Things to Do with Kids in Paso Robles
Paso Robles is a five-star choice for family vacations. Set halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, just miles from the Pacific Ocean, this kid-friendly favorite offers classic California fun. From the thrills of Ravine Water Park, to trail rides on the farm, to interactive museums, exciting festivals, and countless outdoor adventures, you'll find activities the whole family will enjoy. Parents also appreciate Paso's budget-friendly activities, hotels and restaurants – along with respected wineries that welcome children and the dogs they love.
Start planning your best vacation yet, with this guide to family-friendly Paso Robles.
Looking for things to do with kids in Paso Robles? Try one of several museums that are ideal for families. The Paso Robles Children’s Museum is a local favorite, and it’s located in the Paso Robles Volunteer Firehouse building. Visitors can climb on a 1944 fire engine and try on firefighter gear before stomping make-believe grapes in the ball pit, putting on theater costumes, or building marble mazes on the magnetic ball wall. You’ll also find plenty of additional games, crafts and activities throughout the museum.
Youngsters love exploring the Estrella Warbirds Museum, where visitors get a close-up view of vintage planes, rare vehicles and military memorabilia. At Studios on the Park, young artists can take painting and printmaking classes or experiment with marbelizing, sculpture and collage projects. There are several engaging history museums in and around town, too, plus two California missions that make great day-trip destinations. Visit the Paso Robles Museums page for more fun ideas.
Paso Robles kids and parents love Ravine Waterpark, where towering waterslides and tranquil pools delight guests of all ages. The Sidewinder is the park's newest ride. It twists along a smooth, speedy path in an enclosed tube. The Thunder Run slide stands nearly seven stories tall, carrying riders along an inner tube course that drops 300 feet into a tranquil lagoon. Adrenaline lovers line up for Vertigo, where you cruise down a 35-foot tube, slide into a bowl, swirl in circles, and splash into a pool.
Paso's Ravine Waterpark also has a lazy river called Kickback Kreek, along with the Calypso Bay Wave Pool and a tot-friendly collection of play structures and splash pads in the Tadpool. There are ice cream stands and a tiki bar on the grounds, too. Plan at least half a day here, and consider a private cabana rental for an even more comfortable experience. Check out the Ravine Water Park page for details and a guide to the park's top attractions.
Few places in Paso Robles are more mesmerizing than Bruce Munro: Light at Sensorio, a walk-through exhibit featuring thousands of twinkling light towers and fiberoptic spheres. The New York Times ranked the dreamy, solar-powered display number six on its “50 Places to Visit” list, and it’s an unforgettable experience for all ages. Munro, an internationally acclaimed artist, has created four distinct exhibits for this expansive installation.
Gone Fishing, one of the newest additions, puts a playful spin on the contemplative act of standing by a stream. Fireflies, which also debuted in May 2023, takes inspiration from whimsical fireflies with nearly 10,000 flickering lights. Field of Light extends across several acres, incorporating more than 100,000 stemmed spheres that subtly shift in color. Nearby, Light Towers illuminates 17,000 wine bottles arranged into towers, with hues that move to music. Culinary operators serve food and drinks on the exhibit grounds, so families can plan a full evening excursion to remember.
More than a dozen family-friendly parks top the list of things to do in Paso Robles with kids. You can easily enjoy a picnic, explore a lakefront trail, scramble up playground equipment, or swing a baseball bat, all on the same day. Make Barney Schwartz Park your first stop. This 40-acre playground has slides and swings, ball diamonds, soccer fields, snack stands, and a one-million-gallon pond where kids can fish. Little ones love watching ducks or running remote control boats on the water, and the .8-mile shoreline loop is an easy walk for all.
Downtown City Park is another favorite, thanks to its convenient location and a shiny new play structure. Each summer, the Concerts in the Park series brings live music to the park lawn on Thursday nights. Pack a picnic or grab dinner at one of the nearby cafes. At showtime, parents can kick back and enjoy a concert while the kids run on the playground. Check out the parks page for a complete list of every park in Paso Robles.
Paso Robles has a rich ranching culture, and businesses here let little cowboys and cowgirls take the reins. Harris Stage Lines houses Belgian draft horses and other breeds in its livery stable, and the company offers equine adventures for the whole family. Horse-drawn carriage rides provide old-school adventures along the Salinas River, complete with the chance to watch crews hitch horses to the vintage coach. You’re welcome to explore an antique carriage collection, as well, or bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds.
Central Coast Trailrides is a family-owned business that leads year-round guided tours and trail rides. Most outings crisscross the oak stands and dry creek beds of Paso Robles wine country, including private ranches and public lands. Because different routes welcome riders of various skill levels, it’s one of the more popular things to do with kids in Paso Robles. For other horseback excursions and recreation, explore the Paso Robles outdoor activities page.
It wouldn’t be Paso Robles for kids without some hands-on farm experiences. At Jack Creek Farms, a fifth-generation family farm in the foothills west of Paso, you can shop at the farm stand or harvest your own blackberries, peaches, plums, sweet peppers, tomatoes, apples and more in seasonal u-pick gardens. There’s a hay bale maze in the summer, a fall pumpkin patch, and farm animals to greet all year round. Children love the tractor tire garden, sawhorse broncos and oversized wooden train sets, too.
