Atascadero Lake Park and Playground

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San Luis Obispo, CA
Atascadero Lake Park and Playground
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Atascadero Lake Park is a delight to find. When the beaches along the Pismo coast are too chilly, come here for some warm air along with plenty of shade. Local families come in large numbers to this park on the weekend. They laze on the grass beside the water, BBQ under the amazing tall trees, and watch their children navigate the two playgrounds. The playgrounds are high and interesting. There are swings as well. A gazebo on the lake makes for a pretty scene. Colorful paddle boats are available for rent in summer. Ducks and swans glide by on the lake. In Autumn (November) people scoop up huge piles of yellow leaves here and throw them in the air. There's plenty to do at Atascadero Lake Park. I didn't like Charles Paddock Zoo, though, with its small enclosures.

From Atascadero Lake Park you can walk the Atascadero Lake Walk on Lake View Drive. It is a 1.3 mile loop hard-packed dirt path along Lake View Drive and Marchant Way that goes around the perimeter of the entire lake. It is a popular walk with little elevation change. In Autumn it is absolutely gorgeous with yellow and red trees!
On Saturday nights all summer long from mid-June to mid-August there is live music in the park from 6:30-8:30pm and a gourmet BBQ.
After, have a brisket and potato empanada (handheld pie) at Bramble Pie Company (closed Mondays) in downtown Atascadero. It is so delicious! This area is a six minute drive north. After, walk a block to City Hall and check out the sculptures and fountains in its sunken gardens.

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Flowering tree on the banks of the lake.

Paddle boats!

Couple enjoying the serenity of the water.

Boy by a dock.

Swan on the lake.

The pretty colors of the lake and trees.

A tall tree and party bounce house.

Swings in a lovely spot by the lake, with sand underneath.

Shady lawn.

Picnic table in the shade.

There are plenty of spots for large gatherings and parties with bounce houses.

A covered picnic area for a large gathering.

The lake is a little lower in current drought conditions, but not too bad.

Beautiful trees.

Swings that face each other.

Twisty tunnel slide and smaller twisty slide.

Swings galore!

Autumn leaves.

The playground has huge slides.

A girl makes her doll walk along the stepping bridge.

Hungarian oak leaves.

Autumn leaves.

Playing in the autumn leaves.


Atascadero Lake Park is located at 9305 Pismo Ave, Atascadero CA 93422. It is along Highway 41, west of Highway 101. There is a large parking lot.
Exit Highway 101 southbound at Santa Rosa Rd and head west on Portola Rd for a mile. Turn left on Morro Rd and then take the second left on Pismo Ave. Exit Highway 101 northbound at Santa Rosa Rd. Turn left on Front St. Turn left on Santa Rosa Rd and drive for a mile. Turn right on Marchant Way. The park will be on your right.


Click on map for interactive view


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Tue, 20 Sep 2011

The Charles Paddock Zoo is the only facility accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums between Santa Barbara and San Jose. The standard of care and housing of these animals is unparalleled on the Central Coast. Because of this the Charles Paddock Zoo is a participant in various animal registry services across the nation and as such has access to a wide variety of animals for exhibit. The Charles Paddock Zoo also offers a variety of educational programs throughout the year. It is an excellent place to bring children to learn about animal life or just to enjoy the zoo presentations and ambiance. A new entrance to the zoo was recently completed and there is a master plan for future expansion. The Charles Paddock Zoo and its programs are supported by the Central Coast Zoo Society, a non-profit organization, the City of Atascadero and thousands of fans. Learn more at

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Thu, 18 Aug 2011

I disagree sharply with the idea you should avoid the zoo. It is a great resource and a wonderful place for kids. As a grandparent and a great grandparent I take my kids their all the time. The enclosures are appropriate for the size of the animals and I doubt if they are depressed or that the writer has the credentials to determine that. Come see for your self along with the other 70,000 visitors a year.

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