That small-town feeling pauses during the busiest time of the year at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.
“This year our numbers are just kind of going through the roof," said San Luis Obispo County Airports Deputy Director Craig Piper.
2019 was the busiest year on record for the airport, with approximately 260,000 passengers passing through. But that record could soon change.
“This year it has been so busy, and it’s getting busier. We anticipate hitting that number or exceeding that number, so it’s likely this could be the busiest year ever for passengers," Piper said.
With more travelers expected from now through the middle of November, people are advised to plan ahead.
“Because it’s so busy, our parking lots are full, so we really encourage people to find another way to get to the airport," Piper said, "whether that’s a friend or family member dropping you off, Uber or Lyft, a taxi."
Some travelers are already experiencing the stress of finding parking.
“Looking around at the moment, I am in Lot 4. I did look at Lot 3 before coming here, and it does look quite full," Los Osos resident Sandy Nerlich said.
“I was very lucky to get this one spot. I traveled over Labor Day weekend for football also, and it was much less crowded than it is today, so I am nervous traveling over Thanksgiving," said Shawna Foster from Arroyo Grande.
There are four parking lots for public parking and additional overflow parking available on the entry road of the airport, but airport officials said that will also fill up quickly.
“I’m thinking for Thanksgiving I’m going to have coordinate with one of my neighbors maybe to drop me off. To have not to worry about traffic or not finding a parking spot would [bring] peace of mind also," Foster said.
Another piece of advice is to pack your patience and arrive at least 90 minutes before your flight leaves.
Airport officials say there has been discussion with the city of San Luis Obispo about a potential system of shuttles or other solutions to help with the parking situation.
Parking is also expected to be impacted during the month of December due to a planned construction project.