Family Vacation Ideas
The Central Coast is fun for the whole family. San Luis Obispo provides limitless affordable itinerary ideas, making SLO a top family vacation destination in California. With kid-friendly beaches, hiking, farmers’ markets, museums, Bubblegum Alley, and more, your family will never be at a loss for activities in San Luis Obispo.
Conveniently located just halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the Central Coast, San Luis Obispo is an ideal home-away-from-home for summer, spring break, holiday vacations, and even weekend trips. Affordable San Luis Obispo hotels, activities and restaurants make the city a great family vacation spot.
Family Vacation Idea #1 - SLO Downtown
Downtown San Luis Obispo has endless attractions fun for the entire family. Grab lunch at the family-friendly Splash Café for a bowl of clam chowder and yummy sandwiches, destined to satisfy the whole group. Cruise through Powell’s Candy Shop to pick out colorful gum and make your mark on the infamous Bubblegum Alley, located off Higuera Street.
If you are looking for an interactive kid-friendly attraction in Downtown, head over to the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum – tickets cost $8 for children age 2 and up and free for babies. You can also explore the historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa for free.
In the family friendly downtown, your crew can walk through Downtown San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market on Thursday nights for live music and delicious food. If you are here in the summer, come to Concerts in the Plaza on Friday nights to experience SLO’s local music.
Family Vacation Idea #2 - Beach Day
Bring or rent bikes on your California family vacation and take a day trip to Avila Beach. Travel along the flat, paved Bob Jones Trail from Ontario Road through the woods along San Luis Creek into Avila.
The serene, family-friendly beach awaits, as well as the pier and the interactive Central Coast Aquarium. Stop at the Woodstone Marketplace for a pizza or deli snack, or visit the lively Avila Farmers’ Market on Friday nights. If you’re driving through, drop by the Avila Valley Barn, where you’ll find delicious pies and fresh fruits, as well as an ice cream shop and a petting zoo.
Family Vacation Idea #3 - All Over SLO
Start off with a home-style breakfast at a family-friendly restaurant, Cowgirl Café with options ranging from pancakes to omelets. After eating a hearty meal, your family can head over to SLO Skate Park, newly renovated in Santa Rosa Park, so the kids can scooter around and grind some rails. While at Santa Rosa Park, your family can relax and soak up the California sunshine on their spacious lawns and playground.
For the remainder of the day, explore Morro Bay, testing what taffy flavor is the most delicious, visiting the Morro Bay Aquarium, and watching the sea lions and otters pop up around the bay. If you want to experience the coast by water, there are tons of Morro Bay boat and whale watching tours to choose from like Lost Isle Adventure Tours, where you can rent your own electric boat or board a chartered Tiki boat that departs every hour and brings passengers to the sand spit for some fun in the sun.
Enjoy Great Meals at these Family-Friendly Restaurants
- Firestone Grill – Great BBQ in San Luis Obispo
- Gus’s Grocery – A local favorite that serves up sandwiches on the daily
- Louisa’s Place – Home-style breakfast in San Luis Obispo
- McClintock’s – Delicious steaks in San Luis Obispo
- Natural Café – Fresh, healthy dishes ranging from salads to enchiladas
- Petra Mediterranean Pizza & Grill – Delicious Greek food in San Luis Obispo with outdoor seating available
- Woodstock’s Pizza – Original pizza in San Luis Obispo