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The following pictures and information are provided to help employees who are considering an assignment in the coastal California cities of San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles to see what it is like to live and work there.

The cities of San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles are located near the central coast of California.

  • San Luis Obispo is in San Luis Obispo County, California, where the broad Salinas Valley meets the California coastal ranges, and has a population of about 45,000 (as of 2008). There is much to see and do in and around San Luis Obispo, including visiting the Big Sur coastline and Hearst Castle.
  • Paso Robles is nestled in the coastal mountain range of central California and has a population of about 30,000 people (as of 2009). It is located close to mountains, beaches and deserts and is home to a popular wine-growing area. Chevron’s San Ardo Oil Field is just five miles south of town. Most of Paso Robles’ economy is based on agriculture and oil field services.
The average temperature in the summer in San Luis Obispo is 70° F (21° C), and in the winter it averages 40° F (4° C).
The San Luis Obispo County regional airport offers convenient access to and from the Central Coast. There are two commercial airlines with flights to Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco.

The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are about three hours away by car.

work environment

Employees living in coastal California work at Chevron’s San Ardo location. The field is named after the small town of San Ardo which is just five minutes away. The office facility has a mailroom, fitness center and kitchen for employees to use.


Coastal California offers a number of housing choices, including single family homes, townhomes, condominiums and apartments. The decision as to where to live is usually based on personal needs, lifestyle preferences, and proximity to work and area schools.chools.

Employees can bring their own furniture or rent partially or fully furnished homes or apartments.

Rental agreements for homes and apartments are normally on a two- to three-year lease basis. The first month’s rent and a security deposit is due prior to moving in.
San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles have homes to buy and to rent. Home sizes and costs depend on proximity to the ocean.
Because of their close proximity to the campus of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo have a large number of apartment complexes to accommodate the college student population and others who want to live near the California coast. These complexes include studios, one-, two-, three-bedroom apartments and some condominiums. Facilities may include security, covered parking, and health clubs. Some complexes accept small pets, but an extra security deposit may be required.

Rental agreements for apartments are normally on a two- to three-year basis. The first month’s rent and a security deposit are due upfront. The price is dependent on the location and amenities.
  • Power: All homes and apartments have electricity installed. Residents request that power be turned on with the local provider. Services are billed monthly. Electrical outlets are 110 volts with 220 volts for dryers and washing machines.
  • Telephone: All homes and apartments are equipped for phone service. Multiple phone lines (for example, phone lines for fax machines or teenage children) can also be installed. Cell phone service is also available. Residents sign up for service through the phone company and are billed on a monthly basis.
  • Gas: In most areas, one company provides gas and electric service. In certain areas of town, electricity and gas services are provided by separate companies. Some homes with acreage and on the outskirts of town may have propane tanks on the property. Propane tanks are filled at the resident’s expense, as needed. Residents should check with their landlord or realtor to find out what services are required for their home.
  • Water: All water flowing to homes and apartments is filtered through city water systems. Water is safe for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing clothes.
  • Internet: In general, homes have Internet service capabilities. To reduce costs, most people bundle Internet, phone, and cable services through one service provider. Some apartment complexes provide free wireless Internet to their residents. Coffee shops often provide a free wireless connection for their customers. Local libraries have computers with Internet access for public use.


California coastal cities offer a number of schools to their residents. There are 18 schools in San Luis Obispo and 13 schools in Paso Robles.

More information about San Luis Obispo public schools is available on the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education website.

Private school information for San Luis Obispo is available on the Private School Review website.

More information about Paso Robles public schools is available on the Paso Robles Public Schools website.

Private school information is available on the City of Paso Robles website.

  • Elementary school
    – San Luis Obispo (8)
    – Paso Robles (6)
  • Junior high school
    – San Luis Obispo (1)
    – Paso Robles (2)
  • High school
    – San Luis Obispo (7)
    – Paso Robles (4)
  • College
    – San Luis Obispo (1 junior college, 1 university)
    – Paso Robles (1 junior college)

special needs

The school systems in and around San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles offer education for students with special needs.

