By Jessie Festa. This Paso Robles weekend getaway guide contains affiliate links to trusted partners!
Planning a weekend in Paso Robles and want to make sure it’s unforgettable?
You’re in the right place!
When visiting California, one destination you should add to your itinerary is Paso Robles, a city known for its wine region, hot springs, hiking trails, history museums, and hip downtown — not to mention access to beautiful beaches.
Because you’ll find so many wineries in Paso Robles, the destination is also visually stunning with rolling hills showcasing rows of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel just waiting to be plucked, pressed, and poured into your glass.
And while visiting the local vineyards and wineries is one of the more popular things to do in Paso Robles, you can also explore the city beyond vino. We’ll dive into this more below as we go over a truly amazing Paso Robles travel guide.
Free Ultimate Travel Planning Kit
But, first, before we dive into things to do in Paso Robles this weekend, I want to invite you to grab my free Ultimate Travel Planning Kit — which also includes a downloadable Google Map of my full Paso Robles itinerary.
Simply add the map to your phone to have it ready to go for your trip.
Bonus: The kit comes with 40+ other travel resources — from printables to quizzes to itineraries — all meant to help you explore the world beyond the guidebook!
History Of Paso Robles, California
Let’s kick off this 3 days in Paso Robles guide with a little history lesson.
According to the Paso Robles Historical Society, the Salinan Tribe were the original inhabitants of this land, which eventually came to be known as Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County.
While today Paso Robles is known mainly for its wine country, it was actually its natural mineral hot springs and therapeutic mud baths that brought people to the area, and then the promise of gold.
In fact, this is what attracted brothers Daniel and James Blackburn — who are known as the founders of Paso Robles — as well as Drury Woodson James, the uncle of Frank and Jesse James, to the area. These men formed a business partnership and worked to get the land surveyed and plots auctioned off.
In 1889, Paso Robles officially became incorporated as a city.
Of course, you can’t discuss Paso Robles history without mentioning agriculture. These early pioneers realized just how special the bounty of this land was, tilling it and starting farms and dairies.
Eventually, Paso Robles became known as the “Almond Capital of the World” — though today is really known for its outstanding wine and olives.
As a thank you to these early settlers for paving the way for the agricultural prosperity Paso Robles enjoys today, Pioneer Day is an annual celebration that has taken place in the city since 1931!
Paso Robles Map
To help give you a lay of the land, here is a map of Paso Robles:
You can also click here to grab access to my free Ultimate Travel Planning Kit, which includes a Google Map of the Paso Robles itinerary shared below!
How To Get To Paso Robles
The closest airports are:
- San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (32 miles)
- Santa Maria Public Airport (65 miles)
- Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (126 miles)
- San Jose International Airport (159 miles)
- Oakland International Airport (190 miles)
- San Francisco International Airport (192 miles)
- Los Angeles International Airport (213 miles)
Most travelers to Paso Robles take Highway 1, US 101, Highway 41, or Highway 46.
Your best bet is to enter your specific destination into Google Maps to see the most optimal route at that moment, as the quickest way to reach Paso Robles will also depend on traffic patterns and accidents.
You can also reach Paso Robles via Amtrak (there is a train from Los Angeles to Paso Robles once per day) and Greyhound, which has a number of bus routes from popular cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Getting Around Paso Robles
Renting A Car In Paso Robles
Most likely, you’ll want a car to really experience all that Paso Robles has to offer. And if you need to rent a car, I highly recommend using Discover Cars to quickly compare your rental options.
Their comparison tool does the homework for you, so there’s no need to have up 10+ tabs trying to figure out which company is the most affordable. Actually, you can save up to 70% using their tool!
Getting Around Paso Robles Without A Car
Particuarly when exploring the wineries, you can use Uber or book a wine tour (like these) to get around without having to worry about drinking and driving. There are also a few local cab companies like Fetch Ridez (805-419-3382) and Surf Cab (805-748-2202).
Moreover, there are a number of Paso Robles public transportation options, like:
San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (SLORTA). They offer a wide range of options for public transportation in Paso Robles. You can call 805-239-8747 for more information.
Paso Express Routes A and B. These are fixed bus routes operating within the city of Paso Robles.
Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Route 9. This fixed route bus service also serves Templeton, Atascadero, and San Luis Obispo (SLO).
Dial-A-Ride (DAR). This on-demand transportation service operates within the city of Paso Robles and is offered through SLORTA. Again, their contact number is 805-239-8747.
You can find more information about public transportation in Paso Robles here.
Best Places To Stay In Paso Robles
If you plan to visit Paso Robles, I highly recommend booking a stay at the Wild Women Ranch in Templeton — which is right next to Paso Robles. It was truly one of the most beautiful and relaxing Airbnbs I’ve ever stayed at.
