Pismo Beach Travel Guide

  • Pismo Beach
    by nanaoliveira
  • SURFING OFF THE PIER
    SURFING OFF THE PIER
    by malianrob
  • Otter With a Tasty Meal
    Otter With a Tasty Meal
    by KimberlyAnn

Pismo Beach Highlights

  • Pro
    Acore_Beauty_4_U_Luv profile photo

    Acore_Beauty_4_U_Luv says…

     Great waves for Boogie Boarding & Surfing :) 

  • Con
    Ms.V profile photo

    Ms.V says…

     Sometimes too windy! 

  • In a nutshell
    painterdave profile photo

    painterdave says…

     This is where to go to enjoy the Pacific. 

Pismo Beach Things to Do

  • Pismo State Beach

    This is a beautiful beach with towering sand dunes that are very popular with off-roaders. It's also the only beach in the state where you can drive vehicles on the beach. You can enjoy all matters of water activities here as well as riding horses on the beach!

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  • WALK THE TOWN IN PISMO BEACH

    Pismo Beach is a typical small beach town with a lot of hotels, one of the best beaches, a long pier, surfing waves, and seafood restaurants. Oh, there are a few stores that sell souvenirs and shirts with Pismo Beach emblazed on the front but the fun lies in just walking around and taking in the sea salt air and the good vibrations of a small beach...

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  • What to do in Pismo beach

    I live here so i know of a number of things to do.#1. Surf #2. Eat at el miradore, Hoagies, Splash Cafe, old west cinnamon rolls, Mo's smokehouse barbeque.#3. hang out at local parks#4. walk around in downtown pismo.#5. layout (a.k.a get a tan)#6. Go to the outlet mall ( which includes coach, pacsun, zumeez, claires, styles for less, ect#7. walk on...

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  • The Pier

    It's a nice walk by the pier. We went during prime time and there weren't many people there at all. Slightly cold in September, but not frigid. The birds here are not afraid of people. I got a few nice pictures of them just hanging out on the pier. A great place to watch the sunset and let your worries slip away.

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  • Interesting sidelight

    When we headed out I ducked into the unique foreshore just north of Pismo, a place called Shell Beach. Frankly, if I had a house anywhere near the shore I would be worried as erosion is clearly present.Still, it makes for good photography and an interesting seascape.

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  • A relaxing stopover

    My partner Rosemarie was really sick when we stopped here so it was good to find a relaxing place to stay.We were located right next to the beach, a pleasant affair with not a great deal of surf by the looks of it.However, volleyball is certainly a sport that is popular here.If you want a place to relax for a few days and want to do a bit of...

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Pismo Beach Hotels

Pismo Beach Restaurants

  • CLAM CHOWER STOP

    Drive on past Pismo Beach on Hwy 101 and you have missed the highlight of seafood eating, a clam chowder bowl. You can get clam chowder from many restaurants in the area but SPLASH seems to have it down pat. The bread bowl is delicious and the chowder thick and tasty. Ther Many people may be lined up to order but the line moves fast. Sitting at...

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  • SEAFOOD WITH A SEAVIEW

    Steamers of Pismo is located on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Pismo Beach. The view is stunning and the food is equally as gratifying. This is a fine dining restaurant that has excellent seafood dishes for you to enjoy. Reservations are recommended but the wait is not that long without one and Steamers has a wonderful nautical themed bar...

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  • Visit the surfing pigs!

    I could not resist the smell of this delicious BBQ smokehouse, while walking by. We knew by the crowd...and the surfing pigs....that this place would provide a great dinner! Pulled pork sandwich, your choice of BBQ sauces...and a cold beer!

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Pismo Beach Nightlife

  • Nightlife on the Beach

    As the sun sets take a walk on the beach with your camera. This is an enjoyable time at Pismo.There are also numerous restaurants along the cliff that have windows for viewing. The beach will have few people--you will need a jacket, it can get cool even in the summer.

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  • As the sun sets in Pismo...

