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Pismo BeachUnited States of America

Pismo Beach evokes old-world California with its rugged coastal scenery and its emphasis on outdoor living.

Fish from the pier, hike over sand dunes or enjoy the watersports on offer; you’ll find that most activities at Pismo Beach center around the sun, sand and waves.

To see the main stretches of the coastline, take advantage of the free Avila Beach Trolley. This seasonal service operates a roundtrip from Pismo Beach Premium Outlets, a shopping center, to Port San Luis, stopping at beaches in between. Hop off the trolley and hit the sand to sunbathe, surf or swim. Kite flying and kite boarding are also popular in this area, because of the prevalent Pacific Ocean breeze.

If you visit between late October and February, be sure to check out the migrating Monarch butterflies. Every year, tens of thousands of them fly to Pismo Beach seeking respite from the colder weather further north. The colony can be found on the branches of eucalyptus and Monterey pines in the Monarch Butterfly Grove, located just half a mile (800 meters) south of Pismo Beach.

South of the township, hikers and thrill seekers have plenty of opportunities for fun at the towering sand dunes of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex. This natural landmark is 18 miles (29 kilometers) long and contains dunes that stand hundreds of feet above sea level.

Go on a hike and discover the flora and fauna, such as the California red-legged frog and the California tiger salamander. Visit the Interpretative Center in Guadalupe, about 16 miles (26 kilometers) from Pismo Beach, for information on the area.

If you prefer things a bit faster, get behind the wheel of a rented quad, dirt-bike or four-wheel drive and speed around the sand drifts of the Oceano State Vehicular Recreation Area, one of the only areas in California where it is legal to drive on the beach. There are ATV rental agencies in the town of Oceano.

Pismo Beach is approximately halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The main street, Price Street, is just a short walk from the Pacific Ocean, and has many restaurants, cafés and souvenir shops.

Where to stay in Pismo Beach

Another beautiful overlook along the Pacific coastline.

Shell Beach

4/5Very Good!(19 area reviews)

Visitors to Shell Beach enjoy its beaches, and if you want to do some exploring, Margo Dodd Park is worth a stop.

Shell Beach
Pismo Beach

Downtown

4.5/5Wonderful!(396 area reviews)

While visiting Downtown, you might make a stop by sights like Pismo Beach Pier and Pismo State Beach.

Downtown
Enjoyed a great dinner at Ventana Grill in Pismo Beach - make sure you time the booking for sunset!

Motel District

4.5/5Wonderful!(264 area reviews)

While Motel District might not have many sights to explore, venturing just a little farther will lead you to top things to see and do like Pismo Beach Pier and Monarch Butterfly Grove.

Motel District
View from above Pismo Beach. #PismoBeach

Pismo Heights

While Pismo Heights isn't home to many top sights, Pismo Beach Pier and Monarch Butterfly Grove are some notable places to visit nearby.

Pismo Heights
Overlooking Shell Beach from the ridge. 
Beautiful! A must if your looking for a good day hike. A bit strenuous but possible!

Sunset Palisades

While Sunset Palisades might not have many sights to explore, venturing just a little farther will lead you to top things to see and do like Avila Hot Springs and Avila Beach Community Center.

Sunset Palisades
Nice Flat Water - cool Breeze no people - it works.

Saint Andrews

If you're looking for some top things to see and do in Saint Andrews and surrounding area, you can visit Avila Hot Springs and Margo Dodd Park.

Saint Andrews

Top Hotels in Pismo Beach

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Inn at the Pier
Inn at the Pier
4 out of 5
601 Cypress Street, Pismo Beach, CA
The price is $199 per night

Located in Downtown, this beach hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of North Beach Campground, Pismo Beach Pier, and Monarch Butterfly Grove. Price Anniversary House ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,051 reviews)

"good, nice staff and clean lobby and rooms. quick valet access and spacious rooms with decent balcony."…"

Reviewed on Jul 29, 2020

Inn at the Pier
Spyglass Inn
Spyglass Inn
3 out of 5
2705 Spyglass Dr, Pismo Beach, CA
The price is $178 per night

Situated on the waterfront, this motel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Avila Hot Springs, Margo Dodd Park, and Pirates Cove. Pismo Beach Pier and Monarch Butterfly ...

