18 Best Things To Do in Pismo Beach, California

by Meghana Agashe Updated on 16 Oct 2018

An essential guide to the very best things to do in and around Pismo Beach.

Pismo Beach Sky Clouds California Colorful SunsetPic: maxpixel

Framed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean on one side and the vineyards on the other, Pismo Beach is perfect for unwinding. A picturesque coastal town nestled in the crevices of California, Pismo Beach is a laid-back place which offers tourists with several recreational opportunities and attractions. Awesome Pismo Beach attractions like Pismo Beach Surf Shop, Pismo Preserve, Oceano Dunes, Monarch Butterfly Grove etc. give the reason to every traveler why they should stop in this city.

Unlike a quintessential beach town, there is so much more to do in this place. In addition to soaking up the sun and sand, tourists can indulge in hiking at the Price Historic Park, sandboarding at the Oceano Pismo Dunes Preserve and enjoy a glass of wine at Tastes of The Valleys Wine Bar and Shop. For those interested in doing unusual and non-touristy things, the Monarch Butterfly Grove and The Dorn Pyramid are good options. A must-visit place for outdoor lovers, the distinct character of the unique Pismo Beach never fails to impress! Traverse through this charming coastal town and indulge in a memorable beach vacation.

Our list of what you can do in Pismo Beach (Content Index):

  1. Get enchanted by hundreds of butterflies at the Monarch Butterfly Grove
  2. Enjoy the sunset at Pismo Pier
  3. Explore sandbanks in buggies at Oceano Pismo Dunes Preserve
  4. Set out on your Oceano Dune Adventure
  5. Dive Into Spelunking (Cave Excursions)
  6. Walk through the eccentric Bubblegum Alley
  7. Join the fun at famous Pismo Beach Clam Festival
  8. Soak in the naturally hot water at the Avila Hot Springs
  9. Rejuvenate yourself at Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa
  10. Have a picnic at the Eldwayen Ocean Park
  11. Hike at the Price Historic Park
  12. Take your kids for an enjoyable time at the Dinosaur Caves Park
  13. Visit the mysterious tomb at The Dorn Pyramid
  14. Unwind with a glass of wine at Tastes of The Valleys Wine Bar and Shop
  15. Take your kids to Central Coast Aquarium
  16. Head towards Point San Luis Lighthouse in CA
  17. Visit Mustang Waterpark with family and kids for fun filled day
  18. Spend some good time at Avila Beach Golf Resort near Pismo Beach
  19. Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Pismo Beach, California
  20. Types of Things To Do in Pismo Beach

Let's explore the best things to do in Pismo Beach

1. Get enchanted by hundreds of butterflies at the Monarch Butterfly Grove

Monarch Butterflies Views - ImagePic: flickr.com

Every year, thousands of colorful butterflies migrate to Pismo Beach to protect themselves from the harsh northern winters. During the migration season from October to February, these butterflies cluster in the limbs of Eucalyptus trees at the Monarch Butterfly Grove. With each one hanging with its wing down over the one below it, the resulting formation resembles the shingle effect. Monarch Butterfly Grove is touted to be one of the largest butterfly colonies in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the last five years. It thus comes as no surprise then, that Monarch Butterfly Grove is one of the best things to do in Pismo Beach in winter.

  • Monarch Butterfly Grove - A Nature preserve in Pismo Beach, California
  • Address: 400 S Dolliver St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA
  • Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Phone: +1 805-773-7170

 

2. Enjoy the sunset at Pismo Pier

Pismo Pier SunsetPic: wikimedia.org

The beautiful Pismo beach spread across 24 hectares boasts of a quaint Pismo Pier and promenade which is a perfect spot to relax and unwind. The best time to visit this pier is at dusk, when the sun dips behind the horizon, casting golden hues across the water. Fading light, occasional glimpses of migrating whales, views of the cliffs and jutting outcrops at the Pismo Pier make it one of the most romantic things to do in Pismo Beach.

