San Luis Obispo to Santa Maria

Frank PetersModerate

Welcome to San Luis Obispo. Coming from the north? You’re probably due for a layover day. Or maybe you took the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego or Los Angeles. Maybe you’re on a tight schedule, but however you arrive, take your time on this segment. It’s worth it – you’re entering wine country.

The Central Coast

This route begins at the San Luis Obispo AMTRAK Station and takes you downtown before heading south. Linger in downtown SLO where the people-watching is excellent with the food and beverage to match. A favorite is the Granada Hotel and Bistro on Morro Street near Higuera. Consider holding court in their outdoor patio where you enjoy an excellent view of your bicycle as the world passes by.

Avila Beach

But time passes and it’s time to get moving. As you follow the route south look for the latest off-road trail updates as SLO is busily expanding its bicycle routes across town. The route has you passing by Avila Beach, but you can go where you want, right? Take the beautifully canopied Bob Jones Trail to visit this charming beachside town. After lunch or a round of golf at the Avila Beach Golf Resort, you’ll be back on the trail that follows Hwy 101 into Pismo Beach.

Pismo Beach

Spend the night here on the coast at the bicycle-friendly Dolphin Bay Resort, or press on to Santa Maria.

Southbound options

You have 2 options as you plan your next day’s ride. Continue directly to Santa Barbara on the Pacific Coast Bike Route, or head east to Los Olivos on a beautiful route into the Santa Ynez Valley. Credit card tourists will want to bunk in for the night in Santa Maria as the next services are 35 miles into tomorrow’s route.


Photo credits: Frank Peters