Located along California’s Central Coast, San Luis Obispo County is midway (approximately 200 miles/320 kilometers) between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is accessible north-to-south by U.S. Highway 101 and scenic Highway 1. Routes from the east include State Highways 41, 46, 58 and 166. San Luis Obispo County is bordered by Santa Barbara County to the south, Monterey County to the north and Kern County to the east.
San Luis Obispo County is one of the original 27 California counties created by Act of the State Legislature on February 18, 1850. The county’s name comes from the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, which was established by Padre Junipero Serra in 1772. The mission was named for Saint Louis, the Bishop of Toulouse (France).
Based on a January 1, 2008 estimates, the population of San Luis Obispo County is 269,337, and the following city populations are:
- Arroyo Grande
- Grover Beach
- Morro Bay
- Paso Robles
- Pismo Beach
- San Luis Obispo
- Unincorporated Area
Source: California Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit, www.dof.ca.gov/research/research.php
San Luis Obispo County has a pleasant, Mediterranean climate year-round, averaging 315 days of sunshine per year.
- 64°F/31°F (18°C/-0.6°C) Cool & Sunny
- 75°F/44°F (24°C/7°C) Breezy & Cool
- 94°F/54°F (34°C/12°) Warm Coastal Mornings/Sunny
- 77°F/43°F (25°C/6°C) Warm Days & Cool Nights
- 16th largest county in California
- 3,316 square miles
- 2,114,750 acres
- 80 miles of coastline
- Highest Point: Caliente Mountain (5,104 feet)
- Lowest Point: Sea levelThe “Nine Sisters” are a series of ancient volcanic peaks, which lie between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. Most notable of the peaks is Morro Rock, sometimes called the “Gibraltar of the Pacific.”
(Top ten crops, by value, 2007)
- Wine grapes $141.7 million
- Broccoli $78.0 million
- Strawberries $55.5 million
- Cattle & Calves $55.3 million
- Vegetable Transplants $34.7 million
- Head Lettuce $31.9 million
- Cut Flowers $28.6 million
- Indoor Decoratives $24.3 million
- Carrots $22.5 million
- Cauliflower $17.4 million
Source: San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture, www.slocounty.ca.gov/agcomm.htm.
San Luis Obispo County is easily accessible by land and air.
The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP) is served by commercial carriers – American Eagle, US Airways, Delta Connection (SkyWest), and United Express (SkyWest) – providing daily service to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Jose, and Salt Lake City. Several airline charters are available plus helicopter service.
Greyhound Bus Lines maintains a daily schedule to bus stations located in Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Paso Robles, and San Luis Obispo. City and/or countywide transit systems are available, plus charter bus services.
Amtrak offers daily service from the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner trains to depots in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and Grover Beach.
San Luis Obispo County has 9,408 lodging rooms and more than 1,500 RV spaces available for visitors. Accommodations include luxury hotels, spa resorts, moderately priced hotels and motels, quaint inns and historic bed-and-breakfasts. Several properties feature golf courses and tennis courts.
San Luis Obispo County offers an array of restaurants from coffee shops and gourmet dining establishments to brew pubs and popular franchise restaurants to satisfy any taste and appetite. Many restaurants offer menus featuring fresh seasonal produce, award-winning wines and craft beers from San Luis Obispo County, fresh “catch of the day” seafood, and locally produced meats, cheeses and olive oil.
San Luis Obispo County is a shopper’s dream. From the factory outlet center in Pismo Beach to San Luis Obispo’s downtown district to the charming shopping row in Cambria to boutiques and specialty shops in communities throughout the county, shoppers will discover more than enough unique gifts, antiques and handmade arts and crafts to fill a shopping bag.
- Hearst Castle
- Missions – Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and Mission San Miguel Arcangel (currently closed; gift shop is open)
- Beaches – Avila, Cayucos, Morro Strand, Oceano, Pismo, San Simeon
- Wineries – Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo (Edna Valley & Arroyo Grande) Wine Regions
- Scenic Highway 1
Did You Know?
- The world’s first motel – The Motel Inn – is located in San Luis Obispo.
- Morro Rock is a Peregrine Falcon Natural Preserve.
- The National Audubon Society routinely ranks Morro Bay among the top ten for number of species seen during the annual Christmas bird count.
- Oceano Dunes is the only California State Park where vehicles may be driven on the beach.
- In 1990, Jamba Juice (originally called the Juice Club) opened their very first store in San Luis Obispo
- Polar Star, a white rose grown by Eufloria Flowers in Nipomo, won Best-in-Show at the 2006 Society of American Florists convention.
- Monarch Dunes was named one of the ten “Best New Golf Courses in the Country” by Golf Magazine, “Best New Golf Course in California” by Fairways & Greens Magazine, and Golf Inc. Magazine named it the “Best Development of the Year of a Public Golf Course.”
- California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo, has been rated the best public master’s degree university in the West by U.S. News & World Report for 14 consecutive years (2006).
- Consisting of 9,678 acres, Cal Poly is the second largest land-holding university in California, second only to the University of California, Berkeley.
- Famous Cal Poly alumni include: Bobby Beathard, former general manager of the Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers; Peter King, Los Angeles Times columnist; Mike Krukow, former Major League Baseball pitcher and current San Francisco Giants broadcaster; John Madden, NBC Sports broadcaster and NFL Hall of Fame coach; Monty Roberts, Author of #1 Bestseller The Man Who Listens to Horses; Ozzie Smith, former St. Louis Cardinal shortstop and member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame; Frederick W. “Rick” Sturckow, NASA astronaut; Bill Swanson, President & CEO, Raytheon Company; and “Weird Al” Yankovic, Grammy Award-winning parodist and entertainer.
Brittany Garcia, Community & Member Relations Manager
San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau
(805) 781-2530, or Brittany@SanLuisObispoCounty.com.