Central Coast, CA Atascadero,Paso Robles,Pismo,Templeton,Cambria,Morro Bay,Cayucos,Nipomo,San Luis Obispo,King City,Los Osos,Arroyo Grande,Grover Beach,San Simeon
An abundance of recreational and leisurely activities await you in Paso Robles and its surrounding areas. Whether you prefer a challenging round of golf, horseback riding, hiking or biking, Paso Robles really has it all. Many of these activities lead to hidden spots offering peace and serenity in an unspoiled countryside. Don't forget a visit to one of the local mineral hot springs for relaxation at it's best.
Country adventures are perfect for a family outing such as berry picking at local farms, cider tasting at local apple orchards, strolling through exotic herb gardens, visiting a pumpkin and gourd farm or exploring a thoroughbred horse farm or a local alpaca ranch.
Maybe you're an outdoorsman preferring the rugged expedition of hunting or fishing. There is plenty of wildlife in the surrounding countryside including wild boar and turkey, tule elk and quail. If it's a taste of the cowboy culture you're after, we've got you covered with trail rides, calf brandings and genuine ranch experiences.
Lake Nacimiento is nearby and offers water skiing, fishing, sailing, windsurfing and camping. Other lakes in the area include San Antonio Lake, north of Paso Robles and Santa Margarita Lake, southeast of Atascadero.
A trip to Paso Robles wouldn't be complete without a visit to one of the area's cultural landmarks including the Pioneer Museum, Estrella Warbird Museum, Helen Moe Doll Museum, the Calabaza Art Gallery and the Call Booth House. The Carnegie Museum, located in the center of the downtown city park, houses collections of local historical items.
Located in the heart of the Central Coast, Atascadero is halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Atascadero's central location provides easy access to the local wine region, coastal beaches and back roads for bicycling or touring.
ATASCADERO (ah-task-a-dare-oh) a Spanish name which, loosely translated means "a place of much water," was originally home to the Salinas Indians.
In the half century between 1769 and 1823 the Spanish Franciscans established 21 missions along the California coast, including the nearby Mission's San Miguel Arcangel, and San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain, and California became a Mexican province.
The settling of Atascadero began with the Franciscan clergy who managed the 60,000 acre Rancho Asuncion until 1833, when the Mexican government secularized the mission lands. Governor Rio Pico then granted Pedro Estrada nearly 40,000 acres, part of which would eventually be a portion of the 23,000 acre Rancho Atascadero.
Ownership of 61,000 acres was held, at one time, by Patrick Washington Murphy. Eventually, J.H. Henry became the owner of the Atascadero Rancho.
The community of Atascadero was founded in 1913 as a utopian, planned colony by Edward Gardner Lewis, a successful magazine publisher from the East. He had previously created such a community, at University City, Missouri. After purchasing the Atascadero Ranch in 1912, Lewis put together a group of investors from across the country, paid J.H. Henry $37.50 an acre, and celebrated acquisition of the Rancho on July 4, 1913.
Atascadero's Tent City
As investors came to homestead the land that they had bought with their down payments, the area was transformed into a "tent city" with tents situated on land now occupied by Century Plaza and Bank of America. Lewis employed the services of experts in agriculture, engineering and city planning to develop his dream colony for the anticipated 30,000 residents. In 1914 the land was surveyed and subdivided. Thousands of acres of orchards were planted, a water system was installed and construction began on an 18 mile road (now Highway 41 west) through the rugged Santa Lucia mountains to the ocean, where Lewis built cottages and a beach front hotel called the Cloisters.
The first civic building in Atascadero, The Printery, had the first rotogravure presses west of Chicago. Lewis then published the Atascadero News newspaper and the Illustrated Review, a photo/news magazine.
The centerpiece of Lewis' planned community was an Italian Renaissance-style building which is now home to Atascadero City Hall and the Museum. Built between 1914 and 1918 with bricks made from local clay, this unique and beautiful building has become one of California's Historical Landmarks (No. 958).
Atascadero was incorporated in 1979. Today,with nearly 29,000 residents, Atascadero is the second-largest city in San Luis Obispo county. Many of the very principles that E.G. Lewis envisioned for his "utopian city" are ensured through the city's general plan, which includes preservation of open space, protection of trees and hillsides, the keeping of domestic animals, and large lot sizes. It was Mr. Lewis who first had the vision in which he foresaw the future of Atascadero as a creative, rural community.
Thousands of acres of vineyards, prestigious wineries, almond orchards, unspoiled lakes, biking, parks, swimming, Hearst Castle, Zoo, and outdoor activities of all kinds.
Centrally located, Atascadero offers many prestigious wineries for your wine touring convenience. Discover small family-owned wineries located along uncrowded rural country roads. Chat with the winemakers, and enjoy a picnic on the winery grounds while sampling their finely crafted award winning wines.
Located between the Santa Lucia mountain range to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, this area has the best of all opportunities for recreation activities. With the convenience of being halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, right off State Highways, 1, 227 and 101, the area provides easy access for the visitor and business person alike.
Many people who come for a wonderful vacation have created their own professional opportunities and relocated to this area as permanent residents. In addition to the fin climate, convenient location, and proximity too many activities, the Arroyo Grande area has been chosen by many as a site for retirement. Home prices are favorable when compared to larger cities, and the amenities available locally create an ideal environment for senior citizens. This area has fostered a managed growth philosophy and courts businesses that will add to the positive posture of this area. Ocean sports, fresh water fun at Lopez Lake, hiking, win=e tasting, fine dining, golfing, lodging and shopping area all part of the unique experience in the Arroyo Grande area.
History of Arroyo Grande
Branch Street serves as the main thoroughfare through historic Arroyo Grande. It is appropriately named after Francis Z. Branch, the gentleman who helped the town find its beginnings. Branch came to the Arroyo Grande area on a bear hunting expedition in 1832. Charmed by the untouched land, he later purchased 16,000 acres and became a successful cattle rancher.
After a yearlong drought devastated the valley in 1864, Branch began to sell pats of his land to settlers. By 1876, thirty-five families had settled in the valley and established two stores, two saloons, a wheelwright, butcher shop, launder, and livery and feed yard. A local railway depot was established in 1882 and Arroyo Grande was on it's way to becoming an established town.
Historic Village Offers Family Fun
Visitors and residents alike can enjoy the charm of strolling through Arroyo Grande's historic village. Year-round, the Village offers a unique array of antiques, specialty shops, and restaurant, all nestled within the scenic atmosphere of historic buildings and timeless treasures. During festival times, the Village abounds with a variety of arts and crafts, tempting treats, activities, and attractions.
