This nostalgic beach town is located on the Central Coast, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Visitors enjoy miles of wide beaches, clean air, friendly locals, and a year-round Mediterranean climate. Pismo Beach is home to California's only drive-able beach. Relax at the beach, travel along scenic coastal roads, tour award-winning wineries, enjoy kayaking, hiking, biking, golfing and so much more.
555 Pier Ave
Oceano, CA 93445-9663
Phone: (805) 489-1869
Pismo State Beach offers all kinds of attractions: hiking, swimming, surf fishing, and digging for the famous Pismo clam. There are tree-lined dunes and the beach is popular with bird watchers. The park has the largest over-wintering colony of monarch butterflies in the U.S.
- Ocean Lagoon has a wheelchair-accessible fishing overhang.
- Four restaurants are within 2 blocks of the campground.
- ATV rentals are available within 2 blocks of the park.
- A trolly service provides access to the surrounding community.
Location - Directions
The beach is located in the town of Oceano off Highway 1.
Seasons - Climate - Recommended clothing
The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended.
Tours & Rides
Pismo Beach is located in the center of a wide variety of activities. There is a wealth of tour and ride operators in our area that can give you a unique perspective of the central coast. Click on the links below to explore our Tours and Rides!
See Pismo Beach from the Sky in this Open-Cockpit WW II Biplane! Pier Tours, Dune Tours, & Other Tours are Available. Ride Tickets-Gifts $99 & Up. Banner Airways at Oceano Airport.
Guided Nature Hikes
Guided hikes to ancient Chumash Indian sites in the dunes and elsewhere, are offered regularly by State Park Docents and the Natural History Association.
A thrill-a-minute ride along the beach and through the dunes in a genuine Hummer.
Pismo and Shell Beaches offer spectacular rocks, caves, cliffs, beaches and coves that are perfect for kayaks.
(tours & rentals): (805) 773-350 0
(tours & rentals): (805) 773-2089
(tours & rentals): (805) 441-5792
Fishing in Pismo Beach
Fishing from the Pier generally results in some good catches of red snapper and ling cod. No license is required for pier fishing, but is required for deep sea or surf fishing. Bait, tackle and rental gear are available on the pier. NOTE: There is now paid parking in the pier lot. More Pier Information
Horse Back Riding in Pismo Beach
Ride private trails through the spectacular Oceano Dunes and Beach.
Kiteboarding in Pismo Beach
At XtremeBigAir they simply always stay on the xtreme cutting edge of kitesurfing! so GO XTREME with us!
California Kiteboarding is a kiteboarding and standup paddleboarding school and retailer.
Skydive Pismo Beach is located just off the historic Pacific Coast Highway at Oceano Airport. Each flight ascends directly over miles of dunes and shoreline, providing jumpers with the most spectacular views California has to offer! New prices and new 8,000 foot Tandem Jump available!
8K Tandem Jump at $169
10K Tandem Jump at $199
13K Tandem Jump at $249
Surfing Rentals in Pismo Beach
Year round board and boogie-board surfing at the pier. Board and wet suit rentals available.
(805) 835-787 3
Pismo Beach has been blessed with an abundance of wildlife. Almost everyone knows about the famous Pismo Clams. Although they have pretty much disappeared from the scene, clamming is still popular. Lately the wildlife focus has been turned toward our butterfly grove. It turns out that one of the most spectacular Monarch Butterfly Grove in the country is on our southern boundary. Of course we have a bounty of water bound friends - Whales, Otters, Elephant Seals, etc. just offshore.
The "Butterfly Trees" of Pismo Beach are one of our most beloved attractions From late October through February, thousands of colorful Monarch butterflies cluster in the limbs of Eucalyptus and Monterey Pines in the area, giving the appearance of yellow and orange leaves. They travel over the Sierra Mountains and west of the Rockies. Some come from as far away as Canada to escape the colder temperatures of the north.Bird's Eye View of Grove MonarchButterfly.org
For more information on the Monarch Butterfly visit our website.Website
The Monarch Butterfly Grove is located half a mile south of Pismo Beach just off Hwy 1. Free parking is available inside the North Beach Campground, just north of the Trees. For more information or directions, you can also call the Pismo Beach Visitor Information Center at (805) 773-4382.
The Pismo Clam
The Pismo Clam is one of the largest types of clams found along the California Coast. The clams can grow up to seven inches, if not interfered with by hungry clammers and sea otters. Legal size is 4 1/2 inches in diameter; and the proper place to clam is south of Grand Avenue (south of Pismo Beach).
Clams take approximately five years to reach legal size; growing about 3/4 of an inch each year. As clams approach ten years of age, they seldom grow more than 1/8 of an inch per year. The largest living Pismo Clam on record is 7 3/8 inches, however the clam shell on display in the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce is 8 inches in diameter. During high tide, the clam is covered with water and can be found just under the sand's surface with it's siphon extended to the surface. Water taken in through the siphon, passes over the gills where food particles are removed and digested. The water is then expelled through the siphon. A 3 inch clam filters an average of 5,800 gallons of water per year. This amount of water contains approximately 3.88 ounces of food; thus clams are very light eaters.
