Blake Walsh

30 Best Things to Do in Pismo Beach, CA

  • Published 2022/12/15

Pismo Beach is a small Californian city located in the Central Coast area of the state in San Luis Obispo County.

This lovely city only has a population of about 8000 people, according to the 2018 census.

The town is a part of the cluster of “Five Cities” of the central coast of California, and the group consists of Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Oceano, Arroyo Grande, and Shell Beach.

Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Fransico, Pismo Beach is famous for its long white beaches, great weather, lovely wineries, and much more.

Due to its location near the pacific ocean, this town has an abundance of fresh seafood.

The city is the clam capital of the world, and it hosts Clam Festival every year that draws a lot of people from all over the world.

Along with this delectable seafood and golden sunshine, the city also has parks, dunes, hot springs, and so much more.

Visit this city to experience this Californian city and all its attractions for yourself.

Here are the 30 best things to do in Pismo Beach, California:

Have a Picnic at Margo Dodd Park

View of Margo Dodd Park

dshumny /

Margo Dodd Park is so similar to other spots in the city doesn’t keep it from becoming one of the best places to relax in this part of California.

It lies on a bluff, much like the other places on our list, and it’s lush with green grass.

Gazebo at Margo Dodd Park

HannaTor /

It is surrounded by ocean vistas as well!

Margo Dodd Park is a great place to witness people from all walks of life enjoying a wide range of recreational activities.

Signage of Margo Dodd Park

HannaTor /

Groups may unwind under a charming gazebo and at a few picnic tables.

It’s easy to see the water from the benches.

During low tide, the park is a haven for snorkelers and bird watchers alike, who come to see the sights.

See Thousands of Butterflies at the Monarch Butterfly Grove

A butterfly on a railing at Monarch Butterfly Grove

Sundry Photography /

Located in the gardens of Pismo State Beach, Monarch Butterfly Grove is one of the very few spots in the state of California where the count of butterflies is more than 10,000 each year.

The grove provides an essential place for the stunning butterflies, and it houses tens of thousands of black and orange Monarch Butterflies during the migration period.

Entrance to the Monarch Butterfly Grove

Zach Behrens /

The garden is filled with beautiful eucalyptus trees that provide natural shelter to these magnificent creatures.

There are telescopes set up in the garden so that you can watch the butterflies from afar.

The best time to visit this butterfly grove is in the migration season between November and February.

Monarch Butterfly Grove is a beautiful place to visit and experience the beauty of thousands of butterflies by yourself.

View of butterflies at Monarch Butterfly Grove

Oculus8 /

Play With Your Friends at Pismo Bowl

Spend a fun day at Pismo Bowl when the weather isn’t ideal for outdoor activities!

A family has owned and operated the all-ages business since it opened in 1939.

Its antique ambiance and style convey the majesty of its past accomplishments.

It has eight lanes to accommodate everyone from beginners to advanced bowlers, as well as a variety of leagues and an arcade.

You may book all eight lanes of the Pismo Bowl for a celebration or an extra intimate experience if you wish.

There’s also an on-site restaurant that offers delicious pizza.

While the kids play, the adults may relax with an excellent local beer!

Relish the Stunning Views at Pismo Pier

Daytime view of Pismo Pier

Gabriele Maltinti /

Pismo Pier is a wooden pier located on Pismo Beach.

The pier is pretty long and has a unique shape and has several half-diamond-shaped projectories.

You can enjoy fishing or surfing, or flying a kite on the pier.

View of a Man below Pismo Pier

DiegoMariottini /

The pier is one of the most popular places to surf on the central coast.

It is a great vantage point as well and offers incredible views of the ocean and the beach.

It is lit at night, so you can enjoy the calm atmosphere of the pier while enjoying the sea in the dark.

Stunning Views at Pismo Pier

Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Pismo Beach (California, USA), Pier — 2012 — 4764” / CC BY-SA 4.0

You will enjoy the pier and its beauty by taking a stroll around for a few moments.

Don’t forget to visit the Pismo Pier and catch a sunset or sunrise from this vantage point.

Walkway of Pismo Pier

DiegoMariottini /

Rent Kayaks From Central Coast Kayaks

Kayaking at Central Coast

HannaTor /

Kayaking is one of the most enjoyable activities to do on the California coast.

That’s what Central Coast Kayaks has to offer if you’re thinking of things to do in Pismo Beach!

