Subject: Re: San Luis Obispo, CA vicinity

Especially with two small children, one option to consider for lodging is the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. It is famous for their themed rooms (i.e., Italian, French, Scandinavian, jungle, etc.) Some rooms even have waterfall showers. Great fun for the kids.

This might sound like some schlocky gimmick but the Madonna Inn is a well-rated AAA hotel. The rooms are high quality and reasonably priced. For example, you could stay in the China Flower room with a king bed and a double bed for $165. Or the pink 50s room with two double beds for $147.

If you are going to be in the area on a Thursday night, you should definitely make sure to visit the farmer's market in SLO. It is much more than just local growers with fruits and vegetables. They block off about 8 blocks of Higuera Street and fill it with people selling all kinds of cooked food (tri tip bbq and ribs are the specialty). I have been there twice and loved it. You will also find some live music and maybe a farm animal or two from the Cal Poly SLO agriculture program students. You can read more about it at

That link also includes more info on Morro Bay, Avila Beach and Pismo Beach which would all be good locations if you preferred to stay beachside. I haven't stayed in any of them so I can't recommend any specific hotels or motels. But my AAA guide lists a lot of places with rates well under $200.

Mark Los Angeles