coordinates: 35.30433, -120.685438 (35° 18′ 15.59″N 120° 41′ 07.57″W)”
  • 3 locals recommend
Trail
“Only about a 10-minute walk/hike up. The top is flat with benches—perfect for watching the sunset. ”
  • 3 locals recommend
Trail
“Nice hiking trail with 360-degree views at the top of Los Osos, Baywood, and Morro Bay. Dog-friendly​!”
  • 3 locals recommend
Trail
  • 1 local recommends
Trail
“The City to the Sea bike trail follows the Pacific Coast Railroad right-of-way along San Luis Obispo Creek to Avila Beach. Starts at the parking lot right off the 101 freeway and ends at the beach.”
  • 2 locals recommend
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