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San Luis Obispo County is located in Central California off highway 101 about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I went to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and my husband spent most of his life living in Arroyo Grande. Needless to say, it’s one of our favorite spots in California to spend the weekend. Of course, we love to visit with family and friends in the area, but we also love wine tasting! (Well, I love wine tasting even if my husband just tolerates my love of wine tasting.)
San Luis Obispo County is home to several great wine regions. Our favorite is Edna Valley in southern SLO County. Even though we usually travel with our son these days, we don’t let that stop us from enjoying local wineries. I get to enjoy a nice glass of wine and my son gets to run around outside while my husband chases him. There are so many family friendly wineries throughout San Luis Obispo. Here we’ve rounded up our favorites so that you can find out the best spots to enjoy two of California’s greatest assets with your family: wine and weather.
But First, One Important Rule: Designate a Driver
Whenever you go wine tasting, you should always, always, ALWAYS designate a sober driver. If you’re going wine tasting with your kids, this is even more important. And I mean a 100%, not even a sip of wine, sober driver. I’m lucky in that my husband doesn’t drink so I always have a designated driver.
There are a number of car services in San Luis Obispo County that will take you wine tasting. We’ve used Gold Coast Limousine multiple times in the past including for our wedding. Plus, wine tasting in a limo makes you feel fancy. There’s also Uber WINE which assigns you a driver for the day who waits for you at each winery. You can leave your belongings in the car while you wine taste which I assume also means a car seat.
Family Friendly Spots for Wine Tasting in SLO County:
Location: 5828 Orcutt Road, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401
Open: Every day 10am – 5pm except select holidays.
The Baileyana tasting room is located in a historic schoolhouse which was built in 1909. There’s just something fun about drinking wine in a school! To be honest, I don’t love Baileyana wines, but they have a very large selection and I haven’t tasted everything. I really love their gift shop which is full of awesome wine themed merchandise and gourmet food. It’s centrally located in Edna Valley so chances are you’ll pass by it at least once while you’re out wine tasting.
Outside there are numerous picnic tables and grassy areas for kids to run around. Both kids and dogs are welcome. There are two bocce ball courts which are fun for kids of all ages. The picnic areas are set back from the road so it’s a safe spot for kids to play.
2. Biddle Ranch Vineyard
Types of Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Syrah
Location: 2050 Biddle Ranch Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Open: Every day from 11am – 5pm except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Relatively new in Edna Valley, Biddle Ranch Vineyard is a beautiful spot for wine tasting. The architecture and landscaping look like something you’d see on an episode of Fixer Upper (R.I.P.). The tasting room is surrounded on all sides with beautiful views of Edna Valley. I fell in love with this vineyard from the first time I saw it. It’s probably my third favorite spot to go wine tasting with my kid after Chamisal Vineyards and Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards.
Wine tasting occurs inside the tasting room or outside under the olive trees. They sell cheese and crackers, but you can also bring your own picnic to enjoy outside. There’s lots of space for kids and dogs to roam around outside.
If you really want to splurge, book a stay at the vineyard house at Biddle Ranch. It’s a gorgeous 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house that sleeps 12. A stay at the vineyard house is a great way to immerse yourself in San Luis Obispo wine country. And you get free wine tasting during your stay!
3. Chamisal Vineyards
Types of Wine: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Rose, Syrah
Location: 7525 Orcutt Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Open: Every day from 10am – 5pm except select holidays.
My favorite spot for wine tasting in San Luis Obispo County is Chamisal Vineyards. The back patio is the best spot for wine tasting. On the weekends, it’s only available to wine club members. One wine club member can usually get their friends onto the back patio as well, but you should call in advance to confirm. I’ve been a wine club member in the past because I love their Stainless Chardonnay. They offer great deals and discounts to members throughout the year. During the week, the back patio is open to everyone.
On weekends, everyone can enjoy a tasting inside the tasting room or on the front garden patio which is also lovely. This is also my favorite spot for a picnic. They have a new designated picnic area out back next to their airstream trailer. The airstream trailer serves a Rose wine which is very refreshing on a warm California day.
Kids and dogs are very welcome at Chamisal. I’ve seen both newborns and dogs hanging out in strollers. Sometimes even in the same stroller. I haven’t actually taken my son to Chamisal because it’s my special, secret place, but, now that I’m sharing that secret with you, he’ll probably get to go next time.
4. Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards
Location: 1947 See Canyon Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Open: Every day from 11am – 5:30pm except 11am – 3pm on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards is not located in Edna Valley. It’s off highway 101 on the way to Avila Beach. It’s still relatively close to the other wineries on this list, but if you’re wine tasting in a hurry you might not have time to drive all the way out to Avila. That being said, it’s well worth a visit and they’re open a little later than most Edna Valley tasting rooms.
Wine tasting takes place inside the tasting room or outside at the tasting window. They let you pick any 5 wines from their extensive list of options. It’s nice to be able to pick your favorites rather than going down a set list. Our favorite is the hard cider. We always take a few bottles home for my husband for those rare occasions when he does drink.
Kids and dogs are welcome at Kelsey. They have lots of outdoor seating with umbrellas for shade. Peacocks roam the property and you can buy bird food to entice them to visit you. Every Sunday they have live music outside which makes it a great day to visit. There is a steep drop off towards a creek along the backside of the property so keep a close eye on your kids and dogs.
5. Talley Vineyards
Location: 3031 Lopez Drive, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
Open: Every day 10:30am – 4pm except select holidays.
The Talley Vineyards tasting room is located in the Arroyo Grande Valley which is just south of Edna Valley. It’s worth the trip for their wide variety of wines and large tasting room. Inside the tasting room, you can enjoy sweeping views of their vineyards and the valley. From July to November, they also have a farm stand on the weekends where you can buy fresh produce from the nearby Talley Farm. They have several different wine tasting menus at different price points for you to enjoy inside the tasting room.
Kids and dogs are welcome and there are numerous outdoor picnic areas throughout the property. Sometimes they even have corn hole boards set up. There’s also a toy chest tucked away inside the tasting room to help keep your kids entertained. The Talley tasting room is very secluded so your kids will be safe to play on the property under supervision.
Bonus Stop: Avila Valley Barn
Location: 560 Avila Beach Drive, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Open: Thursday – Monday 9am – 5pm
Whether you’re wine tasting with your kids in Edna Valley or you’re heading towards Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards in Avila, make sure to stop by Avila Valley Barn. Here you’ll find fruits, vegetables, pies, and more for sale. For kids, the biggest draw is the live animals on the farm like goats, sheep, and horses. $1 buys a bag of lettuce that they can feed to the animals.
There’s also an ice cream and sweet shoppe and you can pick your own apples in August and September and pumpkins in October. Sometimes, they also have additional hot food vendors set up around the property. It’s a great spot to make your kids happy on a long day of wine tasting with mom and/or dad. Plus, they’re open earlier than most Edna Valley tasting rooms so you can always go there first.