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The California’s central coast offers a wide variety of things to do and places to see. One of the most impressive is Hearst Castle, the most famous castle in America. Built in the 1940s by Publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst, it features over 150 rooms, spectacular views of the mountains and coast and over 20,000 museum quality artifacts. Named 'The Number-One Monument in the United States,' by Conde Nast Magazine in 2000, this California State Monument and Park is not to be missed.
For those that are looking to stay a longer than a few vacation days, there is Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly is a nationally ranked four-year university. With more than 18,000 students, Cal Poly has proven to be popular for its academic excellence, its “learn by doing” system of education as well as its beautiful campus. Fun fact: For the 13th year in a row, Cal Poly has been rated the best public-master's university in the West by U.S. News & World Report, in its 2006 America's Best Colleges guidebook.
More adventurous types can take advantage of Lopez Lake which offers camping, boating, fishing, waterskiing and more. Just a short drive inland from Arroyo Grande, Lopez Lake offers a quick getaway to the beauty of nature. A quick jaunt in the other direction to the coast, will take you to the Butterfly Trees in Pismo Beach. This special eucalyptus grove offers a rare glimpse at monarch butterflies as they make their annual migration through the area. At first glance, it simply appears that the large branches hang low with muted colors. Closer inspection will reveal that these branches are not actually covered in leaves, but with thousands of monarch butterflies. It is simply amazing to see and is a rare treat for nature enthusiasts.
For further exploration into nature, Oso Flaco Lake and the surrounding dunes south of Pismo Beach and just north of Guadalupe offer hiking in a beautiful natural setting right next to the ocean. According to the Dunes Center, the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex is a National Natural Landmark comprising 18 miles and more than 22,000 acres of one of the largest coastal dune ecosystems on earth. There are over 200 guided walks and tours of this beautiful area every year. On the other end of the spectrum, Grover Beach and the Oceano dunes offer recreational vehicle access. Grover Beach prides itself as having the only “drivable” beach in California and the dunes area offers a variety of activities including camping, surfing, surf fishing, swimming and hiking. Slightly to the north, Port San Luis and nearby Avila Beach offers its own selection of fun. Offering surf and pier fishing, boating, whale watching as well as deep sea fishing tours, Avila Beach and Port San Luis could fill a vacationer’s itinerary by themselves.
In addition to these wonderful landmarks, there are many more activities on the Central Coast. If golf is your forte, there are a number of local golf courses. San Luis Obispo County was recently rated the #1 golf destination in California by Golf Digest Magazine. Avila Beach Resort in nearby Avila Beach features par 71, 6500-yard championship course, with many oak trees and a tidal estuary. Cypress Ridge on the mesa in Arroyo Grande, is a 6,803-yard, par 72 that has the distinction of being an Audubon Signature Sanctuary. Only the 13th course in the world and the 1st in California with this distinction, Cypress Ridge is not to be missed. Located just south of Arroyo Grande in Nipomo, Blacklake Golf Resort is the Central Coast’s only 27-hole resort. Featuring water pools, scenic coastal hills and beautiful oak trees, Blacklake Golf Resort prides itself on world-class facilities and service. There are several other local courses with lots to offer, so extend your stay and take the time to check them all out.
If a nice glass of wine is what you crave, the wide range of wineries and wine tours around the central coast may interest you. San Luis Obispo features over 80 wineries and two distinct wine regions. These regions utilize the area’s various micro-climates to their advantage, providing a wide selection of premium grape-growing conditions. The south county is famous for its high-quality Pinot Noirs and rich Chardonnays, while the north county is known for its Zinfandels, Cabernets and Merlots. With several award winning wineries to choose from, the sheer variety can keep you busy for weeks.
The Inn is just a five-minute drive away from the white sands of Pismo Beach. Guests can enjoy beachcombing, swimming, surfing, tanning and relaxing. Or take stroll along the new boardwalk near the Pismo Beach Pier which extends south all the way to Grover Beach and the entrance to the Oceano Dunes.
For casual family dining, the Casa Grande Inn is conveniently located within walking distance of A.J. Spurs, a western steakhouse with a fun atmosphere and tender steaks as well as excellent seafood specials. A footpath and bridge across a lovely tree-lined creek that runs along the south side of the Inn joins the grounds with a large shopping center next-door.
There, guests will find The Quarterdeck, a family steak and seafood house, Golden City Chinese Restaurant, and a Carl's Jr./Green Burrito -- perfect for quick snacks for hungry children. A short five-minute drive south from the Inn on West Branch Street is another large shopping complex where guests will find a Subway, Starbuck's, Jamba Juice, Burrito Loco and In 'N Out Burger as well as the Regal Cinemas - complete with stadium-style seating and extra legroom. Also one of our other favorites is located just off the 101 and 4th Street in Pismo Beach. At Yanagi Sushi & Japanese Steak House, diners can choose from a variety of expertly prepared fresh sushi or enjoy a "Teppanyaki" style meal prepared and served by performing chefs right at your table.
If you plan on visiting the beach, and sampling mouthwatering fare from some of the finest restaurants in coastal California - along with the hearty chowders and fresh fish-and-chips plates prepared by the area's more casual eateries - Pismo Beach is a great place to start. Splash Cafe serves up its award-winning clam chowder right near the pier in Pismo Beach. There are lots of other restaurants in Pismo Beach too including Rosa's, Guiseppe's, Cracked Crab and more. Be sure to visit Vino Versato Wine Bar for some great wines and beers and fantastic weekly live music entertainment. Great food and great fun!
If shopping is what you’re craving, the Best Western Casa Grande provides several options to satisfy you. Just a few freeway exits to the south lies the Historic Village in Arroyo Grande. The Village is a turn-of-the-century downtown with a unique array of antiques, dining and specialty shops all within a scenic atmosphere of timeless Americana.
Across the freeway and slightly to the north, you can find variety and bargains at the Prime Outlets in Pismo Beach. From apparel to books to kids to adults, there is something for everyone at the outlets!
Just a short hop to the north is San Luis Obispo - one of the gems of the central coast. San Luis Obispo features stores like Abercrombie and Fitch, Uptown Jean Company, Crate and Barrel, Banana Republic, Bed Bath and Beyond, Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Urban Outfitters! With a number of boutiques, galleries and specialty shops, San Luis Obispo offers enough to satisfy the most gregarious shopper!
Whether you are planning to enjoy any of the Central Coast's bountiful harvest fairs or summer festivals, or soak in the beach scene with the family during the summertime, the Casa Grande Inn is the place to go for a great Central Coast escape.
San Luis Obispo and Surrounding Area
Hearst Castle - www.hearstcastle.org
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo - www.calpoly.edu
Performing Arts Center - www.pacslo.org
Best Western - Casa Grande Inn
850 Oak Park Road - Highway 101 & Oak Park Road - Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
Phone: 805-481-7398 - Fax: 805-481-4859 - Toll-Free Reservations: 800-528-1234
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