Families appreciate Arroyo Grande’s laid-back pace, sense of safety and easy access to town, country and seaside excursions. There’s plenty of fresh air fun to keep the kids engaged and entertained—from animal encounters and nature walks to boat rides and water slides. And our shopping and culinary scenes will please parents as much as teens, tweens and tots. This itinerary is your ticket to two full days of time well spent with the whole family.
A breakfast masterpiece
Start your day on a delicious note at Sidewalk Cafe, a family-friendly eatery (closed Tuesdays) with a nice large patio seating area. Kids can get into the restaurant’s supply of sidewalk chalk to create masterpieces while waiting on your breakfast order to arrive. The breakfast burritos, breakfast tots and scrambler are some of the menu items favored by local regulars, while kids gravitate to the French Toast and plain tots.
After breakfast, bring the kids to the Swinging Bridge for a walk across the unique 171-foot bridge suspended 40 feet above a gentle flowing creek. Keep your eyes peeled for the local wild roosters who roam around this area.
Spend the day at Lopez Lake
Be sure to pack your sunscreen and swimsuits for your afternoon at the Lopez Lake Recreation Area. You’ll have many activity options here, from hiking and boating to ziplining and racing down waterslides. At the rangers station, be prepared to pay a $10 vehicle charge for the day (cash or credit card accepted). Rent a boat at the Marina to go out on the lake for a scenic cruise and some fishing. After your time on the water, the kids can play arcade games back at the marina.
Another big hit with kids is Mustang Water Park (open seasonally), which has been newly updated and features kiddie pools, two giant curving waterslides and a half-pipe made for inner tubes. Plus, you can rent shaded cabanas complete with food service. If it’s not bathing suit weather, Vista Lago Adventure Park (open seasonally) has an exciting zipline course which is great for teens and tweens.
Eat fresh pizza in a family-friendly atmosphere
Less than a 10 minute drive from Arroyo Grande, head to the coast to catch the sunset at Pismo Beach. Walk out along the pier and get your bare feet in the sand. Keep the relaxation vibes flowing as you recap the highlights of your day over pizza and burgers at Klondike Pizza. The Alaskan themed restaurant is the type of place where you can drop peanut shells on the floor. An added bonus? They have a video arcade!
Perk up with coffee, pastries and more
Rise and shine and mosey on over to a local breakfast classic, Village Cafe. The beauty of this diner-style restaurant is they use local farm fresh ingredients so you know your kids will be fed wholesomely—while feeling like they had treats! Order a couple cinnamon rolls to share while you wait for your entrees, be it eggs and bacon, omelets, waffles or pancakes.
Visit local farms
The entire family will enjoy the farm stand at Halcyon Farms, an organic farm with u-pick strawberries, veggies, flowers and more. Or spend an hour at the Rancho Burro Donkey Sanctuary with a private tour to pet, hug, kiss and connect with rescued donkeys. Hear about the sanctuary’s overall mission and learn about donkey health, behavior and medical needs. (To visit these special creatures, a two-week notice is required so be sure to plan ahead.) Talley Farms offers private tours of their impressive family-run farm. Learn all about their commitment to sustainable agriculture and methods for growing organic produce.
End with dinner and a movie
Settle in for a late afternoon or early evening movie screening at our cute vintage cinema, Fair Oaks Theatre. While it’s been open since the 1940s, it has been upgraded over the years with stadium seating and all the latest technology. And they get added bonus points for the friendliness of their staff and using real butter on the popcorn!
Afterwards, cap your day off with a nice meal at Rooster Creek Tavern, a full-service restaurant with elevated eats for the grown-ups and a kid-friendly menu of pizza, mac and cheese, chicken tenders and burgers. The nachos are also quite popular with the older kids. And everyone can be on the look-out for roosters!