4.3/5Excellent! (906 reviews)

"Nice place to stay, very relaxing the ceiling fan was a bit noisy"…"

Reviewed on Jul 27, 2020

Spyglass Inn
Cottage Inn By The Sea
Cottage Inn By The Sea
3 out of 5
2351 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA
The price is $195 per night

Located in Motel District, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Margo Dodd Park and Pismo Beach Pier. Monarch Butterfly Grove is 1.9 mi (3 km) away.

4.3/5Excellent! (1,150 reviews)

"No air condition and beach access. Staffs are friendly"…"

Reviewed on Aug 2, 2020

Cottage Inn By The Sea

Popular places to visit in Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach Pier
Image for Pismo Beach Pier

Pismo Beach Pier

4.5/5(1,360 reviews)

Watch whales from the benches that flank this long pier offering unobstructed vistas of the ocean and the hilly environs.

Monarch Butterfly Grove
Image for Monarch Butterfly Grove

Monarch Butterfly Grove

4.5/5(446 reviews)

Enjoy the beautiful sunsets and explore Monarch Butterfly Grove, a favorite green space in Pismo Beach. Amble around this family-friendly area's beautiful beaches and enjoy its top-notch restaurants.

North Beach Campground
Image for North Beach Campground

North Beach Campground

4.5/5(21 reviews)

Why not spend a carefree afternoon at North Beach Campground during your travels in San Luis Obispo?

Margo Dodd Park
Image for Margo Dodd Park

Margo Dodd Park

Enjoy the beautiful sunsets and explore Margo Dodd Park, a lovely green space in Pismo Beach. Wander the beautiful beaches and seaside in this family-friendly area.

Pirates Cove
Image for Pirates Cove

Pirates Cove

Why not spend a lazy afternoon at Pirates Cove during your trip to San Luis Obispo?

Morro Bay State Park
Image for Morro Bay State Park

Morro Bay State Park

4.5/5(1,290 reviews)

Enjoy the beautiful sunsets and explore Morro Bay State Park, a favorite green space in San Luis Obispo. Wander the beautiful beaches and seaside in the area.

Top things to do in Pismo Beach

Beach Dune Buggy Rental
Image for Beach Dune Buggy Rental

Beach Dune Buggy Rental

$221
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
City Scavenger hunts by Operation City Quest of California
Image for City Scavenger hunts by Operation City Quest of California

City Scavenger hunts by Operation City Quest of California

$10
Per adult
80% of travellers recommend
Survival Challenge by Zombie Scavengers of California
Image for Survival Challenge by Zombie Scavengers of California

Survival Challenge by Zombie Scavengers of California

$20
Per adult
SLO to LA Pacific Coast Highway California Rt-1 Driving Tour
Image for SLO to LA Pacific Coast Highway California Rt-1 Driving Tour

SLO to LA Pacific Coast Highway California Rt-1 Driving Tour

$8
Per adult
Mystery Thrill Seekers - San Luis Obispo
Image for Mystery Thrill Seekers - San Luis Obispo

Mystery Thrill Seekers - San Luis Obispo

$35
Per adult
Paso Robles Wine Adventure with pickup from Pismo Beach, CA
Image for Paso Robles Wine Adventure with pickup from Pismo Beach, CA

Paso Robles Wine Adventure with pickup from Pismo Beach, CA

$274
Per adult

Reviews of Pismo Beach

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
868
5 - Excellent 63.58974358974359%
4 - Good
440
4 - Good 32.234432234432234%
3 - Okay
48
3 - Okay 3.5164835164835164%
2 - Disappointing
6
2 - Disappointing 0.43956043956043955%
1 - Terrible
3
1 - Terrible 0.21978021978021978%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Jun 6, 2020

The city of Pismo should’ve completed the pier project a long time ago. They have overcrowded the small city even more by allowing additional large hotels to be added

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jun 3, 2020

Super packed. But I definitely expected that!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 3, 2020

I had a great time.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Jun 2, 2020

There was way to many people in the downtown area other than that was nice

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 2, 2020

beach is great!

5/5 - Excellent

Cookie

Jun 1, 2020

First time there and is a Beautiful clean Beach

Cities near Pismo Beach

San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo