Visiting San Luis Obispo with kids

Downtown San Luis Obispo, California is getting ready for the St. Patrick's Day

We love road trips! You don’t have to stress out about plane tickets or packing too much, and you can stop whenever you feel like it.

However, having a new baby and the pandemic made things more difficult for traveling. When baby Zoe was seven months and Sophia was 6.5 years old, we decided to give it a try and planned our first little getaway. This was the first time we traveled as a family of four, and we agreed upon a little town on the Central Coast of California — San Luis Obispo. It was only a 2.5-hour drive from us and wasn’t that busy, given the time of the year (March) and all the restrictions.

San Luis Obispo is a university city (home of Cal Poly) with historic architecture, many restaurants and coffee shops, a nice downtown area, and proximity to the beach.

The Kinney San Luis Obispo, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Since we recently opened a new no-annual-fee Hilton Honors credit card from American Express and got its signup bonus of 100,000 points by spending $2000 in 3 months, we decided to put the points to good use by booking a 2 Queen Beds room at The Kinney San Luis Obispo, Tapestry Collection by Hilton.

The card came with the Silver status, which offered limited benefits such as free daily bottled water. The room was 34,000 Hilton Honors points per night (or $350 cash value) at the time of booking, which seemed like a decent redemption value (0.45 cents per point) for Hilton Honors points. In total, we spent 78,000 points there for our two-night stay.

The Kinney San Luis Obispo, Tapestry Collection by Hilton
The Kinney San Luis Obispo, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

The hotel had free parking and an on-site restaurant, which sadly wasn’t open for dine-in, and they were only serving drinks. Overall, it was nice, clean, and quiet. We wished it would have been a little closer to the downtown (about 20 minutes walk) because we’d rather take the stroller than drive, but it worked out just fine anyway.

It had a charming little backyard with fire-pits and games; Sophia was really excited! There was an outdoor pool with a hot tub, which by that time was only open by appointment, so basically, it would be just us or a couple of other people.

The Kinney San Luis Obispo, Tapestry Collection by Hilton
The little backyard area of The Kinney San Luis Obispo, Tapestry Collection by Hilton
The Kinney San Luis Obispo, Tapestry Collection by Hilton
Sophia really enjoyed playing with the light wall

It was our first time staying away from home with two kids, so we didn’t know what to expect from this trip, especially with a new baby. While Sophia was used to hotels and trips, for baby Zoe, everything needed to be nap and feeding coordinated. The first night didn’t go quite as planned, as Zoe woke up crying a lot and refused to fall asleep. Somebody may or may not have said, “let’s just pack and leave” in the morning, but we stayed nonetheless.

Here is the picture of us having breakfast at a little crêpe place called Mon Ami Crepe Bar first thing in the morning.

Mon Ami Crepe Bar in San Luis Obispo, California
Mon Ami Crepe Bar in San Luis Obispo, California
The crêpes at Mon Ami Crepe Bar were delicious

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

We enjoy long walks, so we went to explore the city on foot. San Luis Obispo downtown has a lot to offer. Streets were full of boutique shops and restaurants, historical buildings, and of course, the old Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, San Luis Obispo, California
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Luna Red Restaurant

We ended up having dinner next to the mission at the Luna Red restaurant on their colorful patio. We had a huge paella and tacos. It was actually one of the very first times we ate out in a restaurant in a long time; we didn’t even realize how much we missed it.

Avila Beach

The next day we took a short drive of about fifteen minutes to a little beach town called Avila Beach. It’s located in a beautiful area between the ocean and hills, with a walkable village with shops and restaurants. You can enjoy a stroll on a pier or spend some time on the beach.

Blue Moon Over Avila

This time we took a nice long walk and stopped for lunch at a French bistro called Blue Moon Over Avila; it had a secluded and cozy outdoor sitting area with ocean views! And the food was excellent (at least for adults)! We had french onion soup and lobster roll and tried escargots for the first time ever (Roman approved)! Sophia sure enjoyed her bread, and that was basically all she ate there, but not to worry, she topped it off with ice cream 30 minutes later.

Overall it was nice to spend some time away from home and enjoy new sceneries, especially when you’re staying for free. The baby may not fully agree with you, but hey, it’s all about balance, right — survive that sleepless night, and you get to enjoy a wonderful day exploring (if you still have the energy).

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