5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Enjoy San Luis Obispo

September 20, 2021

A trip to a beautiful, inviting city like San Luis Obispo can certainly be memorable and relaxing, but it doesn’t have to mean stretching your travel budget. In fact, there are many enjoyable and inexpensive things you can do in SLO that can leave you with plenty of fond memories to take back home with you. Five suggestions are offered below.

1. Spend the Day at Pismo Beach

After you get settled in at your hotel near San Luis Obispo, take a 15-minute drive to nearby Pismo Beach. It’s incredibly easy to spend the day here in a way that’s easy on your budget. In fact, it’s completely free to do any of the following activities at Pismo State Beach:

• Casually strolling along the pier
• Building a sandcastle
• Swimming to your heart’s content
• Enjoying the gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean

There are also many restaurants near the beach where you can treat yourself to a meal before heading back to SLO. If you do some checking ahead of time, you should be able to find budget-pleasing options, especially if you’re just looking for a quick bite to fuel up and recharge. 

2. Take a Self-Guided Tour

San Luis Obispo is a very pedestrian-friendly city, and this is especially true in the downtown area. It also has many older and historic buildings and spectacular examples of intricate architecture. An inexpensive way to check out local sights like these while you’re here is to take a self-guided tour. Gpsmycity.com has apps you can download to do this. Another option is to simply use a map app to pick out points of interest.

3. Explore or Climb Bishop Peak

Exploring this spectacular 1,500-foot volcanic plug is another inexpensive way to enjoy your time in San Luis Obispo. It won’t cost too much to rent basic hiking gear locally, but you can also bring your own if you regularly hike. The hiking trails here are accessible from Patricia Avenue. The rocky terrain also makes it just as easy and affordable to take a relaxing, gentle walk while visiting this outdoor space.

4. Sample Goodies at the Downtown Farmers’ Market

An open-air farmers’ market is held every Thursday evening in downtown SLO on Higuera Street. The offerings you’ll find here, which typically include fresh fruits and veggies and other local goodies along with some arts and crafts and other trinkets, are generally affordable. There’s even live music included for free.

5. Visit Local Parks

Sinsheimer Park and Santa Rosa Park are among the many local parks where you can walk or have a picnic, and you can even swim at the ones with on-site pools. At Sinsheimer Park, you’re also welcome to try your hand at disc golf. Many of the community parks here also have play areas with swings and other fun features for kids.

Additional budget-pleasing options to consider while you’re here include:

• Catching a movie at Sunset Drive-In
• Visiting local museums, such as the San Luis Obispo Art Museum
• Checking out the wild meadows at the Irish Hills Nature Preserve 

No matter what kind of affordable adventures you’re looking for, you’re certain to find plenty of options in San Luis Obispo. If you’re looking for a charming, pet-friendly place to welcome you at the end of a day of exploring, you’ll love the soothing Spanish-inspired décor and exceptional service at Sands Inn & Suites. From our beautifully appointed rooms to our tranquil fountain area and heated pool and spa, we can provide you with everything you need to relax in comfort. To learn more about our amenities or reserve your room at our premier San Luis Obispo boutique hotel, call us today at (800) 441-4657.

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