Everything You Need to Know About Moving to San Luis Obispo County

Everything You Need to Know About Moving to San Luis Obispo County

  • Brittany Hensley
  • 03/22/24

San Luis Obispo County is comprised of the most magnificently unique areas, all of which are little treasures of their own. Diving into the dynamics of each area to decide what best suits your needs is highly recommended. Deciding if you want to live near the coast or inland, small town or a big town, rural or in an area with more citified amenities can be challenging, but knowing your parameters before you move is important. Deciding now if you aren’t a fan of fog, or you would rather take a pass on summer days with hotter weather will save you from adjusting your move once you arrive. Here are 20 Reasons why San Luis Obispo County might be right for you!

Small-town feels – From Nipomo to San Miguel and everything in between and towards the Pacific Ocean, all our areas have one thing in common, small-town vibes and atmosphere. With a population of just over 45,000 + approximately 22,000 when Cal Poly is in session, San Luis Obispo is the most populated city on the central coast. More than likely, this small-town vibe will be a huge change from where you live now. As different as each area is, the one thing you can count on in every village, town, and city on the central coast is an endearing small-town feel and charm.

Microclimates – If you haven’t heard the term “microclimates” before, you’ll get to know them well living on the central coast. A microclimate is the climate of a very small area, especially when this differs from the climate of the surrounding area, dropping or rising in degrees. For example, you can be in Paso Robles, where it’s 95 degrees, and decide on a drive to Cambria, which is just 26 minutes away towards the coast. As you descend from the top of the Lucia Mountain range, you’ll notice a decline in temperature with a difference of anywhere from 20 to 30 degrees by the time you reach Cambria. So, it’s easy to escape the heat…or go the other way and escape the fog in minutes, depending on what you’re feeling for the day. Each area really is unique in its weather pattern, so if weather is your determining factor, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices.

Serenity envelopes you – It can’t be helped, moving anywhere on the central coast is like a cuddly blanket that wraps you in a peacefulness you didn’t know you had inside yourself. SLO County (what everyone calls San Luis Obispo County for short) is literally a very SLO way of life. The clean air, wide open spaces, and big-hearted people embrace your inner peace. With lower-than-average crime rates, the part of you that’s on high alert from living in larger areas eases as you let the elixir of SLO County soothe your mind.

Lifestyle change – The biggest transformation comes from you. If you grab the brass ring of everything the central coast has to offer, you can completely embrace what living here is all about. Time spent with friends and family becomes the priority. Time spent outdoors and active; time spent tracking down the greatest trail to conquer; time spent finding a spot in nature where it’s just you and the trees or the ocean and the critters is priceless. It doesn’t happen right away, but eventually, you just blend in with what’s going on around you and really learn to appreciate the finest moments instead of dwelling on the things that are chaotic.

Jobs market – The central coast is a place where many people relocate to retire. It’s also a place where many new graduates from Cal Poly call home for the first few years after they graduate and fill many of the positions that would otherwise be taken by a more established workforce than normal. So, the jobs market is really something to consider before you make that move. If you need to work, make sure there’s a market for what you do…just like you would anywhere else.

College town – Cal Poly…or California Polytechnic University, is located at the North end of San Luis Obispo. With an influx of approximately 22,000 students when school is in session, SLO is a typical college town with much of the traffic, restaurants, bars, and nightlife dedicated to bringing in the co-eds. It’s fun and keeps the town alive with a young adult energy and spirit that you just can’t duplicate except in other college towns.

The commute – With eye-candy and scenic vistas at every turn, the drive to work or wherever you go becomes part of the experience of living on the central coast. During the summer months, Highway 1 becomes a bit busier, and 101 can get spurts of visitor traffic, but your 30-minute commute is generally 30 minutes of driving…. not 30 minutes of sitting in traffic like you may be used to. There really is not a traffic problem, and so many people use their commute time to stop and take photos, or just breathe in and appreciate every bit of their drive.

Smorgasbord of culinary delights – With the freshest and finest foods procured from farmer’s markets, local cheeses, fresh fish, and an abundance of local wineries, you will immediately experience the beginning of being spoiled with fresh food from the first bite! With freshly picked fruits and vegetables on your plate, the area’s healthy lifestyle will catch up to you. There are Farmers Markets in Baywood/Los Osos, Paso Robles, SLO (and downtown SLO), Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Morro Bay, Avila, Cambria, Cayucos, and Templeton where you will embrace what local farmers have to offer. Many local restaurants shop the markets and serve up farm-to-table cuisine that is delectable. Paired with a wine produced right here on the central coast, it is no wonder this area has come to produce some of the most sought-after varietals around.

Places to Hike – There are entire books about the hiking trails in and around SLO County. The dedication to open space in every community is a real treat to the outdoor enthusiast and the novice hiker. From flat, slow walks to steep hikes, each trail leads to a simply amazing destination. Elsewhere in California, just from the high population base, you’d find each trail filled with people escaping the pressures of the city. Here on the central coast, there are times when you can walk a trail and be shocked to see another person.

Outdoor activities – Bicycling, surfing, paddle boarding, boogie boarding, kite surfing, kite flying, hiking, boating, fishing, golfing, frisbee golf, walking…the list goes on and on with the activities that are available on the central coast. In fact, San Luis Obispo was named one of the most bicycle-friendly cities with trails, dedicated roads, and well-thought-out and planned bike lanes and bicycle-dedicated streets. If you’re looking for adventure, the central coast is your place, and even if you’re not…you soon will be!

