Road Trips

San Simeon, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo + Everything in Between

San Simeon, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo & Everything in Between

Here’s the Thing…

Can you tell that I am a big fan of Paso Robles and the California coast? Seriously, I can’t say enough how much I love this trip and how many great memories I have made along the way.

A few months ago, my mom and I bought tickets for the Hearst Castle Christmas Tour, and instead of staying in San Simeon (where Hearst Castle is), we decided to stay about 45 minutes away in Paso Robles and get some wine tasting in.

You really can’t go wrong with wine tasting and Christmas activities, so it was a great trip!

(Nearly every place I mention in this post can also be found here and here if you’d like more, in-depth information.)

Day 1: Thursday

Our trip started at about 2pm on Thursday afternoon. My mom and brother, Noah, and sister, Lukah, met at my house and Matt and I piled into the car, popped the new Taylor Swift CD in, and we were off.

There are many great things about my brother, but the current great thing about him is that he has his driver’s learnering permit! So a few hours in we were able to switch drivers and give my brother some practice. He is a slightly terrifying driver, but I am sure that he will get better over time! (I hope….)

At around dinner time, we rolled into Paso Robles and stopped at Rustic Fire for dinner. I got the most amaaaaazing caesar salad ever because it had a bunch of whole anchovies on it. So good.

Then it was time to check into our home for the next few days. My mom booked an Airbnb called Sunset Ranch and it was the cutest thing ever! This couple bought a new camping trailer and, to help pay it off, they rented it out for people to stay in!

They did such a great job with the whole set up. They actually rearranged their horse corral so the trailer was right in front of it for optimal horse viewing. Unfortunately, it was pitch black, so the horses would have to wait till morning.

Our hosts, Chris and Bille, were so friendly and accommodating. Inside our trailer, we were greeted with a full s’mores set up and a bonfire ready to be lit just outside. After we opened our annual matching Christmas pajamas, we headed out to roasted some marshmallows and chat around the fire.

I ended the night by taking a warm shower. Don’t you just love glamping?

Day 2: Friday

Around 8 am on Friday we were awoken by a breakfast delivery of croissants, spreads, bananas and granola bars. When I say these hosts were amazing, I am not exaggerating.

The horses had also just gotten fed so we all went outside to meet them. At this point, we were also able to see the amazing view: the rolling hills of the wine country just went on forever and the property’s horses speckled the foreground in front of us. It was breath-taking, to say the least.

After we had an obligatory photo shoot in our new matching pajamas with the horses, we got ready and prepared to take on the day!

Our first stop was to get some fresh deli sandwiches to eat for lunch at a winery. Can you tell my life revolves around food? Just had breakfast and already planning lunch. Hahah.

The first winey we visited was Chronic Cellars and we had a great experience thanks to our wine steward, Kelly, and the fun, quirky atmosphere. My mom loved it so much, she even signed up to be a member of their wine club right then and there!

Next, we headed to our favorite winery ever, Tobin James and ate our lunch. I could go on and on about how much I love Tobin, but I’ll just leave it at this: they had steak tasting going around while we wine tasted and an incredibly hilarious and Italian man was our wine steward. Enough said.

Earlier in the day, my mom had told me that only a few wineries were about the max you could do. That seemed like such a small amount to me! But after we left Tobin, I was so tired!

Instead of heading back to our trailer, we decided to go olive oil tasting at Mt. Olive Organic Farms. When we got there, I was immediately distracted by the two pens that were full of animals! Never mind that the alpaca bit me almost immediately; I love animals!

I figured he bit me because he was hungry, so I went inside to try and find some food for him. I was quickly distracted by all the free samples there were: olive oil, apple butter and tea galore!

After I filled up on more samples than necessary we asked the worker if there was any food to feed the animals. He said no, but that we were welcome to go inside the pen.

I ran over to the pig pen as quickly as my heels and dress would take me and plopped down on a stump to get as close to the pigs as possible. They didn’t like me much, but I liked them a whole lot. Our next stop was the llama and goat pen. And by llama and goat, I mean biting llama and ramming goat.

