Pismo Beach allows you to relive childhood memories at the shore while making new ones with your own family. It's about enjoying time together with a laid back vibe. This Central Coast beach town is where butterflies are free and surfers are happy. Our Pismo Beach vacation rentals will put you in the center of it all.
Where Is Pismo Beach, CA?
Though the name may sound familiar, non-Californians may not know where to spot Pismo Beach on the map. It's halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles and is the most prominent of the Five Cities Area of San Luis Obispo County (out of Arroyo Grande, Oceano, Grover Beach, and Shell Beach). Located along a narrow 13.5 square mile stretch on the San Luis Obispo Bay, with US 101 and State Route 1 (a.k.a. Highway 1) merging through most of Pismo Beach, getting in and out is super convenient.
What to Do in Pismo Beach
While most beach vacations are taken in the summer, Pismo Beach offers attractions and events year round.
It's worthwhile to take a special trip between November and February to witness the massive monarch butterfly migration. These enchanting creatures take up temporary lodging among the area's eucalyptus trees. Concentrations of them can be observed at the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, a great family-friendly attraction.
In June, bring your binoculars and claim a spot on the popular 1,200-foot long Pismo Pier for the annual visit from humpback whales. While you patiently wait for one of the massive marine mammals to breach the surface or even leap into the air, watch anglers fish for the occasional halibut.
Surfing in Pismo Beach is a pastime, being that it's on the California Coast. While sightings of the desired barrel waves that come with winter swells entice experienced surfers, beginners can train confidently with the aid of local guides. Standup paddle boarding, sea kayaking, and kite boarding are all nice alternatives for those eager to get out on the water.
Put on your clam diggers and learn how that pant style got its name as you hunt for the famous Pismo Clam. Once known as the "Clam Capital of the World," its beaches were dense with the vitamin-rich shellfish that have the potential to grow bigger than your hand. Due to overharvesting in the 1950s and hungry sea otters today, the Pismo Clam is a bit harder to find, but worth the dig. Make sure to obtain your salt-water fishing licences beforehand.
A serene visit with the butterflies and whales can be paired with a thrilling off-road romp. Rent or bring your own dune buggy to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area just south of town. In the 1930s and 40s, this area was inhabited by mystics, writers, hermits, and other free spirits dubbed Dunites. It was believed that this unique ecosystem was a center of creative energy. Some level of high energy certainly thrives here today with the buzz and roar of buggies zooming over its slopes.
Frolic around the playground, walk your dog, or even host a wedding at Dinosaur Caves Park. All of these great attractions are within a few miles from our inviting Pismo Beach vacation rentals!
Attractions Near Pismo Beach
Just south of this admired Central California vacation destination are three little towns worth taking a spin through while staying at a Pismo Beach rental. The closest is Grover Beach, a tiny town with a big heart. Check out their Annual Sizzlin' Summer Concert Series and Farmer's Market. Next up is Arroyo Grande, slightly inland and hosting a Strawberry Festival each Memorial Day weekend. Finally, there's Oceano where you'll discover the dunes.
Thirteen miles northeast is San Luis Obispo, with the eclectic Madonna Inn along the way. Go wild on Instagram while meeting horses, shopping for souvenirs, and snacking on the historic inn’s Pink Champagne cake. The town of San Luis Obispo has a friendly collection of eateries and boutiques, plus cool vintage-style movie theaters like the Fremont and the Sunset Drive-In.
A short hop north on 101 gets you to Avila Beach and Avila Hot Springs, a must-visit spot to ease your tired clam-digging muscles under the shade of palm trees.
If you haven't already adopted the laid-back attitude California exudes, do so while staying at one of our Pismo Beach vacation rentals!