A Local’s Guide to Exploring Our Hometown Treasures

This year marked the 40th anniversary of National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) from May 7 through 13. This week-long event emphasized the significance of travel and tourism in our communities and economies. As a Paso Robles resident, seize the opportunity to experience your hometown like a tourist and rekindle your love for its unique charm.

Paso Robles combines the free-spirited, cowboy-style vibe with endless activities, exceptional culinary experiences, and intriguing itineraries for all. Boasting excellent wines and invigorating activities without the crowds, innovative dining, and open roads, Paso Robles is the perfect place to explore as a local tourist. Immerse yourself in the many delightful experiences our community has to offer; here are a few of our favorites. 

Balloons Over Paso: Central Coast’s Finest Hot Air Balloon Rides

Embark on a breathtaking journey with Balloons Over Paso, Central Coast’s top hot-air balloon ride provider. Founded by Phoebe Brown, who was inspired by a balloon flight in Australia, this small business creates lasting memories by sharing the beauty and serenity of hot air balloon rides. Gently float above the picturesque countryside as the sun rises, making it the ideal way to start your day in wine country. After the hour-long flight, enjoy a champagne toast and breakfast treats before setting off to explore the incredible area you just admired. Available from May through November (weather permitting), a hot air balloon ride should be on your summer or fall bucket list. balloonsoverpaso.com

Central Coast Trail Rides: A Horseback Adventure Awaits

Experience the thrill of horseback riding with Central Coast Trail Rides, offering guided tours through California’s Central Coast. Partnering with local wineries, private ranches, vacation properties, and state land, their customizable packages provide a unique way to explore the region. Ride through vineyards, enjoy horseback wine tastings, and watch the sunset on their Hilltop Vista Sunset Ride. All skill levels are welcome, and rides are available year-round by appointment only. cctrailrides.com

Bruce Munro: Light at Sensorio

Be mesmerized by Bruce Munro: Light at Sensorio, a dreamlike, multi-acre walk-through experience. Featuring 100,000 fiber-optic lit glass spheres and Light Towers made from 17,388 wine bottles, this solar-powered exhibition invites visitors to engage with the environment through an enchanting light-based and sculptural experience. sensoriopaso.com

Paso Robles Hot Springs: Relax and Rejuvenate

Experience the natural healing powers of Paso Robles’ hot springs at River Oaks Hot Springs Spa, Franklin Hot Springs, and select guest rooms at the Paso Robles Inn. Soak in mineral-rich waters, upgrade to a Sip and Soak package, or enjoy the classic outdoor hot springs experience.

Estrella Warbird Museum and Paso Robles Pioneer Museum

Delve into the fascinating history of Paso Robles with visits to the Estrella Warbird Museum and Paso Robles Pioneer Museum. Explore the town’s pioneering age, vintage aircraft, military vehicles, and memorabilia for a captivating journey through time. ewarbirds.org

Mission San Miguel Arcángel

Discover the rich history of the 16th California mission, Mission San Miguel Arcángel, featuring original layout and buildings dating back more than 200 years. Explore the well-preserved church, wall frescos, and grounds through self-guided or docent-led tours. missionsanmiguel.org

Studios on the Park

Witness art in the making at Studios on the Park, a nonprofit open studios art center showcasing ten working studios, 50 local artists, and The Showroom Gallery representing the Paso Robles Art Association. Enjoy daily demonstrations, classes, and exhibitions. studiosonthepark.org

The Paso Robles History Museum and El Paso de Robles Area Historical Society

Explore the captivating heritage of Paso Robles at the Paso Robles History Museum and the El Paso de Robles Area Historical Society, located in the historic Carnegie Library in downtown City Park. The museum showcases exhibits that celebrate our area’s unique past, while the Historical Society’s research room offers maps, newspapers, photographs, and family histories. Docents are available to share their knowledge, making the Paso Robles History Museum a must-see for both visitors and locals alike. 

Camp Roberts Historical Museum

Experience California’s largest Army museum at Camp Roberts, located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on US Hwy. 101. Showcasing the entire history of one of America’s most historic Army installations, the Camp Roberts Historical Museum is open to the public on Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (excluding some National Holidays). Groups are welcome, and lunch options are available. Admission is always free to all. 

Access: Visitors without active or retired military ID cards must stop at the Security Office to obtain a visitor pass before entering the Camp. A driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance are required. camprobertshistoricalmuseum.com

So be sure to take advantage of the 40th anniversary of National Travel and Tourism to explore Paso Robles as a local tourist. With so many attractions and experiences waiting to be discovered, you’ll find a renewed appreciation for your hometown’s unique charm and history.

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