Explore the bear valley of SLO County: Los Osos – Baywood Park
Los Osos, Spanish for “the bears”, is off the beaten path and the gateway to Montana de Oro, an amazing state park along the ocean. The town of Los Osos – Baywood Park has many quaint places of interest for visitors to stop on their way to and from the state park. Try one of the many restaurants or grab something to take with you for a picnic at the beach or one of the nearby forests.
Montana de Oro
Los Osos Valley Road leads right into the state park. The park, popular for day visitors, has 50 primitive sites. The park is well-used with daily visitors throughout the year who go there to hike, picnic, fish, camp, surf,take a dip in the ocean or visit the tide pools. The park’s visitor center is located at Spooner’s Ranch House Museum above Spooner’s Cove. The cost to enter the park is free. (805) 528-0513. For camping call (800) 444-7275.
The forest has nearly 200 species of plants, more than 100 varieties of birds, and many species of mammals and reptiles and amphibians. The forest includes a 1-mile boardwalk that is wheelchair accessible at the north end of 16th Street. Guided tours are given on the third Saturday of each month at 9:30 am starting at the north end of 15th Street off Santa Ysabel. (805) 528-0392.
The pier, at the intersection of 2nd Street and El Morro Ave., overlooks the shores of the back bay of Morro Bay. It is a quiet place to sit and enjoy the estuary. Grab something to eat and enjoy watching the many species of birds in the bay. The Los Osos Oaks State Reserve Half-mile east of South Bay Boulevard on the south side of Los Osos Valley Road. The reserve has an easy one-mile trail through the “Pygmy Oaks”, which are dwarfed coast live oaks. The low canopy reserve is on the site where Chumash Indians once lived.
Los Osos Community Park
Located at the corner of Los Osos Valley Road and Palisades Avenue. The park includes a 17,000-square-foot skate park, three tennis courts, playgrounds and restrooms. The park is ideal for walking or picnicking and is the site of the Los Osos Valley School, one of five original one-room schoolhouses between San Luis Obispo and the coast. Of those five, only two still exist today, both in Los Osos.
Los Osos Oaks State Reserve
Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve features ancient sand dunes covered with centuries-old coast live oak trees. According to botanists, five major plant communities thrive within the reserve. They are coastal sage scrub, central coastal scrub, dune oak scrub, coast live oak forest, and riparian (streamside). The oak communities exist close to each other, but each has its own character. Trails meander through the oaks, and along Los Osos Creek where birds and other animal life can be observed. One trails goes through an ancient Chumash midden site where remnants of clam and abalone shells can be seen. Visit parks.ca.gov for more information.
Birdwatching is a year around activity in Los Osos with the largest populations during the fall and winter migrations. The estuaries between Los Osos and nearby Morro Bay are part of the National Estuary Program, attracting thousands of migrating birds as well as being home to hundreds of varieties year-around. Good places for birdwatching include trails and vantage points in Montana de Oro and the Elfin Forest as well as the Los Osos Oaks State Reserve.
Dining & Drink
Foggy Bottom Distillery
Opened in March of 2017, this small-but-mighty distillery produces a wide array of spirits including whiskeys, bourbons, gins, and spiced rums. Open for tastings on Saturdays from 12 – 7 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Located at 905 Los Osos Valley Rd., Suite B, in Los Osos. Visit www.fbdistillery.com/ or call (805) 795-1727.
The menu is jam-packed with offerings made from the freshest ingredients around, including local halibut, big-eye tuna and bonito that is fresh-off-the-boat in Morro Bay. The ‘Kuma family’ keeps things creative, fresh, local and of the highest-grade possible on a daily basis. Menu includes ramen, teriyaka bowls, sushi, vegan options and desserts. Located at 2011 10th St., Los Osos. Visit kumabowls.com or call (805) 528-6767.
With three locations on the Central Coast, Sylvester’s Burgers is one of the most popular places burgers, fries, sandwiches, salads of all types and styles. Be sure to get a free burger on your birthday! Sylvester’s Burgers can be found in Atascadero, Oceano and Los Osos at 1099 Santa Ynez Ave, Baywood-Los Osos. Visit sylvestersburgers.com for more information.
Located at the State Park Marina Bayside Cafe is the best kept secret on the Central Coast. Seafood dinners, such as fresh fish, steamers and fish and chips. Meatloaf served Thursday nights. Lunch daily starting at 11 a.m., dinner Thursday-Sunday 4 – 8:30 p.m. Located a few minutes from Los Osos at 10 State Park Drive in Morro Bay. Visit baysidecafe.com or call (805) 772-1465
The Dough Connection 805
SLO county’s first and only cookie dough scoop shop! The Dough Connection specializes in small batch, unique, safe to eat cookie dough dessert and more with waterfront views. Located at 913 Embarcadero, Morro Bay. Visit the Dough Connection 805 on Facebook or call (805) 225-1760.
Volumes of Pleasure Bookshoppe
This small, pindependent bookstore is a must visit for booklovers. A unique shop for books, gifts, jewelry, spiritual and holistic supplies. Located at 1016 Los Osos Valley Rd., Los Osos. Visit volumesofpleasurebookshoppe.com or call (805) 528-5565.
Baywood Park Farmers’ Market
On Santa Maria Avenue between 2nd and 3rd streets. The market takes place every Monday from 2-4:30 pm The market offers fresh, local, in-season produce. (805) 748-1109.
The Costa Gallery has a vast array of art for both art collectors and art enthusiasts from: photography, glasswork, jewelry, mixed media, ceramics, textile art, pastels, acrylics, assemblage and so much more. Located at 2087 10th St. Los Osos. Visit costagallery.com.
Sea Pines Golf Resort – The resort includes a golf course with tournaments, private lessons and pro shop, lodging and a clubhouse grill. Located at 1945 Solano Drive, Los Osos. Visit seapinesgolfresport.com or call (805) 528-5252.
Los Osos Travel Guide stories
Top things to do when visiting Los Osos
- Explore tide pools
- Go see wildflowers in season
- Birdwatch in the area
- Go hike the Nine Sisters
- See nature on a kayak