BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY
Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort
1215 Avila Beach Drive, SLO
Retreat to the wooded hills above Avila Beach for a chillaxing stay at the Sycamore Mineral Springs resort. Settle into one of the resort’s 72 guest rooms and take a dip in that famous naturally heated mineral water. “We’re out here on more than 100 acres, and it’s a beautiful spot,” General Manager Charles Crellin said. “It has a very relaxing and rejuvenating feel.” In addition to its hot springs, the resort also has a spa, which offers therapeutic massage. Each treatment also comes with a complimentary 30-minute soak in one of the resort’s mineral springs.
runner-up: City of Cambria
BEST PLACE TO GET SWIMWEAR
795 Higuera St., SLO
Owner Shelley Filip has 32 years of experience working in the swimwear biz, so you could say she knows a thing or two about selling you a swimsuit! She said a vital part of SLO Swim’s success in downtown SLO is the diverse selection of suits for customers of all ages, shapes, and tastes. “We have swimwear for every body shape,” Filip said, “and not just the fashion stuff.” If you can’t find what you’re looking for at the store or on their website, Filip said she can put in a custom order for you. Happy summer shopping!
runner-up: Pancho’s Surf Shop
BEST BOARD SHOP
Central Coast Surfboards
855 Marsh St., SLO
This staple SLO Town surf shop recently changed owners, and new head honcho Scott Smith told us he’s “really stoked” it’s SLO County’s favorite board shop. Smith noted Central Coast Surfboards has a “deep history” in the area—it first opened its doors in 1975. “Generations in this town have shopped here,” he said. In addition to selling any type of board you could imagine (surf, windsurf, skate, and snow) and tons of beach bum apparel, the shop is also hosting regular community events, like a once-a-week free yoga session. “We care about SLO and the people in it,” Smith said.
BEST WATER SPORTS COMPANY
Central Coast Kayaks
1879 Shell Beach Road, Pismo Beach
Getting people out on the water for a safe, fun, and positive experience has been Tom Reilly’s mission since he and co-owner Eric Tebbets started Central Coast Kayaks. For 25 years, the duo has provided tours, rentals, and repairs to the community and tourists alike. Reilly said the Central Coast already has so much to offer people who want to get in the water, but there are also coastal spots you can only see in a kayak or on a paddle board. “I’m passionate about paddling and enjoy sharing that with others. My favorite area that we tour is the beautiful Dinosaur Cave,” he said.
runner-up: Estero Paddle Boarding Company
BEST GOLF COURSE
Morro Bay Golf Course
201 State Park Road, Morro Bay
This contest is always a two-course race between Morro Bay and Avila—both fantastic, affordable, beachfront golf experiences. Morro Bay held the edge this year, and pro shop staffer Edward says he thinks it’s a mix of the course being a little more beginner-friendly and having just a little better ocean views (don’t worry, he didn’t sound braggy while saying it). “It’s a pretty ideal combination,” he said. Play a round of 18 holes for $45, or come after 3 p.m. any day of the week for just $15! You can’t beat that price to play this beautiful course amid eucalyptus trees and the sights and scents of the bay.
runner-up: Avila Beach Golf Resort
Bishop Peak’s magnificence wasn’t lost on famous outdoorsman John Muir, who’s on record describing SLO back in 1883 as “encircled with beautiful hills,” with Bishop Peak being the “most conspicuous” of them. Almost 150 years later, locals are still marveling at this 1,546-foot “morro” and they’re ascending it by the hundreds each day! SLO Natural Resources Manager Bob Hill called Bishop, “one of the most iconic, well-loved landmarks in the entire region, offering spectacular panoramic views of the city and remarkable plant and wildlife diversity.” He reminded hikers to “tread lightly” and “stay smart and safe out there.”
