Local Attractions & Activities


Beaches... The Pacific Ocean, a beautiful twelve minute drive from the Kaleidoscope Inn, offers miles of pristine beaches. The Nipomo and Pismo Dunes, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Morro Bay, Cambria, San Simeon....each beach has its own special attractions. Some are bustling with sunbathers and surfers, others are isolated and private. Kayak, surf, explore tide pools, bird watch, whale watch, people watch, or simply relax in the sun! Explore what is becoming known as California's Riviera.

Hearst Castle...Seeing the castle is truly an experience. It sits high atop Enchanted Hill with a main house, four guest houses, two pools all surrounded by gorgeous gardens. If you haven't seen the castle yet, remember that no description can prepare you for this incredibly intricate treasure!

Wineries...There is 1 great wine region within 5 minutes of the Inn: Edna and Arroyo Grande Valleys. The wineries here are well known and loved regionally, and are now being discovered by wine buffs across the country! In addition, there are 2 wine regions about 30 minutes of the Inn: Santa Maria and Santa Ynez to the south (this includes Firestone Vineyard if you want to visit with The Bachelor and his new sweetheart!). If you want more than the several dozen of wineries offered by these 3 close by valleys, we can send you off to the Paso Robles wine region as well (about 45 minutes north).

The Sideways Wine Tour

Yes, you CAN follow in the footsteps of Miles & Jack's wine tasting adventure in the film Sideways! Take your own road trip through famous Santa Barbara wine country, about 30 minutes from the Kaleidoscope Inn. Check out this tour map for planning your self-guided tour or indulge yourself with the Kaleidoscope Inn's fabulous Wine Tasting Package (scroll down this page).

Antiquing...There are lots of antique shops around. Its a great way to spend an afternoon...taking some scenic drives around this beautiful county while stopping off at antique stores and cafes along the way! Want some more shopping, we have a premium outlet mall about 10 minutes north of the Inn.

Scenic Drives...We've got 'em. Some are designated scenic drives, some we just consider scenic ourselves. When we have a free afternoon, we just drive off into the hills to the east for a little spontaneous discoveries. We discovered the Pozo Saloon on one of these drives! Pozo (population 58) is one of our historic little towns. This one is located many miles from any other town. It has a saloon that has been continuously run since 1858...they hold a few concerts out in the meadow behind the saloon during the summer. Generally groups like Little Feat, Marshal Tucker Band, Elvin Bishop, and Poco!

Missions...There are 3 missions within 30 minutes of the Inn: Mission SLO in the town of SLO, La Purisima in Lompoc, Mission Santa Inez in Solvang. There are an additional, 2 missions between 1 and 1.5 hours north or south of the Inn: Mission San Miguel in San Miguel, Mission San Antonio in ..., and Mission Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara.

Golf...We agree with golf pro Rudy Duran - "I've...never found an area as unique and beautiful as California's Central Coast. I can honestly say that it is a golfer's paradise." Our 11 area golf courses offer ideal temperatures, scenic settings, ocean views, available tee times, and affordable prices!

State Parks & Hiking...Montana de Oro State Park, Los Padres National Forest, Santa Lucia Wilderness, San Rafael Wilderness, Oceano Dunes State Vehicular REcreational Area, Pismo State Beach, Point Sal State Beach, Morro Bay State Park, and numerous additional State Beaches to the north and south. We have SLO County hiking books for trail locating!

Spas, Hot Springs...We don't yet know all of the local spa locations but, in an effort to better serve our guests, we are systematically trying each of them out! We can point you in the direction of a relaxing sweedish massage, deep tissue massage, or our new favorite...a hot stone massage. Our favorite hot springs are about 15 minutes from the Inn...each totally private tub is located in a wooded hillside - and they're open till 2am!

Horseback Rriding...You may ride horses for an hour along the beautiful Pismo beaches or take to various locations in the hills for a day of riding. If you are bringing your own horse, we know of a nearby stable that will do overnight boarding for you.

Famous Oceano-Nipomo Dunes...Located about 5 m inutes west of Nipomo, these are the largest coastal dunes in the western United States. Great wildlife watching while hiking these dunes. You may also ride ATVs in a special section of the dunes. Rentals are available or you may bring your own ATV.