How To Clam
Before you clam you must obtain a salt-water fishing license, which can be purchased at K-Mart (Arroyo Grande), Longs Drugs (Pismo Beach) and Gotta Go Fish'n (Pismo Beach). Clamming is permitted year-round. You will also need a clam fork and a measuring device called a "caliper"; normally the caliper is attached to the clam fork. If you do not use a clam fork, you can use a modified rake, or any utensil that has prongs a foot or so long.
The limit for clamming is ten clams per day per person. It is a good idea to bring a bucket and fill it with sea water, not fresh water; the clams once in the bucket, will purge themselves of any impurities and will open slightly. This will allow you to remove them from their shells more easily. If you try to remove them from their shells when they are closed, you will quickly learn where the expression "Clam Up" came from.
According to state law: Clams must measure 4 1/2" in diameter before they can be taken. Undersized clams must be replaced in the very same hole that they were taken from. A saltwater fishing license is required. The annual fee for a saltwater license is approximately $14.20, and a day pass is about $8.40. The licenses are issued by the Department of Fish and Game. Clams may be taken only between a half-hour before sunrise and a half-hour after sunset. The limit for clamming is 10 clams per day per person. Those caught not adhering to any of these guidelines, will be subject to heavy fines. Change: Fee is now $44.85 or a 1-day fee is $14.30. (Reduced fees for Low Income Native Americans, Senior Citizens, and Disabled Veterans)
This off road area is among the most popular and unique of California State Parks. The 5 1/2 miles of beach open for vehicle use and the sand dunes available for off highway motor vehicle recreation are attractions for visitors from throughout the United States.
Oceano Dunes is the only California State Park where vehicles may be driven on the beach. Passenger cars can easily drive on the northern portion of the beach.
Four wheel drive vehicles are recommended for driving to the camping and off highway vehicle use areas in the park.
Beach wheelchairs are available for loan at the Pier and Grand Avenue entrances to the beach.
Surfing, swimming, surf fishing, horseback riding and bird watching are popular activities.
The recreation area is located in Oceano, three miles south of Pismo Beach off Highway 1.
One mile south of the Pier Avenue beach ramp is Post 2, a post on the beach which marks the beginning of the off-highway vehicle riding and camping area.
OHV's must be transported to this point before unloading. Any areas on the beach or in the dunes that are fenced or signed are closed to vehicular use because they either contain sensitive plant and animal life or are private property.
Summer temperatures - Highs: 60's and 70's; Lows: 50's; Dense morning fog
Winter temperatures - Highs: 50's and 60's; Lows: 40's; high winds in Spring
The weather is often quite changeable, layered clothing is recommended.
24 hours a day
7 days a week
Day Use Hours:
The State Vehicular Recreation Areas or SVRAs, are OHV parks that are operated by the OHMVR Division of California State Parks.
Please visit the OHV website at:
250 San Simeon Ave Ste 3B
San Simeon, CA 93452-9715
The Northern Elephant Seal, Mirounga angustirostris, is an extraordinary marine mammal. It spends eight to ten months of the year in the open ocean, diving 1000 to 5000 feet deep for periods of fifteen minutes to two hours. They also migrate thousands of miles, twice a year, to their land based rookery for birthing, breeding, molting and rest. The Piedras Blancas rookery on Highway 1, seven miles north of San Simeon, is home to 17,000 animals.
The elephant seals lead a very dangerous life. In addition to the many dangers to pups very early in their lives, dangers at sea are severe with only one in six surviving to age four. As a result, juveniles constitute approximately 80% of the seal colony.
All the seals come to the rookery to molt, and the adult seals come a second time for the birthing and breeding in the winter. Why is it the juveniles come to the rookery for a month in the fall? Definitive answers about "why" with respect to animal behavior are difficult to come by but there are plausible arguments for the juveniles coming to the beaches this time of year. First, as an adult, they will have to have the pattern of two visits each year. Second, their time on the bluff gives them additional experience with fasting and with being on land - both important aspects of their life. Finally, the time on land strengthens their skeleton because, in the ocean, there is no gravitational stress on their skeleton. The stress they experience on land promotes bone growth and stronger bones will also be important to them as adults.
The juveniles are fun to watch. The young males enjoy sparring, often in the shallow rocky areas off shore. That play, characteristic of male mammals of many species, humans included, is pretty clearly fun and, certainly in the case of elephant seals, it serves to prepare them for the dominance battles as adults.
Seals in the rookery often appear to visitors as very "lazy." They certainly know how to relax. It is important to realize, however, that they are all fasting - no food and no water - for their time in the rookery. Activity greatly increases their metabolism and hence their consumption of energy resources that they brought on shore with them. It is a measure of the importance to the seals of that youthful play that they indulge in it at all. Cost: Free
Dinosaur Cave Park
This 11-acre ocean front bluff top park is popular with walkers, photographers, dog lovers, joggers and fishing enthusiasts. Park amenities include a wedding overlook as well as a grassy reception area and an amphitheater for entertainment events are available to rent on an hourly basis. A restroom and off-street parking are also offered.. Additionally, a large unique play area is found in the park and includes two concrete dolphins; Oreo the Orca Whale; the USS IMAGINATION, a fine galleon; three beautiful dinosaur eggs; one gentle dinosaur and three playful seals. A tire swing and tot swing also grace the play area.
For a complete guide to Pismo Beach City Parks,Trails and Beaches