runner-up: Avila Ridge
BEST BIKE TRAIL
Bob Jones Trail
Ontario Road to Avila Beach
Grab you favorite bike and get out on the Bob Jones Trail to experience the journey from the city to the sea and back again. The trail begins in a parking lot area on Ontario Road near Highway 101 and runs for 3 miles to the corner of Avila Beach Drive and First Street. SLO County Parks and Recreation Director Nick Franco said the trail is being expanded to the Octagon Barn. “Ultimately, it means getting from anywhere in SLO to Avila and back again while being completely separated from the roadways,” Franco said. “We like to think of it as a really nice linear park.”
runner-up: Johnson Ranch
BEST OUTDOOR STORE
The Mountain Air
667 Marsh St., SLO
The Mountain Air has been around for 43 years in San Luis Obispo, and co-owner Josh Harring said not only is the store known for selling great products but it also provides customer service that he feels a lot of retailers don’t have anymore. “We try to hire outdoor enthusiasts and that’s a big deal,” Harring said. The staff goes through regular workshops with companies and product brands that the shop sells. This way staff is ready to answer questions and help customers. Harring said the Mountain Air stands by the products it sells, and he hopes that every shopping experience is memorable.
runner-up: Four Seasons Outfitters
BEST BIKE SHOP
181 Suburban Road, SLO
It all started in 1982 as a small one-person shop in the sleepy town of Los Osos. Now located in San Luis Obispo, Art’s Cyclery has grown into a global cycling resource surrounded by the many trails the Central Coast has to offer. It’s on these trails that the cyclery staff gains firsthand experience with the products the shop stocks. The shop is local and online, supporting the needs of mountain biking enthusiasts and the basic needs of road cyclists. Art’s has a huge selection of mountain bike gear and a shared knowledge of the product and sport.
runner-up: Ira’s Bike Shop
BEST NURSERY/GARDEN STORE
Miner’s Ace Hardware
Nipomo, Arroyo Grade, Grover Beach, SLO, Los Osos, Morro Bay, Atascadero
A trip to Miner’s is always an adventure; the stores are stuffed with enough cool home improvement gadgets and doodads to spend an entire afternoon zigzagging the aisles. As far as garden supplies go, there just isn’t much more you could ask for: a variety of seeds, soils, plants, vegetables, herbs, and succulents, not to mention garden tools, planters, hoses, outdoor furniture, barbecues—really, the list is endless. With locations throughout the county, Miner’s is accessible to just about anyone on the Central Coast. Fun fact: Two brothers opened the original store in 1956 in Grover Beach.
runner-up: Farm Supply
BEST TACK SHOP
Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, SLO
What’s tack? Equipment for your horse, of course. In addition to selling a variety of agriculture, livestock, and gardening supplies, Farm Supply also has all the gear you need for your equine buddies. That includes everything from brushes and halters to saddle blankets. Whether your tack needs are for hard work on a ranch, or for riding and show, Farm Supply has got what are looking for. The company has its roots in SLO, where it began as a small farm supply store on Monterey Street in 1950.
runner-up: Riding Warehouse
BEST PET SITTER OR BOARDING
Thousand Hills Pet Resort
173 Buckley Road, SLO
Thousand Hills Pet Resort provides premium doggie daycare, boarding, and training. Resort manager Kate Johnson said the resort is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing top quality care for its customers and their pets and giving back to the greater community. “When customers utilize our nonprofit pet resort, they will help us provide life-giving service dogs at no cost to veterans and first-responders with PTSD through our sister nonprofit New Life K9s,” Johnson said. The top priority for Thousand Hills is to ensure that customers can feel comfortable knowing their pet or pets are in good hands when they drop off their furry loved ones.
runner-up: Happy Tails Kennel
The best thing about children is teaching them, or at least that’s what Robin Reed of Robin’s Rugrats said. “My favorite thing about teaching children is their excitement at learning new things,” Reed said, “I have always loved working with children. I started working with kids when I was 12, and that was 44 years ago.” She said she really has to give credit to her lead teacher and school manager, Heather Moule, who has been with the Rugrats for eight years. The child care provider prides itself on the community and family that it has built over the years.
runner-up: Cal Poly ASI Children’s Center