Top 5 Places to Deck the Halls This Holiday Season

We love the winter holidays, that's why stores start stocking the shelves with decorations as soon as the trick or treaters are in for the night. Let visions of sugarplums dance in your head while exploring San Luis Obispo county this holiday season, with a visit to some of the area's most Decked Out locations!

#1 Holiday Harmony & Pismo Beach Pier Tree Lighting

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The newly opened and updated Pismo Beach Pier is dressed up for the holidays! December 7th, from 5:30-7:30pm, dance in the snow, decorate cookies, and watch the annual Lighting of the Tree. Even Santa is stopping by for this event, what a way to kick off the holidays!

Photo and details found here

#2 Point San Luis Lighthouse

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The Lighthouse operated from 1890 until 1974, when the Coast Guard vacated the property. It lies around the corner of Port San Luis on private property. It can be seen by boat, or docent led tours. Each holiday season, The Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers decorate the Lighthouse, so while touring, not only do you learn the history, get a glimpse into the life of a lighthouse keeper, but you also get to see her in all her radiant glory!

Tickets available here

#3 Christmas at Hearst Castle

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Take a step back in time, and imagine yourself as a guest of William Randolph Hearst. While "The Ranch", as he called it is always spectacular, it is even more so in the month of December, bathed in the glow of thousands of holiday lights! Soak in the art, the decadence, the details, as well as hearing insider stories of past holiday festivities.

Tickets available here

#4 Apple Farm

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Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo is made for the holidays! With events throughout the month and their 25 Days of Christmas, there is something for everyone. Sit down to Dinner with Santa, listen to the sounds of the season each weekend with holiday singers strolling the grounds, indulge in a chocolate and champagne tasting while shopping on Diva Night, and so much more. Don't be a scrooge, check out their holiday calendar for all the fun activities, and if you find yourself under the mistletoe on December 10th, you might even win dinner for 2!

Details here

#5 Christmas Suite at The Cliffs Hotel + Spa

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For total immersion into the holidays, reserve a night in The Cliffs' Christmas Suite. Artfully decorated for the season, this room will give you all the warm fuzzies of a Christmas Hot Toddy! Not only will you get to snuggle in cozy red bedding, and awake to the smells of cinnamon and pine from your own tree, but each reservation will also receive a special gift! During your stay, sample holiday cookies at check-in and specialty themed cocktails throughout the month.

Five Best Places For Fall Adventures & Thanksgiving Celebrations

1. Harvest on the Coast

One of the Central Coast’s best wine galas is “Harvest on the Coast,” held November 3-November 5 in Avila Beach. Friday kicks off with a collaborative winemaker dinner. On Saturday is the Grand Tasting and Wine Auction, featuring wine tasting, artisan foods, and live music. On Sunday enjoy free wine tasting with your Grand Tasting Ticket. Grab your wine glass and wristband and cruise out to your favorite SLO Wine Country tasting rooms, and relish free tastings, and more.

And every guest that stays in an Avila Beach hotel or vacation rental will receive tickets to the “Avila Beach Experience.” Get exclusive access to the VIP lounge where you'll enjoy reserve & library wines, large format bottle pouring, food and wine pairings by Chef Tommy Noel of the Gardens of Avila Restaurant and have a chance to rub elbows with the winemakers & vintners of SLO Wine Country.

2. Avila Valley Barn

The Avila Barn captures the very essence of fall on the Central Coast. Shop for a huge selections of fresh fruits and vegetables, and homemade pies and gourmet sweets. At the Barn, take in an authentic tractor ride and hang out with the beautiful farm animals. It is the perfect family excursion. Located on the Road to Avila Beach.

3. Montana de Oro State Park


During the fall, Montana de Oro State Park provides a true escape into the stunning beauty of this incredible landscape. “The park features rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons and hills…There are numerous hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails. And the park is only a short drive from downtown San Luis Obispo or Pismo Beach.

 4. Thanksgiving Dinners at Local Restaurants

Check out the Boutique Hotel Collection for fabulous Thanksgiving festivities, including the Cliffs Resort, Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort, Apple Farm Wine Country Inn, and SeaVenture Beach Hotel. At each property you’ll find a wonderful, and yet totally unique, Thanksgiving Day menus. And don’t forget the famous Apple Farm’s bakery—shop and serve and devour pumpkin pies, specialty pastries, fabulous cakes, and other sweet selections.

5. Local Holiday Entertainment

Fall is also one of the best seasons for entertainment and cultural events. Check out the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly State University. During November, there are a wide selection of outstanding performances, including the sensual Tango Bueno Aires, the Champions of Magic, an evening with Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, and much more. However, if something a bit more whimsical is your cup of tea, head straight to the Great American Melodrama in Oceano. These vaudevillian performances overflow with songs, dances, and comedic routines. Running through November 12, is the “Phantom of the Melodrama,” and from November 15 to December 31, is the zany “Holiday Extravaganza.”



Top 5 Places to Take Your Holiday Photos in SLO County

Whether it's on Instagram, Facebook, or a real live holiday card, a fantastic backdrop can make a good photo GREAT! With no lack of amazing scenery in San Luis Obispo county, here are a few you may not know about, but that will make your holiday photos unforgettable!

1. Fiscallini Ranch Preserve


Just up Highway 1, in Cambria, is Fiscallini Ranch Preserve. Free to the public and open daily from dawn to dusk, this property offers over a mile of ocean view bluffs with a meandering boardwalk, amazing vistas and a variety of cool benches, perfect for that family photo! Pack a picnic, as it is a great place for a walk, to explore nature or just get away as well.

2.Edna Valley Vineyard ~ 


I remember years ago when this tasting room was first built, being blown away by the view. Just past the airport in San Luis Obispo, you turn the corner and enter the vineyard. However, it is not until you step into the tasting room that you fully appreciate the fantastic landscape and you feel as if you are sitting in the middle of the vines. Stop in to taste some wine and snap a pic or two in front of this framed masterpiece. Truly magical!

3. Point San Luis Lighthouse ~

Not only is a coup to find a place that others haven't photographed, but to find a historic spot that not many people even know about is pretty cool! With fabulous vistas of Avila Beach, Port San Luis, and Harford Pier, the Lighthouse is accessible only by guided tour on Wednesdays & Saturdays (reservations are required). Along with expansive ocean views, you also have a chance to tour the lighthouse and learn its history.

4. Serenity Swing ~

Located just on the fringe of the Cal Poly campus is the trail-head to Poly Canyon. This 4 mile round trip hike can be a little strenuous, so be prepared, but what greets you at the top is incredible! Perch yourself (or your kiddos) on the swing and celebrate the fantastic views of San Luis Obispo as far as the eye can see. Pump your legs a little and relive your carefree childhood!

5. Backyard of The Cliffs ~ 

Of course, I would be remiss not to mention our own "backyard". Easy to get to if you are a guest, or stop in for a refreshing libation on our patio and stay for the view! Snap a pic from your table, gather on the lawn, with its panoramic views of the Pacific, or find our Selfie Spot. No Photoshop necessary, we are fortunate to have this amazing blue backdrop 24/7, fabulous during the day and stellar at sunset, please come and enjoy.
Hint ~ find the beach stairs, great ocean view photo op right at the top!