Paso Robles: Sense-sational Family Travel – Part Two

Looking for an ideal place to take a family trip?  With so many things to see, hear, taste, touch, smell and do, parents and kids alike will enjoy a vacation in Paso Robles, California. This scenic vineyard filled town offers treats to delight all your senses, and an opportunity to get in touch with your inner child, while having fun with your children.

Check out “Things to Taste and Things to Touch in Part One of Sense-sational Paso Robles.

Things to See in Paso Robles

It’s hard to pick a weekend where there isn’t a something special happening in Paso Robles. From Harvest Festival to Pioneer Day to Holiday, Art, Food and Wine Festivals, there is almost always something going on here.  Travel Paso has schedules and information about Paso Robles special events.

If you are around for Pioneer Day you don’t want to miss the giant parade of historic farm equipment, wagons and old cars, followed by a free bean feast. This town celebration is over 80 years old and urges attending townsfolk to “leave your pocketbook at home”.

Kids and adults will enjoy browsing the galleries and boutiques and happenings in the town square. Make sure to stop by Powell’s Sweet Shoppe where you can see (and taste) many of the hard-to-find candies you remember from your youth. They have a great selection of novelty items and smile inducing gifts.


No trip to Paso Robles is complete with dropping in to see the historic Carnegie Library. This charming building now houses the Paso Robles Area Historical Society. In the cases and displays you will see and learn about the history of the town. Memories are jam packed into this library built with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie in 1907.  The town’s treasure trove of books has since been relocated to another larger home across the street but that library atmosphere, smell of books and unique sense of town pride remains here.

Things to Hear in Paso Robles

Did you know that Paso Robles means “Passage of the Oaks?”.  It’s easy to imagine why. Sit for a moment under one of the massive oaks in the town square and listen to the acorns dropping.  The town square benches are a perfect place to while away some time with family. Children will enjoy collecting acorns around the trees.  They are massive, beautiful, specimens and make perfect natural souvenirs. While you play here, try your luck at mastering the Acorn Cap Whistle, a perfect (and free!) family vacation activity.

Paso Robles hosts multiple festivals and live music is a regular occurence in the historic town square. Stroll by in the evening and you are sure to hear some tunes. Talk to the locals and you’re sure to hear some great stories as well. Many of the town’s residents are fifth or sixth generation and happy to tell your their tale.

Things to Smell in Paso Robles

Do you smell that? It’s dinner! In Paso Robles extraordinary gourmet farm to table fare is available every day. Thomas Hill Organics is a perfect example of restaurants that cater to the modern foodie family. Here you will find seasonal taste treats that are lovingly and carefully crafted to feed your body and soul. The restaurant is not child friendly in the “crayons and kiddie menu” sense, however it is welcoming and casual in a family way.

Everyone who dines in the bistro and their open air courtyard is made to feel like a relative or long lost friend. Knowledgeable wait staff note your preferences and care is taken to accommodate guests with food allergies.  The fact that everything is prepared on site, with only a few ingredients makes that easier. Few of the dinners and desserts on the menu are made with gluten containing ingredients. Food is sourced locally and prepared fresh. Everything is delicious.

Fresh farm produce is also available on site.

Just a few blocks away Panolivo offers up a fusion of French Family/California cuisine in a casual family friendly atmosphere. The restaurant boasts an extensive gluten free menu, including bread, appetizer and pasta options, which are normally so hard to find. They also have a nice kids menu with some of the standard “go to” foods for picky eaters (pasta and french fries).  This makes Panolivo an excellent choice for families who have gluten free members.  Husband & wife owners Chef Beatrice and Didier Cop have great pride of place and enjoy being a part of the local Paso Robles scene. Their restaurant is a joint labor of love.

 Still more to come (stay tuned tomorrow for): Where to Stay & Even More to Delight the Senses in and around Paso Robles

Disclosure: Travel Paso provided our family with lodging, activities and select meals as part of a press trip for purpose of review. All opinions as well as acorns and real estate flyers gathered by my children, are my own.