Things to Do in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo & The California Coast

Explore SLOCal From Our Central Atascadero Location

Centrally located between San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles, The Carlton Hotel is the perfect gateway to California’s Central Coast, also known as SLOcal.

A magnificent year-round destination with warm days and cool nights, the Central Coast offers a variety of activities and things to do for visitors of all ages: Scenic wine country, pristine beaches, quiet country roads and historic Hearst Castle.

Abundant wildlife, including seals, sea otters, monarch butterflies in winter and over 200 species of birds. Recreational activities like road biking, mountain biking, sport fishing, bird watching, hiking, kayaking, and whale watching.

Additionally, many superb artists and craftsmen have chosen the Central Coast as their home. In shops and galleries throughout the region, you’ll find everything from paintings, photography and sculpture to jewelry and custom furniture.

Below, you will find some of the most popular attractions and things to do in Atascadero and the surrounding area, many of which are just minutes from The Carlton Hotel.  Click Here to view the event calendar.

Let The Carlton Hotel help make your stay one to remember. Contact us today to learn more!

CLICK HERE to View Events in Atascadero.

CLICK HERE to View Events in the Atascdero Arts District 

  • All

Downtown San Luis Obispo

Distance: 14 miles From The Hotel
Downtown Farmer's Market

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and Central Coast Wine Country, “The Happiest Place in the World” embodies the boundless beauty, tranquility and recreation of the California Coast. The charming downtown area is lined with locally owned shops, restaurants and galleries. Be sure to stroll around the historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the fifth of the 21 California missions built in 1772 and considered to be the most beautiful of them all.

Mission San Miguel

Distance: 17.9 miles From The Hotel
MIssion San Miguel

Explore the rich history of this mission, which was founded in 1797. Over two centuries later, this National Historic Landmark remains one of California’s most important historical treasures, appearing today exactly as it did when originally built. The inside of the church has never been repainted and the wall frescoes are the originals created by Salinan artists.

*Photograph by David J. McLaughlin, courtesy California Missions Resource Center.

Paso Robles Wine Country

Distance: 5 miles From The Hotel
Justin winery

There are over 200 wineries and tasting rooms in San Luis Obispo County and The Carlton Hotel is located in the heart of it all. We are centrally located halfway between the Edna Valley AVA in San Luis Obispo and the Paso Robles Wine Country. Our staff can assist you in planning your wine tasting adventure or make arrangements for limousine or shuttle wine tasting tours.

Hearst Castle

Distance: 31.5 From The Hotel
Hearst Castle

Publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst's famous estate was completed in 1947 and is one of the most stunning private residences in the world. Five different guided tours are available, in addition to the National Geographic Theater at the Hearst Castle Visitor Center showing "Hearst Castle, Building the Dream," the companion film to castle tours. The Carlton Hotel staff will be pleased to make your Hearst Castle tour reservations.

Pismo Beach

Distance: 23 Miles From The Hotel
Pismo Beach

This classic beach town is just a short drive from the hotel, right off of the Pacific Coast and 101 highways.  Enjoy fun in the sun activities such as kayaaking, surfing, boogie boarding and horseback riding.  Or, savor some salt water taffy and soft serve ice cream cones while you stroll down the 1200 foot pier.  A fun filled day is just a short drive away!

Carrizo Plain National Monument

Distance: 40 Scenic Miles From The Hotel
Carrizo Plains

Spectacular panoramic landscapes, a diversity of wildlife comparable to Africa’s Serengeti, the highest concentration of threatened and endangered wildlife in California—these are the irreplaceable assets of the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

The Carrizo Plain stretches for 250,000 acres along the base of the Temblor Mountains, 60 miles east of San Luis Obispo. Its vast grasslands, as well as woodland habitats and vernal pools, sustain 15 of California’s threatened and endangered plants and animals.

Here may rest the future of such species as the California jewelflower, San Joaquin kit fox, mountain plover, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, pronghorn antelope and giant kangaroo rat.

The Carrizo Plain is also the largest protected habitat along the Pacific Flyway, making it a birder's paradise in winter. In spring, Carrizo’s rolling grasslands thrill wildflower enthusiasts with a breathtaking assortment of blooms.

Self Guided Tour:

Click Here

Getting There:

Take US Highway 101 to Santa Margarita (located halfway between Atascadero and San Luis Obispo).  From Santa Margarita take State Highway 58 east about 40 miles, turn right (south) on Soda Lake Road toward California Valley and the Carrizo Plain National Monument.  In 7.6 miles you will arrive at the boundary of the Carrizo Plain National Monument.  As you travel south on Soda Lake Road be sure to pull off at overlook hill and the Soda Lake boardwalk.  Seven miles from the boundary, a dirt road heads west (right) 1/2 mile to the Goodwin Education Center.


Atascadero Charles Paddock Zoo

Distance: 1.3 miles From The Hotel
Exterior view of The Carlton Hotel in Atascadero

The only Central Coast zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, this five-acre zoo is home to over 200 animals, including red pandas, Malayan tigers, lemurs and meerkats, as well as a range of other exotic mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. A gift shop and refreshments are also available. 

Morro Bay

Distance: 13 miles From The Hotel
Exterior view of The Carlton Hotel in Atascadero

Located directly on scenic coastal Highway 1, this charming, beautiful seaside town is perfect for kayaking, biking, fishing, beachcombing, antiquing and savoring the just-off-the-boat catches of local fishermen and oystermen.   

The Carlton Hotel

Exterior view of The Carlton Hotel in Atascadero

6005 El Camino Real,
CA 93422