9 unique finds in SLO CAL, California

No offense to fast, but slow is good for the soul. Slow will set you free. While the rest of the world is busy racing to the end, slow gives your life the attention it deserves. This is the mantra promoted by SLO CAL, where life is lived, not rushed. If you’re planning a visit to this chilled out region, we’ve found 9 unique spots for you to kick back and relax.

Moonstones on Moonstone Beach – Cambria

Located in the cute seaside town of Cambria, Moonstone Beach is one of the Central Coast’s most scenic spots. This classic California grey sand beach is often home to beautiful moonstones, which locals and visitors can be spotted searching for. Local artists use the moonstones to create striking one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces.

The Surfing Goats – Pismo Beach

Dana McGregor and his three goats have built quite the reputation along the shores of Pismo Beach, with their unlikely friendship and impressive skills. Dana started surfing with his goat, Pismo, and then took two more in and the rest is history. Dana and his surfing goats now offer surf lessons, stand up paddleboarding lessons, SUP/Surf camps and a special needs surf camp.

Madonna Inn – San Luis Obispo

Welcoming guests since 1958, Madonna Inn is recognised for its whimsical décor and hospitable charm. Each of the 110 rooms are individually styled; the Pony Room features a pint-sized carousel steed whilst the Caveman Room offers waterfalls and rock walls. The hotel’s restaurant, The Gold Rush Steakhouse, is a pink paradise serving delicious steaks and outside, guests can enjoy a hilltop pool with a 45-foot waterfall that plunges into a lagoon. Rooms from £198 per night.

Monarch Butterfly Grove – Pismo Beach

Found in Pismo Beach from October – February each year, visitors shouldn’t miss the vibrant orange and black monarch butterflies that take their home at Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove. The butterflies cluster in the limbs of towering, majestic Eucalyptus trees, welcoming over 10,000 each year.

Bubblegum Alley – San Luis Obispo

Covering a stretch of 20 metres in downtown San Luis Obispo, Bubblegum Alley has become one of the city’s most talked about landmarks, which residents and visitors have been sticking gum to for decades. People write notes on their gum, create art, draw pictures and leave bubbles and there’s a gumball machine located right by the alleyway for those who want to contribute to the ever-changing artwork.

Bioluminescent waves – Port San Luis / Morro Bay

The waves of Port San Luis and Morro Bay have been seen to glow an electric-blue as they crash against the beaches in SLO CAL, created by bioluminescent dinoflagellates. This spectacle occurs when the plankton emit flashes of blue or green light in response to agitation and one of the best places for visitors to spot this is the north side of Morro Rock in Morro Bay.

Zebras at Hearst Castle – San Simeon

What was once the largest private zoo – home to more than fifty species – the area surrounding Hearst Castle is now an oasis for a herd of beautiful zebras. Two years after William Hearst died, nearly all of the animals were sold or removed, but the zebras and a few others remained and still roam the property today.

Serenity Swing – San Luis Obispo

A short distance from San Luis Obispo, visitors can head out on a hike in Poly Canyon in search of a view that’s quite special. From the top of the Serenity Swings Trail, there are views of Morro Rock and Bishop’s Peak in the distance, as well as the Architecture Graveyard nearby, an “outdoor experimental construction laboratory”, home to unique structures built by Cal Poly State University students. But what makes the view better than others in SLO CAL? You get to enjoy it while on a swing!

Morro Bay Skateboard Museum – Morro Bay

Recently opened in a new location overlooking the harbour, Morro Bay Skateboard Museum displays over 250 skateboards showing the complete history of skateboarding from 1920’s to present day. The museum is home to John Lennon’s board, as well as ever-changing exhibits including the Vans exhibit, which takes a look back at Vans history in skateboarding and displays ads from the 1970s, with corresponding shoe and box.

Below is a selection of #TeamCoco’s hand-picked places to stay:

SAN LUIS OBISPO – Madonna Inn: Welcoming guests since 1958, the Madonna Inn– located in the town of San Luis Obispo – is recognised for its whimsical décor and hospitable charm. Each of the 110 rooms are individually styled; the Pony Room features a pint-sized carousel steed whilst the Caveman Room offers waterfalls and rock walls. The hotel’s restaurant, The Gold Rush Steakhouse, is a pink paradise, serving delicious steaks and an extensive wine list, and outside, guests will find a hilltop pool with a 45-foot waterfall that plunges into a lagoon. Rooms from £198 per night.

SAN SIMEON – Cavalier Oceanfront Resort: Nestled on a scenic seaside bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort offers guests an authentic Central Coast experience. Located near Hearst Castle, this hotel is the perfect base for exploring local beaches and the quaint seaside village of Cambria nearby.  Rooms from £112 per night.

PASO ROBLES – Allegretto Vineyard Resort: Located along the idyllic east side of Paso Robles, the Allegretto Vineyard Resort is bathed in acres of sprawling vineyards and orchards, blending the region’s best food and wine experiences with European-style hospitality. Guests can explore the surrounding wine country at leisure and sample some of the finest regional wines – including the Allegretto’s own private label. Rooms from £195 per night.

MORRO BAY – Morro Dunes RV Park: Located just steps away from the pristine Atascadero coastline and the iconic Morro Rock, Morro Dunes RV Park is the ideal stop-off point on a California road trip. With 170 total camp sites, the park is a great base to explore the region and offers ample opportunity for sightseeing and relaxation. Camping available from £30 per night.

PISMO BEACH – Vespera on Ocean: Opening in September along Pismo Beach’s famous stretch of surf, sand and sun, Vespera on Ocean will be the perfect beachfront escape for families visiting SLO CAL. Embodying an upscale beach house-inspired design, Vespera on Ocean offers a fun, active and stylish escape for guests to relax, unwind, and enjoy the best of Pismo Beach. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Vespera on Ocean invites you to experience a taste of beach living. Rooms from £182 per night.

For more information, please visit www.slocal.com

For more information on SLO CAL, please visit: www.slocal.com

Caoilfhionn Rose

Caoilfhionn is a freelance travel writer who enjoys slow travel and avoiding landmarks in favour of diving into a destination's culture. Instagram: @CaoilfhionnRose

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