California may not be your first thought for an affordable family vacation, but there are plenty of fun, family-friendly and beautiful cities to visit — all on a budget. Paso Robles happens to be one. While the vineyards and olive groves would suggest more luxury price tags, Paso Robles, California, is actually a budget-friendly locale worth a visit for any age.
Pack your walking shoes and sunglasses and explore the main street and all the downtown restaurants and shops with the kids. The quirky boutiques and small-town charm offer far more than meets the eye. The city is easily walkable, therefore great for toting the kids around for free, or for safe travels with the older kids after a few wine tastings.
Start off the day with cheap eats at the Cowgirl Café. The Western theme doesn’t end at the décor — the homestyle food and low prices are a great start to the day. Get your fill and get on to the next stop: arts and culture.
Visit the local museums in the area with a day pass, or just stroll around downtown checking out the fun shops and attractions.
Enjoy the scenic locale from afar, or jump in — literally. Pack your bathing suits and head over to the Franklin Hotsprings, located right near town. Entrance is $7 for adults and $5 for kids, ages 14 and younger. The temperature hovers around 100 degrees Fahrenheit and its natural minerals and warm temperature are known to improve circulation, soothe muscles and detox the body. The price of admission includes boating and fishing; some seasonal activities and events may be extra.
The area’s laid-back vibe and slower pace offer a more relaxing aesthetic for your family vacation. Rent bikes and explore the beautiful natural landscape of the area, or just enjoy a leisurely ride through town with the kids before dinner.
Once back in the center of town, it’s time for a wine tasting, dinner and a show. Visit Sculpterra, the winery and sculpture garden, for some wine and art — you may even be lucky enough to hear some live music, but, just to be sure, check out the full calendar of events.
Take your time picking and choosing the day’s activities together as a family or split up and make your way back together for dinner. The town is easy to navigate whether on foot, bike or car.