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Adventure Guide: San Luis Obispo, California


If you enjoy sunshine, gorgeous beaches, and activities to get your heart pumping, then San Luis Obispo, California, should be your next van destination. This place is an adventurer’s paradise, offering several ways to explore the great outdoors. Also, with mild year-round temperatures, you can adventure in comfort!

About San Luis Obispo, California

San Luis Obispo is a beautiful city on the Central Coast of California. With only about 50,000 people calling this place home, it has small town vibes. San Luis Obispo is known for its historic architecture, outdoor adventure, vineyards, and exceptional hospitality. If you’re thinking about making a trip out here, take a campervan! The area has numerous campgrounds with amazing views and great accommodations.

Where to Stop Along the Way

As you’re taking the road trip of a lifetime to San Luis Obispo, be sure to make some cool stops along the way.

Check out our recommendations below:

Driving North

If you’re headed north to the area, one place you can’t pass up is Santa Barbara. The region is known for its stunning beaches, which bring fun for the whole family. A few of the beaches we recommend include Butterfly Beach, Summerland Beach, and Mesa Lane Beach.

The Santa Monica Mountains are another awesome destination to check out. This massive area is perfect for hiking, biking, climbing, and more! A few of the best hiking trails in the area include Ocean and Canyon View Trail, Grotto Trail, Zuma Ridge Trail, and Sandstone Peak.

Heading West

On a western drive, one place to add to your itinerary is Sequoia National Park. Known for its massive sequoia trees, this one-of-a-kind park also has fantastic campgrounds and hiking trails. We recommend checking out General Sherman Tree, Crystal Cave, Tunnel Tree, and Moro Rock.

If you pass through the great state of Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park is a must-see—especially if you’ve never been before. Just one look at the majestic canyon will blow you away!

Driving South

Headed south? If so, Yosemite National Park should be near the top of your list. Although temperatures can be chilly this time of year, the stunning views are a great distraction. The park offers some of the best scenery in the entire country!

Another spot you can’t miss is Lake Tahoe. Whether you take a peaceful boat ride, go skiing at a world-famous resort, or simply gaze at the surrounding peaks, you won’t be disappointed. On a winter expedition, we recommend skiing at Heavenly, Palisades Tahoe, or Kirkwood.

Other Places to Consider

If you’re searching for other destinations to add to your road trip, check out these suggestions:

  • Monterey, California
  • Kings Canyon National Park
  • Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Sedona, Arizona
  • Zion National Park
  • Telluride, Colorado

These areas offer thrilling ski resorts, breathtaking hiking trails, min-blowing rock formations, and much more!

San Luis Obispo—An Outdoor Lover’s Dream

Once you arrive in San Luis Obispo, adventure awaits! As you’re making your travel plans, be sure to include the following activities:


If you’re a hiker, this town may just be your paradise. From long backpacking trips to easy strolls through nature, San Luis Obispo has hundreds of hiking trails to enjoy. You can even find trails that offer astonishing coastal views, including routes that take you right along majestic waterfalls.

Here are some of the top trails we recommend:

  • Serenity Swing Trail
  • Froom Canyon
  • Sycamore Crest Trail
  • Cerro San Luis
  • Reservoir Canyon Trail

As temperatures are mild during the winter months, it’s the perfect time to get out in nature!

Mountain Biking & Cycling

Looking to explore on two wheels? If so, San Luis Obispo has the biking trails for you. You can adventure on urban routes, challenging mountain bike trails, and the iconic Highway 1. Mountain bikers frequently explore the area’s rolling foothills, which feature steep includes, flat stretches, and stunning vistas. Froom Creek, Morro View, and Johnson Ranch Loop are a few top mountain biking routes in the region. For road cycling, you can’t go wrong with the dazzling beauty along Highway 1. This ride provides endless views of the California coastline, and you can even pass through a few quaint towns along the way.

Horseback Riding

San Luis Obispo is also an excellent destination for horseback riding. You can venture through ranches, hillside trails, and even on the beach! But the fun doesn’t stop there—you can also stop for a wine tasting on your horseback journey!

ATVs and Off-Roading

Wide open spaces are found throughout San Luis Obispo, making it a great spot for ATVs and off-roading. For an exhilarating ride, check out the off-road paradise in the Oceano Dunes Vehicular Recreation Area. These coastal sand dunes provide a recreational space of about 1,500 acres! Bring your own off-road toys, or rent some from one of the several providers in the area!

Wildlife Viewing

The wildlife in San Luis Obispo is one of the top reasons to visit the region. You can spot California gray whales, humpback whales, and blue whales along the coast! Dolphins, sea otters, and sea lions also frequently make their presence known. In addition, several birds flock to the area, such as pelicans, peregrine falcons, egrets, and herons.


Aside from the birds, golfers also flock to San Luis Obispo throughout the year. The mild year-round temperatures mean it’s always a good time for golfing in the region! Also, the scenery is impeccable. Courses in the area are surrounded by mountains, beaches, ancient oak groves, and beautiful vineyards.


If you’re really looking to connect with nature, San Luis Obispo offers tons of different camping opportunities! You’ll find several fantastic campgrounds to take your campervan—you can even camp right on the beach! A few of the best campgrounds in the region include Coastal Dunes RV Park and Campground, Oceano Campground, and El Chorro Regional Park and Campground.

Travel Tips

To fully enjoy San Luis Obispo, check out the following travel tips:

  • The rainy season is from December to March, so plan accordingly
  • If you want to swim, July and August are the best months to visit
  • Consider a tour with Central Coast Food Tours or Grapeline Wine Tours
  • Keep in mind the busiest season for tourism is from June to August

Follow the tips above to have the time of your life in San Luis Obispo!


Here are some links and locations of the area’s top attractions:

Hiking Trails


Hidden Gems

Looking for something off the beaten path? Check out these San Luis Obispo hidden gems below:

  • Pirate’s Cove
  • Dune Hazard Trail
  • Eberle Winery
  • Montaña del Oro Bluff Trail

These lesser-known attractions are ideal for finding some peace and quiet!

Find the Perfect New Campervan Today!

To vacation in style in San Luis Obispo, RecVan is here to help! We carry top-of-the-line campervans for all of your adventures.

Browse through our full line of campervans today, and call us if you have any questions!