Owned by a woman named Rebekah and her mom Lynda, they have a number of rentals of varying sizes.
We stayed in the studio, which was spacious with uber comfortable bedding, air conditioning, a Keurig coffee maker with loads of coffee options, plates and dishes for cooking with the grill or microwave, and even a bottle of local wine waiting for us in the mini fridge.
A big wrap-around porch with chairs and tables — and a resident kitty named Shop Cat — was the perfect place to enjoy morning coffee and a stunning view of the rolling Paso Robles hills.
You can even stay in a winery at a property like CaliPaso Winery!
Still need other suggestions for where to stay in Paso Robles?
Prefer self-contained stays?
You can also check out the map below. It’s set to Downtown Paso Robles, but you can easily change the location to your preferred destination.
When To Visit Paso Robles
While Paso Robles is a year-round destination, not all seasons offer the same experience.
Typically, you’ll find that spring and autumn have the most going on as these are the harvest seasons. For instance, the annual Harvest Wine Weekend happens every fall and is worth planning your trip around.
Moreover, you’ll want to consider Paso Robles weather when planning your trip. Spring and fall typically have the most pleasant weather, as summers can get unbearably hot and winters can be cold and wet.
The Perfect Weekend In Paso Robles Itinerary
Now let’s dive into some of the best things to do in Paso Robles.
I’ve laid out the itinerary by day, from Friday through Sunday, though you can of course do these activities on a weekday. Moreover, feel free to swap in other activities (like these local tours and experiences) based on your interests.
Friday: Cook + Field Of Light + Stargaze In Paso Robles
Cook A Meal Under The Stars
If you’re staying at the Wild Women Ranch, I recommend relaxing your first night and cooking a yummy meal on the grill and enjoying it on the porch. There are a few different grocery stores nearby, like Albertsons and Grocery Outlet Bargain Market.
You can stargaze directly from the porch — so make sure to bring your camera and tripod if you’re into star photography.
See Field Of Light at Sensorio
Another evening Paso Robles attraction not to miss is Field Of Light at Sensorio. If you’re looking for things to do in Paso Robles at night, this should at the top of your list.
Field of Light is an immersive sensory experience imagined by acclaimed artist Bruce Munro.
You’ll walk through a colorful 15-acre light show featuring 60,000 fiber-optic stemmed spheres that play with the landscape, showing the rolling hills and natural beauty in a unique way.
It’s a bit difficult to put this one-of-a-kind Paso Robles experience into words, though this short video gives a nice visual and includes an interview with the artist:
After enjoy the lights at Sensorio, you can relax on their main lawn and listen to acoustic music.
If you’re looking for unusual things to do in Paso Robles CA, Field of Lights should definitely be on your itinerary.
Saturday: Explore The Paso Robles Wineries + Have Dinner In Downtown
Explore The Best Wineries in Paso Robles
There are over 200 wineries in Paso Robles — not to mention that within the overarching Paso Robles American Viticultural Areas (AVA) there are 11 unique sub-AVAs to explore.
For this reason, visiting at least a few vineyards and tasting rooms is a must.
In terms of getting around, you can opt to choose a designated driver, Uber from vineyard to vineyard, or book one of the many Paso Robles wine tours, like a Paso Robles Wine Adventure with Pick-Up or a Private Paso Robles Wine Tasting Tour in an SUV.
Just note that reservations are typically required if you’d like to do a guided wine tasting, though if you’d just like to purchase by the bottle or glass you don’t need one.
On our Paso Robles wine touring day, Andy and I actually chose to sleep in and enjoy a long breakfast with a view on the Wild Women Ranch porch before exploring the local vineyards on our own time using Uber.
A few highlights:
Le Cuvier Winery (lunch + flight). If you want a wine-themed lunch experience, Le Cuvier — a winery focused on serving delicious wines made exclusively using wild yeast fermentation — hosts a Lunch & Flight, where five dishes are expertly paired with a wine.
Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden. This stunning winery mixes delicious wines with art. In fact, you can reserve a guided tasting at Sculpterra or buy a glass and wander their inspiring sculpture garden.
There is also a giant exhibit that takes you through the history of Paso Robles — which, by the way, includes Jesse James!
Moreover, there are outdoor games like bocce, foosball, and ping pong; interactive art pieces like a giant kaleidoscope; and designated walking trails through the vines.
Visit on a Saturday for live music and a Mexican food truck.
Cass Winery. Cass Winery is right near Sculpterra, making it a convenient next stop. Founded by a former banker, they focus on creating local Paso Robles wines using French grapes.
It was hot when we visited, so instead of doing a tasting we opted for chilled glasses of their 2019 Grenache which we enjoyed on their quiet outdoor patio surrounded by oak trees.