For more ranching fun, check out Open Farm Days on the SLO Co Farm Trail. Many of the demos and tastings take place near Paso Robles. The city’s farmers market sets up each Tuesday morning in Downtown City Park. It’s one of the best places to find seasonal produce, fresh flowers, grass-fed meats, baked goods, craft cheeses and other Central Coast flavors. Visit the Paso Robles Farms and Orchards page for more food and farm inspiration.
Summer means beaches, boating and time on the water, and that’s especially true in sunny, temperate Paso Robles. The community is near two lakes where families enjoy fishing, camping, watersports and wildlife watching. Lake Nacimiento is about 20 miles from downtown Paso, and its dragon-shaped waters hover between 72 and 80 degrees year-round. Rent kayaks, paddleboards, pontoons, and fishing poles from the Lake Nacimiento Marina, or explore 165 shoreline miles laced with trails. The lake is also a great place for birding and walking with leashed dogs.
Lake San Antonio, about 35 miles outside Paso Robles, also has a marina that rents gear for catching bass, bluegill, catfish and crappie. On the 5.4-mile Lake San Antonio Lake View Trail, you might spot deer, eagles, hawks and other animals. Select cabins and campgrounds at the lake have amenities like boat ramps, RV hookups and horseshoe pits. Learn more on the Lakes of Paso Robles page.
Sun-drenched days and pleasant temperatures draw novice and experienced golfers to Paso Robles. Vineyards surround several fairways here, and you'll find 10 courses within a 30-minute drive of downtown. Of course, 18-hole outings aren't for everyone. Few Paso Robles kids’ activities are more affordable than golfing at River Oaks. At this six-hole development course, kids under age 14 can play all-day golf for just $5.
The 896-yard course includes five par-threes and one par four with three sets of tees, so junior golfers and their parents can choose their own challenges. Sleek lakes and century-old oak trees surround the greens. See the Paso Robles Golf Courses page for more local course and clubhouse information.
Paso Robles hosts some of the most dynamic parades, festivals and fairs in the Golden State. Each July, the California Mid-State Fair[R.1] packs carnival rides, craft displays, agricultural exhibits, and concerts by major national acts into 12 exciting days. At any given hour, you might marvel at hand-made quilts, view locally grown flowers, sample olive oil, sip wine, watch cattle dog trials, attend 4-H and FFA auctions, or whirl around in bumper cars. It’s one of the top activities with kids in Paso Robles.
Other festivals here celebrate everything from food and art to history and holidays. The annual 4th of July celebration in Barney Schwartz Park features an exciting lineup of live music, food trucks, family activities and, of course, fireworks. Pioneer Day, another signature community event, takes place on the second Saturday of each October. Launched in 1931, it’s anchored by a parade of floats, fire engines, equestrian groups, antique tractors and more. Spectators also gather in Downtown City Park for a free been feed and family-friendly fun. See the Paso Robles Events and Festivals page for a schedule of popular annual events.
A full menu of Paso Robles restaurants welcome families, whether you’re hungry for pizza, tacos, burgers, pasta or other dishes. Sweet shops really take the cake, though. Check out Just Baked Cake for cookies, cupcakes and macarons, along with decorated cakes for birthdays and parties. Negranti Creamery dishes up fresh scoops and pies made with sheep’s milk ice cream. The seasonal flavors are a hit with lactose-intolerant guests. Twisted and Glazed is a child’s dream, serving light breakfast fare plus donuts covered in countless combinations of frosting, sprinkles and specialty toppings.
Big Bubba's Bad BBQ is a hit for kids, parents and grandparents alike, thanks to saucy barbecue plates and sides. The lively Paso location takes a page out of Wild West history, with fort-inspired design, a huge outdoor patio, bull rides and select tables tucked in a jail cell setting. There's a great kids' menu here (plus dinosaur-sized ribs for adults), and the root beer floats are a local favorite. Visit the Kid-Friendly Restaurants page for more tasty Paso options.
Nine top-shelf wine trails link the vineyards surrounding Paso Robles. Producers here raise some 40 grape varieties, with a long growing season supported by rich soils, cool sea breezes and sunny skies.
Graveyard Vineyards is set on an Estrella Road hilltop with a pond where kids can fish and families can picnic on the shore. Barton Family Wines pours blends made with grapes from the Willow Creek, Templeton Gap and Adelaida District AVAs. Children love the winery’s jumbo Connect 4-inspired set, cornhole boards and Jenga-style blocks, along with the friendly winery cats and chickens. Castoro Cellars has an 18-hole disc golf course that winds through old-growth oaks and vineyards, and a grape juice tasting caters to young guests. To learn more, visit the Family-friendly Wineries of Paso Robles page.
With so much to see and do in Paso Robles, you might want to stay a while, especially as lodging options abound for every taste and budget. Stay in a private chateau among rolling hills that are alive with wildflowers, yellow mustard and emerald-green grapevines. Or choose one of Paso’s many luxury RV resorts, where you can experience a camping setting but with the creature comforts of a country club. Families who prefer a little more excitement can stay Downtown within easy walking distance of restaurants, cafés, shops and the City Park. Whatever kind of escape you seek, you can bet that Paso Robles has your family’s perfect home away from home.
Plan Your Trip - Family Friendly Itinerary
The rolling hillsides, beautiful vineyards and excellent wine aren’t the only things that set Paso Robles apart from other destinations. Our family-friendly activities and accommodations make Paso a truly unique destination within #Kidifornia. Follow our guide to start making memories with your family on the perfect vacation in Paso Robles.