Whether you are just having a roadside rest for a couple of hours or plan to visit for a week, you'll find Arroyo Grande a delightful community to explore. The historic village area is an adventure in itself as you explore the turn of the century old downtown area. There are an abundance of gift and antique shops along with wonderful places to dine. The Village also prides itself on several annual festivals that are enjoyed by thousands of visitors as well as residents.
In addition to the historic district take time to check out the rest of Arroyo Grande. There are complete shopping centers off of East Grand Avenue and in the West Branch Street District.
Lopez Lake Recreation Area located 10 miles east of Arroyo Grande offers outdoor activities year around. With over 350 campsites, Lopez Lake has a marina, launching ramp, store, boat rentals and waterslides. Summer interpretive and evening campfire programs are also offered. Visitors can enjoy water sports, fishing, day use picnic area, or just enjoy the natural setting. For more information on fees and campsite reservations call San Luis Obispo County at 805-788-2381.
Pismo Beach and Oceano Dunes
Only two miles west Arroyo Grande are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
The famed Pismo Beach and Oceano Dunes areas provide an opportunity like no other by driving your passenger or recreational vehicles right onto the beach!
Just be sure you are aware of the tides for the day you are visiting the beach! Many unwary visitors have experienced the unfortunate situation of having too many waves lapping at their car doors and need to be towed back to the street.
This area provides a playground for off-road enthusiasts. In addition, both areas can facilitate a variety of outdoor activities, such as swimming, surfing, fishing, camping hiking and horseback riding. For information, call the Rangers at Oceano Dunes at 473-7200 or Pismo State Beach at 473-7230 or beach camping reservations at 800-444-7275.
The Arroyo Grande area boasts one of the world's finest climates. Very mild weather is enjoyed year around. The summer months are naturally air conditioned by ocean breezes and light fog, and the winters offer delightful and refreshing crispness. The winter sunsets are fabulous!
Average Temperatures: (Min.) (Mean) (Max.)
January 40 52 63
April 44 56 67
July 51 61 70
October 49 60 72
Average Rainfall: 16 inches per year
Cambria - A bit of history?
Cambria is an unincorporated coastal community located approximately 35 miles north of San Luis Obispo and 6 miles south of Hearst Castle. Population is approximately 6,100. Cambria has 3 banks, a high school, an intermediate and a grammar school, plus a private Montessori school.
Originally subdivided over 70 years ago, Cambria was developed into a community of small, average size vacation homes. Recent trends have expanded Cambria to a village of full time workers, retirees, along with the large number of people who call Cambria home for long vacations in homes that overlook the ocean or sit serenely in the pines.
San Luis Obispo County and the State Coastal Commission govern and oversee building development within the community. Building size and height are regulated and adapted to specific areas within the community. The local water district, Cambria Community Services District (CCSD), issues water and sewer permits. Due to the countywide Growth Management Ordinance, the wait for building in Cambria is approximately 20 years, unless purchasing a lot already on the CCSD water/sewer list awaiting permits. Cambria is located in the County of San Luis Obispo, Supervisorial District #2.
Known over the years as Santa Rosa, Roseville, San Simeon and "Slabtown". The town became Cambria (the Latin work for Wales according to Funk & Wagnall's) in 1869, on the recommendation of a local committee. One story has it that a committee member had recently been to Cambria County, Pennsylvania, and that woodsy, mining area reminded him of home. Squibb House Bed & Breakfast on Burton Dr
Cambria began as a fishing and quicksilver mining town, then later became important for its dairy and lumber exports. Today, the pine covered hills and rugged shoreline attracts artists and tourists. A number of interesting buildings remain from Cambria�s early days, including the Old Santa Rosa Church, the Squibb-Drake house, the 100 year old Brambles (now a restaurant), Santa Rosa School, the Hoosegow, The Gordon Howard home and the Lull house, now a part of the Bluebird Inn.
"Where the Pines Meet the Sea"
A quiet seaside village, Cambria is a place you can renew your soul among the pine-covered hills and crashing surf.
Watch for whales from Leffingwell Landing while you picnic and photograph the spectacular views of waves crashing on the rocks. Enjoy the tide pools full of crabs, sea anemones, an occasional sea star, and even an octopus or two.
Watch magical sunsets and hear the gentle crash of surf from your cozy fireplace room on Moonstone Beach Drive. Pick up semi-precious jasper stones of all colors along the driftwood covered beach.
Stroll Main Street in the Village just off Highway 1 and visit unique shops and galleries, enjoy the cuisine at one of the many restaurants, or take in evening entertainment at the theater or cafes .
Follow Main Street to the Eastern end of the Village and you will discover Cambria's history in Victorian buildings that date to the 1870's. Burton Drive has some of Cambria's most prestigious galleries and restaurants. You can sit outside the Corner French Bakery and soak up the atmosphere or dine on prime rib, sea food, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, French, or California Cuisine.
The Classic Car Show and Chili Cook-off, held annually in March, showcases a myriad of classic and vintage vehicles. Held on the grounds of the Cambria Vet's Hall, at Main Street and Cambria Drive, it is always a fun event for all ages. Next door, on the Pinedorado Grounds, the mouthwatering chili cook-off is just the place where one can sample some of the best chili anywhere.
The Allied Art Schoolhouse Gallery, at 789 Main St., is also a bit of Cambria history. It was the original one room Santa Rosa School on Santa Rosa Creek Road. At the present time it is home to "The Gallery at the Old School House" for the Allied Arts Association. You can take in an afternoon of art by local artists or an evening of theater or music performed by the Associations performing arts arm.
The Pinedorado Parade, held on Labor Day weekend every year, is always a great event for adults and children alike. After the parade, you can spend the afternoon at the Pinedorado grounds enjoying barbecues, kids games, prizes, face-painting, food booths, kiddie cars and the annual Pinedorado Art Show.
The Cambria Chamber of Commerce is located in the center of the village and is the a hub of activity for visitors and locals alike. If you need information, tickets for an upcoming event, or just help answering your questions; the Chamber office is the place to come. Stop by and say hello next time you are visiting Cambria.
In December you can stroll the town from 5:30 to 9:00 pm and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and camaraderie of Cambria businesses as they open their doors for your enjoyment on Hospitality Night. You will encounter some great discounts, holiday drawings, and yummy treats. Santa and Mrs. Claus attend special tree lighting ceremonies throughout the evening. It is a time for music, entertainment, and wonderful festivities all over town.
Climate: Mild – no smog, clear blue skies, some seasonal fog, ocean breeze.
Temperature: 50 - 70 degrees year-round.
Normal rainfall: 20" to 25" a year.
Cayucos, California, a charming beach town nestled between the rolling hills and the sea. Let the slow pace and spectacular natural beauty work their relaxing magic on you!