    There is not a thing in this world that is as intoxicating as a Pismo Sunset. This is my fav night life when I am here ;)You can drive down on the beach, park and...whatever fancies you!

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  • Pismo Beach Hotels

    27 Hotels in Pismo Beach

    586 Reviews and Opinions

Pismo Beach Transportation

  • mingomatic's Profile Photo

    by mingomatic Written Sep 28, 2011

    I'm guessing most people who come to Pismo Beach is taking a road trip on the SoCal Coast. If so, depending on what kind of car you already own, I would likely suggest that you rent a car. Why? Because of a few reasons...
    1) Get a car that's fuel efficient. We were driving from LA to San Jose and getting a car that has 35 miles to the gallon was super cheap on gas. (Ford Fiesta) -not bad!
    2) Less wear and tear on your own car. Some of the roads up the coast are super twisty. The breaks on the rental car were going, but since it was a rental, I wasn't very concerned. It's about 600 miles roundtrip and that's a lot of miles to add to your car in a short time.
    3) It's cheap. Avis was about 80 bucks for an entire weekend. If you are a group of 4 people, that's $20 each to rent a car for an entire weekend. Not bad at all!
    4) The car gets DIRTY. I'm talking like caked on bugs on the bumper and such. Better to do that with a rental car than your own.

    In addition to the above, I recommend you have a portable GPS or an iPad/iPhone with a GPS app. It was the single most useful tool to travel with. Music, GPS, and finding things to see, places to eat are super easy with an iPad.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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Pismo Beach Shopping

  • A Place for Beach Toys

    Do you want toys for the beach, kites, beach gear, flags, banners, or wind art? If so, then you must visit The Sky is the Limt. You can find items for yourself, your children, a friend, and even for your dog. It’s a fun place to poke around in if you want to do more than just sit on the beach. There are rubber band guns, boomerangs, Frisbees,...

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  • The KQQLEST clothes in town :)

    ~Step into Moondoggies Beach Club at 781 Dolliver St., 805-773-1995~Pancho's Surf Shop at 181 Pomeroy Ave., 805-773-7100 ~Pismo Beach Surf Shop at 231 Pomeroy Ave., 805-773-0134 What is a trip to the beach without beachwear?...BORING!

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Pismo Beach Local Customs

  • Clamming

    Walk around town and you might wonder about the local obsession with clam chowder. Every restaurant seems to have won an award at some time or another for the best bowl of the stuff. The clams you'll eat around town nowadays are not caught in Pismo, most likely....At one time, a lot of clamming was done locally, but today clams on the beach here...

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  • The Chumash Indians

    Did you know…Native American people still make their home on the Central Coast They have been living in what is now called Cambria for roughly 9,000 years? The coastal stretch from present-day Cayucos to San Carpoforo was their home .Archeologists refer to these early coastal residents as 'playano', a name first given to them by early Spanish...

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Pismo Beach Warnings and Dangers

  • Red Tide and Clamming

    The Pismo clam supports an important sport shellfishery. An estimated150,000 people once sought the clams on Pismo Beach, California, during asingle weekend; however, sea otters have depleted the supply there since1981, and as of 1986 there is no fishery.The Pismo clam lives in the sandy beaches along the Central and SouthernCalifornia coast -- a...

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  • BUY YOUR PARKING TIME OR GET A TICKET...

    Make sure that if you are parking in the pay zones which includes one way side streets as well as parking lots, you look for the pay meters to get your time allowed stub. Return to your vehicle and place it on the inside dashboard area visible through the windshield or you will have a ticket fine placed on the outside of your window.

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  • Crime in Pismo Beach

    Pismo Beach’s property crime levels are a little higher than average for California, but the violent crime level in Pismo Beach tends to be lower. So, although this is a nice, friendly California town, thefts do occur. It is recommended that you do not leave valuables in your car out in plain view, and that you always lock your car.