  • Pismo Pier - Piers & Boardwalks, Sights, Landmark in Pismo Beach
  • Address: Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

 

3. Explore sandbanks in buggies at Oceano Pismo Dunes Preserve

Oceano Pismo Dunes PreservePic: wikimedia.org

Located three miles south of Pismo Beach, Oceano Pismo Dunes Preserve is possibly California’s most expansive collection of sandbanks. There is a huge plethora of on-the-sand activities for visitors to indulge in here - from desert camping and horseback riding to buggy-boarding and off-roading. For those wondering about what to do in Pismo Beach apart from typical beach activities, Oceano Pismo Dunes Preserve is a must-visit place!

  • Pismo Preserve - A Nature preserve in Pismo Beach, CA
  • Address: Mattie Rd, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA
  • Phone: +1 805-544-9096

 

4. Set out on your Oceano Dune Adventure

Explore the very popular and unique Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area stretched with more than five miles of coastal sand waves. Rent a dune buggy or an ATV to ride the dunes at Oceano Dunes, available right at the entrance of Dunes. If riding motor vehicles is not your thing, opt for one of the many other activities available for you at the Dunes including surfing, swimming, surf fishing, bird watching and horseback riding.

  • Oceano Dune Adventure - A adventurous spot for tourists in Pismo Beach
  • Address: Mattie Rd, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

 

5. Dive Into Spelunking (Cave Excursions)

The other side of 1,200-foot-long Pismo Beach is to die for. Explore the dramatic and intricate sea caves tucked into the steep coastline north of downtown. While few can be explored by foot but there are a series of arches, caves, and rock gardens that are only accessible from the water. So ditch your legs, take paddlers into the caves with help of Kayaks. Take tours with the guides and experts as one offered by Central Coast Kayaks.

Are you ready for cave excursions to explore the marvels of water? We guess you are.

 

6. Walk through the eccentric Bubblegum Alley

Bubble-gum Alley for TouristPic: flickr.com

A 15-foot high and 70-foot long alley in downtown San Luis Obispo, just 12 miles away from Pismo Beach, Bubble-gum Alley is a street lined with chewed gum left by passers-by. It is precisely due to this bizarre reason that the alley is a major point of interest in Pismo Beach! While some may find it unhygienic and disgusting, there are others who find it amusing and inspiring. Numerous professional artists such as Matthew Hoffman have drawn inspiration from the Bubble-gum Alley and created a self-portrait titled "Project Bubble Gum" entirely with bubble gum!

  • Bubblegum Alley - A tourist attraction and sightseeing near Pismo Beach
  • Address: 733 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA
  • Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Phone: +1 805-781-7222

 

7. Join the fun at famous Pismo Beach Clam Festival

The Pismo Beach Clam Festival is one of the largest annual events held in Pismo Beach, with a footfall of around 15,000 people. A community tradition since 1946. The festival features a live parade, best local chowder contest, surf contest, food, arts and crafts, beer & wine garden and Pier Pub, music and the Friday night wine walk.

Join in the City Celebration in downtown Pismo Beach for a day of enjoyment with Live Music, Clam Bake, Clam Dig, Food Trucks, Vendors, a Family-Fun Kid Zone, and more!

 

8. Soak in the naturally hot water at the Avila Hot Springs

Hot springs are said to have medicinal elements that cure many diseases. Avila Hot Springs, is one such medicinally enriched site of hot springs which is perfect for a relaxing dip in the warm waters. Located very close to the Pismo Beach, it is also known for its group picnic and BBQ facilities, heated freshwater pool with double slides, and bike trails, in addition to the hot springs.

  • Avila Hot Springs - Hot spring near Pismo Beach, CA
  • Address: 250 Avila Beach Dr, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405, USA
  • Phone: +1 805-595-2359

 

9. Rejuvenate yourself at Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa

Relax, recharge, and let your stress fall away before continuing on your journey.

Discover the top global destination and award-winning spa voted by Spa Finder magazines. Whether you are visiting Pismo Beach or you are a local, Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa is the perfect place to pamper yourself and rejuvenate. At Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa enliven all your senses and get healing benefits sourced from nature.

  • Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa - 3-star hotel and Spa near Pismo Beach, CA
  • Address: 1215 Avila Beach Dr, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405, USA
  • Phone: +1 805-595-7302

 

10. Have a picnic at the Eldwayen Ocean Park

With a rock-strewn beach, an unforgettable view of the ocean and an impressive shoreline, Eldwayen Ocean Park is a long narrow park stretch along the bluff in the Shell Beach area. Equipped with grassy picnic areas and picnic benches, this oceanfront park is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Pismo Beach. A narrow stairway connects the grassy picnic areas to the rocky beach, thus providing the visitors direct access to the water.

  • Eldwayen Ocean Park - Park in Pismo Beach, CA. Perfect for kids and family
  • Address: Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA
  • Hours: 6AM-10PM

 

11. Hike at the Price Historic Park

Featuring huge open spaces, several hiking trails and a biking trail, Price Historic Park is a dream-come-true for all the outdoorsy tourists visiting Pismo Beach. This 7-acre park which aims to highlight the local history for the visitors through the means of the ranch house, a replica Native American Chumash village, windmill, orchard and a farm implement garden, was built by Pismo Beach founder, John Michael Price. Though one of the unusual things to do in Pismo Beach, Price Historic Park is sure to give you a taste of the local culture.

  • Price Historic Park - Park in Pismo Beach, California
  • Address: 100 Rancho Pismo Dr, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA
  • Phone: +1 805-550-4854

 

12. Take your kids for an enjoyable time at the Dinosaur Caves Park

Dinosaur Caves Park in Pismo BeachPic: Dinosaur Caves Park in Pismo Beach

Spread across 11 acres facing the ocean, Dinosaur Caves Park is one of the best things to do in Pismo Beach with toddlers. Featuring a large variety of kids play toys with animal and dinosaur themes, a trip to this park will surely be a fun-filled experience for children. This park was so named because once upon a time, a large concrete dinosaur was constructed at this location where visitors could enter the dinosaur and descend a tunnel in the tail, straight into an underground sea cavern. Neither the sea cavern nor the dinosaur structure exists anymore but the park continues to be called the Dinosaur Cave Park. Equipped with open grass areas, picnic tables, walking trails, and ocean overlooks, this park is a popular place for family getaways. Also, pets are welcome at this park and so, this park is a favorite on the list of things to do in Pismo Beach with dogs.

  • Dinosaur Caves Park - Park in Pismo Beach, California
  • Address: 2701 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA
  • Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Phone: +1 805-773-7039

 

13. Visit the mysterious tomb at The Dorn Pyramid

Nestled in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in San Luis Obispo, The Dorn Pyramid is an ancient Masonic symbol sheltering the mortal remains of a mother and child. A mysterious place shrouded by several versions of the stories surrounding those exhumed within the tomb, The Dorn Pyramid was built in 1905 by a lawyer in the honor of his wife and son, both of whom he lost during childbirth. Located just 11 miles from Pismo Beach, a visit to The Dorn Pyramid is one of the best things to do around Pismo Beach.

  • The Dorn Pyramid - Sight & Landmark near Pismo Beach
  • Address: Higuera Street and Elks Lane, Oddfellows Cemetery, San Luis Obispo, California

 

14. Unwind with a glass of wine at Tastes of The Valleys Wine Bar and Shop

Tastes of the Valleys Wine Bar and Shop in Pismo BeachPic: Tastes of the Valleys Wine Bar in Pismo Beach

The perfect place to end your day with a glass of wine, Tastes of The Valleys Wine Bar and Shop is counted among one of the best things to do in Pismo Beach at night. Offering patrons with a choice of over 1000 wines, Tastes of The Valleys Wine Bar and Shop is the ideal place to quench your thirst after a tiring day of sightseeing. As the name suggests, this is not only a bar but also a shop from where you can buy exquisite wine bottles to take back home.

