Located along California’s Central Coast, Pismo Beach is a treasure trove for the traveler – from wineries to shopping to wide, expansive beaches perfect for surfing, horseback riding, or strolling. But, of course, the beach is often the main reason visitors come to this part of California, and Pismo Beach does not disappoint.
More than 10 miles of shoreline are ready for exploration, each small section just a little different than the one preceding it. A kaleidoscope offering everything from wide, sandy beaches for sun worshippers to a craggy shoreline perfect for finding tide pools, sea caves, and various forms of sea life.
Pismo Beach Pier
The city’s centerpiece is the Pismo Beach Pier, stretching out 1,370 feet over the Pacific Ocean; the pier serves as an icon and tourist draw. With its wooden planks and neatly painted white railings, the pier is an inviting place to wander. A snack shop on the pier serves popcorn, sodas, candy, peanuts, souvenirs, and fishing bait, and like all California public piers, you can fish free here.
But what makes the Pismo Pier different is that it never closes, offering anglers nighttime shark fishing, a time-honored tradition in the area. Sand sharks, leopard sharks, shovelnose sharks, and rays put up quite a fight.
The pier is the anchor to downtown shopping along Pomeroy Street, with its unique boutiques like Moon Doggies Beach Club and Poncho’s Surf Shop—all seeped in classic 60s beach vibe and all with their own individual hand-painted storefront murals.
Sprinkled along the narrow streets of the downtown area, you will also find numerous waterfront-lodging choices that allow visitors to stay within walking distance of the beach, as well as having easy access to some of the area’s best eateries.
The Splash Cafe
Known throughout California for having the best clam chowder west of Boston, locals and tourists line up around the corner of the building to wait for a table and a cup of the award-winning steamy, hot chowder or other seafood platters that include some of the best fish tacos on the planet. Address: 197 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449.
Dinosaur Caves Park
Pismo’s beautiful beach offers a wide range of swimming, surfing, hiking, and kayaking activities. At the north end of the beach, there are some very picturesque cliffs. Dinosaur Caves Park is perched on top of the cliffs and offers breathtaking views of the ocean and the sea caves below. There is also a playground with Dinosaur eggs. Address 2701 Price St, Pismo Beach, California.
On the other end are the dunes, a trendy place with off-roaders, as it is the only beach in the state where you can drive vehicles on the beach. The park contains both areas of the beach where cars are allowed and areas where they are not, allowing for other activities such as horseback riding in the surf.
Where to Stay Pismo
Several hotels within walking distance of the pier, including the Sandcastle, Sea Gypsy Motel, Edgewater, the newest hotel, The Inn at the Pier. There are also hotels situated on the bluffs along Price street north of the pier. Oxford Suites and Motel Six are adjacent to Pismo Outlets, convenient for shopping and only a short drive to the beach.
Located seven miles north of Pismo Beach, Avila Beach is a popular destination for locals. If you visit Pismo during the summer and want a more laid-back beach experience, Avila might be just the spot.
Pismo Beach has it all, and the atmosphere ranges from peaceful, free-spirited, and relaxed to adventurous and downright exciting. Located just three hours from Los Angles and four from south Orange County, Pismo Beach is a perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation. If you happen to visit on the third weekend in June, be sure to check out the Annual Classic Car Show.