More and more travelers these days are aware of the ways that their choices affect the communities and environments they visit. Here in Arroyo Grande, California, where we value small-town charm and are surrounded by rolling hills and pristine ecosystems, we’re pleased to support this green wave! Sustainability is something we’re all getting into the habit of thinking about in our daily lives, and so should it be when we travel. Here are five tips for making eco-friendly choices when you visit Arroyo Grande.

Destination Spotlight – SLO CAL – Sustainability Top Down

1. Limit Car Travel

Getting to the Central Coast by train is easier than ever thanks to Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner route, which stops in Arroyo Grande’s neighboring community of Grover Beach, as well as nearby San Luis Obispo. The route extends south all the way to San Diego and is a truly gorgeous way to view the majestic coastline in between. We highly recommend this option to those visiting Arroyo Grande from Southern California – and not only because it’s sustainable!

While you visit, be sure to take advantage of our county’s fantastic SLO Car Free program. Led by the county Air Pollution Control District since 2009, this program encourages “car-free, care-free transportation” to and around the region. By pledging to travel without a car, visitors receive special discounts from participating hotels, restaurants, transportation services and attractions. Their website also has a great breakdown of alternative transportation options in the area. 

If you do visit Arroyo Grande by car, we love that we are seeing more and more electric vehicles in the region with each passing year, and more charging stations are available than ever before. In downtown Arroyo Grande, Tesla charging stations are available at the boutique Agrarian Hotel and regular electric vehicle stations are in the back parking lot in the Village behind the City Council chambers. More are available near the Regal Arroyo Grande movie theater and at the Oak Park Plaza shopping center, conveniently located between the Hampton Inn & Suites and Best Western Casa Grande Inn. Use this handy interactive map from our county tourism partner SLO CAL to find all charging spots in the region.

2. Visit Sustainable Wineries

One of the most popular attractions in and around Arroyo Grande is our top-notch wineries and vineyards. Our region is known for its unpretentious vibes while serving up award-winning wines, and local vintners are also changing the game when it comes to sustainability in winemaking. Eight wineries in Arroyo Grande have different certifications regarding their efforts toward eco-friendly causes:

Beyond Arroyo Grande, there are dozens more certified sustainable vineyards and wineries in the county. Search them all here, and learn more here.

3. Support Local Agriculture

Another important aspect of making eco-conscious choices is supporting local farmers. Arroyo Grande has a rich agricultural history, surrounded by ag land and vineyards, with crops of strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers and more. How can you get in on the local goods? Visit one of these stops:

  • Farmers Markets: Arroyo Grande has two weekly farmers markets. Our Wednesday market is from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the shopping center parking lot at 1464 E. Grand Ave., and our Saturday market is from noon to 2 p.m. along the creekside in the downtown Village. Stop in to get a taste of the region, mix with the locals and meet our farmers, then visit nearby shops to make a day of it. 
  • Halcyon Farms: This long-running local farmstand is open from Tuesday to Saturday and offers up the freshest organic produce and other locally-sourced goodies at their 30-acre farm. They also offer fun you-pick opportunities at some times of the year, like a pumpkin patch. 

You can also find a lot of fresh local food at Arroyo Grande restaurants such as Ember, which aims to use as much regionally sourced food as possible.

4. Enjoy Our Antique & Thrifting Goldmine

Arroyo Grande has long been a champion of the upcycling movement, evidenced by the presence of several very cool thrift and antique shops in the heart of our downtown Village. You can find incredible gifts, fashions, furniture, collectibles and more at these fun resale shops:

We just love how vintage shopping has become a trend again. Call it retail therapy that you can really feel great about! Check out our county’s Antique Trail Map for even more stops beyond Arroyo Grande.

5. Choose Eco-Friendly Activities

Last but not least, we recommend you choose some environmentally friendly activities during your stay in Arroyo Grande, which has no shortage of awesome options. Bonus: Most of these activities are totally FREE! Bike or hike in our beautiful, temperate weather at any time of the year, and check out these activities:

  • City Parks: Free outdoor fun is up for grabs at over a dozen lovely city parks. There are also lovely hiking trails along the Arroyo Grande Creek and James Way Oak Habitat and Wildlife Preserve.
  • Lopez Lake: Just outside of town is Lopez Lake Recreation Area, a gorgeous site for hiking, biking, boating, wildlife spotting and more. 
  • The Oceano Dunes & Nearby Beaches: Just minutes away from Arroyo Grande is one of the most fascinating and beautiful ecosystems in all of California – and that’s saying something! The Oceano Dunes Recreation Area has thousands of acres of coastal dunes, one of the most expansive regions in the country. Hiking, horseback riding and nature walks are a great choice in this incredible area. Our region also has several other beaches just minutes away, including popular Pismo, Shell and Avila beaches. Beach day, baby! 
  • The Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove: Adjacent to Arroyo Grande in the neighboring town of Pismo Beach is a rare site that any nature lover will adore, a monarch butterfly grove. The publicly owned grove of eucalyptus trees is one of the largest overwintering sites for western monarch butterflies in the world. If you visit Arroyo Grande from November to February, when the butterflies are on our coast, this is a must-see stop! You may also spot monarchs out and about around town, but this grove hosts thousands of butterflies at a time for a truly breathtaking sight. 

Of course, practicing sustainability comes up not just in our travel decisions, but in all the little choices we make along the journey. Visit Arroyo Grande appreciates your interest in learning more about how you can help, and we’re making our own efforts to get better all the time. Thank you for helping us keep our environment beautiful!