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Los Osos is largely a bedroom community for San Luis Obispo, which is 10.6 miles east, and to a lesser extent, Morro Bay, which is 2.3 miles to the north. There is a small business district concentrated in just a few blocks along Los Osos Valley Road, and several shops servicing the Baywood section of Los Osos, near the bay. The rest of the town is almost entirely residential. Its population is approximately 16,000 and total population at build-out is limited to approximately 26,000.
There are two roads connecting Los Osos to other communities: South Bay Boulevard, which leads to Morro Bay via Highway 1, and Los Osos Valley Road, which leads to San Luis Obispo. Inclement weather and road construction occasionally forces the closure of a route, possibly requiring detours to arrive at one’s destination. This has been much less frequent since the Chorro Bridge replaced the Twin Bridges on South Bay Boulevard.
Los Osos serves as the entrance to Montaña de Oro State Park. Los Osos Valley Road reaches the coast at the south end of Estero Bay and continues south into the state park. Morro Bay State Park borders the northeast of the town. South Bay Boulevard travels through the middle of the park after it leaves Los Osos. Los Osos is also home to the Elfin Forest which sits on the southeast side of the estuary that sits between Los Osos and Morro Bay State Park.
Large groves of eucalyptus trees attract the annually migrating monarch butterflies to Los Osos.
Los Osos’ proximity to the Diablo Canyon Power Plant means that warning sirens are located throughout the town so that the residents will be warned if the power plant should suffer a meltdown or other adverse event. The sirens are also found in other cities nearby, including Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach. Except for yearly tests, the sirens go largely unused and unnoticed.