7 Fun Things to Do in Paso Robles Wine Country (That Aren’t Wine Related)
March 11, 2021
Paso Robles is known for being a world-class wine region, with unique wine tasting experiences, a laid-back vibe, and unforgettable personalities. With more than 200 tasting rooms and 40,000 vineyard acres producing more than 40 winegrape varieties, Paso Robles Wine Country is a very distinct area. Not only do we have exceptional wineries, delectable restaurants, and stunning views, we offer so much more. We have a rich history to be explored, outdoor adventure, art, an abundance of remarkable agriculture, and numerous craft beverages that should be sampled. So next time you are in Paso, explore the other side of wine with our list of 7 Fun Things to Do in Paso Robles Wine Country (That aren’t Wine Related).
Immerse yourself in the great outdoors! Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo County have countless activities that will keep you coming back for more. Head to Margarita Adventures for several out-of-the-box experiences on their historic Santa Margarita Ranch. Take part in their Wildlife or Kayak Tours or our fave, Ziplining! Embark on six distinct ziplines that take you over valleys of oaks, mountainsides, and vineyards. Take flight and enjoy Paso from the sky with Balloons Over Paso or hit the road with Paso Bike Tours. Ride over the rolling hills and through the vineyards on horseback with Central Coast Trailrides. Pack your clubs and tee-up at one of the dozens of golf courses or try your hand at our favorite – disk golf. Set amongst rolling hills of old-growth oaks in the organically farmed Whale Rock Vineyard, is the scenic disc golf course at Castoro Cellars. Pack-up your things and head out for a day on the water at Lake Nacimiento with boating, fishing, or sunbathing. Just 15 minutes from Paso you’ll crest the Santa Lucia Mountains where you’ll see the Pacific coastline. To the south is the iconic Morro Rock in Morro Bay and the small surfer town of Cayucos. Explore Highway 1 to the south or north and the multitude of beaches. It’s good for the soul and one of the most memorable drives in North America.
Explore and celebrate the many farms, ranches, and artisan food producers on the FARMstead ED SLO County Farm Trail. Hit the trail to experience our abundance of local agriculture through farm tours and workshops where you can meet the farmers, ranchers, makers, moo-vers, and shakers of SLO CAL. Experience first-hand what farm-to-table looks like by connecting with the local land and those that work so hard to sustain it. Workshops and tours have really cool focuses like Inside the Olive, Jam Session, Cocktails 101 – Garden to Glass, and The Birds & The Bees Honey.
Drive the Back Roads
Fuel up the tank, pack a cooler and take in the scenery with a drive on the back roads. There are many Paso routes you can roam, with no wrong way. Our friends at Travel Paso have put together a lively list that will take you off-the-beaten-path and as well as through some well-known trails. Explore the eastside of wine country made up of sprawling ranches, golden rolling hills, and vineyards as far as the eye can see. Take the Cowboy Loop that starts on historic Main Street in Templeton, winds through the El Pomar District then into Santa Margarita. The Linne-Union Road drive is a quick loop just outside of town as is Estrella Road which also takes you to the Estrella Warbirds Museum. Route 46 East is one of the main entry points to wine country as gives you a deep dive of what to be seen and done in Paso. You’ll cruise by multiple wineries, resorts, Hunter Ranch Golf Resort, and the famous Field of Lights. Along the westside loops, you’ll find the routes of Vineyard Drive, Adelaida Road, Lake Nacimiento, and Highway 46 West. These back roads swerve through the Santa Lucia Mountian range, between moss-covered oaks, and is your gateway to the Pacific. No matter what the season the landscape in Paso Robles and surrounding areas are spectacular. Whichever back road you explore, keep an eye out for wildlife, make sure you take the time to pull over, smell the wine country air, and snap a selfie!
