Visit San Luis Obispo and the gorgeous surrounding area for a taste of the Central Coast of California. Explore wine country in Santa Ynez Valley while enjoying fine dining and shopping in unique heritage buildings. Book a San Luis Obispo vacation rental close to the beach to take advantage of the area’s warm summer climate and pristine public beaches. Indoor and outdoor activities include golf, horseback riding, live theater, and festivals—there’s something for everyone in San Luis Obispo. Check out a few of the most exciting cities around the San Luis Obispo area.

1. San Luis Obispo

At the midpoint between San Francisco and Los Angeles, California, the city of San Luis Obispo lies a few miles inland, close to California wine country. Stay in San Luis Obispo to experience the relaxed southern California atmosphere and enjoy the vibrant local arts scene. Take a walk through the city to enjoy fine dining as well as over 70 unique public artworks, or spend a day traversing the wilderness trails in the surrounding area.

2. Avila Beach

Drive west of San Luis Obispo to get to Avila Beach. This quaint seaside village overlooks a beautiful stretch of clean, sandy coastline. Bring your own bike or rent one during your stay to experience an exciting day of coastal cycling. Book a vacation rental close to the beach so you can swim and kayak to your heart’s content — or get away from the crashing waves at the luxurious Avila Hot Springs.

3. Pismo Beach

A few miles south of Avila Beach, Pismo Beach is a classic Californian tourist town that offers fun family activities for all seasons. Get a feel for the local terrain by booking a Hummer dune tour, or a ride in a biplane. The rocky cliffs along the coastline provide excellent shelter and stunning views from a sea kayak. Stay within the town proper to enjoy family friendly dining, shopping, and arts events.

4. Los Alamos

Head south of San Luis Obispo to experience the Californian frontier days in Los Alamos. This small, seven-block town packs in a wide range of sight-seeing activities for the whole family. Shop for antiques along the middle stretch of town, then choose from dining establishments ranging from fine dining to family-friendly. Vacation rentals in Los Alamos often come with a laid-back, bed-and-breakfast atmosphere.

5. Los Olivos

Located in the Santa Ynez Valley, Los Olivos is near some of the best-known vineyards and wineries in California. Take in the beautiful rolling hills of this agricultural area, then enjoy a wine tasting at one of the many local wineries and cellars. If you’ve got kids in tow, book a vacation rental in Los Olivos to enjoy the well-maintained heritage architecture of the town, and the lush nearby walking trails.

6. Santa Ynez

Along with Los Olivos and Solvang, Santa Ynez is one of the three towns that comprise the Santa Ynez Valley region of California. Founded in 1884, Santa Ynez is today known as a “cowboy town,” where visitors can explore the old west while enjoying modern amenities. Walk along the horseshoe-embedded local sidewalks while you browse local art galleries, boutiques, and family-run restaurants. Come in June to experience Old Santa Ynez Day, an annual festival celebrating the town’s heritage.

Find the perfect San Luis Obispo vacation rental on is the world's #1 vacation rental search engine with over 10 million properties!

7. Solvang

Known as the Danish Village, Solvang’s look and the atmosphere is heavily influenced by the town’s Danish roots. Check out the Solvang Windmill for a unique look at the town’s Danish traditions. Catch a show at one of the local live theaters, or arrive in time for the town’s annual Danish Days festival.

8. Morrow Bay

Located along the coast, west of San Luis Obispo, Morrow Bay is a beautiful spot for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts alike. Book a vacation rental in town to enjoy modern amenities in between hiking, kayaking, and surfing adventures – or forgo the indoors entirely and set up camp at one of the picturesque campgrounds in the area. The town of Morrow Bay also offers a wide variety of shopping and dining options, as well as a farmer’s market every Thursday.

9. Cayucos

Cayucos lies along a secluded stretch of beach sheltered within California’s Estero Bay. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and cool water-front breeze in Cayucos, a town that prides itself on its reputation as an escape from nearby metropolitan areas. Bring your fishing gear and enjoy the coastal and deep sea fishing opportunities in Cayucos. If fishing’s not your thing, spend your days lounging on this quiet but clean sandy beach.

10. Cambria

The seaside village of Cambria is situated in the middle of some of the most beautiful terrain in California. Whether you’re looking for white sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, or elegant pine trees, Cambria’s local walking trails take you through every type of wilderness. Book a vacation rental in Cambria to enjoy active, adventurous days spent biking along designated trails or enjoying the mild summertime waters.

11. Atascadero

Head little ways north of San Luis Obispo to find yourself in Atascadero. Enjoy great art and entertainment scene in this urban center. Take the kids along to explore Charles Paddock Zoo, which dates back to the 1950’s. To get out and enjoy the fresh air, play a round of golf on Chalk Mountain Golf Course.

12. Santa Margarita

The peaceful inland town of Santa Margarita is home to a welcoming local arts scene, as well as beautiful scenery and wildlife year-round. Book a vacation rental here in the spring to make the most of the Santa Margarita Wildflower Festival, and enjoy the historic local mission, which dates back to the 18th century.

Ready to go? Check out these amazing San Luis Obispo vacation rentals on