Down Home

The SLOCA Blog

5 Favorite Spots to Soak in the Beauty of the Central Coast

April 24th, 2018

{photo by Leif Arne Storset on via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0}

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts... There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."

~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Springtime may induce a bit of spring fever as we observe the gorgeous splendor of the central coast (or wherever you live). Here at Down Home we often encourage outside time, being in nature, taking school outdoors, or any other means of soaking in the natural beauty of our area.

Last year, SLOCA mom Jessica Pahl wrote about “Bringing Nature to our Home Days,” giving us a glimpse of how she incorporates outside time into their homeschool routine. Jessica has 4 kids on Track A, and those who know her know that they can often be found frolicking outdoors. So we asked Jessica to share some of her favorite local spots for getting out in nature. Here are her suggestions: (Photos below are by Jessica Pahl - click to view larger.)

By Jessica Pahl

As a bit of a newcomer to the central coast, I'm still in awe of the beauty here.  Every trail, mountain, cove or waterfall we come across is worthy of admiration.  However, we definitely have a few favorite spots.  Whether you are new to the area or just need fresh eyes to recall to you some gems in and around SLO county, here's some of our family's top picks. 

Black Hill Trail, Morro Bay

It's an easy (and short) hike with amazing views and fun rocks to climb on at the top. Perfect for small children but the views make it a must for all ages.  Take lunch and a sketch pad because you could easily hang out there for a few hours taking it all in. 

The Rock, Morro Bay

Everyone knows of the Rock but I had to put it on the list because it doesn't matter how many times I go, it's an amazing sight to behold.  I love to grab a hot coffee and head down with a blanket, book, and watercolors.  My husband and oldest will surf while the three little ones play in the sand.  Coming from the east coast, I've never considered beach days this way, but I prefer them over swimsuits and sweat.  


Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve, Los Osos

I love going here (although be super careful of poison oak) because it feels like a magical forest.  The trees are gorgeous and light shining down through the leaves are great to capture on film. There are several little trails all throughout.

San Simeon Point Trail, San Simeon

This hike is a short drive from San Luis Obispo, right across the highway from Hearst Castle.  It's unique in that you start on the beach, head up and along the bluffs, and also walk through a forest.  It's a great trail for small children because it's mostly flat and you can make it as long of a hike as you wish.  

Salmon Creek Falls, Big Sur

We try to make it up to this trail a few times a year.  When we first started going our girls were 2 years old and it was definitely accessible but not an easy hike at the end. They needed some help climbing rocks to get up to the point where you can get a good glimpse of the waterfall. Now that our kids are 4, 4, 6, and 9, they can all get to that point on their own and with help, cross the stream in order to climb up to where the pool is.  

This list could be pages long but I hope you've either read about a new place to visit or have been inspired to get outside and find your own special spot.  We are truly blessed to live in such a breathtaking place.    

Thank you, Jessica! We are blessed indeed, and this is just the right motivation to get out and spend time in these (and other) special locations. Happy exploring, everyone! 

Readers, do you have any additional favorite nature spots to add to this list? Please share in the comments – we can always use fresh ideas or reminders of the beautiful places we can visit in our county.