Music and Camping in Paso Robles, and Central California Coast’s Best Kept Secret….
Hi guys! Welcome to my first travel post! Yay!! I have some really exciting changes coming in my life that will enable me to travel a lot more, so I definitely wanted to create a space here on the blog where I can share my adventures, travel tips, photos, and of course, all of the great vegan and gluten free food I find! First up, just a short adventure to California’s wine country for some great music and some (much needed) relaxing in the super cute little town of Avila Beach. Never heard of it? Most people haven’t….
Last week, my family (husband, Dave, my sons, Christian (13) and Teddy (6), and two dogs, Abbey and Marley) and I, set out on a quick trip up to Paso Robles. We have traveled up and down the CA coast for years, but have never spent much time in Paso Robles, and we’ve never camped there. This time, it was actually our destination for 2 nights. One of our favorite bands, Blackberry Smoke (think modern day Lynyrd Skynyrd type band – a nice mix of country and rock), was playing at Vina Robles Amphitheater with another band, Govt. Mule. We love going to see live music and have been to A LOT of concerts, and I have to say that Vina Robles is one of the coolest places to see a show that we’ve ever been too! It’s super mellow, small, and for this show, it was general admission! We could literally walk right up to the stage, and when we went to our seats, they were really close too. It’s small, so every seat there is great and has a great view. They pour local wines at the venue. (Vina Robles Red wine is vegan).
We travel in our truck and pull a 5th wheel trailer, so we camp. We stayed the first two nights of this trip at Wine Country RV park in Paso Robles, which was awesome because it was about 1/2 a mile from the concert! We pulled in on Saturday night and the place was hoppin’! We highly recommend this RV park. It was super clean. They have a pool, and spas, great doggie areas, a playground, and because we pulled in on a Saturday evening, they had a band playing in an outdoor area, and a little wine garden with fire pits. The band and the wine garden were promptly shut down after dark, and the place was nice and quiet. If you don’t camp, but want to stay in the area, they also have some beautifully built cabins there. There is a large water park across the road that looked really fun, but because school is already back in, they are only open on the weekend, and we didn’t make it on this short trip. There’s so much to do in Paso Robles, so I definitely look forward to going back and walking around their historic downtown area and visiting some of the many wineries in the area. I am also looking forward to staying at this park again!
After a day of swimming and relaxing, and a GREAT night of music, we were off the next day for the next leg of our quick trip. We both really wanted to go to Sycamore Mineral Resort, but didn’t know where to stay. Years ago, this was one of our favorite spots on the coast, but the campground we used to stay at is no longer. After a little research, Dave found an RV campground further up the road, in the town of Avila Beach, and right next to the ocean. They only have 19 full hook-up spots, so we weren’t expecting to get one because it was the week before Labor Day weekend, and it’s on a first come basis. There are a few more spots that have no hook-ups too. We were able to get a spot (with hook-ups – score!) and we chose a spot on the upper terrace, that had an amazing view, and a nice place for the kids to ride around on their bikes. When we first arrived there was only one other motor home, and the next day people began to arrive for the upcoming holiday weekend. Click Here to learn more about this campground.
View from the campground…
Avila Beach is a super cute, little beach town that is tucked away on a hillside, down a canyon, off of Highway 101, just north of Pismo Beach. When you are there, you feel like you are in a Mediterranean resort town. Time seems to stop here, and even the locals go at a more laid back pace. Before the kids, we spent many anniversaries camping near Avila Beach, and visiting Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort, a place that can be summed up in one word…. magical! Sycamore Mineral Resort is just one of many upscale resorts and hotels in and around Avila Beach, but what makes it truly special is their hot tubs. Sycamore has 23 hot tubs on private decks that are built into a hillside, in a grove of sycamore trees. The heated mineral water in these tubs comes from a 100 acre underground spring, and is pumped into these jetted tubs. Each deck is surround by a latticed fence and trees, so it is completely private. The tubs are rented by the hour, and a soak in these healing waters will make your whole trip! Click Here to read about the benefits of soaking in mineral water. Besides being super relaxing, mineral water is really good for your body! Because the tubs are filled with natural mineral water, be sure to remove your jewelry to prevent any discoloring. I forgot to take my toe rings off, and they looked tarnished when I got out, but they cleaned up easily with an old toothbrush and some toothpaste! An easy jewelry cleaning life-hack – you’re welcome! 😉
After we checked into our campground, I immediately called over to Sycamore and booked a massage and hot tub for later that day! I had a wonderful massage, which comes with a soak in one of the private tubs for a 1/2 hour beforehand. I just went with a standard Swedish massage, although they do have a full spa menu of you are looking for more. After my massage, I met Dave and the kids for an hour soak in one of their lovely tubs at sunset. Kids are allowed if they are older than 5. I was concerned that the water would be too warm for the little guy, but it was fine for him, and we had a great time. It was really fun to bring the kids to a place that we love so much!
We spent the next day and 1/2 on the warm, sunny beaches, swimming in the ocean, playing with the dogs, and poking around tide pools. I haven’t been in the ocean in a while, and it felt sooo good! This is a harbor, so the waves are minimal, which makes it perfect for paddle boarding, kayaking, and swimming without getting bombarded by waves.
We also walked around the town of Avila Beach, and visited some of the shops.
It was unusually warm when we were there, so we ate lunch at Krava Bowl.
We were pleasantly surprised at how beautiful, delicious, and filling these bowls were! They are acai berry based, and the ones we had were loaded with strawberries, blueberries, peanut butter, almond milk, and topped with fruit, almonds, and coconut. They were cold and decadent, and I have to admit that since we’ve been home, I’ve been making my version of them every day for breakfast!
We loved sitting outside in this idyllic little town, eating these amazing treats with our boys. (The boys had strawberry, peanut butter, and banana smoothies.)
No trip to Avila Beach is complete without a journey down to the pier to see the California Sea Lions. They are hilarious, and we enjoyed watching them jockey for sunning spots on a floating dock. They also get up on the concrete supports under the pier, and lay there. You can see them swimming all around the many boats that are docked in the harbor, and at night we could hear them, still talking loudly amongst themselves in the distance.
Other notable sites in the area include the Avila Beach Aquarium, a nice playground in town, and the Port San Luis Lighthouse, a gorgeous circa 1880’s house that is only accessible by hiking or by trolley on tour days. Make a reservation online through their site to visit on a Wednesday or Saturday. I will definitely be taking another trip (at least for the day!) soon for a tour of the lighthouse, and of course, a hot tub, so I will post pics when I go there! Another awesome thing we learned about while we were there, is that they actually have some really great concerts in Avila Beach! There is a beautiful golf course and hotel at the Avila Beach Resort, where they have a concerts. We had a family commitment that we had to be home for, but wished we could have stayed for Labor Day weekend and to see the Tedeschi Trucks Band! ZZ Top, Willie Nelson and Michael Franti are going to be there in the next few weeks, and the list of awesome bands performing there just goes on. They have outdoor movies too. Who knew?! Our neighbor in the campground told us that it’s a really cool scene – a bring your blanket or chairs type of situation (see website), and if you are staying at the hotel, there is a little trail to the concert area. If you are staying at the RV park, you’d probably want to drive there, but it’s very close.
I will be adding to this post, or making another installment when we return, which will hopefully be soon! I hope you enjoyed this page, and I hope that you will follow along with my blog, for more adventure posts, and lots of great recipes too! Thanks for hanging out!