San Luis Obispo Parks

The San Luis Obispo parks system is one of the finest in the country and has been attracting nature enthusiasts to the area for decades.

The cool temps coupled with green rolling hills and mountains that dive into the Pacific Ocean make the area a playground for those of us who appreciate natural beauty. This is represented most effectively by how much of the area has been dedicated to parks for recreation as well as for preservation.

Let’s take a peek at some of the more popular parks in SLO County and all they have to offer.


Estero Bluffs State Park

This park’s main function is to preserve the rich and varied ecosystem. The park features no restrooms, drinking water, or camping facilities. There are a couple parking areas and trails that reach from the highway to the coastal bluffs, offering ample opportunities for photography and nature watching. The park is smallish at 2.5 miles long and less than a half mile wide, yet boasts wetlands, seasonal creeks, sand dunes, rocky outcroppings, and grasslands with many native wildflowers.

This is a great place to spend a few hours convening with nature and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery with loved ones, or with nobody at all! More info and directions HERE

Harmony Headlands State Park​

Has been a California State Park since 2008 and remains mostly undeveloped and consists of basically just a parking lot with one portable toilet, and the main trail that leads to the coastline and past a historic ranch house. The trail is an old roadbed that meanders through coastal hills that come alive in springtime with wildflowers. Once at the shoreline, hikers are rewarded with unbridled views of the ocean and hillsides for miles on end.

More info and directions HERE

Morro Bay Harbor​

Morro Bay is created by a 5-mile-long sand spit that ends at a breakwater inlet just next to the ever-present Morro Rock. The bay is at the center of a wide crescent-shaped cove that stretches from Harmony Headlands in the north and Montana de Oro in the south. This beautiful bay is a great place for an epic adventure of exploration or just a quick paddle to tour the giant rock.

There is free parking around the area and a great put-in spot at Coleman Park. The dockside area is dotted with various restaurants and shops, including rental shops for kayaks and stand-up boards. Once on the water, you can travel up the beach or down and experience a variety of sights and sea life.

More info and directions HERE

Montana de Oro State Park​​

The “Mountain of Gold” is a State Park along the coast of San Luis Obispo County and the name refers to the wildflower blooms on the mountain each springtime. The park spans 8,000 acres with 7 miles of shoreline and features sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons, and hills including Valencia Peak which tops out at 1,347 feet.

The park features many miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, along with a primitive campsite located across from Spooner’s Cove. The views on some of the higher trails can span many miles towards the city of San Luis Obispo and along the coast. There are several parking lots within park boundaries and basic amenities and services can be found at the campground across from Spooner’s Cove.

Spooner’s Cove​

Is one of the most popular areas in the stunning Montana de Oro State Park. Located in the southwest region of the park near the Islay Creek Campground, this beautifully sheltered cove is a favorite for all ages to relax and dip their toes in the mighty Pacific. A few rocky points are strewn about which provide easy climbing and exploring opportunities, but most people show up for the sandy beach and the ocean breeze in their hair.

The visitors center at Spooner’s Cove offers a tiny general store and bathrooms, and the area comes equipped with a few picnic tables. Any other needed amenities should be self-provided.

More info and directions HERE

Atascadero Lake Park​

9305 Pismo Ave., Atascadero
805-470-3360 or HERE

This park has a lot going for it. Not only does it have a great playground, but it has its own lake and a zoo! The playground equipment was recently updated and includes a climbing tower with two long tube slides, a net balancing bridge and net tower, and a jumbo-sized swing set! Your little ones will have a blast at this park with all the diverse activities. The park also provides BBQ areas, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball court, and restrooms.

Cayucos State Beach​

Ocean Front Avenue, Cayucos
805-781-5930 or HERE

While the beach provides a style of fun found nowhere else, we included this beach because it has a playground built right on the sand! The play structure was added in 2013 which includes an unusually long slide into the sand. It’s got a swing set and a couple of sea creatures to ride but that’s about it, which is fine since splashing in the ocean is about 100 feet away!

Chumask Park​

Mankins Ranch Road, Pismo Beach
805-773-7039 or HERE

What’s better than one play area? Two play areas of course! Chumash Park doubles your kiddos pleasure with a smaller play set for little ones, and a jumbo-sized set that goes vertical and has a couple long slides. Other amenities include a nature trail weaving its way through a wooded area, basketball court, picnic tables, and restrooms.

Del Mar Park​

Access via Island and San Jacinto streets, Morro Bay
805-772-6278 or HERE

This park has a three-story climbing tower with a tunnel slide from the very top! If that slide is simply too much for your little adventurer there is another stand-alone twisty slide, a big swing set, and a rope pyramid. Other attractions at this very scenic park are a basketball court, amphitheater, pickleball courts, children’s play area, horseshoe pits, and two great barbecue and picnic areas along with a large meadow area perfect for volleyball, soccer, and Frisbee game

Downtown City Park​

Spring and 12th streets, Paso Robles
805-237-3991 or HERE

This park is right in the middle of downtown Paso Robles which has its benefits for before and after playtime, whether it be sightseeing or refreshments. Once in the park, you’ll see that the equipment is relatively new and well-constructed, featuring a merry-go-round, 4-kiddo seesaw, and a play tower with a slide. Another nice touch is that almost the entire play area is shaded!

Nipomo Community Park​

255 Pomeroy Road, Nipomo
805-781-5930 or HERE

This park playground is kid-approved for one big reason – the zip line! Such a unique feature allows two kids to fly through the air at once, and you can be sure they will do it at least 5 times in a row. This is also one of the few play areas that have them to it – everything in the little kids area look like logs in a forest and there is also a bigger barn-themed play area with several climbing structures. This is a big park offering lots to those over 8 years old as well – four baseball diamonds, tennis courts, sand volleyball, and an off-leash area for dogs.

Sinsheimer Park​

900 Southwood Drive, San Luis Obispo
805-781-7222 or HERE

This park takes fun very seriously, as displayed by the huge main play structure that is three stories tall and features three tunnel slides. Under the play tower, there is a turf-covered slide area where kids can use cardboard or plastic to scoot their way down the gentle grade. To top it off, they also have a zip line! Amenities for the grown-ups include BBQ area, baseball stadium, disc golf course, swimming pool, tennis courts, and sand volleyball court.

As you can see, the greater San Luis Obispo area has a lot to offer children of the area. Refer to this guide for information and links to check on hours and closures for each park, and have a great time!

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