My siblings and I quickly evacuated the pen, only to find that we had (apparently) left the other pen’s gate open a little and all the pigs had gotten out. Whoops.

We left the premises rather quickly given the situation, but we were cracking up all the way to our next stop: Tin City.

Per a recommendation from Billie, we decided to try out Tin City, a cluster of breweries and wineries with the iconic tin roofing. Having been to Paso so many times, we were surprised that we had never heard of it before.

Our first stop was Tin City Cider. The set up reminded me of an aircraft hangar: it was a large, open room with high ceilings and, of course, made out of tin.

We took a seat at the bar while the kids played with one of the many board games they offered and settled on a cider sampler.

I loooooove cider; it is almost always my drink of choice. We had a great time tasting all the different flavors and eventually headed over to BarrelHouse Brewing where we got a sampler of beers.

I do not like beer at all; even if it is coffee or peppermint or some other yummy flavor. I just cannot do it. Luckily in the sampler, there was a cider, so I was happy. The five of us played an intense game of Uno over some endless pretzels until we decided we were starving for dinner.

We were pretty tired by this point in the day, so we quickly just decided on eating at a little Mexican restaurant.

Once we finally made our way back to Sunset Ranch, it was really cold, but we wanted to get some use out of the jacuzzi! So, we braved the cold in our bathing suits and we made the short hike over to the jacuzzi. I cannot wait to come back here in the summer. They have an upper deck with the jacuzzi and some chairs, and then a lower area with a swimming pool and slide, and it all overlooks their beautiful property. It would be so fun to hang out there during the warm summer months.

About an hour later, we turned in for the night and I ended the evening with a nice, warm shower. Seriously, love this trailer situation.

Day 3: Saturday

This was our last morning at Sunset Ranch. We packed up, said goodbye to the horses and headed to the city of Creston for the Creston Cowboy Christmas celebration.

I loved this so much! The town gathered together and they all pitched in to provide breakfast, baked goods, and coffee. Everyone was so friendly and it reminded me why I love small town living so much.

Chris and Billie had originally invited us, so we chatted with them for awhile before we said goodbye to go have lunch at the Madonna Inn.

The Madonna Inn is one of my favorite places in the world. So much so that I insisted we stopped there even though it was quite out of the way. But it was so worth it! I could explore this pink paradise all day!

The whole point of this trip was to go on the Hearst Castle Christmas Tour, but that wasn’t until about 6 pm, so we had a lot of time to kill. Since we had driven south to San Luis Obispo to stop at the Madonna Inn, we made our way back up the coast towards San Simeon.

We made a few stops along the way, first at the tiny town of Harmony, next at Cambria to walk around the shops, then Moonstone Beach where there are tiny pebbles instead of sand, and finally at San Simeon to look at the elephant seals.

After all that, it was time for our tour of Hearst Castle; we were so exhausted at this point. But, the tour was amazing!

Hearst Castle on its own is spectacular and beautiful, but when you throw in Christmas decorations, it is just breath-taking.

I love learning about history, so I always enjoy going on guided tours. This tour was especially interesting because they had interviewed various people who had actually spent Christmases at Hearst Castle and the decorations were historically accurate to that time period. So cool!

My favorite part was definitely the main room because it had the most decorations as well as two giant Christmas trees!

The tour ended far too quickly; I would love to come back someday and visit other parts of the house!

Once we made our way down the mountain and back to our car, we were wiped out and so tired. My brother had been craving Panda Express so we stopped at one along the way, and prepared for the 4-hour drive home.

Lucky for us, Matthew offered to drive the whole way home, which I was incredibly grateful for.

Around midnight we pulled into our house and I fell asleep so fast! I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

Our December trip up the California Coast was short and sweet, but we jam-packed it with so many fun things. Although I have done this trip so many times, it never gets old and I can’t wait to go up there again!