Sense of community – Ask someone who lives on the central coast which town is the best…they will inevitably tell you it’s the town they live in and list the reasons why. Each town boasts the best downtown, the best restaurants, the best hotels, the best of it all. If you’re looking for a place to call your own that’s brimming with home-town spirit, is welcoming, inviting, and happy that you’re here, you’ve found it on the central coast of California.

Community activities – There are a lot of things to join in on and do on the Central Coast. Volunteers are welcomed in every town for everything from being a docent at the Elephant Seal Vista Point in San Simeon to walking dogs at Woods Human Society and picking fruits and vegetables for Glean SLO…there is just so much to do, and most every program is very successful. It’s an opportunity to meet new people, spend time bettering the community, and feel wonderful for helping those in need.

Variety of homes – Like Goldilocks, there’s a home that’s just right for you on the central coast. Sizes run from small to very large and everything in between. Lot sizes run on the big side in most communities, so if you’re considering moving from an area with little or no outdoor space, be prepared to garden and play in the yard. There are old homes, new homes, tract homes, and unique homes. There are rural homes with lots of property and city homes with lovely gardens. Truly, it’s a mecca for variety.

Celebrated Days/Festivals – It’s not just holidays that are celebrated up and down the central coast of California. Yes, there’s the Annual Labor Day Pinedorado celebration in Cambria, 4th of July Parades in Cayucos, Templeton, plus a boat parade in Avila Beach. But there is so much more…an Olive Festival in Paso Robles, a Kite Festival in Morro Bay, an Avocado & Margarita Street Festival in Morro Bay, the Strawberry Festival in Arroyo Grande, Clam Festival in Pismo Beach…and so much more. There is never a dull moment on the central coast and always something to try on for size to see if it has the makings for an annual event in your life!

The central coast has a lot of golf – To say that San Luis Obispo County has a few really nice golf courses would really be an understatement. Not only are there more than a few really nice golf courses, there are many of them. From Paso Robles down to Nipomo are top-notch picturesque, professional courses with a variety of locations to choose from. Want to golf at the beach? Morro Bay Golf Course is the favorite among locals and visitors alike. Want warmer weather golf? Hunter Ranch or Chalk Mountain in Paso Robles and Atascadero could be your pick. Bottom line is there’s a great selection of courses for the novice to the expert!

The live music is awesome – Pozo, Vina Robles, The Fremont Theatre, The Siren, and the Midstate Fair are the biggest names in concert venues on the central coast that bring in the more well-known acts. But dig a little deeper into the local music scene, and you’ll find venues that you may not have thought possible. Many hotels, wineries, restaurants, and communities have live music every weekend or community summer concert series in parks like Paso Robles and Atascadero do…the music vibe is unlimited and varied enough that you could listen to live music every weekend if not at multiple venues every weekend.

Wide Open Spaces – This cannot be stressed enough; we have wide open spaces to unwind your mind, your body, and soul. Even if you aren’t an outdoorsy person, there is open space for you to view as you drive and, in the spring, be dazzled by the wildflowers. If you are an outdoorsy person, you will absolutely love, love, love everything about the places to go to “get away from it all.” Many trailheads start right behind neighborhoods or just a short distance from town. It is just astounding how available and easily accessed wide-open spaces are on the central coast. Virtually every community has ensured there will always be open space for now and for generations to come.

Amazing attractions – The central coast’s tourist trade is big for a reason…we’ve become a wine region, which has helped grow the area to what it is today. In addition to the epic wines, there are many amazing places to visit that are simply awe inspiring. Hearst Castle in San Simeon is a state park rich in central coast history. Beyond that is an Elephant Seal Vista Point, where docents will answer any questions you may have. Once you are settled, a drive up the north coast to Ragged Point needs to make your list of things to do. In Cayucos and Morro Bay, a day spent on the beach or simply sitting and taking in Morro Rock and poking around the towns and Morro Bay’s Embarcadero is a special treat. In San Luis Obispo, a trip to the Madonna Inn for a piece of their world-famous champagne cake and to take in the “pinkness” of it all can become a habit. Spend a day apple picking at See Canyon or take a mineral water soak at Sycamore Hot Springs. Head on towards Avila, see the sights, and take a guided walk to the Point San Luis Lighthouse. The Monarch Grove in Pismo Beach is just breathtaking, so be sure to add this to your calendar! Drive on the beach or rent an ATV to visit Oceano Dunes and spend the day in Nipomo visiting the Dana Adobes, playing golf, or taking in the views from the Mesa. Inland, be prepared to visit Santa Margarita and zipline over vineyards, oaks, and rolling hills, or catch the Sensorio Light display in Paso Robles. All in all, there’s enough here to go-see-do to keep you busy for a very long time.

Be prepared to leave the stress of where you came from behind – Yes, we have stress, but it’s different. If you are arriving here from somewhere where the air is poor quality, it takes about a year before you realize your little cough is gone and your skin and soul feel cleaner somehow. Big deep breaths are cleansing and you know the air you’re taking in is healthy. Life here is really just SLOwer…your body knows it, your mind knows it, and you’re able to shed so much of the stress of being somewhere that’s too chaotic. The transformation that occurs when you move to SLO County is almost indescribable. Those of us who live here talk about it, and it’s impossible to put your finger on exactly what it is, but we all feel so fortunate to have found this paradise and that we are one of the lucky ones.

You’re going to love living here! – You just are. If you’ve read this far…you must experience it. Move heaven and earth to get here like so many of us have and start living!

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