Updated: Aug 13, 2021
Home to California’s third largest wine region, SLO CAL is the perfect choice for a wellness, culinary and/or adventure getaway. There are a number of unique, hands-on experiences such as beekeeping classes at a vineyard, olive oil pressing and sea kelp foraging. Those seeking a sunny escape will find an endless array of quintessentially California activities, no shortage of wellness experiences to reset the mind, and a wide array of immersive educational opportunities. Additionally, the destination is home to Hearst Castle, a state and National Historic Landmark; national marine sanctuary; national estuary; two historic lighthouses; five historic piers; 13 state parks; nine locales on the National Register; an elephant seal rookery; and Monarch butterfly preserves.
Trade fall “leaf peeping” for “butterfly peeping.” The SLO CAL region is gifted with various wildlife migrations that locals get to experience each year, but the brightest one of them all occurs in the fall months. The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove houses over 10,000 orange and black monarch butterflies annually—one of only five sites in the state of California you can view this phenomenon. From October to February visitors can view vibrant clusters of butterflies perching on majestic Eucalyptus trees—how’s that for a magical fall backdrop?
Forgo the grub and choose gratitude this Thanksgiving. Trade in the “COVID-19 pounds” for a mental, physical, and spiritual reset with Sagrada Wellness’s Thanksgiving Yoga Retreat in Santa Margarita. Travelers can also curate a custom wellness retreat at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, where they can choose their own gratitude journey - from taking a healing arts class (yoga, tai chi, Pilates) or enjoying spa services to soaking in mineral hot tubs or meditating in the Gardens of Avila.
Experience a true splash zone with Avila Beach Whale Watching. People aren’t the only ones who love SLO CAL’s coastline, several whale species love it too. Peak season for humpback whales is from May to November, while gray whales (the most common) typically arrive from December to February—all of which can be spotted during an intimate whale watching experience at Avila Beach Whale Watching. Private and group tours are available; with only six passengers included on group tours, it ensures everyone will enjoy unobstructed views of the beautiful creatures. During the fall months, humpback whales are most sighted. Humpback whales’ playful behaviors make the experience even more memorable as guests get to witness the whales breaching, tail slapping, and pectoral slapping—you may even get splashed! With the guides’ local knowledge and ten plus years of experience with the whales and other sea animals of San Luis Obispo Bay, Avila Beach Whale Watching has a sighting guarantee (if a tour doesn’t encounter a whale or dolphin guests will be given a $40 refund per person).