The San Luis Obispo County geographic region (SLO County) is located on the Pacific coast, approximately halfway between the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco. SLO County covers approximately 3,300 square miles and is bordered by Monterey County to the north, Kern County to the east, Santa Barbara County to the south, and 100 miles of Pacific coastline to the west. Estimates from the California Department of Finance in 2016 place San Luis Obispo County’s population at 277,977, making it the 23rd largest county in the State. The county is made up of seven cities as well as many unincorporated communities. The county seat is the City of San Luis Obispo. Because of its distance from major metropolitan areas, SLO County has been able to retain its small-town and rural character. Despite this, the area also offers many of the same amenities that are found in more populated areas. SLO County is home to major educational institutions including California Polytechnic State University and Cuesta Community College—both of which draw students from all over the world and provide a wide array of educational and cultural opportunities. The varied geography and rich history of the area provide numerous opportunities for recreation. The nationally known Hearst Castle in San Simeon attracts over one million visitors each year and the historic Mission San Luis Obispo Tolosa, founded in 1772, is another popular attraction. Many locally sponsored events including the Festival Mozaic, Old-Fashioned Fourth of July, Renaissance Faire, Mid-State Fair, San Luis Obispo Expo, Central Coast Wine Festival, San Luis Obispo County Symphony, Colony Days, Pioneer Days, Strawberry Festival, Central Coast Wine Classic, Clam Festival, Harbor Festival, Paso Robles Wine Festival, Farmers’ Markets, and various holiday events also draw visitors to the county each year. Major U.S. highways, regional airports, railroad stations and the Port of San Luis all make the area accessible by land, air and water.
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