Keep in mind, these are just a few of many wineries to choose from! A few others that were recommended to me when I polled my Instagram community were Summerwood Winery, Las Tablas, Halter Ranch, Whalebone Winery, and Adelaida, to name a few.
Wondering what to do in Paso Robles with family? You’ll be happy to know that many vineyards and wineries are kid-friendly!
Meet Local Makers At Tin City
Once you’re done exploring the vineyards head to Tin City Paso Robles, a huge complex of local makers producing delicious wine, beer, cider, and food.
It truly feels like you’re walking around a city, as businesses have their own brick and mortar storefronts — vs a mall or flea market-style set up.
A few of the many notable spots to check out include Hubba Wines (an awesome woman-owned winery), McPhee’s Canteen (enjoy delicious pizzas and salads on a patio overlooking a rock waterfall), and Olivas de Oro (sample award-winning olive oils and vinegars).
If you want to explore breweries in Paso Robles, BarrelHouse Brewing Co is a great stop — especially when they have live music playing in their beer garden!
Many places close pretty early around 4pm or 5pm here — though Field Recordings Winery stays open until 8pm! We loved sitting on their patio with chilled glasses of rose. Inside, they also have seating, games, and album cover art.
Have Dinner In Downtown Paso Robles At TASTE!
After a day of drinking, soak it up with the hearty plates at TASTE! craft eatery.
The menu is totally customizable, and you can choose if you want two, three, or four items. From there, pick from their humongous menu of sliders, salads, mac and cheeses, and Brussels sprout options.
I had a spicy ahi tuna slider topped with garlic aioli, jalapeño, sriracha, and daikon sprout; a chevre mac and cheese with mushrooms; and a caesar salad. Yum!
Taste is located in Downtown Paso Robles, so if you’re craving something else there are loads of restaurants to choose from nearby — though, in my opinion, eating here is one of the most unique and fun things to do in Paso Robles!
See A Show At The Vina Robles Amphitheatre
If you’re looking for things to do this weekend in Paso Robles, make sure to check the calendar at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre, a giant hillside concert venue that can fit up to 3,000 people.
Here you can see a variety of live music acts. For instance, looking at their upcoming shows right now, I see Jimmy Eat World, Primus, Sublime, Stephen Marley, Barenaked Ladies, and Dropkick Murphys, to name a few.
Want more wine? They have a tasting room in their hospitality center!
Sunday: Hike In Paso Robles + Relax In The Local Hot Springs
Go Hiking In Paso Robles
Looking for things to do in Paso Robles besides wineries?
The city is also known for its natural beauty, which you can explore through local hiking trails, a few of which include:
–Lake Nacimiento Shoreline Trail, a moderate 4.8-mile loop-trail offering the chance to see wildlife and a beautiful lake.
–Montebello Oaks Open Space Trail, an easy 2.1-mile out-and-back trail through oak trees.
–Salinas River Trail, one of the first scenic sections of what will eventually be a 30-mile river trail extending from Santa Margarita to San Miguel up north.
You’re also only about 45 minutes from Morro Bay State Park, which is home to a bay, a lagoon, and the prominent Morro Rock.
It’s worth the drive and, in my opinion, you’ll have access to even better and more beautiful hiking trails than right in Paso Robles — like the moderate Black Hill Trail or the easy Portola Point Trail.
Keep in mind, from Paso Robles you’re only about 2.5 hours from Sequoia NP. This means that if you leave early you can spend one day in Sequoia National Park and still have time to do some of the great hiking trails there and see the famous General Sherman Tree — the world’s largest tree, measured by volume!
Enjoy Lunch With A Paso Robles View
If you like a delicious meal paired with a beautiful view, The Grill at Hunter Ranch is a great breakfast and lunch restaurant in Paso Robles.
Located at the stunning Hunter Ranch Golf Course, you can chow down on sandwiches, salads, and burgers while taking in incredible views of rolling hills and local vineyards from the eatery’s wrap-around deck.
If you’re extra hungry, on Sundays they also offer a bottomless brunch buffet with an enormous amount of options, from hand carved roast beef to made-to-order omelettes to blintzes with berry sauce; and, of course, bloody marys and mimosas.
Looking for things to do in Paso Robles with dogs? You’re in luck, as The Grill at Hunter Ranch has a separate menu for dogs!
Soak In The Paso Robles Hot Springs
There are many hot springs in Paso Robles, so you should definitely try to visit at least one during your trip.
Along with wine and natural beauty, Paso Robles is known for its natural hot springs, mud baths, and spas.
One place where you can explore this side of the city is at River Oaks Hot Springs Spa, which offers everything from artesian thermal mineral springs (best enjoyed under the stars!) to an al fresco spa offering a number of treatments.