  • Tastes of The Valleys Wine Bar and Shop - Wine Bar in Pismo Beach, CA
  • Address: 911 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA
  • Hours: 12-9PM
  • Phone: +1 805-773-8466

 

15. Take your kids to Central Coast Aquarium

Central Coast Aquarium near Pismo Beach for KidsPic: Central Coast Aquarium near Pismo Beach for Kids

Just 12 minutes away from Pismo Beach, Central Coast Aquarium is a family-friendly spot with pools and showing coastal marine life. Definetely your kids gonna love this place.

  • Central Coast Aquarium - Aquarium, Marine life in Avila Beach, near Pismo Beach, CA
  • Address: 50 San Juan St, Avila Beach, CA 93424, USA
  • Hours: 10AM-4PM
  • Phone: +1 805-595-7280

 

16. Head towards Point San Luis Lighthouse in CA

Point San Luis Lighthouse Near Pismo BeachPic: Point San Luis Lighthouse Near Pismo Beach/wikimedia.org

A historical point of attraction near Pismo Beach is a must visit place for every tourist heading towrds Pismo Beach or Avila Beach. A reservation for guided tour is required for this attraction.

  • Point San Luis Lighthouse - Aquarium, Marine life in Avila Beach, near Pismo Beach, CA
  • Address: 1 Lighthouse Rd, Avila Beach, CA 93424, USA
  • Hours: 7AM-10PM
  • Phone: +1 805-540-5771

 

17. Visit Mustang Waterpark with family and kids for fun filled day

Mustang Waterpark near Pismo BeachPic: A perfect water park for kids near Pismo Beach - Mustang Waterpark

It takes 25 min of drive from Pismo Beach to reach Mustang Waterpark, a perfect amusement and water park for the kids. Spend a chill out day with family, kids and friends near Pismo Beach.

  • Mustang Waterpark - Amusement water park near Pismo Beach, CA
  • Address: 6840 Lopez Dr, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420, USA
  • Hours: 10:30AM-5PM
  • Phone: +1 805-489-8898

 

18. Spend some good time at Avila Beach Golf Resort near Pismo Beach

Enjoy good foods and drinks on affordable price at Avila Beach Golf Resort. You will find some nice live music, food trucks under well-maintained greeneries.

  • Avila Beach Golf Resort - Golf Course and Resort near Pismo Beach, CA
  • Address: 6464 Ana Bay Rd, Avila Beach, CA 93424, USA
  • Phone: +1 805-595-4000
Author
Author: Meghana Agashe
Oscillating between reality and day-dreaming, Meghana is a journalist by education and a travel-blogger by profession. The eternal love for exploring different places and cuisines, the urge to interact with people across cultures and the thirst for a...

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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Pismo Beach, California

Must see places in Pismo Beach ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of best attractions in Pismo Beach and point of interests to visit.

  1. Pismo Pier

    # 1 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 681 times in trip plans
    Pismo Pier

    Tags: View Point, Pier, Leisure

    Address: 100 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Blue ocean, pleasant weather, ample of time, some good food and great beverages. Well, Pismo Pier has everything to keep you hooked. So, if you want to soak in the sun, or just want to relax beach sid...Read more

  2. Monarch Butterfly Grove

    # 2 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 490 times in trip plans
    Monarch Butterfly Grove

    Tags: Outdoors

    Address: 400 S Dolliver St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Timings: 10:00 am - 04:00 pm Details

    Who doesn’t like butterflies? And if they are monarch butterflies and there is a full fledged attraction dedicated to them, then who would miss it! Well, Monarch Butterfly Grove is an important ...Read more

  3. Dinosaur Caves Park

    # 3 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 483 times in trip plans
    Dinosaur Caves Park

    Tags: Outdoors, Park, Leisure, Picnic Spot

    Address: 2701 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Located aptly between the Pismo beach and Margo Dodd Park is the fun Dinosaur Caves Park. If you’re travelling with your family and kids and wondering what exactly will excite your children, the...Read more

  4. Margo Dodd Park

    # 4 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 429 times in trip plans
    Margo Dodd Park

    Tags: Park, View Point, Leisure, Bird Watching

    Address: Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Another popular park in Pismo Beach, Margo Dodd Park is small in comparison to the Dinosaurs Caves Park. But the view it offers is just unmatchable. Are you a birdwatcher? Or a photographer? Or do you...Read more

