Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean the fun has stopped in San Luis Obispo County. Here are 10 fun things to do with family and friends on the Central Coast.
1. Buy fresh, local apples
Take a leisurely drive through rural See Canyon and stop to get some freshly picked apples.
See Canyon Fruit Ranch showcases both apples and honey at its seasonal fruit stand, open daily Sept. 1 through the end of November. Heirloom and nonheirloom apple varieties are available, such as Golden Delicious, Red Gold, Fuji, Red Delicious, Pippin and Gala. Other produce, cider and eggs are also for sale, as are locally made crafts.
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Gopher Glen’s roadside stand offers a wide variety of apples, such as Jonalicious, Fuji, Pink Lady and Winesap Turley.
Visitors to SLO Creek Farms’ U-pick are invited to pick their own apples and pay for them at the orchard stand. Several varieties are available, including Braeburn, Fuji, Granny Smith, Gala and Empire.
The season typically runs from the end of August until the beginning of November.
2. Pick a pumpkin from the patch
Nothing says fall like a round, bright orange squash. Head to a local pumpkin patch to pick your own to carve, eat or place on your front porch.
Try Brookshire Farms in San Luis Obispo, Jack Creek Farms off Highway 46 West in Templeton, Avila Valley Barn in SLO, Nipomo Pumpkin Patch, Chesebrough Farm in Templeton or River K Pumpkin Patch in Paso Robles.
3. Watch the monarchs migrate to Pismo Beach
Starting in late October, thousands of colorful monarch butterflies migrate to Pismo Beach to escape cold northern winters.
The butterflies can be seen clustering in the eucalyptus trees at Pismo State Beach until February.
Although monarchs can be seen throughout California, Pismo Beach is considered one of the best viewing sites.
The Monarch Butterfly Grove opens for the season Oct. 22 this year.
The butterfly season peaks around Thanksgiving and lasts through early January, when it begins to taper off.
4. Drink hard cider
Apples too crunchy for you? Try apples in liquid form that are “hard” in a different way.
A handful of San Luis Obispo County cider-makers have cropped up in recent years, reflecting fast national growth in cider consumption.
5. Check out the Cambria Scarecrow Festival
In its eighth year, the free, monthlong festival — which kicked off Oct. 1 and runs through Halloween — features more than 500 scarecrows stationed throughout Cambria. (A few more can be found in the neighboring hamlets of San Simeon, to the north, and Harmony, a few miles south on Highway 1.)
The colorful, often kooky scarecrows are built by local businesses and residents using everything from burlap and garbage bags to PVC pipe and pool noodles. They range from the fun to the funky to the fabulous.
6. Ogle gigantic pumpkins
It’s the Great Pumpkin Contest, San Luis Obispo! Head to Mission Plaza from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, to see giant pumpkins, beautiful pumpkins and unusual pumpkins compete for prizes.
Scarecrows created by kids, adults, businesses and organizations also will be set up for judging. The event, sponsored by Farm Supply, is in its 11th year.
7. Get lost in a corn maze
It’s not fall until you’ve been amazed in a maize maze. There are several farms in SLO County that offer lots of fall family fun.
Brookshire Farms in SLO has a 7-acre corn maze and a kids corn maze. Afterward, check out the hay rides, jumping pillow, hay climb and more.
River K Pumpkin Patch in Paso Robles also has a corn maze and pumpkin patch.
If you’re not up for getting lost in the corn stalks, try the hay maze at Avila Valley Barn in SLO.
8. Harvest on the coast
Fall is harvest time for one of the top crops in SLO County: wine grapes.
On Nov. 5, Harvest on the Coast will host a grand tasting and wine auction in Avila Beach.
Those with tickets will also get free wine tastings Nov. 6 at participating wineries.
9. Watch the wieners run at Dogtoberfest
Watch wiener dogs and wiener wannabes race as fast as their little legs can move during the annual Dogtoberfest in Atascadero.
Held in conjunction with Colony Days, Dogtoberfest will take place in Sunken Gardens on Oct. 15.
Registration begins at 10 a.m. and races begin at 1 p.m.
While the races are for wiener dogs and small dogs less than 25 pounds, all dogs, big and small, are welcome at the pet costume contest.
10. Trot like a turkey
Work off some of those Thanksgiving calories before you even sit down to dinner. The Gobble Wobble 5K Fun Run starts at 9 a.m. Thanksgiving morning at Laguna Lake Golf Course in SLO.
The Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County will benefit from two Turkey Trots on Nov. 24. In Avila Beach, do a 2-mile walk or 5-mile run along the Bob Jones Trail.
In Pismo Beach, the South County Turkey Trot will include a 1-mile, 5K and 10K along the beach.
The Templeton Community Services District will hold a turkey trot Saturday, Nov. 19.