Fun Free Things To Do In Pismo Beach CA , located in San Luis Obispo County, is a classic seaside resort town known for its friendly locals and breathtaking ocean vistas.
The historic Pismo Beach Pier, which juts out into the water for a total of 1,200 feet, is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. It’s also linked to the town’s central business district, which wafts faintly with the scent of freshly caught seafood.
In addition to its pleasant climate and scenic coastline, Pismo Beach also exudes a unique and irresistible allure for visitors.
These tourist facilities, which range from motels to eateries and offer numerous opportunities for photographs, contribute to the atmosphere of a well-planned vacation. Visit Pismo Beach and the surrounding area on your next trip to beautiful San Luis Obispo County.
List Of 9 Best Free Things To Do In Pismo Beach CA Today
1. Pismo City Beach
The main beach in Pismo City is along the downtown area, and it’s a great place to relax and take in the ocean air.
Here, at the city’s westernmost point, the Pismo Beach Pier protrudes into the Pacific Ocean. It’s also a favorite place for beachcombers, photographers, and anglers to stroll and cast their lines.
There is a vibrant neighborhood directly opposite the pier, complete with street performers and long waits in front of local eateries.
This hip neighborhood bustles with activity all hours of the day and night. Vehicle-free access to the rest of the beach is provided by the Pismo Beach Promenade, which links to the pier and this restaurant district.
Digging for clams on the beach has always been a popular pastime, but in order to protect the species, there are no strict regulations in place, and anyone who wants to harvest must have a license. Sand volleyball, kiteboarding, and long strolls along the sandy shoreline are also common beach pursuits.
On Wilmar Avenue, the city maintains a long wooden stairway that leads directly to the beach, providing easy access to the more peaceful northern section of the beach.
2. Dinosaur Caves Park
Pismo Beach’s 11-acre crown jewel public park has a fascinating past involving a large concrete dinosaur visible from the highway. Although this city-owned park was once known for its novelty dinosaur, it has since lost none of its allure thanks to its beautiful shoreline and other natural features.
A paved path makes its way around the perimeter of the park atop a high rugged bluff with generous views, revealing the many sea caves below.
Other amenities at this ocean-front park include a popular playground area with unique amenities such as dinosaur and sea creature play structures, as well as decorative “dinosaur eggs” kids can crawl into.
Dinosaur Park is on the north side of the city, in the Shell Beach neighborhood of Pismo Beach. The amphitheater, reception hall, and ceremony site with ocean views are all available for private rental.
Address: 2701 Price Street, Pismo Beach, California
3. Monarch Butterfly Grove
South of the Pismo Pier, at the northern end of Pismo State Beach, is where you’ll find the Monarch Butterfly Grove. The annual monarch butterfly migrations rely heavily on these locations.
Tens of thousands of monarch butterflies arrive at this natural refuge between November and February, literally taking over the branches of the eucalyptus and pine trees in the area.
An amazing natural cycle and illustration of long-distance migration can be seen at the Monarch Butterfly Grove. It’s a great way to spend quality time together without breaking the bank.
Address: 400 South Dolliver Street, Pismo Beach, California
4. Pismo State Beach
Pismo State Beach, located south of downtown, stretches for miles along the coast and features a wide range of watersports. Activities as diverse as clamming, freshwater fishing, and sand dune exploration can be enjoyed alongside the more traditional beach activities of surfing, swimming, and tanning.
Pismo State Beach is unique in that it allows visitors to drive onto the beach in their own off-road and personal vehicles.
Trucks, ATVs, and other motorized vehicles are welcome to drive along the expansive shoreline of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA), where there are many enormous and ever-changing sand dunes.
There are two tent and RV campgrounds at Pismo State Beach, with the Oceano Campground to the south frequently being occupied by motorsports enthusiasts. The North Beach Campground is closer to the city center and offers peaceful camping conditions near the Monarch Butterfly Grove.
Address: 399 S Dolliver Street, Pismo Beach, California
5. Spyglass Park
Spyglass Park is an ocean-view oasis in a peaceful residential area. Playground equipment, grills, and a grassy area ideal for yard games are all included. The mile-long beach, ideal for surfing, sunbathing, and exploring tide pools, is the real draw at this four-acre park.