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view slideshows about coastal so you can know what to expect in the following categories:


There is a variety of food, clothing, furniture and household items available on the coast of California. And just a few hours away are major cities (for example, Santa Barbara and San Jose) where a wider range of imported items can be found.

Grocery shoppers have a choice of seasonal farmer's markets and supermarkets, including:

San Luis Obispo is a place where shopping is fun and relaxed. There are several indoor and outdoor malls in the area, with stores selling popular designer brands. There are also boutiques that offer one-of-a-kind and unique items. There are also outlet stores (discounted designer items) and shops selling antiques.

High-end stores, such as Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s can be found in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.
Local nurseries sell seeds, trees, bushes, flowers and pottery. Several businesses in town offer landscaping services, and stores such as Lowe’s and The Home Depot sell materials for do-it-yourself projects.
Furniture stores sell a variety of modern, traditional and made-to-order furniture. Furniture delivery is available to most areas of town for a minimal fee and sometimes for free.
More choices are available in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. Check with retailers for delivery costs.
  • JCPenney and Sears are department stores that sell men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, electronics and household goods.
  • Ross and Kohl’s carry men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, shoes, and home goods.
  • Walmart is a discount store that sells clothing, household items and groceries. It also has a garden center, pharmacy, Tire & Lube Express, optical center, one-hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, and bank branch.
  • PETCO offers pet supplies and services, such as grooming and dog training. 

support services

San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles have many medical facilities, treatment centers and hospitals. Health insurance for expatriates on assignment in the United States covers services at some of the best facilities in the area.

Nurses are available for consultations via the phone, and emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day. Medical facilities offer prescription filling, laboratory, X-ray and ultrasound services.

Expatriate health insurance also covers certain mental health and substance abuse treatments for employees and their covered family members. Confidential counseling with certified psychologists and counselors is available through Employee Assistance and WorkLife Services. This can be helpful for families trying to adjust to a new country and culture.

Dentists, including orthodontists and pediatric dentists, are located throughout the area. Dental services are covered under the expatriate health insurance plans.
Bakersfield employees are not provided a driver. Chevron will arrange for expatriates to have driving lessons and an allowance for a vehicle, if needed. Transportation services, including taxicabs, buses and area transits, are available for a fee.
Most households in the coastal California area operate without the assistance of outside help. Cleaning, baby-sitting and gardening services are available for hire. Most household-help providers come on a daily or scheduled basis and rarely live in the home.

It is very important to interview and check references. The phone book, neighbors and other employees are good references for these services.
Automated teller machines (ATMs) are available all over the city. Field offices generally have an ATM on ‑site as well. Most merchants take debit cards, credit cards and cash for purchases. Very few accept checks.
The United States Postal Service has several locations around town where you can send letter mail and packages for a fee based on weight and destination. All field offices have mail services available during working hours to send interoffice mail and in some cases employees can ship personal letter or package mail for a fee.
The communities along coastal California are considered safe and have very low crime rates. Expatriates interested in additional security may choose to live in gated communities or apartment complexes that offer security services. Homeowners can also install security alarm systems, which are monitored by security service companies for a fee.


Traffic can get congested at certain times of the day in certain areas of San Luis Obispo. It is heaviest during the afternoon hours and summer months. Even so, most commutes take no more than 15 to 30 minutes across town.

Transportation services, including taxicabs, buses and area transits, are available for a fee.

recreation and entertainment

For the sports-minded, the coastal areas offer an assortment of outdoor sports and events. There are gyms for exercise and an event center for concerts and shows. The coast is also known for its well-maintained golf courses.

San Luis Obispo is home to a university, so there are many sporting events and theater options.

Paso Robles is home to the famous “Mid-State Fair.” Every summer, this county fair features favorite artists, bull riding and car racing events.   
Coastal areas are rich in history. There are science discovery centers, landmarks and museums dedicated to children, military and the unique history of this area.