The firm has offered adventures and kayak trips on lovely local waters since 1993.

In addition to traditional tours, Central Coast Kayaks provides fishing trips, kayaks, and paddleboard rentals, workshops, and camps.

You can get up close and personal with aquatic creatures, too!

There is something for everyone on these trips, whether you’re looking for tranquility or excitement.

Picnic at Eldwayen Ocean Park

Scenic view of Eldwayen Ocean Park

HannaTor /

Located on Ocean Boulevard, Eldwayen Ocean Park is a grassy park with a view of the ocean.

The park is never crowded and provides a calm atmosphere to relax or stroll around in peace.

The park also provides an area for picnicking, where you can enjoy a picnic with your friends and family.

Daytime view of Eldwayen Ocean Park

HannaTor /

Shop at Pismo Beach Premium Outlets

What are the best places to go shopping in town?

The Pismo Beach Premium Outlets are, without a doubt, the best option for tourists visiting the area.

If you’re looking for a great deal and a wide variety of businesses to explore at 333 5 Cities Drive, Pismo Beach, this is the place to go.

There are plenty of restaurants and a large parking lot.

It also features a dog park where you can let your four-legged friends mingle with their fellow fur babies.

These outlets have a mix of regional and national brands.

Just a handful of the many brands are Kate Spade, Aeropostale, Levi’s, IZOD, Calvin Klein, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, OshKosh B’gosh, and Ralph Lauren.

If you’re looking for some of the best prices in California, here is the place to go!

Enjoy a Barbeque at Spyglass Park

View of the waters from Spyglass Park

NicholasGeraldinePhotos /

Spyglass Park is a lovely park with views of the ocean and access to the sandy beach of Pismo on foot.

The park covers an area of about 4,5 acres and provides many opportunities for recreational activities.

There are barbeque areas in the park where you can enjoy the barbeque with your friends and family.

People having picnics at Spyglass Park

HannaTor /

There are playgrounds for children to play on.

Along with these, there are designated areas for a picnic with tables and benches where you can enjoy a picnic while gazing at the ocean.

Visit Spyglass Park to relax or enjoy a picnic with beautiful views of the ocean.

The grounds of Spyglass Park

NicholasGeraldinePhotos /

Admire the Incredible Pismo City Beach

Lifeguard station at Pismo City Beach

Jayme Burrows /

Perched on the Pacific coast in California, Pismo City Beach is a public beach approximately 17 miles long in Pismo Beach.

It is a sandy beach, which is popular among tourists and locals alike.

You can enjoy various recreation activities here, including swimming, fishing, camping, surfing, birdwatching, and more.

The waters of Pismo City Beach

HannaTor /

Additionally, you can also camp at this vantage point by reserving your camping slot online.

The beach also allows a bonfire so that you can enjoy smores and a campfire in the evening to relish this beautiful place.

Also, do not forget to catch the glorious sunsets or sunrises from this fantastic beach to witness the glory of the orange sun and the stunning Pacific ocean.

People enjoying the sun at Pismo City Beach

HannaTor /

Attend the Pismo Beach Clam Festival

Pismo Beach is known as the Clam Capital of the world, and Pismo Beach Clam Festival celebrates its world-class clams with live music, wines, beers, clam chowder eating contest, food trucks, and much more.

The festival is celebrated in mid-October for three days.

Attend this festival to eat the world-famous clams and enjoy the Californian festivities filled with food and entertainment.

Appreciate the View at Dinosaur Caves Park

Welcome sign of Dinosaur Caves Park

melissamn /

Dinosaur Caves Park is a gem of Pismo Beach and covers an area of 11 acres of amazingly beautiful land.

It is a beautifully designed park, and it is also one of the best parks in the city overlooking the spectacular ocean.

It is one of the most famous oceanfront parks in the country.

Trail at Dinosaur Caves Park


The park is popular among people for walking and clicking amazing photographs of the cliffs and the water.

You can also walk your pooch while enjoying the view.

The park can also be booked for a wedding location, and you can also rent the amphitheater or reception area.

The Dinosaur Caves Park is a beautiful place just to sit while appreciating the view and relaxing in a peaceful environment.

Playground at Dinosaur Caves Park

HannaTor /

Relax at Palisades Park

Located in the Shell Beach area of Pismo Beach, Palisades Park is an ocean bluff-top park that covers an area of about 6 acres.

