Top Underrated Attractions to Check Out in San Luis Obispo, CA

September 13, 2021

Once you arrive in San Luis Obispo, you’ll instantly understand why this Central California city has been called “the happiest place in America.” While you’re welcome to pack your swimwear and head to popular attractions like nearby Pismo Beach, there are some underrated attractions and destinations to consider adding to your must-visit list while in SLO, including those highlighted below.

Monarch Butterfly Grove

If you end up going to nearby Pismo Beach while in SLO, check out this charming area. It’s so named because the eucalyptus trees here attract thousands of monarch butterflies from early fall through the first few months of the following year.

Santa Rosa Park

San Luis Obispo has some inviting neighborhood parks that tend to be overlooked by visitors to the city. One of these is Santa Rosa Park on Oak Street. It’s home to a spacious picnic area, sports courts and fields, and a skate park.

Dallidet Adobe & Gardens

Named after one of the earliest French settlers in the area, this home, with its colorful and captivating adjacent garden area, is open to the public. This historic landmark on Pacific Street is typically accessible from Memorial Day through the end of September.

Avila Valley Barn

This farm stand in Avila Valley may not be on your radar if you’re not looking at easily accessible destinations close to SLO. It’s where you’ll find handmade fruit pies, barbecued delights, fresh fruits and veggies, candy, fudge, and other goodies.

Montaña de Oro State Park

This destination can be considered underrated as well in the sense that not all SLO visitors are aware it’s just 15 minutes away. A sight to behold, it features 8,000 acres of cliffs, gorgeous sandy beaches, streams, and other natural attractions. After enjoying a day exploring this magnificent space, you’ll be ready to return to your boutique hotel near San Luis Obispo for some rest and relaxation by the pool or spa.

Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab

If you have a craving for cool sweet treats, try the homemade ice cream at Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab. There’s one on Higuera Street, but you can also visit the nearby Village of Arroyo Grande to sample sinfully decadent treats at the original location.

Filipponi Ranch

Make your visit to SLO even more pleasant by spending some time at this location that’s off the beaten path. The wines are amazing, as are the views. Make reservations for a tasting before you arrive, and you’ll be all set. There are also other tasting rooms and places to enjoy adult beverages in the San Luis Obispo area, including ones that serve lagers, sours, and craft beers.

San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum

Once you’ve explored the more prominently located San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, stroll over to Santa Barbara Avenue to see the unique displays at this somewhat underrated local museum. Highlights include historic railroad equipment and a children’s play area.

Underrated SLO-Area Hiking Trails

If hiking is what you plan to do when visiting San Luis Obispo, you’ll get many well-deserved recommendations for Bishop Peak. However, there are some equally rewarding hiking spots in the area that can fit into the underrated category, including the Reservoir Canyon Loop Trail at Reservoir Canyon Natural Reserve and the Mount Lowe Trail at Los Padres National Forest. 

When you visit San Luis Obispo, there’s so much to do and see that you won’t be able to enjoy everything on your list in just one day, so reserve a room for several days at Sands Inn & Suites, a premier San Luis Obispo boutique hotel. Bring the whole family to our pet-friendly inn and enjoy our on-site gym, heated outdoor pool and spa, and free WiFi. Our staff is dedicated to making your stay a memorable one, so call us to reserve your room today at (800) 441-4657.


Subscribe Now For Our Latest Offers

Receive updates on our latest hotel offers and deals.