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Pismo Beach What to Pack

  • Acore_Beauty_4_U_Luv's Profile Photo
    die pier und die beach

    by Acore_Beauty_4_U_Luv Updated Nov 28, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: When I lived in Pismo it was all shorts and windbreakers, or sweatshirts, and beach sandals. Sneakers in Pismo is a no no, unless you are running on the beach.
    Hats are nice...the wind blows much and when it is foggy the hair do's go wacky.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: face/body/lip moisturizer's
    sunscreen

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: boogie board and wet suit...just get out there and do it! :)

    Miscellaneous: shark repellent :)

    Related to:
    • Beaches

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Pismo Beach Off The Beaten Path

  • Avila Beach Wildlife Viewing

    One of the things I really enjoyed about the Port San Luis Pier in Avila was viewing the seabirds and mammals. Standing on one of the roofless fish market walls was a brown pelican. (See photo 2.) The lady running the counter stood sat near-by. I had a feeling this pelican was use to getting discarded fish and fish pieces from the market, as he...

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  • Small Lower Dock

    Something that was really startling was that near the end of the Port San Luis Pier in Avila, just outside of the restaurant, there was a narrow set of stairs that led to a small dock under the pier. You could hear splashing and barking below. As you descended these stairs, there was a sign that read, Warning, Sea Lions Bite. We were surprised to...

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  • Taking tacky photos

    Like any beach town, Pismo has more than it's fair share of nutty and outrageous signage, colorful and crazy and an assault on the eyes. Here are some photo examples of colorful outdoor artwork which leaps out for your attention.

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Pismo Beach Sports & Outdoors

  • Nine Hole Golfing

    Pismo Beach Golf Course is a public, nine hole, three par course located near the ocean, and the coastal dunes. There is a snack bar where you can purchase soft drinks, beer, chips, and candy. In 2007 the greens fee was $9 on weekdays, and $10 on weekends. You may also rent clubs and carts. For information on prices and discounts visit their web...

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  • Boogie Boarding

    Boogie Boarding on the Pismo Beach waves.Just lay on your board, paddle out into the surf...and ride the waves back in. It is a blast :) Boogie BoardWet suit (suggested)Water-proof Sun block for face

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  • Pacific Adventures Tours...Hum, hum,...

    WANT EXCITEMENT? Here is the Extreme Adventure for you! This is a "hold onto your seat" thrill, packed with fun from start to finish. This tour will take you from Pismo Beach into the famous Oceano Dunes, "Hummer Style!" Experience the ride of your life, as our drivers show you the capability of the military-inspired Hummer, aka "Hum-Vee." The...

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Pismo Beach Favorites

  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo
    Monarch Butterflies

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Apr 27, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The Pismo area is famous for the thousands of Monarch butterflies that migrate to the area, looking for shelter from the cold northern winters. If you visit Pismo late October to the end of February, you will be treated to the huge butterfly clusters hanging in the limbs of a grove of Eucalyptus trees. The grove may be found along highway 1 at the southern end of Pismo Beach. During the time that the butterflies are in the areas in large numbers there are volunteers who offer daily talks and information at the Butterfly Grove. Ask anyone in town and they can give you directions on how to find the grove. For more information visit www.monarchbutterfly.org

    Fondest memory: There are so many things I liked about this area, that it is hard to choose my fondest memory, but I guess it would be our wonderful campsite in the N. Beach section of the state park, flying kites on the beach, our Avila side trip, and eating at Splash.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism

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Comments (1)

  • Nov 30, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    I just spent 4 days in Pismo beach. It's a beautiful area. Large clean sandy beaches are very family friendly. A caution- the city is very aggressive about parking tickets-there is one sign for every 4-5 spaces and there is one kiosk for about 20 spaces . I don't mind paying for parking however I felt that the spaces were not clearly marked.
    If you don't park in front of the sign and cross the street, you will miss the parking notice. When I came back I and at least 10 other cars had parking tickets. $40 each is a nice haul for the city on Thanksgiving. I ended up asking every business if it was free to park since I couldn't trust the space was free or not. Other than that, it was a good holiday- just not sure I'll spend my next vacation at Pismo due to the feeling the city 'earns' their money this way.

 
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