California’s colorful Spanish heritage lives on in San Luis Obispo County. Two missions are located within the county: Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the fifth in a chain of Franciscan stations, and Mission San Miguel Archangel, the 16th mission. Across from the mission is the Rios Caledonia Adobe Museum, a century-old inn and stage stop along the Mission Trail.

Hearst Castle is a mansion and national historic landmark. It was designed by architect Julia Morgan for William Randolph Hearst — a newspaper magnate. In 1957, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California. Since that time it has been maintained as a state historic park where the estate and its considerable collection of art and antiques are open for public tours.
The San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation Department operates swimming pools and aquatic centers, recreation centers, fitness classes and many other great activities for adults and children.

San Luis Obispo County Parks offer hiking, camping, fishing, golf and other recreation.
There are four movie theaters in San Luis Obispo and one in Paso Robles that feature new releases. San Luis Obispo also offers a special theater for social film festivals and a drive-in. 

California Polytechnic State University and Questa College both offer a variety of entertainment and events from their music, drama and athletic departments, including operas, plays and sporting events.

Nightclubs are in abundance, including DJs, live bands, bars, wine bars, dancing and karaoke.

Art galleries are also a big attraction. There are nearly 50 different galleries that feature both local and well-known artists. Galleries show literary, visual and performing arts. Photographs, oil-based paintings and sculptures are available in the heart of downtown.
There are several clubs in the area: Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, service organizations and historical societies. Most clubs are open to the public and some require monthly fees.
Because the coast is a tourist attraction, there are many hotel and motel options available to fit a variety of personal preferences and financial needs. During pre-assignment trips, many employees stay at the Paso Robles Inn, an extended-stay hotel that offers free dinner.

A wide variety of fast-food chains and sit-down restaurants are available. Popular restaurant chains include:

P.F. Chang’s
California Pizza Kitchen
Marie Callender’s

However, the coast prides itself in offering family-owned specialty restaurants. There are also a number of ethnic restaurants around town that serve Mediterranean, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian and Indian cuisine. There is also an organic market and bistro.

Spas along the coastline are unmatched. Spa services are available at a range of facilities — from day spas to luxury hotels. Amenities and services include mineral hot springs, body massages, facials, chemical peels, aromatherapy scrubs and waxing.

All San Joaquin Valley Chevron locations offer a subsidized onsite massage therapy. Appointments are available for up to 30 minutes and can be made directly from your company computer.
Chevron partners with many organizations to engage our employees in activities that gives back to the communities in which the company operates. Private service clubs that provide support to local communities, as well as throughout the world, include the Lions and Kiwanis. Both of these meet monthly for lunch and have member dues. Other clubs are the Women’s Club and the Chamber of Commerce. For information about these clubs, visit the San Luis Obispo Groups and Organizations Website.

additional information

It is a good idea to gain a basic understanding of the American culture, history and language. Daily interactions and tasks will be completed in English. Chevron offers 80 hours of instruction to expatriate employees and their family members who relocate into the United States.
Pets can be brought into the United States. Dogs and cats must be free of disease when examined by customs. Further veterinarian examination may be required. All animals should have rabies shots 30 days prior to entry. Certain breeds may be required to remain in quarantine for a set time before being allowed into the population. More information about importing pets is available at here.

California recognizes religious freedom. Eighty-six different denominations are celebrated and practice in the San Joaquin Valley.

Find a church in San Luis Obispo
Find a church in Paso Robles


Business casual clothing is typically worn. On Fridays, employees in our main office (BK9525) dress casually and may wear jeans.
Flights from San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport typically require connecting through a larger airport to get to many U.S. destinations. Bus and automobile are good alternatives to air travel. To operate a vehicle, drivers must obtain a state driver license.
Hardships for the coastal areas include the high cost of living and the steady stream of tourists. The climate can be considered somewhat damp, but weather is generally pleasant year-round. Otherwise, hardships are minimal.