Cayucos is located on the Central Coast, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. view map.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of activities. Rent a sea kayak for the afternoon, try your hand at surfing or boogie boarding, fish off the pier, explore the tidepools, or just enjoy a swim on Cayucos' sandy beach. Nearby, Morro Bay, Montana De Oro, and San Simeon State Parks offer great hiking, and beautiful sight seeing.
Cayucos is home to some of the best antique and collectable shopping in the area. In addition to many antique and gift stores, Cayucos hosts several antique and collectable street fairs throughout the year. Check our event calendar for more information.
Cayucos is an ideal location from which to view many of the Central Coast's fantastic attractions. Spectacular Hearst Castle, one of the former homes of media mogul William Randolf Hearst, is less than an hour's drive away in San Simeon. The Paso Robles wine region produces some of California's best wines. Spend an afternoon wine tasting and enjoying the scenic vineyards of this area.
Best of all, Cayucos is a great place to slow down, relax, and enjoy life the way it is meant to be.
Cayucos Town History
Cayucos, like most California communities, has a colorful history. Prior to the white man's entry, it is speculated that Native Americans most likely had hunting parties and even situated seasonal camps along the Cayucos coast. The earliest documented historical beginnings of Cayucos trace back to thriving ranches which preceded any organized settlements, such as a village. Names of notable families like Tognazzini, Donati, Righetti, Muscio dotted the landscape. Around 1855, a teacher by the name of John Baines realized the potential of the area now defined as Cayucos. He was soon joined by George Stone; together they founded the community of Old Creek at the crossroads of commerce connecting Paso Robles with the coast. The site was situated on a thirty acre parcel which today accommodates the Whale Rock Mobile Home Park.
That the settlement was important for the entire area can be justified by the services it provided. For example, it had the first post office; it was the first polling place for the entire north coast; it included a general merchandise store, saloon, eating place, and even lodged overnight travelers as a stage coach stop. Needs of ranchers and travelers were met by the settlement for a little more than two decades.
As legend goes, a man by the name of James Cass was carrying a shipment by horse and wagon from San Luis Obispo to San Simeon in 1867 and stopped to rest at Cayucos Creek. His keen businessman's insight soon disceffled that the site would make an ideal port from which to ship and receive goods. Growth and development followed the emergence of the port. It was successful because it satisfied a need by providing a local means of shipping products directly from Cayucos, Previously, ranchers were required to transport them first to Cambria or Avila to be shipped. They were benefited further when James Cass erected the pier about 1871. In the fall of 1875, William F. Babcock recorded a subdivision map for Cayucos and it officially became a town. The Cosmopolitan Hotel began taking shape along with Cass's warehouse and residence. There was even a general merchandise store being run by Levy and Co. out of the lower floor of the Old Adobe.
By the turn of the century, Cayucos had two churches, a school, four banks, about seven saloons, and some five hotels. There was also a thriving support industry of blacksmiths, general merchandise stores, and other businesses which appeared as the community grew.
Indications were surfacing, even in the early formative days, that Cayucos was becoming a tourist destination. As its tourism prospered at the beginning of the century, the importance of the port was diminished due to the advent of the railroad. However, the dairy industry had brought a rich Swiss-Italian and Portuguese heritage; these communities would come to Cayucos to celebrate.
Cayucos by this time enjoyed all the components for a long-lasting successful community: its desirable location, its pristine coastal beauty, its moderate climate, and its comfortable amenities for visitors and travelers still make it unique and attractive. The history of Cayucos is genuinely colorful, interesting, and visionary as it was lived by its citizens of the past and continues to be charted by its citizens of the present.
From Sagebrush to City:
Grover Beach's History is a Story of Development.
From rolling hills dotted with sagebrush, a piece of the South County was first claimed in 1867 as part of 8,838 acres secured under a U.S. land grant by Isaac J. Sparks, who named it El Pizmo Rancho. It was Sparks who first set out to develop the area, but when he sold half of the property 20 years later, it was D.W. Grover who took advantage of the California land rush and began in earnest to try to transform sagebrush into stagecoaches.
It was D.W. (as in Dwight William) Grover, legend goes, who first recognized the potential of the area that is now Grover Beach. On August 1, 1887, he filed plans at the San Luis Obispo County Court House and founded what would become the City of Grover City.
The 35-year old lumber man from Santa Cruz is said to have paid $22,982.20 in gold to John Michael Price, the founder of Pismo Beach. Mr. Grover thus founded The Town of Grover and he had a vision of a community which included a hotel and railroad station near the beach and promoted his town as "the place where the tide lands and the rails meet".
In the 1890's, Mr. Grover attempted to have a train station built in the Town of Grover, in order to attract tourists and investors. Unfortunately for the Town of Grover, Southern Pacific constructed the sought after station in nearby Oceano, an unincorporated town in San Luis Obispo County.
D.W. Grover laid out streets in a grid pattern, naming them for popular beaches of the time and set aside land for a train depot, a hotel and a city park, hoping to foster commercial growth. A land auction on August 1, 1887 drew more than 1,000 people to look and perhaps buy. Grover and his partner, George Gates, promoted Grover City as the "grandest summer and winter seaside resort on the Pacific Coast". Over the ensuing years, D.W. Grover made numerous attempts at making his city a reality and the cause of the city bearing his name would be picked up by other men.
The seeds of development didn't flourish as planned until many years later when Horace V. Bagwell came north in 1935 and bought about 1,100 acres. He advertised Grover City as the "home of the average man", with land prices in the working man's range. Word began to spread and so did development. In the mid-1940's, the first store opened followed by the first post office. 1949 saw the Fairgrove Fire District and the Grover City Water District formed and the early 1950's brought a building boom.
The little town grew in numbers and progressed in development until in 1959 the majority of residents wanted to make the "city" a reality. An incorporation election was held and on December 21, 1959 found 636 of 1,900 registered voters in favor of and 380 against making the Town of Grover a city.
The first Mayor of the new Grover City was Fay Keen and the City Council met for the first time on December 28, 1959 at the Fire House at Ninth Street and Ramona Avenue, where the first City Hall would be located.
As the city boundaries were laid out shortly after incorporation, the groundwork was also laid for more growth and development. The city grew steadily in the decades to follow, and in the mid-1970's, development took off as vacant lots were replaced with restaurants, markets and residences.
A point of argument in 1959, according to newspaper accounts of the time, was whether naming the city the "City of Grover City" was redundant. Some moved for a new, more ocean-oriented name. In 1992, the question was revisited when city residents voted 2,275 to 2,179 to turn "Grover City" into "Grover Beach", reaffirming the Grover City City Council's vote to change the name by Ordinance.
