The central coast of California is nothing less than a gem along the coastline. From the thriving wine countries to the beaches, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Here are six of my absolute favorite places and spaces along the Central Coast that you have to visit if you're in the area. Enjoy!
1. The Station, San Luis Obispo
An old gas station transformed into a wine shop, market and event space. That's what The Station is.
You'll find carefully curated wines from across the globe that aren't readily available anywhere else. Peruse the shelves, buy a bottle or have a glass of wine they're pouring and take it into their open space to enjoy.
The Station also has a variety of great gifts from Stumptown Coffee and small-batch bitters and shrubs, to other specialty goods.
This spot also hosts its own events (such as an art bar, blind tastings and seminars) and has local food trucks swing by during the week (currently The Grilled Cheese Incident and Granada's Raw Bar that has a rotating menu of oysters on the half shell).
So visit The Station and grab a glass or a bottle (because wine not) of wine you won't find anywhere else in SLO.
2. Centrally Grown, Cambria
Secluded along Highway 1 right across the Pacific Ocean is a place where you can enjoy lunch and dinner, take a free yoga class, have some drinks, and shop around the market. Centrally Grown is a unique happy place where you can take in all the Central Coast has to offer.
The restaurant is upstairs and overlooks the ocean, giving you a beautiful view as you enjoy a meal that features fresh and contrasting flavors that blend beautifully together. The vibe is comfortable and cozy yet fun and vibrant.
The Centrally Grown grounds also feature edible gardens and ocean view patios for you to relax in. There's plenty of seating throughout the grounds so you can grab a couple glasses of wine from the market and enjoy lunch or a snack outdoors.
3. Sycamore Springs and Resort, Avila Beach
Escape and relax at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa nestled in the hills right before you hit Avila Beach. You can choose to stay at the resort if you're spending a couple days in Avila, but for those who are just looking for an hour of relaxation, visit their hot springs.
Sycamore has 23 naturally heated hillside mineral spring tubs that you can reserve by the hour. You can unwind with a drink in the hot springs and enjoy the hills surrounding your secluded mineral spring tubs. Sycamore's hot springs are open year round until midnight with the last reservation at 10:45 pm.
Friendly tip: Make a reservation beforehand.
4. Ember Restaurant, Arroyo Grande
Enjoying a meal at Ember Restaurant is a must while in the Central Coast. Featuring a seasonal menu that changes monthly, Ember offers authentic food and an impressive wine list where local wines reign.
Each dish is fresh, honest and served beautifully. Ember also features an open kitchen setup and a wood-fired brick oven where amazing pizzas (and other dishes like Wood Fired Octopus served with padron peppers, baby frisee, pancetta vinaigrette and lemon aioli) are cooked.
5. Thursday Night Farmer's Market, San Luis Obispo
Thursday night's in San Luis Obispo are known for a farmer's market that brings life to downtown SLO from 6-9 PM. Higuera Street is taken over with the smell of BBQ, fresh produce and the sounds of people dancing, cheering and enjoying the night.
With over 120 vendors at the Farmer's Market, you don't want to pass it up. Of course you'll find the many booths of flowers and fresh produce from local farms as you walk along Higuera, but you'll also find an incredible amount of food. From the tri tip and mini donuts to kettle and roasted corn, surely you will find something for dinner or to snack on as you walk through downtown.
Don't miss a chance to experience a lively and fun stroll through San Luis Obispo's popular Higuera Street on Thursday nights for Farmer's.
6. Black Hill, Morro Bay
Enjoy the outdoors and hike Black Hill in Morro Bay. The hill is a 661-foot volcanic peak and is part of the Nine Sisters of San Luis. The Nine Sisters are a group of nine ancient volcanic mountains that extend in a line from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay.
Black Hill is a fairly easy and short hike at 0.6 miles round trip but you get a stunning view of Morro Bay and the surrounding coastline.