The beach access path is treacherously steep. The trail is inaccessible during high tide, so it’s important to bring a tide chart with you when you visit the beach at Spyglass Park.
Address: Spyglass Drive, Pismo Beach, California
6. Oceano Dunes SVRA
Oceano Dunes is on the south end of Pismo State Beach. The only place in California where cars can drive onto the beach, it has been designated as a State Vehicular Recreation Area.
Many visitors choose to ride ATVs, dune buggies, or motocross bikes across the expansive sand dunes because these vehicles have four-wheel drive and are less likely to get stuck on the beach. Since it is one of only a handful of SVRAs in the country, Oceano Dunes is a popular destination on the weekends thanks to its unique appeal.
If you’re visiting Oceano Dunes for the first time or just have an interest in environmental change, the visitor center is a great place to stop by.
Address: 1001 Cabrillo Hwy, Oceano, California
7. Avila Beach
Avila Beach, an unincorporated community, is located north of Pismo Beach, just off of Highway 101. Its location on the shore of San Luis Obispo Bay makes it an ideal spot to stop and take in the scenery.
The Avila Beach Pier and the adjacent shopping and dining district are the focal points of many visitors’ time in Avila Beach.
Here, on either side of the pier, a picture-perfect beach panorama unfolds, and the buzz of activity can be felt in the many shops and restaurants. There are also many interactive displays at the Central Coast Aquarium, which is not far away.
Everything along Avila Beach’s coast is deserving of a side trip. Parking spaces by the water can be found at Old Porte Beach and Fisherman’s Beach, both located to the west. In addition, if you’re coming from Pismo Beach, you shouldn’t miss Pirate Cove’s Beach, which is right next to Smuggler’s Cave (clothing optional).
8. Pismo Beach Premium Outlets
The Pismo Beach Premium Outlets are located in the southeast of the city, close to Highway 101. There are discounts on well-known brands and nearly forty different shops participating.
Plenty of parking is available at Pismo Beach Premium Outlets, and many stores are open on weekends. Popular stores that draw customers in include the Nike Factory Store, Kate Spade, and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as Levi’s, OshKosh B’gosh, and IZOD.
Address: 33 5 Cities Drive, Pismo Beach, California
9. Avila Hot Springs
The family-friendly Avila Hot Springs can be found close to the popular Avila Beach. Located to the northwest of Pismo Beach, it offers lodging, recreation, and swimming. The heat and therapeutic properties of the water make this public facility, perched as it is atop an artesian mineral hot spring, a popular destination.
Avila Hot Springs has a large freshwater heated swimming pool with plenty of room to splash around, and a smaller mineral pool that measures 400 square feet and reaches a soothing 104 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for easing achy muscles.
The hot springs at Avila are accessible every day. Access is permitted during the day, and visitors can spend the night in one of the dry camping areas or cabins.
Guests planning to stay for a longer period of time can also rent cabins for longer periods of time. Swimming lessons, massages for couples, and bicycle rentals are among the additional services offered at Avila Hot Springs.
Address: 250 Avila Beach Drive, San Luis Obispo, California
Is Pismo Beach free?
The pier in Pismo Beach is a major draw for visitors. This wooden pier, stretching out into the Pacific, serves as a community hub where people can go to go fishing, celebrate the seasons, or just take in the scenery.
Is Pismo Beach closed?
Parking is free and the park is open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight. There will be a unified closing time for all coastal sections of state parks.
Why is Pismo Beach closing?
The Coastal Commission has mandated the closure of Oceano Dunes SVRA by the year 2024, the closure of the Pier Avenue entrance by the summer of 2022, and the closure of Arroyo Grande Creek during wet weather, all by March 18, 2021.
Which is better Avila Beach or Pismo Beach?
Better beach and more enjoyable environment. Pismo’s central business district is a noisy and tacky tourist trap. The heart of it is undergoing extensive construction. In addition to Mr. Rick’s cocktail lounge, wine tasting, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. can be found in the downtown area of Avila.