This seaside park offers stunning views of the ocean.

It has a basketball court, tennis court, children’s playground, and more.

The park also has a designated area for picnicking with tables and benches in the shade, so you can enjoy a lovely picnic while enjoying the view and basking in the golden sunshine of California.

Enjoy Camping at the North Beach Campground

Scenic view of North Beach Campground

dshumny /

Located near Pismo City Beach, North Beach Campground is a beach campground.

The campground even allows bonfires on the premises so that you can enjoy an authentic camping experience.

The campsite is spotless and clean; it also offers private showers for the campers.

The sands of North Beach Campground

dshumny /

You can sleep under the star while listening to the sound of the waves crashing.

Spend a night at the North Beach Campground to experience the wonder of beach and camping at once.

Sample Local Food and Produce at Pismo Beach’s Farmers Market

Every Wednesday, Pismo Beach hosts the Pismo Beach’s Farmers Market at the Pismo Beach pier.

It is one of the best places in the city to sample wholesome local produce and delicious grub.

The vendors sell season fruits and vegetables, along with other products like olive oils in their booths.

You can also eat delightful food at the farmer’s market.

Devour the fresh homemade loaves of bread, jams, pasta, clams, and much more to satisfy your hunger.

Spend your Wednesday exploring this fantastic market and sampling the delicious produce and food of Pismo Beach.

Stop by the Pismo Preserve

Daytime view of Pismo Preserve

Mada_Cris /

Pismo Preserve is a 900-acre nature preserve consisting of recreation trails used for hiking, running, cycling, horseback riding, and more.

The trails are elevated, and at the end of your hike, you will witness stunning panoramic views of the entire city and the beach, along with the impressive Pacific ocean.

Hills at Pismo Preserve

Wildnerdpix /

Visit the Taste of the Valley

Pismo has some of the best wineries in California and boasts world-class artisan wines at every city’s winery.

Taste of the Valley is one of the most renowned wine bars in the town.

It has been named as one of the Top 20 Wine Bars in America by the Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

This fantastic winery offers about 1,000 different types of wines from more than 65 wineries.

You can sample various wines, or you can get your wine by the glasses, or you can buy bottles to add to your collection.

The staff are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable and will answer all of your questions about the wines and their origin.

If you are an oenophile, you will have a delightful time discussing the local wine scene and the wineries with the staff.

Visit this fabulous wine bar to enjoy a lovely wine flight with generous pours and striking information.

Learn the History of Surfing at the Pismo Beach Surf Museum

Pismo Beach Surf Museum is located in the oldest surf shop of California’s Central Coast in Pismo Beach.

It opened in 1962, and now the museum is filled with surfing history.

The museum houses an assorted collection of old surfboards and photographs that fascinatingly showcase the local history of surfing.

You can buy surfboards or antique collectibles as a souvenir to remember this town and its incredible surfing history.

Eat Clam Chowder at Splash Café

Pismo Beach is known as the clam capital of the world.

Splash Café makes the best clam chowder in the city, and they serve the chowder in an amazingly delicious sourdough bread bowl that they make by themselves.

This award-winning eatery is one of the oldest restaurants in the city and is located near the beach.

Visit the Splash Café to eat clammy goodness with beautiful views of the ocean.

Enjoy the Ocean While Dining at Ventana Grill

Ventana Grill is a waterfront restaurant in Pismo Beach that serves coastal fusion cuisine.

The restaurant is located on the bluff in Pismo Beach and offers delightful views of the ocean from its perch.

You have to make a reservation before dining.

However, the restaurant is worth it; the food is delicious.

The restaurant is famous for its Sunday brunch menu.

Be sure to visit this impressive restaurant and try bottomless mimosas, Moscow mule, beef-based carne asada nachos, and bloody marys.

Drink Crafted Beer at Pismo Brewing Company

Pismo Brewing Company is a local craft brewery that serves local beers.

It is located just one block away from the Pismo Beach Pier.

If you are not sure what type of beer to get, you can order a sample tray that consists of six-four ounces tasters.

You can also enjoy quick snacks or meals with your beer of choice on the patio while soaking in the Californian sunshine.

Stay at Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa

Overlooking the coastline of the central Californian coast, Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa is the most notable resort of the city.

This luxurious resort provides suites with private balconies, dining rooms, kitchens, living rooms with ocean views.

