Named Wine Enthusiast’s 2013 Wine Region of the year, and anchored by a burgeoning artisan wine scene with more than 200 wineries populating the rolling hillsides and hidden valleys, North San Luis Obispo County is far from a one-trick pony.
Golden hills and the oak trees that populate them greet you along Highway 101 north of San Luis Obispo. First, there’s Santa Margarita, tucked in just north of the Cuesta Grade, offering beer and wine tasting, zip lining and an eponymous lake just down the road.
To the north is Atascadero, boasting a budding shopping core and expanding menu of dining, a state-of-the-art multiscreen cinema, Atascadero Lake and its surrounding park, and more than 100 animals at the county’s only zoo.
Templeton features one of the county’s largest farmers markets, a rustic downtown and agricultural land loaded with grain, almond, cherry and apple farms and more of the North County’s signature vineyards and wineries.
Then there’s Paso Robles, home to a robust wine region, a thriving downtown and the California Mid-State Fair, an annual summer extravaganza that celebrates the county’s ranching history and winemaking present while drawing a diverse slate of A-list music acts and entertainers. And for a day on the water, don’t miss nearby Nacimiento Lake.
And don’t forget San Miguel, at the county’s northern edge, anchored by the late 1700s Mission San Miguel and featuring many cattle ranches and numerous wineries.