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Paso Robles sits midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, but you won’t see hints of either city’s culture in this mid-sized city. Set against a backdrop of vineyards, olive orchards, farms and ranches, Paso Robles has a vibe that is one-of-a-kind.

paso roblesSource: Jim G. / Flickr

This San Luis Obispo County gem is located about 30 miles from Morro Bay. Rich in history, warm and vibrant, it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with Paso Robles. Not only is it located in the backyard of a wine and agricultural paradise, but it’s less than an hour away from the coast. And even though it embodies a small town vibe, there’s a lot going on here.

See the best beaches near Paso Robles.

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Olivas de Oro is a premium producer of award-winning organic olive oils. They have an on-site tasting room that’s open from Friday-Monday, and to reach it you’ll drive through a beautiful century-old orchard. You can try extra virgin and flavored oils, vinegars and other specialty farm products. And if you can’t bring yourself to leave, they offer overnight stays in their private guest house.

Paso Robles is a shopper’s paradise. Upscale clothing boutiques, artisan shops, wine markets and antiques are just a few of the things you’ll find downtown. The dining scene is also excellent, with a variety of chefs working to create creative and delicious dishes. Since there are so many farms and ranches in the area, the restaurants here are known for using fresh, local ingredients.

paso roblesSource: SD Dirk

The biggest allure of Paso Robles is the abundance of wineries. Paso Robles Wine Tasting maps are available, and several local companies offer wine tours. Even if you’re not a huge fan of vino, the tours are worth taking to learn about the history of the industry.

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Don’t leave this charming place without soaking in a mineral hot spring. The River Oaks Hot Springs Spa is a rejuvenating gathering place with springs full of natural restorative properties. Spend a day or two lounging here and you’ll be ready to return to the real world feeling refreshed.

See all the hot springs near Paso Robles.

You may also like visiting Santa Ynez, about an hour-and-a-half south.