RV Adventures: Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo


When we bought our RV the only experience with this kind of travel I’d had is the 2 weeks I spent in a camper van touring New Zealand.  Lou had been camping in a tow trailer as a kid, but hadn’t been out on the road in his adult life.  So we weren’t entirely sure how we were going to feel about traveling in an RV.  But 5 days into our second trip I can tell you this:  the RV was probably the best purchase we’ve ever made!  I’m so excited to bring you all along with us as we explore this country (and hopefully Canada and Mexico!)- there’s so much beauty in this world, there’s so much to see.  I know that we’re incredibly blessed to be able to work from the road and have these adventures, so it’s my mission to make it possible for all of you to live vicariously through ours until the next time you get out for your own.  I hope all of our exploring helps inspire your own!  Ok, now on for the goodness we found in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach!  More after the jump!


santa_barbara_san_luis-7 santa_barbara_san_luis-8 santa_barbara_san_luis-10

We spent Labor Day in Santa Barbara, my old college stomping grounds!  In the morning we hiked my favorite trail- Rattlesnake Canyon (seen above), and then spent the afternoon at the beach.  Rattlesnake Canyon trail is a great quick & easy hike- 3.5 miles round trip (I recommend going earlier in the day to avoid midday sun which can be a bit brutal!)  Nugget has been coming on our hiking adventures, and riding in this backpack (she’s 18lb for reference).  She LOVES it!  And it’s so fun to have her along. I always feel so bad leaving her at home when we’re out having fun that her legs are too short to enjoy.  HA!  (leggings, tank,  sneakers)


After an afternoon of sand and sun we left SB and cruised up the beach to North Beach campground in Pismo Beach.  It’s always a little bit of a gamble going to a campground you’re not familiar with, so we were beyond excited to see that the area below was our campsite, and just over that hill was the beach!  Amazingness.   If you’re going to camp here I recommend reserving spots 24, 25, or 27 (07, 09, 11, 13 are all great as well).  We snagged spot 7, which was pure luck.  This is dry camping- no RV hookups.  And it’s great for those who are tent or car camping as well!

santa_barbara_san_luis-16 santa_barbara_san_luis-26

Pepito is enjoying the RV adventures!  He hops around the house and I get him out to chew grass, dig holes and hop around outside at least once a day as well.  Not a bad life for our sweet bunny.

santa_barbara_san_luis-29 santa_barbara_san_luis-39

Above: Using a Eucalyptus grove by the coast to stretch it out after a morning run!  (pants: Nike) Below:  The salad we can’t get enough of.  Sweet pea greens, butter lettuce, carrot peels, radishes, watermelon radishes, figs, pistachios, cherry tomatoes, purple cabbage, savoy cabbage and avocado.  ALL OF THE COLORS!!!!!

santa_barbara_san_luis-7-2 santa_barbara_san_luis-8-3santa_barbara_san_luis-5-3

The next day we headed out to Cerro Alto trail in San Luis Obispo.  A 5.35 mile hike that reaches over 1600 ft, that I’d describe as strenuous, it’s one of the highest peaks in San Luis.  The central coast is absolutely beautiful, and it was so nice to see it from this vantage point!  The trail starts out woodsy and magical.  Read: ferns, sunlight pouring through canopied trails, a creek.  And the towards the top it opens up to the amazing views and landscape. It’s a hike I’d happily do again.

santa_barbara_san_luis-23-2 santa_barbara_san_luis-20

(outfit sources: leggings, bra top,  tank)

santa_barbara_san_luis-11-2 santa_barbara_san_luis-15-2 santa_barbara_san_luis-10-2

This little beast is so lazy that even after being carried for 99.9% of the hike she didn’t want to get out of the bag when we took a quick rest.  She has the life!

santa_barbara_san_luis-28-3 santa_barbara_san_luis-25-3 santa_barbara_san_luis-32-3

Gratuitous amounts of Nugget photos.  I can’t get enough.


After a sweaty morning in the mountains we headed to Pirate’s Cove for an afternoon of swimming!  What a beach!  It was absolutely spectacular- sandy shoreline, seals sunbathing on the rocks, water that was perfectly cold and salty (I do love a good brisk dip in the sea to feel refreshed and alive!), and – not too crowded.  Be warned though, it’s a nude beach.  And there are, as most nude beaches seem to have, a lot of naked old men.  So if those are views that offend you, I’d head up the coast a bit!  Given my relaxed hippie upbringing, nudity is something I’m comfortable with and I enjoy a good topless swim myself!

santa_barbara_san_luis-33-3 santa_barbara_san_luis-38-3 santa_barbara_san_luis-39-3 santa_barbara_san_luis-51 santa_barbara_san_luis-43 santa_barbara_san_luis-52-2

Ok, that’s all I’ve got for you for the moment!  I’ll be back soon to share more of our adventures!  And, if you have restaurant or shopping recs for the central coast (or really, any recs at all for the area) please leave them for me in the comments, I’d love to hear!  This won’t be our last trip to Pismo/San Luis- I’m in love with it!  xx- Sarah

Post a Comment

  • (will not be published)

Reader Comments

    • Myrna|

      Melissa I thinks she’s a Lhaso Apso or Shitzu. I had a Lhaso Apso and she looked just like Nugget – gorgeous.


    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks Melissa! We think she’s a Shih-tzu mix? Or as Myrna said maybe a Llasa Apso too! We aren’t sure, she’s a rescue.

      • Melissa|

        Thank you for the update! I am looking at a Llaso Apso rescue who is just adorable and older so needs a home and seeing pics of nugget makes me think maybe she is the right choice. I want one that can go anywhere

  1. Nicole|

    Please share how you like to dress that salad! It’s making my mouth water!!!

    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks Nicole! I make a dressing that’s got Extra Virgin Olive Oil, balsamic, dijon mutard, honey, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. It’s my favorite! :)

      • Nicole|

        Thanks so much, Sarah! Figs are reaching the tail-end of the season in my neck of the woods. I saw a few baskets at the market today and snapped them up. This salad is accompanying your Figgy Olive Chicken tonight. I can’t wait!!!

  2. Myrna|

    OMG Sarah so jealous of your adventures :) Thanks for sharing and my gosh these photos are breathtaking. What camera are you using for all these great shots? I love that you’re taking all your babies with you, are they enjoying the RV? Thanks again for sharing can’t wait to see more.


    • Sarah Yates|

      Thank you Myrna! The animals love being on this adventure with us! Everyday they have new lands to explore.:) We’re shooting a bunch with the Sony RX 100 Mark IIII. Love it so much!!!

  3. Carrie S.|

    Pismo Beach is amazing, and even though it’s a bit commercial, the North Beach Campground is not bad. We tent camped there years ago when our kids were small. The central coast is such a magical place – enjoy your travels! The photos are spectacular!

  4. Jenna of This Is My Happiness|

    What a fun way to spend these last weeks of summer! My mom has a beautiful Airstream, and she and her husband go all over with it. In fact, they’re wrapping up a 2+ week tour of Oregon and Washington now.

  5. Mitesh Shere|

    Pics are awesome! I love getting connected to adventure within me and I think Pismo beach is wonderful. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  6. Ann|

    SO glad you’re posting about this. Me and hubby have 4 dogs…making travel quite tough to do. We’ve been considering looking at an RV. Is there any way you can share more about the RV itself bc I’ve NO clue where to start when looking at them…so I’m wondering about the specific one you’re liking. Can you share? You could also email me, if that’s preferred. Many thanks and happy trails! :)))