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Stops on the Way

Grapes of Robles

Stop in Paso Robles for a fantastic dive into California’s laidback wine and food scene.

Driving east from Hwy. 1 along California’s Central Coast, you’ll pass gorgeous rolling hills before you get a hint of what’s to come in the charming town of Paso Robles: green vines racing up and down the hillsides. You’ll discover more than 200 wineries and vineyards here, plus a friendly, laid-back town just 25 minutes from the beach. Locals will tell you it’s a community made up of cowboys and surfers, so the wine is taken seriously but the vibe is laidback.

Dine in the Vines in Paso Robles
Dine in the VinesTravel Paso 

Which means Paso Robles is the place to be whether you’re a wine aficionado or a casual traveler wanting to discover the best of authentic California. In addition to wine tasting, the wineries in the Paso Robles area offer so many varied experiences, including those that are family-friendly. At Castoro Cellars, a certified organic winery, check in at the Whale Rock Disc Golf Course for an 18-hole course that’s designed for novice and expert disc throwers alike. At Ancient Peaks Winery, opt for the “Zip ‘n Sip” VIP tour package where you’ll go on a zipline tour featuring six lines that soar over the Margarita Vineyard. Afterwards, a personal wine educator will give you a guided wine tasting.

Take a horseback trail ride at Cass Winery in Paso Robles, Calif.
Take a horseback trail ride at Cass Winery in Paso Robles, Calif. (Photo: Central Coast Trailrides & Cass Winery courtesy Travel Paso)

You can even explore the vineyards on horseback. Head to CASS Winery for a 1-1.5-hour trail ride through dry sandy washes and vineyard-laced hill tops. There’s even an evening ride option. If you’re looking for a motorized adventure, sign up for a Jeep tour at Halter Ranch, Steinbeck Vineyards or Villa San-Juliette. Or experience Paso Robles’ historic roots when you stop by Tobin James Cellars and sip wine at the winery’s 1860s Brunswick mahogany bar in what was once a stagecoach stop.


Iron Oaks Winery in Paso Robles, California
Iron Oaks WineryTravel Paso

Swing by Tin City, a walkable warehouse district three miles south of downtown made up of modern, metal buildings housing BarrelHouse Brewery, Tin City Cider, Wine Shine Distillery and and more than 20 different winery tasting rooms. You’ll find lawn games and food trucks serving up Paso Robles-style cowboy barbecue and wood-fired flatbreads. The Farmers Market on Tuesday and Saturday mornings for artisanal cheese, seasonal produce and more. The Paso Robles Distillery Trail includes more than 14 craft distilleries.

Paso Market Walk in Paso Robles, Calif.
Paso Market Walk (Photo: The Mercantile by Haley & Co. at Paso Market Walk courtesy of Travel Paso)

The Paso Market Walk is also worth your time. It’s a mixed-use development that features a number of locally owned businesses, including Finca, a Northern Mexican restaurant that serves traditional and regionally inspired cuisine. The Vreamery Vegan Cheese Shop and Melt Bar is the country’s third vegan cheese shop, and Momotaro Ramen serves up fresh Japanese noodle dishes. At Joebella Coffee Roasters, you’ll run into just about everyone who works in the wine industry before they head to work in the morning. The Lofts at The Market is here, too, offering six private luxury suites.

Light at Sensorio in Paso Robles, Calif.
Lights at Sensorio (Photo: Sensorio courtesy Travel Paso)

In the evening, visit Light at Sensorio where nearly 60,000 stemmed-glass spheres light up 15 rolling acres. Created by British artist Bruce Munro, the spheres are lit by fiber optic solar-powered cables. Afterwards, sleep in one of Paso Robles many elegant vineyard-based hotels like Allegretto Vineyard Resort, boutique hotels like The Piccolo in the heart of downtown or the more casual Stables Inn, a 19-room boutique motel three blocks from the historic downtown park.

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