Hey all! Last week, as you probably know from Instagram, I was cruising around the central coast of California. I was there for 8 days with my husband. Initially, we were just planning on a relaxing, calm, do-nothing vacation. We’ve both been working like crazy and it was a much-need recoup. But, after getting there, we found that were much more active than planned! I thought I would share with you all where we went and what we did if you’re looking for some inspiration for your next trip!
I’ve been going to San Luis Obispo almost every year since I was 5-years old. This trip was Josh’s third time in SLO. So, we skipped a lot of the tourist-y stuff that I hit during his first trip (i.e Hearst Castle) and stuck more to things that we would just enjoy.
We arrived on a Sunday, but considering it was an 11 hour road trip, all we wanted to do was get set up in our hotel room and rest. We stayed at the San Luis Bay Inn. My grandparents have had a timeshare there for 20+ years and generously let us use it!
First thing we did was wake up early and take a walk around the beach. The saltiness of the sea air almost took my breath away, I forgot what it was like! The Avila Beach Pier is still under construction on some parts, so we couldn’t walk all the way down it like we usually could. There was one year when we walked down and we saw a killer whale surface 10-feet from the edge!
Then, we stopped by Trader Joe’s. I know, so random, but, if I can, I will cook on vacation rather than go out to eat. It saves major $$$ and all the rooms at the San Luis Bay Inn come with fully equipped kitchens (oven, microwave, stove, the works). We picked up a few of the basics, plus some simple things for me to make dinner.
After that, we headed to Port San Luis and enjoyed some time watching the seals. It was ridiculously windy. It can get windy at the port, but it’s been awhile since it’s been that windy. The seals usually like to hang out on barges. It drives all the fishermen nuts, but it’s really entertaining to watch.
We headed out to Morro Bay in the morning. Fortunately, it wasn’t too crowded. We hung out and watched the otters for a bit. They’re just so cute! I call them “sea dogs” because their mannerisms are so close to puppies. After watching them for awhile, we walked around Morro Bay. We didn’t go into any of the shops or anything because Josh and I aren’t shoppers and weren’t interested. Instead, we enjoyed the sea breeze on a nearby bench. Josh also got a picture of my growing bump!
Then, we headed into downtown SLO and went to Splash Cafe. This is the one thing Josh hasn’t done in all his time in SLO. The past couple of times, when I wanted clam chowder, we would just go down the hill to Custom House. I think Custom House is great, but I think Splash is better. The original Splash is in Pismo Beach, but it’s just become too crowded. So, we picked one of the lesser popular locations!
After that, we headed to the Avila Barn. It was right after school let out so there were a bunch of little kiddies running around. I’ve never been to SLO in the fall, so it was awesome to see all the pumpkin and squash they grew on their farm! And, of course, we couldn’t resist getting ice cream and relaxing under a grapevine trellis. Most of the ice cream in SLO is homemade and made from local dairy farms, since there’s so many around. And, trust me, you can tell the difference!
We started the morning by heading to Scout Coffee in downtown SLO. Josh got an amazing latte and I got an iced Moroccan mint green tea, which was weirdly addicting. I also highly recommend their cappuccinos and iced lattes, if you ever head that way!
After our little cafe visit, we headed south to Solvang. Josh and I had never been before, so it was a fun new adventure! If you don’t know, Solvang is a little German town and it’s a gem if you know it’s there. The drive up is beautiful: completely lined with pines on either side. We mostly stuck to the bookstores, bakeries, and kiddie shops. It was so hard not to spend everything on the little kid stuff! We topped it off by getting pastries from a Danish bakery. I got a raspberry Danish and Josh got a Florentine.
We started the day with brunch at Apple Farm. Josh got this amazing tri-tip scramble and I got an omelet made with avocado and fresh sprouts. SLO is also known for their microgreens! If you do end up going there, be sure to try their biscuits: they’re huge!
Apple Farm is also has an old car. They’ve had it for as long as I could remember. Each season and holiday, they decorate it in a different way and it’s never decorated the same way twice. It’s fun to see what they come up with every year! Down the path from the car is the Old Mill, which is a water mill that has been there for ages.
After that, we had a relaxing day at the hotel. We were both starting to feel the tiredness we had been feeling from work in full force and needed a day of rest. But, that didn’t stop us from catching the sunset on Avila Beach! Definitely one of my favorite memories was sitting there at sunset, just enjoying each others’ company.
We woke up early and headed back to Avila Barn. We almost forgot to pick up a pie! Avila Barn makes these really unique Olillaberry pies. The best way I can describe an olillaberry is that it’s like a combination of a blackberry and raspberry and it’s amazing. We didn’t get a whole pie because they’re ginormous! I think, last time, we opted for a whole pie, and we couldn’t even finish it in a week. So, we opted for a cobbler, which is essentially the same thing, but smaller. My sweet tooth has declined during pregnancy, so I knew it’d be mostly on Josh to finish it! We stuck it in the freezer right away to preserve it’s freshness so we could enjoy it at home while we head back into the work grind!
Then, we headed to downtown SLO. Unfortunately, the Mission was closed because they were doing cleaning on it. That kind of bummed me out because I love walking around that old church. But, we did hit up a couple bookstores. Again, Josh and I aren’t big shoppers so we didn’t really feel like going into any other shops. However, we did browse around one of our favorite bookstores, Phoenix Books, to check out the little treasures they have there. I love messy bookstores 🙂
After, we went back to the hotel for some R + R. We sat out in a couple rocking chairs, enjoyed the view, sipped on some tea, and felt the baby kick! (He’s getting stronger every day.) Then, we decided to play corn hole, and we’re both absolutely terrible (haha!), but it was fun to goof around together.
Later that evening, we caught up with friends at Blaze Wood Fire’d Pizza. I’d never been before and it’s kind of like a “make your own pizza” place. I was not expecting for the personal pizzas to be so big! You get a lot when you go there. It was so nice to see my friends again! At the end of it, my cheeks hurt from laughing way too much 🙂
Saturday was more of a chill day since we were going to make the long journey home the next day at 4 am. We had my best friend staying the night, so we woke up a little early and went to the complimentary breakfast. The marine layer was ridiculously heavy, so we went back to the room afterwards and watched FRIENDS and played Cards Against Humanity until it cleared up.
After the marine layer disappeared, we all went down to Avila Beach and walked around. We each got a little ice cream and enjoyed some time in the sun (and got weird sunburns) before heading back to the room for some final relaxation and packing.
Josh and I never took a honeymoon after we got married in December. We came back and jumped right into our work. So, in a way, this was our little honeymoon and we loved every minute of it! I can’t remember the last time I took a vacation where neither of us worried about work, the dogs, or (back then) school. It was the best thing to just enjoy some time with my favorite person.
Anyway, for any of you looking for vacation plans or ideas, I hope this helped!