Since D.W. Grover first envisioned a city through the tall weeds, the city that bears his name has grown and changed with the times. The City now has a population of 12,650 residents (as of January 1999) and Mr. Grover's dream of a train station became a reality in November 1996 when Amtrak began rail service with two daily stops at a newly constructed train station at 150 Grand Avenue on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Some say D.W. Grover was just a developer who came in to strike a fortune. There were others who lent a hand along the path to development. But somewhere along the line, a city was born!
Grover Beach has a mild, mediterranean climate with cool summers and an average rainfall of 20 inches.
Blessed with spectacular natural beauty on all sides – and literally surrounded by thousands of acres of State Parks, nature preserves, historical sites, agricultural open space and State Reserves –
Los Osos/Baywood Park is far off the beaten tourist track and offers numerous opportunities for those who love the outdoors!
240 miles south of San Francisco
The community of Los Osos is located in San Luis Obispo County. It is a 20 minute drive to San Luis Obispo, a short 3 mile drive to Morro Bay (home of the well-known Morro Rock) and a 45 minute drive to the famous Hearst Castle. There's plenty to see and do while calling Los Osos home!
215 miles north of Los Angeles The community of Los Osos, often referred to as Los Osos/Baywood Park, is nestled along the Southern tidal estuary of Morro Bay, on the smog-free coast of Central California. The town is situated 140 feet above sea level. Approximate Population: 15,000
It's a short 20 minute drive from San Luis Obispo through lush agricultural and cattle grazing countryside, a short 3 mile drive from Morro Bay (home of the well-known Morro Rock) and is just a few hours drive from several major metropolitan areas.
The town is easily reached from Highway 101 on Los Osos Valley Road or from Highway 1 on South Bay Boulevard.
Winter - sunny days, clear nights
Spring - breezy days, cool nights
Summer - foggy mornings, sunny afternoons and cool nights
Fall - warm, sunny days, cool nights
Most of our residents and visitors dress casually and comfortably, with light to medium-weight clothing suitable for year-round activities. A sweater or light jacket is recommended for cool evenings or foggy mornings.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
42.5 43.6 43.9 45.0 47.2 50.0 51.9 52.9 52.2 50.3 45.0 42.3
62.2 62.8 62.9 63.5 63.0 64.5 65.5 66.6 68.7 69.5 64.4 62.6
Enjoy golfing, nature hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, bicycling, camping, sport fishing, whale watching & sailboarding as well as our weekly Farmers' Market!
Once inhabited by California Grizzly Bears and Chumash Indians, Los Osos / Baywood Park has become quite the community where nature still prevails. From the moment you enter the "Valley of the Bears" you enter a truly enchanted part of California's Central Coast.
The village atmosphere of downtown Baywood Park encourages one to stroll down 2nd and 3rd Streets. The small shops are framed by abundant grass, trees, and flowers. The variety of businesses serving the community include art galleries, antiques, food & spirits, restaurants, specialty shops, and two waterfront inns.
The Baywood Park Pier is located at the intersection of 2nd Street and El Morro Ave. overlooking the shores of the lagoon-like estuary. It is a pleasant, quiet place where you can enjoy a view of the estuary and its bird life, a scene that changes dramatically with the tides.
This outdoor market, offering local, in-season farm fresh produce and locally grown flowers is held in Baywood Park, on Santa Maria Avenue between 2nd & 3rd Streets.
Farmers' Market is open year-round every Monday – 2:00 - 5:00 pm.
Hundreds of species of birds live or over-winter in the Morro Bay Estuary area. This overlook is an especially good place to see ducks, egrets, pelicans, and wading birds at low tide. Located on Santa Lucia, at the north end of 4th Street; open from dawn to dusk.
Take time for a walk through the Elfin Forest Natural Area, and you will believe in the magic of elves. The Elfin Forest is located just off South Bay Boulevard north of Santa Ysabel. The boardwalk is wheelchair accessible and starts at the north end of 16th Street. S.W.A.P. hosts monthly nature walks through the property. v
The Elfin Forest is a special small wilderness bordering the community of Los Osos that is an important buffer between residential development and the Morro Bay Estuary. This unique small wilderness at the edge of the bay, is a diverse and complex assemblage of natural plant communities including coastal brackish marsh, riparian woodland fringe, pygmy oak woodland, grassland, coastal dune scrub oak, manzanita, and home to many threatened or endangered species
It supports a documented 25 species of mammals, over 110 kinds of birds, and 11 species of reptiles and amphibians. Its name is derived from the stunted live oaks (Pygmy Oaks) growing on sand dunes with limited water and nutrients. Chumash middens occur throughout the property.
The Preserve Needs Your Care & Cooperation:
Please treat the Elfin Forest with respect as a fragile resource.
Please do not litter.
Please control cats and keep dogs on a leash.
Please stay on boardwalk or designated trails.
SWEET SPRINGS NATURE PRESERVE
The Morro Coast Audubon Society chapter manages this preserve on the north side of Ramona Avenue between Broderson and 4th Street (dawn to dusk use). Trails lead among Monterey cypress and eucalyptus to two freshwater ponds, and around a salt marsh to the edge of Morro Bay. Birds are attracted to the variety of habitats in the preserve, and many shorebirds and ducks spend the winter in the adjoining bay.
From late October into March, monarch butterflies traditionally cluster here.
The 24-acre preserve is the home of several threatened or endangered species, and no plants or animals may be collected there. The reintroduction of native species is a continuing goal of the Morro Coast Audubon Society.
LOS OSOS OAKS STATE RESERVE
Watch for small signs, and a parking lot on the south side of Los Osos Valley Road, 1/2 mile east of South Bay Boulevard. An easy one-mile trail leads visitors under the low canopy of "Pygmy Oaks," dwarfed coast live oaks that are 600 to 800 years old. The leaf-covered trail winds among the trees' gnarled gray trunks, and the mushrooms, wild cucumbers, hollyleaf cherry, and other flora that exist in this shaded land where Chumash Indians once lived. Visitors should be wary of a prolific member of the reserve's plant community – poison oak. Avoid its shiny "leaves of three" lining the trail in many places.
MONTAÑA DE ORO STATE PARK
At the west side of the community, where Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road, you'll enter the "gateway" to Montaña de Oro State Park – one of the most beautiful places you'll ever experience; miles of unpopulated rocky shores and sandy beaches and 7,828 acres of hills, and eucalyptus groves. 50 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails provide access to the park's back-country, wooded stream canyons, tide pools, and hidden coves and beaches. Trails following the edge of the coastal bluffs provide spectacular views of the tilted and twisted strata of the rocky shoreline and, in the distance, Morro Rock, and the Morro Bay sandspit. MORE
SCENIC 7-MILE DRIVE (to Montaña de Oro)
Take a picnic lunch and start out for one of the most beautiful drives you'll ever experience! Drive through miles of unpopulated country side and open space, view sandy beaches, 7,828 acres of hills, and dense eucalyptus groves.
