Biking: San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara - Guided Multi-Day

Overview - San Luis Obispo (SLO) to Santa Barbara Guided Bike Tour

South of Big Sur, cycling through San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County offers a diverse palette of marine wildlife viewing, historic missions, winery areas and surfers plying the waves of the Pacific Ocean off sandy beaches. A San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara bike tour is a good option for more casual cyclists looking to avoid the rugged terrain of the Big Sur coast, but still take in some breathtaking coastal scenery, beaches and wine country. The most popular itinerary is three days, but layover days can be added and/or shorter cycling days can make for a tour longer than three days. You can also start your tour north of SLO at Ragged Point to add even more great coastal cycling.


"Everything about our trip was fantastic. John was an excellent guide - informative as much as we wanted without being intrusive.   He was a pleasure to travel with, the lunch was superb and... the bikes were great.  We will highly recommend you to anyone who asks."

John Rule
Columbus, OH

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Suggested Itineraries

All of the itineraries below are flexible. Many can be done in fewer or more days. Layover days can be added along the way. While there are a few longer climbs on the standard route between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, there is also quite a bit of relatively level riding. All itineraries below feature some coastal cycling and cycling through the famous Santa Ynez Valley. 

**GET THE PROCESS STARTED - Submit a Custom Bike Tour Questionnaire.**



133 Total Miles / Daily Average = 44 miles / Daily Range = 38-52 miles


A classic ride between two of the original California mission towns. A mix of some coastal cycling with a lot of world class inland riding through the Santa Ynez Valley area. Plenty of options to add a layover day in the Santa Ynez Valley as well!



133 Total Miles / Daily Average = 33 miles / Daily Range = 25-43 miles


This is a relaxed itinerary that splits up the longer day from Solvang to Santa Barbara with an overnight stay at El Capitan Canyon, a back to nature resort with luxury tents and cabins.



194 Total Miles / Daily Average = 49 miles / Daily Range = 38-61 miles


This is an excellent option if you want to tack on some really nice coastal riding. You still travel to the town of San Luis Obispo at the start of the tour and we shuttle you up to Ragged Point to start the cycling. If you want to keep the miles on the first day more moderate, you can also cycle from Ragged Point to Morro Bay instead of SLO and stay overnight there. That makes the next day to Santa Maria a bit longer, but evens out the mileage a bit better than staying in SLO.



194 Total Miles / Daily Average = 39 miles / Daily Range = 30-52 miles


This is a more relaxed version of the Ragged Point to Santa Barbara 4 day itinerary above and stays overnight in the beach towns of Cayucos and Pismo Beach instead of San Luis Obispo.

**GET THE PROCESS STARTED - Submit a Custom Bike Tour Questionnaire.**



We have three levels of service and pricing for our guided bike tours. The pricing on our most popular levels is a base daily rate for the whole group based on size of support vehicle needed multiplied by number of days for the tour plus added cost for providing bikes and/or lunch. You typically book your own accommodations (we provide recommendations) and are responsible for all or most of your meals (we also provide recommendations). We can also do fully inclusive tours. Please click on the links below (or just call us!) to read more about our different service levels and to see what daily rates might be like for your tour.

Summary of Levels of Service

We also offer Self Guided Multi-Day bike tours down the coast and in wine country.

Custom Bike Tour Questionnaire (Start the booking process)

Once you've reviewed itinerary options and have an idea of a level of service you'd like, the best way to start the process of booking a tour and getting a firm price quote for your group and itinerary is to fill out the Custom Bike Tour Questionnaire. You can always give us a call at 805.528.1080 as well. Remember - all our bike tours are private! But we think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the modest cost of a private bike tour with us.


Cost and Availability of Accommodations

Most of the groups that do guided multi-day bike tours with us book their own accommodations based on our recommendations. The cost and availability of accommodations can vary considerably and are influenced by location, high season vs. low season rates, and weekend vs. weekday rates. The best way to get a sense for what accommodations for your tour might cost is to first choose a specific itinerary and dates and ask us to email you our lists of recommended accommodations for each stop along the way. Then you can check availability and rates for your specific dates. Most budget hotel accommodations are in the $70-150 per night range. Mid range accommodations are typically between $150-300 per night. High end accommodations can cost much more than that. Some places, especially along the Big Sur coast, may sell out months in advance during the busy summer season or other holiday times, and/or may require two nights stays on certain busy weekends. The farther in advance you plan your bike tour, the better chance you have to get the accommodations you want at each stop along the way. Virtually all accommodations we recommend have websites where you can check availability and book rooms.


Traffic, Road Conditions and Terrain

Traffic along the SLO to Santa Barbara bike tour route is highly variable. Some stretches are on remote roads that have little to no traffic. Some of the cycling route is on Highway One, which has differing traffic volumes on different portions. Highway One also has highly variable shoulders with some stretches that have little to no shoulder. A small portion of the cycling tour is actually on freeways (mostly on the approach to Santa Barbara), but these sections always have a large shoulder, except for two very short stretches on the approach to Santa Barbara. Cyclists doing the SLO to Santa Barbara bike tour should be comfortable riding with traffic for portions of the tour.

The terrain for the San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara bike tour route is variable, but less challenging than the riding along the Big Sur coast to the north. Most days will have some combination of relatively level riding and some hill climbing. Most of the sustained climbs (i.e. 1/2 mile or longer) are of moderate steepness (5-8%) and there are no sustained climbs that average over 10%. Each day of the SLO to Santa Barbara bike tour itinerary has the elevation gain and loss (in feet) listed. Cyclists contemplating doing the SLO to Santa Barbara bike tour should be comfortable with riding at least a few sections with hilly terrain.


Overview Map


Start and End Transportation

San Luis Obispo Area

San Luis Obispo has a regional airport (SBP) quite near town, although it is smaller and currently served by only two airlines (United and US Air). There are non-stop flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix. San Luis Obispo is also well served by Amtrak and has several trains/buses per day north toward the San Francisco Bay Area south toward Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. Many people assume you can rent a car in most of the towns in SLO County, but this is not the case. There are no places to rent cars along the northern SLO County coast (i.e. Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay) until you get to the town of SLO itself, where most major national car rental companies are represented.

Santa Barbara Area

Santa Barbara has a regional airport (SBA) served by several major airlines. There are non-stop flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, Portland and Phoenix. The Santa Barbara Airbus offers transportation from several Santa Barbara area locations to Los Angeles International (LAX) as well. Shuttle time is usually 2-2.5 hours. Amtrak also offers train service from Santa Barbara to the Los Angeles area.


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