Fresh ocean air, gorgeous handicrafts, and live music to go with top-notch wines and beers—how can you go wrong with the Cayucos Sea Glass Festival? Running in the town of Cayucos every March, the Sea Glass Festival provides a great chance to shop for jewelry, sculptures, and art made from the glittering treasures found on the beach.

Here are five tips for getting the most out of your next trip to the Cayucos Sea Glass Festival.

Check Out the Saturday Preview

The Cayucos Sea Glass Festival runs once a year on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m. If you’re looking for an eye-catching picture frame or unique necklace or brooch, you definitely want to stay for both days of the festival.

If you’re only in the area for one day, though, go on Saturday. Admission for the normal 10 a.m. start time is a dirt-cheap five dollars, but on Saturdays, a reasonable $15 fee can get you in an hour early. This is the best way to make sure you get rarer, high-quality pieces.

Learn More About the Wonders of Sea Glass

Despite its shiny appearance, sea glass actually has some pretty bizarre origins. Decades ago, the people of Cayucos left their glass garbage on the beach. Years of crashing waves smoothed out the edges and broke them up into the pieces we know today.

sea glass in Cayucos
Hunting for sea glass | Photo courtesy of kennakenai

You can learn this, and other wonderful facts, from a few experts on the material. Past festivals have included guests like Richard LaMotte, the author of Pure Sea Glass, and the creators of the Sea Glass Journal. Bring a few questions!

Wine and Dine to Local Music

Band playing live music
Live music in Cayucos | Photo courtesy of Spensatron 5000

Looking for art and jewelry can be tiring work. As tempting as heading back to your vacation rental for a hot meal and cool drink can be, there’s no need when there’s fare available right on site.

Local vintages of wine and local brews let you experience the unique flavors of San Luis Obispo County, alongside refreshing food. Odds are there’ll be a great band to tap your toes to while you relax. Past musicians include:

Explore the Markets (and Mermaids!) of Cayucos

Downtown Cayucos shops
Downtown Cayucos | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation

On top of the fun of the Sea Glass Festival, the town of Cayucos itself is worth a visit, with plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.

Ruddell’s Smokehouse has tacos and sandwiches perfect for lunches, while Schooners is a nice place to go for a drink—and both put you right near the Cayucos Pier! Snack on some sweets at Brown Butter Cookie Company before heading to Top Dog Coffee Bar & Cafe for a refreshing blend. The Cayucos Super Market has everything you need for delicious dinners back at your vacation rental.

There’s a little something special about all these businesses during the Sea Glass Festival. Throughout the month of March, Cayucos establishments make mermaids to display outside their shopfronts. The tradition is charming and goofy, but there’s something a little magical about it, too—especially if you bring along a little one at the right age.

The Sea Glass is Great—But So is the Beach

There’s so much to do by the Cayucos Sea Glass Festival that you might forget about the origin of the sea glass itself! Cayucos has many incredible beaches, and the soft, golden sands and gentle waves at Cayucos State Beach make it a great first stop, especially for visitors with kids.

Harmony Headlands State Park
Harmony Headlands State Park | Photo courtesy of Chuck Abbe

If you brought a canine companion along for your vacation, head down to the dog beach. Your furry friend deserves the chance to splash around as much as they want to! For a change of pace, hit the road and head north of town. Harmony Headlands State Park features a rugged, rockier coastline, and it’s much less populated than the sandier beaches to the south.

It’s never too early to start thinking about how you want to spend your spring, and a visit to the Cayucos Sea Glass Festival is definitely worth considering. If you’re looking for a fun beach vacation, this is a great place to start!

Featured photo courtesy of Anna

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Author: Sam Sexton

Sam moved back to Portland after spending some time in Silicon Valley. Along with Otter Pops, Pokémon, and trains, traveling was one of the high points of his childhood. He is just as ready to try a new restaurant or walk around town as he is to order a pizza and explore the wastes of Netflix.