Paso Robles is a great place to spend a long weekend! There's a ton to do and here are a couple of our suggestions.
If you're downtown, there are tasting rooms all around and the area is very walkable. If you're on CA-46, you are either nearly to a winery or you just passed one. Here is a map:
We love wine tasting and Paso Robles is a great place to do it! It's much friendlier and less crowded than Napa or Sonoma, but it still has a great climate for grapes. The area is best known for its reds and recently, it seems like the wineries there are really into blends, which is great if you care less about things like the "provenance of the grape" and more about great tasting wine!
If you're a wine tasting rookie, here are a few tips:
1) Safety first--please consider designating a driver. You won't even notice it, but those little tastes really add up. If you're feeling fancy and want to hire a car to take you around, we can give you the name of a great local company. They also have a less-costly service where they'll provide a driver to drive your car for you.
2) If nobody wants to be the designated driver (or if you'd just prefer to not be crawling home later that afternoon) a little-advertised option is to ask to split a single tasting with your spouse or friend. We do this a lot and the driver gets a little sip and the passenger gets a big sip. Nobody misses out on the fun. Nobody is dizzy by the third winery.
3) Finding wineries is really about finding your way to CA-46. This is the Paso Robles "wine trail." The general rule is that wineries to the east are bigger, more well-known, and probably a bit more crowded. Head west on the 46 to find smaller, family-owned wineries. Virtually any winery or hotel in the vicinity will offer you a free magazine that contains a map of the wine trail with the various wineries marked.
4) If you want to go tasting in a large group of more than about 3-4 people, consider calling ahead and seeing if you'll need a group reservation. If you forget to do that, you'll have the best luck at the bigger wineries, which are better-equipped to deal with crowds.
5) Almost every tasting room will have a couple of flights you can choose from and they'll range in price from free to $15 with the higher-end choices coming with things like cheese or chocolate parings. Some places will try to tell you that the wine glass is "included" but you can usually politely insist that you don't want to take it home in your suitcase and they'll knock a couple of bucks off the price.
6) Speaking of the price of tastings, you'll learn quickly that almost every winery will comp your tasting if you buy a bottle. If you're planning to take some wine back with you on a plane, you'll obviously have to check it. You'll find that many wineries will sell you a seal-able cushioned cover for the bottle. These covers have brand names like "Wine Diapers" and the secret tip is that they're way cheaper on Amazon.
800 Clubhouse Drive
Paso Robles, CA 93446
You know you want to soak in water that "emerges from the earth at 117 degrees, rich with healing, restorative minerals." Don't deny it.
The link here is to River Oaks Hot Springs, where you can soak in this famous water in an indoor or outdoor tub.
There are some other options around too, including Franklin Hot Springs, which is a little more "back to nature." But it only costs $6 and people say the mud on the bottom is good for your skin. There is also a paintball field there, which some people may prefer to smearing mud on their faces.
6630 N. Star Lane
Paso Robles, CA 93446
This is a really cute organic lavender farm. I once met the lady who runs it and she is really REALLY into lavender. She will tell you all about how it can do pretty much everything from easing hangovers and curing indigestion to promoting world peace. Plus it smells great.
The wedding is right in the middle of bloom time so the fields will be bursting with purple and a visit to the farm would be kind of lovely. On Fridays and Saturdays in June, they do U-Pick and you can collect your own lavender to take home. But if you are like Cliff and, when somebody suggests apple-picking, you respond that "paying to work as a farmer is not appealing" to you, then you should still visit their farmstand and pick up a sachet, some essential oils or (if you're lucky) some of their lavender honey.
Pismo State Beach
Cayucos State Beach
While Paso Robles is inland, there are several beaches about 40 minute away. I've only listed a few options, but you can check out the state park website which lists some other beach options on the San Luis Obispo coast. Pictured here is Morro Bay at sunset.
Just walk around downtown!
1130 Pine Street
Paso Robles, CA 93446
There are lots of small art galleries around downtown Paso Robles. Studios on the Park will definitely have at least one exhibition and is a good starting place. From there, you'll find other places all around the very-walkable downtown. Pictured here is the Firefly Gallery on Park Street, which has an art gallery upstairs and a "craft gallery" downstairs.
750 Hearst Castle Road
San Simeon, CA 93452
Hearst Castle is located about an hour from Paso Robles and it is quite a thing to see. There are a couple of tours you can choose from to view different parts of the house. Their web site will fill you in on the lengths of each tour and how many steps you will need to climb, etc. The Grand Rooms tour is a pretty awesome first look.
You should allow yourself about half a day to visit because in addition to the drive, you have to park and take a shuttle up the hill (through Hearst's personal zoo) to get to the house. And afterward, you might want to check out the gardens, which are probably going to be beautiful in June.
Reservations are a good idea. I've heard the tours fill up in the summertime.