My mom, sister, and I had an INCREDIBLE trip visiting San Luis Obispo and Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA this past December.
We started the 6 hour drive up to San Luis Obispo (locals refer to it as SLO) where we were staying for the week. On the way up to SLO, we stopped in Santa Barbara to get lunch and shop. We went to The Sandbar, located in the downtown area of Santa Barbara. The fish tacos are a must-try…so flavorful. The downtown area had a strong Spanish influence with a lot of white, “mission” style buildings.
We continued our way through Central California and drove through the winding mountain roads, stopping during golden hour to take a few pictures.
The next morning we left for Hearst Castle. We drove on the highway along the ocean and knew we were getting close when we spotted cows, antelope, and zebras grazing on the hillside. Upon arrival, we watched a movie that gave some introduction about William Randolph Hearst and how he built his castle on the Central California hillside.
As a young boy, William Hearst toured Europe with his mother. The time he spent exploring European culture and architecture as a child inspired the design of his legendary Hearst Castle. Everything in and around the castle was so beautiful and ornate, I felt like I was in a different time period. There were statues everywhere, ornate buildings and wall coverings, and a lot of Mediterranean influence throughout the castle.
We wrapped up our tour of the castle at the Roman style pool, which, to put it into one word, was stunning. After our long afternoon, we unwound at Hearst Ranch Winery. The tasting room was rustic and had a nautical feel. I liked the wine and got a burger from Sebastian’s right next door.
The downtown area of SLO had a very relaxed feel to it. The locals joke about everyone being “slow” in San Luis Obispo, which we found to be true. The town was very casual and quaint; it made you want to slow down to take it all in. We walked by “Bubblegum Alley”, where there are years worth of gum build-up on the walls from people sticking their chewed gum. There were great boutiques downtown. We did some shopping and went to the Blast 825 Taproom to try their amazing craft beer selection.
We hiked Valencia Peak in Montaña de Oro State Park. I have been on many hikes, and this by far is one of the most picturesque hikes I have ever been on. The 4.5 mile round trip was tiring, but each new summit revealed the most gorgeous 360 degree views of the Pacific ocean and mountains.
Breakfast – Madonna Inn
One last stop for breakfast at The Copper Cafe in the Madonna Inn on our way out of town. I loved the ambience. To sum it up, this place was ADORABLE. Everything was cute, pink, and vintage. It looked like a fairytale restaurant. All in all, this girl’s trip was a blast.