A Weekend in Paso Robles With Kids - 510 Families
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A Weekend in Paso Robles With Kids

When I was a kid schlepping back and forth between my mom’s house in LA and my dad’s house in Paso Robles for long weekends and school breaks, I didn’t think much of Paso besides wishing it were three hours closer to LA.  The most notable thing about it was that there was a freeway sign that read “Los Angeles: 234 miles; San Francisco: 234 miles”.

Now when I tell people that we are headed to Paso Robles for the weekend to visit my dad, they reply with enthusiasm. “It’s so beautiful there!”

“Oh, will you go wine tasting?”

We’ll probably stay in our jammies half the day and then go to a park, but that’s what weekends at a grandparent’s house are for, right? But if YOU go there, you should get out more.

Driving to Paso Robles With Kids

It’s just over three hours without stopping. If you can’t make it without stopping, we like a Chipotle/Starbucks break in Morgan Hill, off the Cochrane exit.  Fans of In-N-Out burgers will be satisfied at this exit as well.

Things to Do In Downtown Paso Robles

Paso Robles Downtown City Park

The downtown is set up around a square, similar to Sonoma if you’ve been there. The square itself is a sufficient park for running around with playground equipment. Parents can take turns manning the playground usage while the other roams around the shops on the perimeter. One of these shops is SLO Sweets a super fun vintage candy store and ice cream shop.

A short distance from the square is the Paso Robles Children’s Museum. Best for kids 2-7, it has art projects, dress-up, a real fire truck to climb on, and a mini-ball pit for toddlers with a wine barrel theme. The hours are limited to Friday through Monday, so best for an extended weekend trip.pasochildrensmuseum

There’s lots of amusement packed into this relatively small building, the most noteworthy of which is a netted area that features a complex system of ball chutes and blasters. If you have a 3 or 4-year old, you should maybe drive straight there this instant.pasorobles1

Out a little further from the town sits our favorite park, Barney Schwartz. The equipment is pretty novel and the setting can’t be beat; the view is pure Paso Robles.

barney schwartz park paso roblespasorobles2

Sensorio Light Display

Sensorio Field of Light in Paso Robles

Any list of things to do in Paso Robles made in the past couple years will include a visit to the Sensorio light display. If you have an early-to-bed child, wintertime is best for this activity because you can start your visit as early as 4:30. Upon entrance, you’ll find a charming food truck area. Order hot drinks to keep your hands warm! (Unless you’ll be carrying someone around, which I had to do on my last visit.) Then, once it’s dark, you’ll proceed along a winding path to see the lights covering the rolling landscape.

About ten minutes from Downtown Paso, this magical light installation is truly stunning.

General admission (recommended) is $43 for adults and $22 for kids 3-12. Sells out well in advance, so book admission when you plan your trip.

Wine Stuff (With Kids!)

Paso Robles is an extremely casual place. There are some tasting opportunities in the downtown area, but to really appreciate where the grapes are coming from, head out to wineries on one of the nearby rural highways. I can’t promise that the tasting room won’t have a gift shop full of breakables, but there are certainly several with picnic areas ideal for running around. Bianchi has automated toy sailboats; Castoro has a pot-bellied pig as the house pet; and, Sylvester features vintage train cars in front of the picnic grounds.

Around Paso Robles

Paso, as locals call it, is at the northern end of San Luis Obispo County, which means many of the recreational tips you’ll find might be a 45-minute drive. Hearst Castle, for example, is 37 miles west, while the city of San Luis Obispo is a solid 30 minutes on the highway to the south.

Visit Travel Paso for more ideas >

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4 thoughts on “A Weekend in Paso Robles With Kids”

  1. ” that features a complex system of ball chutes and blasters. If you have a 3 or 4-year old boy”

    this kind of made me want to barf. Girls like science too.

  2. I accept responsibility for my recommendation which is not intended to exclude girls, but rather to cater to boys. I have been to this museum twice and the ball area is crowded with boys. My daughter and I enjoy the attraction, too, and I think most 3-4 year old boys would LOVE it.

  3. Pingback: Water park for my summer bucket list

  4. Pingback: 5 Bay Area roadtrips with for baby-owners (with a travel crib giveaway!)

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