MORE! 7-Mile Drive - courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce.
LOS OSOS COMMUNITY PARK
Located at Los Osos Valley Road and Palisades Avenue, west of the Los Osos commercial district. Complete with neatly manicured landscaping, tennis courts, a well-planned playground, and restrooms, this small, imaginatively designed park is a pleasant place for walking or picnicking, and is a good spot to let auto-bound children burn off excess energy. It is also the site of the Los Osos Valley School, constructed in 1872. The barn and barbecue area are available for rent, and are used for weddings, meetings, and various civic activities. For reservations call 781-5930 X4. Adjacent to the park is the Community Center and Library.
LOS OSOS SCHOOL 1872
The naming of California's only valley of the bears (La Cañada de Los Osos) took place about a mile from the original site of the one room, one teacher, Los Osos school (south side of Los Osos Valley Road at Turri Road). This was the fourth campsite of Captain Gaspar de Portola's 1769 sacred expedition through San Luis Obispo County.
January 8, 1972, marked the school's 100th birthday. At a final reunion in this very picturesque and historic atmosphere, former students and teachers recounted experiences of life in and around the one room school. In order to preserve the school, District Two Supervisor, Elston Kidwell obtained the building from San Luis Unified School District, September 1973. As it was being dismantled, to be moved to the Los Osos Community Park, slates, pointers, love notes, and pages from early readers were found in the walls.
Nipomo, founded in 1882, is the southernmost community in San Luis Obispo County. Its name is derived from the Chumash Indian word "Nepomah", meaning "the foot of the hills".
The Chumash Indians had lived in this area for over 9,000 years, unknown to the Europeans until the coming of the Spanish in the 1700s. Rancho Nipomo, consisting of 38,000 acres, was granted in 1837 to William G. Dana, a Boston sea captain. (His cousin, Richard Henry Dana, wrote "Two Years Before the Mast", an account of the harsh treatment of sailors). The founder of present day Nipomo, Captain William Goodwin Dana, was born in the eastern U.S. and led an adventurous life on the high seas in his youth. His travels led him to California where he married Maria Josefa Carrillo, the daughter of a leading early California family. Casa de Dana, the 13-room adobe home that Dana and the mission Indians built in 1839, still stands on South Oakglen Avenue (east of U.S. 101, near Story Avenue). The adobe is currently being restored and is available for tours on Sundays.
Rancho Nipomo and Casa de Dana, located in the center of the California coast, for many years served as an important stop for those traveling on El Camino Real, "The King's Highway", between Missions San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. Captain Dana built an immense adobe home for his wife and their 13 children. Dana raised stock, farmed, engaged in trade, and made soap and furniture.
He was well known as a generous host who gave lavish fiestas -- sometimes lasting a week -- which included food, wine, music, dance, bullfights, cockfights and horse races. The Adobe was a popular place and later became a stop on the pony express route.
Dana demonstrated his hospitality, up to a point. When Captain John C. Fremont and 430 soldiers stopped at the rancho on their way south to Los Angeles in 1846, Dana ordered 40 head of cattle slaughtered for a barbecue and complied with Fremont's request for 30 fresh horses. When the soldiers left, Freemont also took three of the Dana family's favorite steeds. That evening, several of Dana's men visited Fremont's camp, reclaiming the three steeds -- and the thirty horses!
In 1882 two of Captain Dana's sons gave Pacific Coast Railway the right to cross their land, and donated land for a depot, warehouse, and loading platform. The Danas later held a lot auction with more than 1,000 people bidding. The town grew rapidly. In 1888 a serious fire burned most of the downtown businesses and reduced Nipomo's commercial area significantly. In spite of this setback, Nipomo continued to grow and some of the original buildings may be seen today.
Our beautiful community is nestled in the foothills with a variety of scenic views: acres of avocado and lemon orchards, sand dunes bordering the ocean, stately rows of eucalyptus trees providing windbreaks and fuel for fireplaces and rolling hills of beautiful California Oaks.
We offer long white beaches for a pleasant stroll or for just enjoying the spectacular views of the Pismo Beach sunset. Prefer a more active vacation? You can golf, hit the dunes for four-wheeling ATV's, horseback riding, surfing, body boarding, or fishing from our 1200-foot pier. Watch spectacular sunsets from our award-winning boardwalk adjacent to the pier.
Nearby we offer wine tasting at its best from our local award winning wineries.
Adventurous? How about kayaking our surf with proper instructions and equipment included? Pismo rates as one of the best beaches for surfing. Bring your own board, or visit our great surf shops within walking distance for the surf's edge.
Shopping? Pismo Beach provides shopping for every taste, from unique downtown stores to our Prime Outlets Center which houses some of the most widely known outlets in our country.
History of Pismo Beach
The History of people at Pismo Beach starts at least 9,000 years ago with the Chumash Indians, who referred to the area as a place to find pismu, or tar. The Pismo Beach region has an interesting history going back in time to 1769, when Don Gaspar de Portola and parties camped in the area. According to the diary of Costanso, a member of the Portola party, "The party continued over the sand dunes and then descended to the beach, along which they walked for several miles before camping for the night. Near their camping place was an Indian village of some forty people." Undoubtedly, the beach walked upon by the Portola party was that known today as Pismo Beach. We invite you to take a look at some our rich history.
The First Pismo Beach
Parceling Pismo Beach
Shell Beach and Sunset Palisades Incorporation
The First Pismo Beach
The City is part of the original 8,838 acre Rancho Pismo. Rancho Pismo was granted to Jose Ortega by Manuel Rinemo Goriod on November 18, 1840. Ortega is thought to have built a small adobe which later became part of the Price Adobe. The rancho was later acquired by Issac Sparks. Some folktales relate that Sparks won the land from Ortega in a game of monte, but it appears from records kept by John M. Price, that the ranch was purchased for 477 head of cattle. Sparks, in 1850, appears to have given John Price El Pizmo Rancho instead of paying him wages in gold, as the deed shows a cost of $l for the property.
Upon Spark's death, John Michael Price and Captain David Mallagh received a share of the land. Price lived and worked on the rancho until his death in 1902. Price built up sizeable horse and cattle herds which he moved onto the rancho. Mallagh owned a section of Rancho Pismo around the cave landing area (now Pirate's Cove) where he established a wharf business. Price purchased some of the property in 1854. A portion of the southern part, which is now Grover Beach and Arroyo Grande, was sold to Francisco Branch. This left him with Shell Beach, Pismo Beach area and a large section running back into Price Canyon.
