This article is sponsored by Visit Pismo Beach. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.

With beautiful beaches, ravishing rock formations, and a laidback vibe, Pismo Beach is the quintessential California cool beach town located on the Central Coast. Located in San Luis Obispo County, Pismo Beach is smack dab in the middle between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but it feels like it’s a world away from the chaos of those two cities.


While most people know Highway 1 or the Pacific Coast Highway Road trip for its coastal stops along Big Sur, Monterey, and Carmel, Pismo Beach and Oceano are the hidden gems of Highway 1 and they’re an essential addition to this famed road trip. Since the towns are only a few hours from both Los Angeles and San Francisco, Pismo Beach is the perfect weekend getaway for wine, waves, and coastal California cool.

Pismo Beach Hotels

Vespera On Ocean: This luxury hotel is the latest addition to the Pismo Beach hotel scene. Part of the Autograph Collection by Marriott, Vespera on Ocean has beautiful beach chic décor, gorgeous ocean facing rooms, a pool that has a view of the ocean, and direct beach access to the famous beaches of Pismo.

Things to do in Pismo Beach

Drive on the Oceano Dunes: Just south of Pismo Beach are the Oceano Dunes, an adventurous and peaceful cluster of sand dunes that border the Pacific Ocean. You can rent ATV’s and Dune Buggies to drive up and over the dunes or you can enjoy a leisurely hike on the dunes. The Oceano Dunes and the surrounding beach are the only beach in California where you can drive on the beach. Added bonus: you can also camp on the beach, have a bonfire, and bring alcohol onto this beach.

Monarch Butterfly Grove: Between the months of November and February, thousands of Monarch butterflies congregate in Pismo Beach.


The Oceano Sand Dunes

Dinosaur Caves Park: Dinosaur Caves Park is filled with beautiful sea caves, an 11-acre bluff park, and it’s within walking distance to the beach.

Pismo Pier: Pismo Beach has one of the most beautiful beaches in all of California. It’s worth taking a sunset stroll on the beach and watching the magnificent California sunset dip below the Pacific Ocean by the pier. There are also weekly farmer’s markets on the pier, places to fish, and it’s a great place for a leisurely stroll.

Pismo Preserve: If you love the outdoors, then head on over to the Pismo Preserve where there are over 11 miles of trails to hike and bike on, all with sweeping views of Pismo Beach and the Pacific Ocean.


Surfing: Pismo Beach and the central coast are known for their epic waves. Rent a surfboard at one of the various surf shops in town and head down to the beach for a sunrise or sunset surf session.

Where to Eat in Pismo Beach

Taste of the Valleys: Located in downtown Pismo Beach, this wine tasting room has plenty of local and international varietals to choose from. Grab a delicious flight of wine and a charcuterie board and enjoy the taste of the central coast.

Hoagies: Located in downtown Pismo Bach, Hoagies has laidback dining options including burritos, salads, wraps, sandwiches, and a selection of local brews.

Quintessa Coffee Roasters: Located just south of Pismo Beach in the town of Oceano, Quintessa Coffee Roasters is our vote for the best coffee on the central coast of California! This place is absolutely delicious, the beans are ground fresh, and the cortados are to die for!

Giuseppe’s: A local favorite since 1988, Giuseppe’s serves delicious Italian food right in downtown Pismo Beach. You can’t go wrong with the prosciutto and burrata platter or one of their tasty pizzas.

Ventana Grill: If you want a romantic date night with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, head to Ventana Grill. They also have a fantastic Sunday brunch if you’re visiting on a weekend!

Oyster Loft: For the freshest seafood in Pismo Beach, head to the Oyster Loft in downtown Pismo Beach. We highly recommend the oysters (obviously), mussels, and the salmon poke tacos.