  5. Pismo Beach Farmer's Market

    # 5 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 21 times in trip plans
    Pismo Beach Farmer's Market

    Tags: Market

    Address: Pismo Beach, CA, United States

    Timings: 02:00 pm - 05:00 pm Details

    Any tourist attraction is incomplete without a shopping space. A place which has something or the other to offer to everyone. Hence, Pismo Beach is no exception! The Pismo Beach Farmer’s Market ...Read more

  6. Price Historical Park

    # 6 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 305 times in trip plans
    Price Historical Park

    Tags: Museum, Park

    Address: 100 Rancho Pismo Dr, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    A piece of history in Pismo Beach and that’s Price Historical Park for you. Mind you, this not one of those parks of the city. Instead, this one has a historical significance to it. Once a house...Read more

  7. New Life Community Church

    # 7 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 139 times in trip plans
    New Life Community Church

    Tags: Church, Religious Site

    Address: 990 James Way, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Tired of visiting beaches or partying and want to detox the soul? Want to be at peace? Then how about visiting a church which is grand and very quiet at the same time. Soak in some divinity, worship a...Read more

  8. Tastes Of The Valleys Wine Bar And Shop

    # 8 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 133 times in trip plans
    Tastes Of The Valleys Wine Bar And  Shop

    Tags: Bar, Food And Drinks, Winery, Specialty Shop

    Address: 911 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Timings: 12:00 pm - 09:00 pm Details

    A tourist attraction is incomplete without a good place to hang out and grab a drink. But Pismo Beach has many of them. Tastes of the Valleys Wine Bar and Shop is the most popular wineries in Pismo Be...Read more

  9. Seacliff Park

    # 9 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 41 times in trip plans
    Seacliff Park

    Tags: Park, Picnic Spot

    Address: Seacliff Dr, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    A park which overlooks the sea is the best description of this site. From the top of the park you can see some beautiful views and the sea which is silent and wild at times making all types of sounds....Read more

  10. Spyglass Park

    # 10 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 25 times in trip plans
    Spyglass Park

    Tags: Park, Picnic Spot

    Address: Spyglass Dr, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Timings: 08:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Spread across an area of 4.5 acres, the Spyglass Park is a wonderful park that offers fantastic views of the ocean as well as access to mile and a half of tide pools and sandy beach. The park also fea...Read more

  11. Old West Cinnamon Rolls

    # 11 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 1 time in trip plans
    Old West Cinnamon Rolls

    Tags: Cafe, Bakery

    Address: 861 Dolliver St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Timings: 06:30 am - 05:30 pm Details

    To get a quick bite on your way, drop in at Old West Cinnamon Rolls at Pismo Beach. Started around forty years ago, with a small stall at a fair this cafe has grown popular with time. The café ...Read more

  12. Cool Cat Cafe

    # 12 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach
    Cool Cat Cafe

    Tags: Cafe

    Address: 198 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Timings: 10:30 am - 09:30 pm Details

    The Cool Cat Cafe is a retro styled burger joint offering shakes, fries and cocktails in their 1950’s styled dining space complimented by vintage decors. The walls of Cool Cat Cafe are adorned w...Read more

  13. Beachwalker Inn & Suites

    # 13 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 7 times in trip plans
    Beachwalker Inn & Suites Image
    ©

    Tags: Hotel

    Address: 490 Dolliver St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Have a pleasant stay with your family and friends at Beach Walker Inn Suites and enjoy luxury at its best. The resort has nineteen guestrooms and four suites, and a perfect location near to the beach ...Read more

  14. Splash Cafe Pismo Beach

    # 14 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 27 times in trip plans
    Splash Cafe Pismo Beach Image
    ©

    Address: 197 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

    Google Reviews
    Laura Cazalet

    I probably should give it two stars but I'm sitting in the beach in the sun right now so I'll be generous. If you're the type who wants double the butter on your movie theater popcorn then you'll love...

    Read more
  15. The Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa

    # 15 of 105 Things To Do in Pismo Beach | Added 4 times in trip plans

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