In 1875, Price took the first step toward funding the community of Pismo Beach when he built a hotel on the road from Arroyo Grande to the People's Wharf in Avila Beach. The hotel was not a success and Price had the hotel moved to the beach in 1884.
In 1881, Price has leased oceanfront land to the Meherin brothers to build a wharf and a warehouse. This wharf at the end of Main street was successful and the hotel's new location was next to this operation. The school district was founded in 1888, and the post office was also established then.
Parceling Pismo Beach
In February 1886, Price hired R.R. Harris to survey and design a map of the subdivisions of part of the Ranchos El Pismo and San Miguelito, also map out and draw a plan for a town to be called "El Pismo." This was initiated in April 1886. A year later, the Pismo Beach Company again subdivided part of the community and recorded a map of the "Town El Pizmo". It is interesting to note that the Pismo Beach Company is given credit by some for the founding of the present City of Pismo Beach.
Back in 1881, Pismo's original wharf opened for business. Taking off from a point below the present Main Street, remnants of the pilings may still be seen at very low tides.
It was not planned for recreation as such-- it was a commercial venture-- designed in part to save freight fees for South County products. Lumber was received as well as other commodities.
Stock was issued to farmers and landowners for $20 a share and the wharf was built for $14,613. The Meherin brothers, Arroyo Grande merchants, started the venture. Most credit is given to D.J. Meherin for its inception, construction, and maintenance.
In 1882, a year after its completion, Meherin figured the wharf had saved the people of the county $35,000 in a decrease of freight rates compared with those of the steamer line they would have patronized.
Thirty-eight vessels were loaded at the wharf in 1882. Two warehouses were built near the entrance where teams could move cargo in and out. A small hand car track led out to the end of the pier. The wharf was still active in 1890, but a few years later it gave way during a heavy storm. Probably contributing to the disaster was a load of heavy "bituminous rock" that had been dug in Edna and was waiting in sacks for shipment to San Francisco to be used as paving material.
The new pier that replaced the original was built in 1924 and was much longer than it is today. Some can remember driving cars along its length, then backing out, or using the tight turn around at the end. It is said that it extended out far enough that Navy ships could tie up and the men could come ashore.
The pier has sustained damage several times, but a major storm tore up the south side of the sea wall and about 500 feet off the end of the pier early in its existence. It was never put back. After a 1983 storm washed out most of the wharf, it was rebuilt in its present configuration in 1985-86. The state, county, and city all have an interest in the pier. The pier at Pismo Beach continues to be one of the community's major attractions.
John Price realized the potential Pismo had for tourism when he built the Pismo Beach Hotel. The Pismo Beach Hotel was sold to A.E. Pomeroy and Charles Stimson in 1887. They enlarged the hotel and renamed it the El Pizmo Inn. The hotel was sold and resold many times. In early times, the area was thought of as a place to spend several months, relaxing and enjoying the surroundings. Early advertisements for the El Pizmo Inn encouraged visitors to come and enjoy the "fine duck hunting and the pleasant surroundings."
The 1900's were wild times in Pismo Beach. Pismo was noted for having many saloons, along with several notorious brothels. Other amusement type businesses at the time, besides the hotels, offered a variety of entertainment including a skating rink, a bowling alley, and a dance hall.
The property directly south of Shell Beach now known as Dinosaur Caves, was the site of an amusement park, with a giant cement dinosaur to gather attention. H. Douglas Brown started building the dinosaur in 1948 and was stopped by local opposition. The headless dinosaur remained a local landmark until it was torn down in the late 1950's. Pismo Beach was also known to be a place to find booze during the Prohibition Era.
The second El Pizmo Inn was built about the turn of the century and became so popular that a "Tent City" was erected for the overflow of tourists. They were clean, well-organized 18' x 14' tents that could be rented for $8 a week. Resting on wooden planks, the tents were located where the Clam Digger stands today. Eventually, the "City" was expanded to where the theater now stands. "Tent City" lasted into the late 1920's.
The Southern Pacific Railroad also helped tourism in Pismo Beach. It brought people from the San Francisco Bay area to Pismo Beach in one of the first "timeshare" operations. The people paid $30, for a ride down to Pismo Beach, and stayed in the tent city. If they liked the tents, the Railroad would use their fare to put a down payment on a tent for the people. If the people didn't like the tent, they were refunded their money, and returned to San Francisco free of charge. It was rumored that more people stayed than asked for refunds.
In 1912, Highway 2, today's Highway 101, was routed through Pismo Beach, giving automobile travelers an easy route to the beach. Highway 101 was not expanded to four lanes until the late 1950's.
Shell Beach and Sunset Palisades
Shell Beach was quite different 36 years ago, when it was nothing but pea fields. The area was the site of a Chumsh village. Floyd Calvert bought and developed much of the land in 1926. He paid $45,OOO for 41 acres between the ocean and the highways
When Calvert first visited Shell Beach there were approximately 50 residents in the area. Calvert sold lots in the area for as little as $195. A resident of Hollywood, Calvert was told about the area by a friend in 1925. When he first visited Shell Beach, there was only one street, Boeker Avenue, with a few cottages on it.
Calvert was struck by the beauty of Shell Beach and bought a portion of it. In January 1926, he opened offices in the area, hired seven salesmen and began selling land to persons seeking summer retreats from the hot valley. When the summer selling season was over that first year, Calvert had to close his offices. The depression, which was to hit hard in 1929, was already beginning to be felt. Then Calvert had to devise a new way to sell his land. He offered it for $5 a month. Even then it was hard to sell.
During the depression, Calvert, who had been a builder in Hollywood, lost all his property except for Shell Beach. He had such faith in this area he thought if he could hold on to this land, someday people would realize its worth.
It took Calvert 20 years to sell the first 456 lots on the Shell Beach land he owned. But shortly before and after World War II Calvert began to have more success selling lots. During World War II many soldiers had trained in California. They liked the climate and wanted to live in the area. It was then that Shell Beach changed from a resort area for residents of the San Joaquin Valley to a residential community.
When Calvert began to break ground for building houses he found skeletons of Indians who had died and were buried in the area. He also found bracelets of copper, arrowheads, spear head, and stone bowls, which had been used for grinding meal. Most of the Indian artifacts were found near the ocean between Placentia and Palomar Streets. Major archaeological sites have been noted in this area and that of Sunset Palisades. It was known as Oilport and was opened in August of 1907, quite different from today's residential Sunset Palisades area. Built with investor funds, it operated for only one month.