The Heritage of Yesteryear
Paso Robles is home to several interesting and well-known museums. Discover local heritage in and near Paso including the Pioneer Museum, Mission San Miguel, the world-famous Hearst Castle, and more. The historic Carnegie Library is the official home of El Paso de Robles Area Historical Society and located in the heart of Downtown Paso. Explore the collections of archived photographs, objects, papers of historical interest, and library materials related to the Paso Robles area and its citizens. Take a trip to the Estrella Warbirds Museum which is an aviation museum dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia. The Paso Robles Pioneer Museum is a wonderful collection of visual and written history. It shows life in our small California town during the 19th and 20th centuries. Have kiddos in tow? Then the Paso Robles Children’s Museum is a must! The museum engages children in a joyful learn-through-play environment to inspire educational curiosity while honoring the heritage of our volunteer firefighters. Other noteworthy museums include Camp Roberts Historical Museum, Old Mission San Miguel, and the world-famous Hearst Castle along Highway 1. Hearst Castle’s history begins in 1865 when George Hearst purchased 40,000 acres of ranchland. In 1919, William Randolph Hearst inherited what had grown to more than 250,000 acres and was dreaming of ways to transform it into a retreat he called La Cuesta Encantada – Spanish for “Enchanted Hill.” By 1947, Hearst and architect Julia Morgan had created Hearst Castle: 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools, and walkways – all built to house Hearst’s specifications and to showcase his legendary art collection. Hearst Castle is a museum like no other, a must-visit!
The art scene in Paso Robles has grown over the years into a diverse landscape. Artists from all backgrounds have found inspiration in wine country and the nearby Pacific Coast. Art collectors display their collections in creative ways for us all to enjoy integrated into tasting rooms, hotels, and galleries. Head to Studios on the Park, a nonprofit open studio art center in the heart of historic downtown Paso Robles. Home to six studios with 15 working artists, four galleries, and a fine craft and fine art gift shop. Stop by to view the galleries and installments or enroll in a class or workshop. Near-by peruse the Deprise Brescia Art Gallery, DBeckett Art Gallery, and Dale Evers Studios. While downtown you must visit and snap pics in front of the Paso Robles mural wall at the French bistro Les Petites Canailles. Allegretto Vineyard Resort showcases a stunning collection of paintings and statues, as well as large stones and minerals, and natural wonders of the planet. Inn Paradiso is richly furnished with mid-century furniture, antiques, art, and original photography. The B & B is uniquely handcrafted of old-growth wood and hand-forged metal. Along Linne Road in the Geneseo District, you’ll find a true gem, Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture Garden. The magnificent bronze and granite sculptures can be viewed while strolling through the gardens. The newest and now internationally acclaimed art experience is the Bruce Munro: Field of Light at Sensorio. This solar-powered installation is comprised of an array of over 58,800 stemmed spheres lit by fiber-optics that gently illuminate the rolling landscape. New to the exhibit is the six-foot Light Towers composed of 17,000 wine bottles each. Sensorio is simply awe-inspiring and not to be missed!
Downtown and Tin City
The focal point of downtown Paso Robles is the sprawling four-acre park adorned with massive oak trees and home to the Carnegie Library. The perfect spot to grab take-out and picnic or lounge on a blanket. Surrounding the park is blocks and blocks of charming shops and boutiques, galleries, tasting rooms, and a plethora of tasty restaurants. Spend the day shopping, meeting the small business owners that are the fabric of the community, and enjoying the flavors of wine country. Just south of Paso is the urban area of Tin City and Neighbors. In this evolving expanse of industrial makers, you can find everything from handmade pasta at ETTO, craft wine, beer, spirits, and cider, artisan olive oil, food trucks, a canteen, even a sheep’s milk ice creamery!
Beer, Spirits, and Cider – oh my!
A little-known secret is that Paso Robles has an extensive craft beverage community, many started by renowned winemakers. With tasting rooms tucked into small industrial locations and behind wineries, craft brewers and distillers are making a name for themselves. Dozens of breweries are spread around downtown Paso, there is even a craft beer walking tour you can take! We are proud to boast that we are home to the highly acclaimed Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Take a tour of the brewery, dine at the Taproom, and pick-up awesome swag at the Emporium. Cool joints like The Backyard on Thirteen and 15 Degrees C Wine Shop & Bar have several rotating taps for local breweries and cideries. For ultimate cider experiences visit Tin City Cider Co. and Bristols Cider House. Artisan distilleries are making headlines in wine country. Whether these makers and mixers are creating fine handcrafted spirits or formulating new inventive cocktails they all have one thing in common – the love of place and availability of seasonal sustainable ingredients. Explore the Paso Robles Distillery Trail with more than nine locations. A few of our faves include Re:Find, CalWise, and Bethel Road.
No matter what path you take to explore all that Paso Robles Wine Country has to offer, we know along the way you’ll get to know the passionate personalities that are truly what make Paso Robles such a special place to visit.