You can also book their 60-minute “Sip & Soak” experience, where you and a partner will enjoy a flight of five local wines and a tasty chocolate caramel cookie while soaking in a tub infused with bath salts and locally-grown Zinfandel — all while taking in Paso vineyard views! When it comes to things to do in Paso Robles for couples, you really can’t beat this treatment.
For something budget-friendly, you can also head to Franklin Hot Springs, a private hot spring open daily from 8am to 9pm. While it’s no-frills, it’s super clean and you’ll still reap the benefits of soaking in a positive-charged, ionized mineral hot spring.
Savor A Wine Pairing Dinner At Thomas Hill Organics
Thomas Hill Organics is one of the most renowned restaurants in Paso Robles.
Known for its creative farm-to-fork cuisine, the eatery began as a 10-acre organic farm and eventually grew into a popular restaurant showcasing regional ingredients, meat and dairy from local purveyors, and bread baked by local artisans.
Sit on their sunny back patio and dig into dishes like local burrata with heirloom tomatoes, ribeye steak with Cabernet butter, and a vegetarian “hippie bowl” showcasing the bounty of Paso Robles.
Don’t miss their Dessert Bar featuring house-made desserts, such as a delicious deconstructed s’mores, and treats from local purveyors — like sheep’s milk ice cream from Negranti Creamery.
Pair your meal with a glass of wine from California’s Central Coast.
Monday: End Your Trip With Brunch In Paso Robles
Enjoy Innovative Eats At Brunch Restaurant
Pending you stayed overnight, you can either pack up and hit the road early or save time for one more delicious Paso Robles meal.
If you’re interested in trying the best brunch in Paso Robles, one eatery to add to your itinerary is the aptly-named Brunch.
Open from Monday-Sunday, the focus is on delicious breakfast dishes made with local ingredients and served in a fun and uplifting space.
Some of their most popular items include s’more French toast, Florentine breakfast pizza, and, my personal favorite, avocado toast made with locally-grown avocados.
Pair your meal with a mimosa — or, if you’re feeling a little wild, a build-your-own mimosa flight. Alternatively, if you’re driving and can’t drink, opt for a steaming cup of local Spearhead Coffee.
If you’ve got a little time after brunch, explore Downtown Paso Robles shopping. There are many locally-owned boutiques and the area is very walkable.
Want to continue your California trip? Add this Solvang itinerary to your schedule!
By the way, even though I visited Paso Robles with my husband, I would 100% recommend this as a top destination for solo female travel in California.
Best Wine Tours In Paso Robles
Looking to skip the driving and book a wine tour of Paso Robles? The following highly-rated experiences are sure to exhance your itinerary:
- Paso Robles Wine Adventure with Pickup from Paso Robles, CA
- Paso Robles Wine Tour (We Drive Your Vehicle)
- Semi-Private Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tasting Tour from Paso Robles
- Wine Tasting Tour of Paso Robles in Small Group
- Paso Robles Deluxe Sidecar Wine Tour
- Introductory Wine Tour of Paso Robles on Electric Bikes
Annual Paso Robles Events
There are certain special times of year to visit Paso Robles thanks to a number of annual festivals and events, including:
Paso Robles Wine Festival. This annual spring wine festival features winemaker dinners, barrel tastings, food and wine pairings, live music, and more.
California Mid State Fair. Running for 12 days at the end of July every year, this fair has been happening since 1946. Expect local cultural activities, a carnival, food and drink, and loads of entertainment. A few of many notable past performers have included Justin Bieber, Journey, Kenny Chesney, Tom Petty, and Rod Stewart.
Harvest Wine Weekend. During this annual October wine festival, local wineries put on all types of fun events — from grape stomps to live music to winemaker dinners and beyond!
Pioneer Day. Paso Robles Pioneer Day takes place every year on the second Saturday in October. The event allows you to take a step back in time and celebrate the early days of Paso Robles through themed contests (like a horseshoe pitching contest!) and a parade feating vintage cars, antique tractors, horse-drawn wagons, and more.
Garagiste Wine Festival. This annual November wine festival showcases small production commercial winemakers who are making under 1,500 cases per year. Meet the winemakers and try something you may not have found on your own. They also limit ticket sales so you won’t have to wait in line for a pour.
Bonus: As the festival is run by a nonprofit organization, proceeds go toward supporting future wine professionals through The Garagiste Festival Scholarships at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo.
Before your visit, you can contact the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance at [email protected] to inquire about any fun upcoming events.
Getting Travel Insurance For Your Paso Robles Weekend Getaway
When visiting Paso Robles — or anywhere else in the world — it’s wise to get travel insurance.
One of the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country.
Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.
What would you add to this weekend in Paso Robles itinerary?
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