Kayaking...One of our favorite activities! Kayak at Shell Beach and explore the cliffs and caves along the shore. Be sure to look for the many seals and the elusive sea otters. You can't miss the hundreds of pelicans! Another nice spot is at Avila Beach...if you can manage a beach launch (we find this a bit trickier than launching at the cliffs). Avila offers the same wildlife watching opportunities. We can recommend some great after kayak lunch spots with outrageous views and terrific seafood!

Road or Mountain Biking...Another one of our favorite activities. We have discovered one very nice, very easy off road trail that happens to pass within a stones throw of our favorite hot spring tubs! Plus this pristine trail ends at one of our favorite lunch restaurants at the beach. We like this one so much, that we haven't moved on to additional trails yet! But we do have a couple of SLO County bike trail books if you would like to try some biking. There is also easy bike renting if you don't want to bring your own bikes along.

Whale Watching...See migrating whales travelling between Alaska and Baja in our coastal waters on whale watching boats from December through April! Some whales may also be seen from coastal cliffs.

Elephant Seal Watching...See moms with babies along with the large nosed dads crowding the beach from December through May. Actually, we see some there year round now, but there are hundreds of them in the peak months. The colony returns each year to mate, give birth, and molt. Close to 1,800 pups are born here annually.

Butterfly Watching...See the fascinating annual Monarch Butterfly migration at our local butterfly grove in Pismo Beach. Peak butterfly time starts in November and runs through March. If you have never seen a monarch grove before, be sure to check it out. When its warm, they flutter all around the grove...when you have tens of thousands of butterflys floating around, it looks kind of like a colorful snow fall. Current number of butterflys is 20,000. We have had as many as 300,000 butterflys at the grove at one time!

Bird Watching...SLO County has a lot of birds (over 400 species) and consistently scores in the national top 10 sites for the Audubon Annual Christmas Bird Count. There are peregrine falcons, great blue herons, brown pelicans, California condors, and sandhill cranes. Heck, we have a lot of birds in our 1 acre garden alone! So many that we couldn't recognize that we bought a birding guide. We have lots of golden finches, woodpeckers, ...we have even seen a wild parakeet (he hung out with our caged parakeets for a few days) and we sometimes see a hawk at our fountain! The Oso Flaco Lake nature trail in the Nipomo-Oceano dunes offers great bird watching while exploring the sepcialized environment of the largest coastal sand dune on the west coast. On a random visit, we saw hundreds of blue herons at the Morro Bay Blue Heron Rookery. Let us know if you are interested in the herons and we will investigate the best time of year for viewing. Bald Eagles are also around, particularly in the winter months, around Lake Lopez, Santa Margarita Lake, Lake Nacimiento, and Lake San Antonio.

Farmer's Markets...Plenty of farmer's markets throughout the week offer lots of great produce fresh from the fields as well as locally grown flowers. Daily Market Schedule: Mondays-Baywood Park (2 to 4:30); Tuesdays-Paso Robles (4 to 7); Wednesdays-Arroyo Grande (9 to 11:30) & Atascadero (3 to 6); Thursdays-SLO (6 to 9pm) & Morro Bay (3 to 5); Friday-Cayucos (8:30 to noon), Cambria (2:30 to 5), & Paso Robles (9 to 12:30); Saturday-Arroyo Grande (noon to 2:30), SLO (8 to 10:30), Morro Bay (4 to 7), & Templeton (9 to 12:30); Sunday-Nipomo (11:30 to 2:30).

 

Ongoing Hikes

The Dunes Center: Offers many free walks and other activities. www.dunescenter.org. 343-2455.

The Land Conservancy of SLO Coast: Hosts free hikes and activities all over the Central Coast. www.special-places.org. 544-9096.

Morro Bay Natural History Museum: Sponsors free docent led hikes all over the Central Coast. 772-2694.

Morro Coast Audubon Society: Sponsors free birding outings and field trips. 528-7182.

Sierra Club Santa Lucia Chapter: Offers free outings for members & non members. www.sierraclub.org/chapters/santalucia/sloutng.html.

California Native Plant Society: Offers free field trips and events around SLO County and North Santa Barbara County. 464-0717.

Environmental Center of SLO: Offers field trips all around the county. 544-1777.

Friday Evenings - Free Summer Concerts in the Mission Plaza - San Luis Obispo

Note: All phone numbers are in the 805 area code


 

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