Not only this, but you can also get hot stone massages, personalized yoga sessions, infrared sauna treatment, so much more.

Stay at the Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa in the lap of luxury and treat yourself.

The world-renowned city of Pismo Beach is filled with Californian sunshine and delicious clams.

It is a perfect place to explore the beaches of California while eating good food and drinking excellent wines and bears.

Check Out Novelty Items at Sky’s the Limit

A nice mom-and-pop shop you’ll find on Dolliver Street, Sky’s the Limit offers fun items you can buy for your mementos or gift to someone.

Owned by locals Jason and Melissa Natanson, you’ll be delighted to find unique gifts, colorful themed flags, and kites with cool designs.

Check out their assorted windsocks, chimes, and garden flags, or get pranks and games you can enjoy on game night with family or friends.

You can also buy toys for your little ones to enjoy and play with.

Drop by Sky’s the Limit and you’ll surely find something you like.

Go Sightseeing with Pismo Beach Bike Rentals

Tour around the city beach on a bike with Pismo Beach Bike Rental Rentals.

This family-owned business and operated business is located at Hinds Avenue.

Rent cruiser bikes, or have a fun stroll on wheels with electric bikes, surrey bikes, and banana bikes.

Go on a self-guided tour and enjoy a family bike ride from Pismo and visit the nearby Shell Beach or Avila Beach.

You can rent the bikes for several hours, a day, or even a week.

Want to learn how to surf? They also offer surfing lessons and provide wetsuits, surfboards, boogie boards, and more.

Pismo Beach Bike Rentals also offers a kayak tour to Pismo Caves, another attraction you can explore with the family.

Tour the Price Historical Park

A house at Price Historical Park

Jsweida, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a history buff, take time to visit Price Historical Park located on Rancho Pismo Drive.

This four-acre property includes the old Victorian Meherin House and the Price residence.

The structures were built in 1893 by Vaquero John Michael Prais, a former cattle runner who founded the city of Pismo Beach.

Step back in time and join docent-led tour groups or go for a self-guided history tour during the day.

Learn about the Chumash culture and see exhibits that present the history of Pismo Beach and the Missions System.

Take pictures of the old windmill, the Price mansion, and the lovely gardens and orchards.

The Price Historical Park’s homestead is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Taste Decadent Treats at Old West Cinnamon Rolls

If you’re craving some good old-fashioned cinnamon treats, you definitely have to drop by Dolliver Street.

Since 1972, Old West Cinnamon Rolls has been making the original California cinnamon rolls by Betty Clemens.

They have the same recipe she used 40 years ago that made her bread a famous local favorite in Pismo.

Take a bite of original flavor cinnamon rolls with their sweet gooey center that simply melts in your mouth.

Choose from other tasty toppings like pecan, walnut, almond, and vanilla cream cheese frosting.

Old West Cinnamon Rolls also sells other yummy baked goods you’ll enjoy like carrot cake, assorted muffins, cinnamon roll crumbs, mudslides, cinnamon twists, pumpkin pie, and bread and brownies.

Browse Local Arts and Crafts at Art in the Park

Come by and see a variety of creative pieces at Art in the Park.

This event runs every first Sunday from May through December at Dinosaur Caves in Shell Beach.

Celebrating local arts since 2004, you’ll find over a hundred craftsmen and artisans sharing their original works and amazing pieces.

Browse through displays including paintings, pottery, sculptures, wood and metal furniture, and much more.

Purchase photography, ceramics, and handmade clothing, along with natural bath and beauty products.

You’ll surely find beautiful Central Coast items you would like to take home or gift to someone.

Your family will also enjoy live music and lines of delicious food at the booths overlooking sweeping views of Pismo Beach.

Little ones can also get busy with hands-on kids’ activities at Art in the Park.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area

Sunny day at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area

Danita Delmont /

Located on the Pismo Beach, Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area is a unique place and the only one in California where visitors can access the beach with their motorcycles.

People from all over the country come here to enjoy the beach while riding their favorite motor.

You choose from ATVs, motocross bikes, and dune buggies to navigate the beach by yourself.

Vehicles at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area

HannaTor /

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for an idyllic seaside town in California, go no further than Pismo Beach!

Adventurers who wish to get up close and personal with nature will experience it here.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to discover something in or around the city that you’ll like!

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