While Wildflower is an incredible event, you'd be remiss if you came to the Paso Robles area and only raced then returned home. There's a whole lot of exploring and fun to be had when you're in this area, so make sure to add in a few extra days to take it all in.
Let's start with the race site: Lake San Antonio provides plenty of recreational activities for you and your family/friends. Did you know there are 26 miles of trails around the lake itself? They're open for hiking, mountain biking or trail running, whatever your pleasure. There's also horseback riding in the area, and of course, the recreational activities afforded by a lake.
And then there's the surrounding wine country, a perfect way to top off a great weekend of racing. The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance is some 500 members strong, all working together to ensure that you get the most out of your local wine tasting experience. The group puts on educational events, publishes a wine tasting map, and has a comprehensive listing of local restaurants, accommodations and wineries to help guide you.
Perhaps the best way to get a taste of the local wine scene, however, is to start at the Wildflower Festival itself, where 15 degrees C wine will set up shop for tastings by the glass or bottle. The owners, Doug and Ali Carscaden, have been racing Wildflower for 13 years now and have been combining their love of wine and and the festival this way for four years now. Be sure to stop by and say hello to them in their on-site wine lounge.
If you'd like a diversion from all the wine tasting, don't overlook the growing olive oil market in the region. There's also history to check out in several nearby missions and the Hearst castle. And if your body is sore after the race, don't forget to track down some of the local hot springs, the original area tourist attraction.
No matter what your interests outside of racing, the local region has something for everyone. Make the most of your experience and take some--or all of it--in while here!
Have you ever been to this region? What would you recommend to someone new?