San Luis Obispo downtownSan Luis Obispo is a city in San Luis Obispo County, California. It is the county seat and the most populous city in the county. 

It is located on the Central Coast of California, about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The city is situated in a valley between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. 

San Luis Obispo enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, but summers can get hot and dry.

San Luis Obispo MissionAlong with the city of San Luis Obispo, the county has several towns that attract visitors for beaches, parks, wineries, and historic sites.

Let us start with the city of San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo River WalkThe city is known for its historic architecture, vineyards, and a vibrant downtown with many shops, bars, restaurants, a river walk, and the mission. 

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa is a Spanish mission founded on September 1, 1772 by Father Junípero Serra. 

It is the fifth of the 21 California missions, and was named after Saint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse, France. 

Interesting Fact: Obispo means Bishop in Spanish.

The best way to admire the mission’s Spanish colonial architecture is to go on the free docent led tour. The guide explained the history of the mission and pointed out unique architectural features. 

Across the mission, an unmarked path leads through a gate and down into a shaded river walk. It is a nice respite from the heat on summer days. 

Other popular cities in San Luis Obispo County:

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach PierA beach town with a long stretch of sand, tide pools, a popular pier, parks, hiking trails, and nature preserves.

Read more about Pismo Beach here


Oceano is a small town on the border with Pismo Beach and share with it the long Pismo Beach State Park. 

Visitors flock to this small town to visit Oceano Dunes SVRA, to play on the dunes with their offroad vehicles. 

Read more about Oceano Dunes SVRA here  

Morro Bay

Morro BayA harbor town on Pacific Coast Highway with a working fishing fleet, Morro Rock, a boardwalk, seafood restaurants, kayak and boat rentals, and Morro Bay State Park.

Paso Robles

Is a town known for wineries and olive groves. The region is home to 250 wineries and specialized in Zinfandels and other red wines. 

Avila Beach

Another typical California small beach town with a charming Main Street, a working wharf, and Avila Hot Springs.