By Dylan Grant
A rough idea is the foundation of even the most successful businesses. Transforming innovative concepts into a reality often forces startups to run with minimal resources. SLO entrepreneurs know how to make things work on a budget. We’ve provided a list of 20 things you can do in SLO for $20 or under this summer. Pull from the activities below and make high-priced memories on a bootstrap income.
SLO County Farmers Market
Support our local farmers and enjoy fresh fruits, veggies and artisan goods at the market of your choice this summer. Munch on corn-on-the-cob while taking in the sound of vendor chatter and eclectic instrumentals. To pinpoint your favorite merchants and place your orders at farmers markets around SLO County, download the Arkitu app courtesy of our CIE incubator company.
Concerts in the Plaza
Calling all music lovers! Concerts in the Plaza are officially in session every Friday outside the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolsa from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Genres range from Vintage Blues to Gypsy Folk Rock. All ages are welcome, but those 21 and over can fill up a commemorative Concerts in the Plaza pint for $10.
Tour Mission San Luis Obispo De Tolosa
Come explore one of SLO’s most renowned landmarks! The Mission San Luis Obispo De Tolosa offers free, docent-led tours Monday through Saturday at 1:15 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Founded in 1772, this Spanish mission is located right in the heart of downtown SLO.
Morro Bay Skateboard Museum
Take a trip from the early 1930s to the present day. The Morro Bay Skateboard Museum’s collection of over 200 skateboards showcases every era in the sport’s history. Stop in and explore the evolution of skateboarding.
Warm summer nights in San Luis Obispo might be best spent tuned into a double feature at the iconic Sunset Drive-In. New films play seven nights a week at this charming outdoor theatre for a ticket price of $9. If you’re an early riser, swing by on Sunday mornings for a swap meet of goods and vintage knick-knacks.
Art After Dark
Wander through downtown SLO on the first Friday of every month to ponder the work of local artists. Beginning at 6:00 p.m. and wrapping up at 9:00 p.m., Art After Dark is a wonderful way to experience SLO culture and community.
Central Coast Kayak Rental
Hit the glassy waters of Shell Beach with the help of Central Coast Kayaks. Spend $20 for an hour of beautiful rock formation and aquatic exploration. Rentals open at 9:00 a.m. so bundle up for a tranquil paddling experience.
Full Day Surfboard Rentals
Spend the day catching waves on the shores of Pismo Beach for $20. Full-day surf and boogie board rentals are available at Pismo Beach Surf Shop. Enjoy chasing waves and swimming out to sea on a budget. Slip into a wetsuit to combat the Central Coast chill for an extra $10.
Morro Bay Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Test your balance with an hour of paddle boarding around Morro Bay’s four miles of smooth waters. If kayaking or surfing isn’t for you, stand up for $20 an hour paddleboarding.
The Central Coast Aquarium in Avila
Home to dozens of species, the Central Coast Aquarium in Avila Beach offers visitors a hands-on approach to marine appreciation. Take a few hours to meet a giant Pacific octopus along with sea stars, rock crabs, smooth hound sharks and a gumboot chiton. General admission is $8.
Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero
Walk up to a flamboyance of flamingos this summer at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero. Hundreds of species call this zoo home. Come give a warm hello to animals ranging from a Malayan tiger to the colorful Gila monster for the price of $7.
Get in touch with your inner treasure seeker on the shores of Moonstone Beach in Cambria. Hunt for rocks and enjoy the sight of harbor seals sunbathing on the coast. Venture downtown for an array of antique stores finds and grab a lunch to remember in The Cafe’s succulent garden.
Morro Bay Harbor Cruise
Bring your sea legs for a cruise around Morro Bay Harbor. Otters, sea lions and schools of jellyfish welcome you to climb aboard a Sub Sea Tour this summer for $20. Narrated tours last 45 minutes and offer below deck views of the harbor.
Piedras Blancas Light Station
Drive north for a self-led tour of the Piedras Blancas Light Station, a historic park and wildlife sanctuary. The light station is open to all hikers from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on July 25 and August 29. Click the link for more information on hiking guidelines and directions.
Avila Ridge Hike
Grab a sandwich from your favorite local deli and fill up your hydroflasks. Once you climb to the top of Avila Ridge, this steep hikes ocean views will keep you enjoying the sights for hours. Indulge in a picnic this summer at the top of one of SLO’s natural wonders.
The Pad Climbing Gym
Join SLO’s climbing community with a $ 15-day pass to the Pad Climbing Gym. Enjoy a work out at your own pace at this indoor rock climbing center. Plan your visit during staff hours from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa
Hop on the phone and book yourself a private mineral hot tub under the stars in Avila. Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa provides a therapeutic outdoor experience for $15 a person Monday through Thursday. Rates rise to $20 a person over the weekend.
Avila Valley Barn
Fresh produce and delicious baked goods are waiting for you at Avila Valley Barn. Slurp up some homemade ice cream before catching a hayride this summer. This homestead offers fun for all ages with charming goodies and a petting zoo.
Chase a Waterfall
Take a trip to Big Falls Trailhead in Arroyo Grande for a serene waterfall vista. Close to four miles in and out, this brief hike yields a serious reward. Enjoy the natural sights but watch out for poison oak on your stroll towards roaring waters.
Oceano Beach Bonfires
No late night snack can beat an oozing marshmallow stuffed between graham crackers. Break out some kindling for a summer bonfire on the shores of the Oceano Dunes. Driving your car onto the sand costs $5, but entry is free for those willing to carry their wood onto the beach from the street. Beach hours are limited to 11 p.m. in Pismo and Grover.
Enjoy the entrepreneurial lifestyle on the Central Coast this summer without breaking the bank! Lack of funds can’t hold our innovators back from embracing the SLO entrepreneur lifestyle.