The plant, built by California Petroleoum Refineries Ltd., was to be the most modern on the West Coast. Nearly 2.25 million bricks went into the construction of the facilities. Financed primarily by investors, it cost over $2 million to build. It was to be the most complete refinery on the coast. It was set up to produce kerosene, gasoline, lubricating oil, and oil byproducts.
The refinery existed until just after World War II, when it was finally torn down. The land was sold, subdivided and replaced with housing.
Incorporation 1926 saw the first incorporation attempt in Pismo Beach. Though it failed, attempts to incorporate the city were finally successful in 1939 when Pismo Beach became a sixth class city by a majority of 7 votes. In 1940, worries over increased taxes led the citizens to vote to disincorporate the city. The majority was 8 votes in the election. The present city government dates from 1946.
Pismo Beach celebrated it's 50th anniversary in 1996.
Pismo Beach is a recreation-oriented town with over 2,000 lodging rooms, RV spaces and campsites. We have great accommodations for every budget! Pismo Beach accommodations fill up quickly. Reservations are highly suggested.
SAN LUIS OBISPO
San Luis Obispo is almost smack dab
in the middle of California's two
most-famous cities Los Angeles and
San Francisco and just minutes from the beach. U.S. 101 cuts through our
back yard, world-famous Highway 1 meanders right through the heart of town.
Nestled in the heart of California's golden Central Coast is a community where neighbors still hold block party barbecues, friendly people greet strangers on the street, the weather is ideal all year round and there's never a lack of things to do.
In 1772, Spaniards decided to make a home in what is now considered downtown San Luis Obispo.
The rich soil and temperate weather in the lush, green valley nestled in the rolling foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range offered ideal growing conditions for their crops.
They came and built a mission that is still standing today in the center of town. Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa remains a working parish church. San Luis Creek, the original water source for the mission, and later the city, winds through Mission Plaza which remains a central meeting place and host of festivals, fairs and other celebrations throughout the year. The Mission is the root of San Luis Obispo's history and an ideal spot to begin your tour of historic San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo is a stone's throw from miles of national forest, state parks, sandy beaches, lakes, and mountain ranges.
Combine these features with year-round mild weather and you've got an incredible recreation Mecca!
We've got biking, golf, water skiing, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, fishing, camping, surfing, rock climbing, swimming, roller blading, scenic strolls...just about whatever you want to do! And, in most cases you can rent what you need from our local and knowledgeable shops and service companies.
Country roads and scenic terrain provide cyclists, runners and others exquisite views.
Three major lakes in our county
and the ocean just 15 miles away
offer great wet-and-wild fun.
Boat rentals, equipment rentals and fuel
are available at all three.
Lopez Lake 15 mi. S of SLO, (805) 788-2381 A medium-sized lake with great camping facilities. Fish include bluegill, crappie, catfish, large/small mouth bass and trout.
Nacimiento Lake 45 mi. N of SLO, (805) 238-3256 or (800) 323-3839 A large lake known for its water skiing, fishing and shore facilities. White bass, crappie, catfish and bluegill fishing.
Santa Margarita Lake 21 mi. NE of SLO, (805) 788-2397 A day-use lake known for its great fishing, including bluegill, catfish and striped bass. Water-contact sports are prohibited. Pool open Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends.
San Simeon State Park 45mi. N of SLO, (805) 927-2068 Two campgrounds are available with various amenities. Four mile hiking trail (first half mile is wheel chair accessible) inside park although trails are closed to dogs and bikes.
San Luis Obispo is surrounded by some of the finest vineyards and vintners on the planet. The mild, Mediterranean climate and rich soil create the perfect environment for growing wine grapes.
The mountainous landscape blanketed with lush rows of green vines is the perfect backdrop for a scenic drive or bike trek through the countryside, or a picnic at a winery.
A relaxing drive through San Luis Obispo's beautiful wine country offers spectacular views of rugged hills, vast rows of green vineyards, crystal-blue skies and yes, tasting of some of the finest wines around . Cheers!
Clothing: Dress matches the SLO Life attitude: very casual. Coat and tie are rarely required. San Luis Obispo's climate is nearly ideal all year round, but since evenings are cool all year, a jacket or sweater is recommended. Rain is a possibility November through March, but bring lots of sunscreen since we get about 315 days of sunshine each year.
Sports Equipment: There are a lot of recreational opportunities in and around San Luis Obispo and recreation equipment like kayaks, bikes, canoes and even ski boats are available for rent and sale in and around town. But if you really love your bike, bring it along. Amtrak's California Car carries bikes and some air and bus service provide bike transportation, though they usually require special packing, preplanning and sometimes a fee.
It isn't accurate to say that San Simeon would not exist if it were not for William Randolph Hearst. It is close however. Perhaps the most famous piece of Hearst real estate is La Cuesta Encantada; Spanish for The Enchanted Hill.. After the death of William Randolph Hearst in 1951, it was deeded to the State of California and is now a tourist attraction. Mr. Hearst's fortune came from the publishing industry and with it he embarked upon a mission to create a US castle that would rival those found in Europe. Hearst Castle, officially known by the State of California as the
"Hearst State Historical Monument at San Simeon"
was the scene of many extravagant gatherings that included many of the rich and famous from world & national government, politics and show business. Hundreds of legendary figures joined Mr. Hearst on La Cuesta Encantada. Most of the castle's and grounds and architecture was designed by San Francisco architect Julia Morgan.
While lodging dominates this strip town, San Simeon has many fine restaurants, gift shops, and miles of raw unspoiled beaches.
Recreational resources include famous Pico Creek surf spot, ocean fishing, arrow head hunting and of course beach walking.
Situated in the shadow of La Cuesta Encantada San Simeon has been a lodging resource for visitors from all over the world. San Simeon is more than just a strip of motels however, it is also home to first class restaurants, galleries, shops and services.
The accommodations available in San Simeon, as well as elsewhere on the central coast, are in short supply when contrasted to the demand of the area's burgeoning tourist trade. It pays to book ahead as late planners will find 'No Vacancies'.
Climate: Mild 50 to 70 average.
No Smog. Seasonal fog. Rainfall normally 20"-25". Some pollens Fall and Spring.
The distinctive country setting is magical. Towering pines frame a dramatic coast line where you can linger at the waters edge and soak up an intoxicating sunset. The natural lasting beauty of our tiny seaside village with it's fully restored historical sites will keep you coming back for years.
Transportation: County bus service to San Luis Obispo. Monday through Saturday. No service to Hearst Castle. Amtrak, Airlines, Greyhound terminals and rental cars available in San Luis Obispo. Local Morro Bay Trolley to take you all over town including the water front.
Distance to major cities: 9 Miles to San Luis Obispo....135 miles to Santa Barbara...212 miles to San Francisco...228 miles to Los Angeles....251 Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm.
