We took a day trip down to San Luis Obispo back in September 2020. Thinking back, that was our first and last day trip of the year (if we’re talking day trips that are more than a 1hr drive each way). I find it funny how accustomed we’ve become to spending weekends at home. This particular day trip was rather spontaneous – we decided to take the Friday before Labor Day off, and planned a 1-day itinerary for SLO literally the night before. Despite the more than ~3 hr drive each way, we decided, why the heck not? Fast forward a few months later, and neither of us are even willing to drive up to San Francisco, haha, and that drive is just an hour. Anyway, we had a wonderful day in SLO, so thought I would share our itinerary. Please make sure to check in advance if certain attractions are open (or have restrictions) given the current COVID situation. Also, apologies for the differently sized images. Some I captured via IG story and others directly via my iPhone camera.
Stop #1: Terrace Hill
Loved this spot! It’s in a residential area so parking wasn’t hard to find. The climb up to the top is really short (0.4 miles round trip) but really steep. I regretted not bringing proper shoes, since it did get quite slippery. The views at the top are gorgeous – well worth the short hike. There are a number of benches along the perimeter at the top that you can sit at the enjoy the view. I’ve heard some people come up to picnic around sunset! We were here early ish in the morning so brought some tea drinks to enjoy instead. No crowds when we went, so we had the views all to ourselves!
Stop #2: Scouts Coffee
Terrace Hill is just a short drive away from downtown. We decided to make a stop for coffee. The interior of this place is so cute- literally coffee shop goals! You can’t dine in right now, unfortunately, but they have a good amount of outdoor seating! I ordered a matcha latte and a bacon, cheese, and chive scone. Both were delicious! The scone was definitely more unique out of the two, but the matcha latte was so balanced flavor wise! Not too sweet and just enough matcha flavor. Prices are fairly reasonable and everything comes out pretty fast. This place also has a restroom inside open to customers, so bonus points for that especially right now since most places don’t!
Stop #3: Downtown SLO
Scouts Coffee is already in downtown SLO, but there are so many other shops/streets to wander! Everything is within walking distance, so you just have to park your car once. A lot of the parking meters downtown are older and only take coins, so keep that in mind! You can also find parking a bit further in the residential areas (which is actually free). We stopped by:
- Bubblegum Alley (pictured; given the COVID situation, I’m not surprised that it was completely empty lol. When I came here 3 years ago it was packed!)
- Mission San Luis Obispo (pictured; you couldn’t go inside, but the surroundings were still gorgeous)
- Junk Girls (antiques)
- Blackwater (pictured; clothing, plants)
Stop #4: Firestone Grill
This place always seems packed, even during COVID (which is not a good thing). We were surprised at how many people were dining outside. Def not 6 ft apart lol. Would highly recommend getting takeout and finding a bench nearby to eat at, or even a park. You can easily find either within a ~5 min walk. Just make sure you grab some napkins since the food here can be a bit messy to eat. We got:
- Tri-tip sandwich – definitely lived up to the hype. I was a little nervous initially about getting a sandwich with just meat in it. No other veggies, toppings, nothing. But the meat was delicious, and the BBQ sauce complemented the flavor perfectly. If you get one thing here it should be this!
- Chicken sandwich – the chicken sandwich was ok…the chicken wasn’t amazing but for the price and the amount of other toppings that you get I still think it was worth!
- “Basket” of fries – for two people, this was WAY too much. The fries also weren’t that great…maybe because we didn’t get them with any toppings?
Stop #5: Pismo Beach
When I say Pismo Beach I mean the general area. There’s actually a lot to see:
- Sand dunes: section between Grand & Pier Avenues OK for walking and you can access from Dune Trail from Grand Ave)
- Dinosaur caves: (pictured) gorgeous view of the coastline; they also have several walking trails here, and a playground too for little ones
- Pismo Beach (pictured)
- Splash Cafe: (pictured) came here for the clam chowder cause I had heard so many good things. It had good flavor but was slightly salty (maybe they were having an off day). The line was also ridiculous. If there’s a line, don’t bother waiting.
- Wooly’s: (pictured) they’re supposedly known for their fish n chips! We thought they were just aite haha
There’s a lot of good seafood near the beach. You can grab food first and then head to the beach to enjoy. The beach wasn’t super crowded when we went (thank goodness). This was our last stop before heading back up to South Bay.
And that’s a wrap! Some other places we wanted to stop by on the way back up but didn’t have time:
- Montana de Oro State Park
- Cayucos State Beach
Both of those two spots are supposedly really good for catching the sunset. Maybe next time!