Picnic in Paradise along CA Highway 1 Discovery Route in
Coastal SLO County and Find Your Perfect Spot
Coastal Hikes with Pristine Vistas, State Parks and Recreational Lakes,
Wine Trails and Coastal Bluffs, or Historic Dunes and Gentle Coastal Peaks, Take your Pick!
Moonstone Beach is one of Cambria’s best known locations and most scenic spots with several locations perfect for picnics. With a boardwalk that meanders along the coastline offering beach entries with steps to the shore, there are picnic tables, sandy beaches and rocky shores to choose your perfect paradise picnic spot. Harmony Headlands State Park offers picnickers a chance to work up an appetite with mile hike out to pristine ocean views untouched by buildings, or anything commercial. And, how many places on earth can you choose your picnic spot from almost 2,000 acres of pristine Monterey Pine forest and rolling pastures, all with exquisite views of the ocean? The Fiscalini Ranch Preserve in Cambria does just that. This preserve is one of a kind and offers abundant picnic options to create memories that will be yours forever.
Learn about the diversity of life within the kelp forest while walking along the Estero Bluffs State Park, north of Cayucos, where there are plenty of perfect spots for laying down the blanket, and pulling out the picnic basket full of goodies. Like the Historic Windmill spot locals call Windmills, located just north of Cayucos on Highway 1. It’s a nice hike out to the ocean bluffs and is marked with an old classic windmill found just before Estero Point, by San Geronimo Creek. Or picnic along Cayucos State Beach, a sandy beach that offers mild weather, watersports such as surfing, kayaking, swimming and tide pooling. Good Clean Fun offers kayak rentals and tours where they can guide you to the best secret beach spots for picnicking.
Picture rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons, and hills, not to mention a 1,347-foot mountain peak overlooking the Pacific, and miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails and you will have envisioned Montana de Oro State Park. Spooner’s Cove in Montana de Oro is a beachy cove with picnic tables and tide pooling, perfect for a paradise picnic with the family. Or, head on a hike along the back side of Morro Bay through the El Moro Elfin Forest that supports more than 200 species of plants, as well as 110 kinds of birds, 22 species of mammals and 13 species of reptiles and amphibians. You can picnic under hundred year old Pygmy oak tree while witnessing wildlife watching at its finest.
A picnic in Avila Beach is an opportunity to watch wildlife, kayakers and plenty of happy people enjoying sunshine and a beautiful beach. Be sure to pop into the Avila Beach Grocery and Deli for sandwiches, specialty items like local cheeses, meats and sweets. If in town on the weekend, be sure to visit the Avila Beach Farmers’ Market held every Friday night from spring through fall along the boardwalk at the pier. The Avila Valley Barn is also a great spot to pick up fun picnic items and explore this magnificent farm before finding your perfect beach picnic spot. Before or after your picnic be sure to check out the Point San Luis Lighthouse and the Central Coast Aquarium. And, for the wine lovers, feel free to pick up some great picnic wine at one of the award-winning wineries and tasting rooms along the Avila Wine Trail. The Avila Wine Trail features family-owned and operated wine venues offering award-winning vintages that capture the essence of wine making on the Central Coast.
Whether traveling with a group or just your significant other, SLO Wine Country offers a plethora of beautiful vineyards and wine trails teaming with tasting rooms to enjoy your perfect paradise picnic. Many wineries offer food on site and the historic landmark Old Edna Townsite offers the Pairing Knife Deli in the historic mercantile building that is as delicious as it is charming. Not to mention, Sextant Wines tasting room is right on site and makes it easy to grab a bottle and go; after a tasting, of course. Edna Valley is located just four miles off the Pacific Ocean and is known for award-winning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
You can’t go wrong with a picnic at one of the many spots throughout the beautifully wooded and mountainous Lopez Lake Recreation Area, one of the top choices for boating, kayaking and leisure trips. On the way to the lake, stop by Talley Farms for fresh produce or Talley Vineyards for a tasting and a bottle for lunch later. Be sure to pass through the center of Arroyo Grande Village and find the historic and classic Comfort Market. Find gourmet picnic basket items including the perfect grilled cheese sandwich or delicious handmade gnocchi. From local wine to craft beer and artisan goods, you’ll find everything you need for a memorable picnic at the lake.
The Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area, recognized by scientists, conservationists, government agencies, and the public as the finest, most extensive coastal dunes remaining in California and is the only beach in California where vehicles can drive right on the beach. This sand dune complex is geologically unique and also provides an impressive playground for off-highway enthusiasts. Drive onto the beach, bring your beach chairs, picnic blanket and cooler and don’t stop until you find your perfect paradise spot to picnic in the dunes. Stop by Grand Deli to pick up a fresh made sandwich made with bread baked fresh on site daily. Or, pick up lunch boxes to go at the Rib Line by the Beach. From slow cooked ribs and roasted chicken to potato salad and Cole slaw, there is a whole lot of BBQ options to take to the beach for a picnic in the dunes.
Oso Flaco Lake is at the southernmost part of the Oceano Dunes State Park.Having come to see dunes, you might be surprised to find yourself in this beautiful wooded area that ends at an incredible boardwalk bridge that takes visitors out over the lake. At the end of the boardwalk you will find a viewing platform with views of the entire San Luis Bay from Point San Luis in the north, to Mussel Rock in the south. After your picnic, have fun visiting the Luffa Farm, the Eucalyptus grove on Nipomo Mesa near the Historic Dana Adobe and the dunes near the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Natural History Center.