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11 Family-Friendly Things To Do in San Luis Obispo

11 Family-Friendly Things To Do in San Luis Obispo

With plenty of family-friendly things to do in San Luis Obispo, you'll be glad you chose to vacation here.


4 min read

March 15, 2022

Taking your kids on a family adventure this weekend? Make San Luis Obispo your destination of choice. This Central Coast city provides plenty of ideas for kid-friendly fun, and we have the best of them listed for you. With weird attractions, petting zoos, exciting hikes, and lots of sun under the sun, you’ll never run out of things to do in San Luis Obispo with your family.

Try These Family Things to Do in San Luis Obispo on your Next Getaway

1. Walk Through Bubblegum Alley

Bubblegum Alley is a quirky and colorful landmark in San Luis Obispo that lives up to its name: an alleyway adorned with chewed-up pieces of bubblegum. Stretching over 60 feet along Higuera Street, this unique spot features layers of gum dating back to the 1970s. Despite multiple cleanings over the years due to sanitary concerns, Bubblegum Alley has persisted as a popular local attraction. When visiting San Luis Obispo with family, consider adding this unusual site to your itinerary and participate in the tradition by leaving your own piece of gum.

2. Check out the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum

Kids love spending time at the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum. With three floors and an outside playscape jam-packed with unique exhibits, educational programs, and activities both children and their guardians can enjoy, this museum deserves a spot on every list of things to do with kids in San Luis Obispo. The museum staff host a themed program each week, complete with a craft to go along with the theme, so you’ll have something new to try with every visit!

Avila Valley Barn is a family-owned business featuring a hay maze, pony and tractor rides, classic barbecue dishes, and local produce.

3. Visit Avila Valley Barn

Avila Valley Barn is an awesome family-owned farm offering plenty of kid-friendly fun 365 days a year. While you’ll find unique things to do at this San Luis Obispo farm any day you visit, most of the activities they offer are seasonal. Hayrides, pony rides, pumpkin patches, hay mazes, farm animal feeds, and U-pick farms are a few examples of activities you can get up to with your fam at Avila Valley Barn. Not to mention the delicious and organic seasonal produce you get to eat on your visit—yum. 

4. Smell the Flowers at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden

The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden is a non-profit botanical garden located between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. Devoted to the plants of the five Mediterranean climate regions of the world, this beautiful locale aims to educate and inspire people to love and embrace nature, outdoor recreation, and health and wellness. Paying a visit to this place, smelling the fragrant flowers, and learning about the garden is one of the best things to do in San Luis Obispo County if you like the outdoors.

Tucked way into the coastal cove of San Luis Obispo Bay, Avila Beach is a small seaside town with big-time charm.

5. Have Fun Under the Sun at Avila Beach

Avila Beach is a great day trip destination for a little seaside getaway. The embodiment of laid-back living, this coastal city offers many beachy things to do in San Luis Obispo County with the fam. Check out Front Street lined with shops, bistros, and chic tasting rooms, stay overnight at the cool boutique hotels, and grab a front-row seat to the wave action along its sandy shores.

6. Meet the Animals at the Charles Paddock Zoo

Zoos are always a hit with kids, and the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero is among the best of them to visit in California. Home to hundreds of local and exotic animal species, this awesome zoo is dedicated to conservation and keeping the rarest animals in the world in a safe and respectful environment. If you want to meet, admire, and learn about these amazing creatures, add Charles Paddock Zoo to your list of things to do in San Luis Obispo County.

Montaña de Oro State Park features rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons, and hills, including the 1,347-foot Valencia Peak.

7. Go on a Leisurely Hike at Montaña de Oro State Park

Trekking an easy hiking trail is one of the best things to do in San Luis Obispo out in nature with kids. To get a mix of beautiful wildflowers and views of the Pacific, pick a hike in Montaña de Oro State Park. We recommend hiking the Montaña de Oro Bluff Trail, which is a beautiful but easy loop with plenty of access points to the beach and tide pools.

8. Take a Tour of the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art

The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art is an excellent destination for families with older children. Located at the heart of the California Central Coast art community, the museum showcases an array of paintings, sculptures, and photography by regional artists. Not only does it offer free admission, but it also champions the mission to provide and promote diverse visual experiences for individuals of all ages and backgrounds. This makes it a standout, family-friendly activity in San Luis Obispo, perfect for those looking to engage with the arts.

Morro Rock is one of 13 volcanic plugs, lava domes, and sheet-like intrusions between Morro Bay on the north and Islay Hill on the south.

9. See the Giant Morro Rock at Morro Bay

The colossal Morro Rock is one of the most famous and photogenic attractions in S.L.O. County. Make it an entry on your itinerary and enjoy a range of things to do in and around Morro Bay on your getaway. Hiking, kayaking, surfing, camping, fishing, and more fun things to do in San Luis Obispo await you and your family at this coastal hotspot.

10. Spend a Day at Pismo Beach

How about a classic beach town stop to wrap up your family trip? Indulge in endless relaxation, rent a kayak, walk the pier, watch a golden sunset, and indulge in delectable seafood. Blending natural beauty and surfing charm, the things to do in San Luis Obispo’s Pismo Beach go above and beyond for your family getaway expectations. 

As the epicenter of plenty of activities, Downtown San Luis Obispo offers a variety of things to do within a few short blocks.

11. Check out the Eclectic San Luis Obispo Downtown

A variety of things to do in San Luis Obispo’s Downtown line the vibrant streets. Explore the farmers market, visit the historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, check out the one-of-a-kind boutiques, and explore the iconic museums and attractions.

Once you’re done touring, pick one of the countless downtown restaurants to dine at. Whether you’re craving an acai bowl, juicy burgers, wood-fired pizza, or a refreshing frozen yogurt, you’ll find a Downtown S.L.O. restaurant that’ll match your craving. 

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