Templeton was founded in 1886 when C.H. Phillips of the West Coast Land Company sent R.R. Harris to survey 160 acres south of Paso Robles. This acreage was to be laid out in business and residential lots and 5-12 acre parcels for a town named "Crocker" after the famous San Francisco financier. When it was discovered that there was already a town by that name, this settlement became "Templeton", named after Crocker's son. This is the only town along the El Camino Real named for a person rather than a saint. Templeton was fathered by the railroad, built on the main highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles and, in its heyday, had a reputation for its saloon brawls and wild 'n' rough street scenes. The town was the end of the line for passengers coming from the north. Tourists disembarked here and took a stagecoach south to San Luis Obispo. In 1891 the railroad continued south and the town was reduced to a flag stop and is now a bypass. In 1897 there was a great fire which burned most of the business district. The town was rebuilt, but not to its former glory. In 1965, Josephine Gilfillan wrote for the Paso Robles Press a series of pieces on Templeton. Newcomers kept asking, "Why was Templeton was built so close to Paso Robles and Atascadero," she said. "I wanted to tell them that Templeton came first." Today Templeton is a small quiet town with a strong community spirit and a vision to preserve its colorful past.
Templeton is a pleasant rural community located midway between Atascadero and Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County. It was founded in 1886 when the Southern Pacific Railroad came through the area. Templeton has retained much of its historical character - many of the old buildings have been restored and are still in use today. New buildings are being built, but always with an eye to the past.
At an elevation of 721 feet above sea level, the climate is mild and smog free. Prevailing winds are from the southwest and average four miles per hour. Humidity is 31-40%, and average rainfall is about 15 inches. The average temperature in January is 60 Degrees during the day and 41 Degrees at night. In July, the daytime high averages 95 Degrees with nights dropping to 55 Degrees, thanks to the ocean breeze. The average rainy season runs from mid-October to mid-April, with frost occurring occasionally. Click here for current area weather.
Templeton is located 30 minutes from the coast, both to the west and south. It is within 35 minutes by car to Hearst San Simeon Monument. Lake Nacimiento, with over 166 miles of shoreline and water skiing, fishing and camping, is 22 miles to the northwest. Just north of Lake Nacimiento is San Antonio Lake. Five miles north of Templeton is the site of the Mid-State Fair, which attracts over 300,000 visitors during August each year and offers internationally renowned entertainers.
Templeton is surrounded by rich agricultural land. The topography ranges from semi-flat to hilly with clusters of oak trees. Heavy production of almonds, cherries, apples, grains and dairy products now exist within the area. The most rapidly increasing product is grapes. There are many wineries to be found on the roads winding through the neighboring hills.
Your Next Adventure is Waiting for You
There is never a shortage of things to do in Morro Bay. You can peruse boutiques and shops, or play golf on a world champion course. Discover a coastline of clean dunes, paddle down a silent estuary and spy on beautiful and rare birds, or sail in the wild Pacific just beyond the breakwater.
For nature lovers and bird watchers, Morro Bay Estuary provides a nourishing habitat to more than 250 species of birds and over two-dozen endangered and threatened species.
The Morro Bay Natural History Museum, located in the Morro Bay State Park includes engaging exhibits, informative lectures, nature walks and also features a discovery area for children which offers hands on exploration.
Morro Bay is also a wonderful starting point for visiting several attractions in San Luis Obispo County. Monta�a de Oro (Mountain of Gold) State Park is Southwest of Morro Bay. The famous Hearst Castle is just a short drive north of Morro Bay and in between are the charming villages of Harmony and Cambria. To the east, you will find local wineries offering tasting's of the famous Central Coast varieties.
Where is Morro Bay?
Morro Bay is located along the coast of California, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles (see graphic).
Traveling SOUTH from San Francisco:
Take U.S. Highway 101 south to Atascadero. Take State Highway 41 west, then head south on Highway 1. Exit at Main Street in Morro Bay.
Traveling NORTH from Los Angeles:
Take U.S. Highway 101 north to San Luis Obispo, then head north on Highway 1 to Morro Bay Then take Main Street exit.
Morro Bay has a diverse selection of hotels, motels, inns and bed and breakfast inns, camping and RV parks and vacation rentals. Enjoy a relaxing stay at a motel in Morro Bay California.
Harmony - A small village of working artists worth a stop and a look in the few shops, which sell the local artwork. Check out the population on the town sign. It makes you smile!
Avila Beach - Beach-goers love Avila Beach-perpetually sunny and the warmest beach in the county. Home to the young at heart, this seaside town attracts families, college students, and water enthusiasts with its lure of the pier, deep-sea fishing, mineral springs, tennis, golf barbecues and sight seeing.
Search Our Site
This spot on the banks of the Salinas River was a part of the vast San Lorenzo Rancho, a huge Spanish land grant that at one time extended from the Salinas River to the San Benito River, from the San Lorenzo on the south to San Juan on the north. Original grantees were Feliciana Soberanes, who received five leagues in 1841, and Francisco Rico, who was granted five leagues in 1842. When Charles King, King City founder, first saw the Salinas Valley it was a dry, windswept expanse of sand, tabbed on maps of the time as "the great Salinas desert." The Salinas River ran bank to bank in wet years, a raging torrent that carried away all in its path in the winter. But in the summer the river went underground, leaving only a skeletal course of rock and sand the length of the Valley.
In 1884 King purchased 13,000 acres of the San Lorenzo grant, and was called a fool for doing so. But he saw the possibilities of growing wheat and soon proved his point. He set up ranch headquarters at what is now the Spreckels ranch north of the city. His first project was to plant 6,000 acres to wheat. King's neighbors had told him that wheat would never grow, that he was crazy to try it on what was only stock range, and not very good range most of the time at that. And, they said, if he did manage to make a crop he'd never get it to market. The only transportation in those days was by 10-mule teams to Monterey to transfer to sailing ships. But King fooled them. His wheat crops were bountiful and there was a clamor to lease land from King by farmers who wanted to grow wheat. Railroad interests took note, looking toward shipments of grain. Southern Pacific had extended its line to Soledad and Collis P. Runtington, the renowned railroad magnet, became interested in pushing the tracks further south in quest of King's wheat.
Just a Few Buildings
So -- it was July 20, 1886 that the tracks were laid past King's ranch buildings and stubbed out south of there in the middle of a wheat field, not far from where the San Lorenzo Creek joined up with the Salinas River. Right away Southern Pacific Milling Co. commenced putting up a warehouse and that can be called the birth of a town -- July 20, 1886. J.E. Steinbeck, father of the famous novelist John Steinbeck, was first agent for SP. Soon a flour mill was erected adjacent to the warehouse and "King's Station" began t