Cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia’s clas­sic beach town

Travel Guide to California - - PISMO BEACH - BY JILL K. ROBIN­SON

DOES YOUR IDEAL PIC­TURE of a Cal­i­for­nia beach town come com­plete with a sandy strand, a wooden pier and surfers out past the break—wait­ing for the per­fect wave? Then you’re car­ry­ing a men­tal post­card of Pismo Beach. It sits on Cal­i­for­nia’s Cen­tral Coast, mid­way be­tween San Fran­cisco and Los An­ge­les, which en­cour­ages ter­ri­to­rial North­ern and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia res­i­dents to love and claim it equally.

Start your visit here with a walk on the 1,370-foot-long Pismo Beach Pier, al­low­ing a peek at the ocean and the beach be­low and an op­ti­mal van­tage point to look back at land and view the homes, ho­tels, restau­rants and shops in town. This is the per­fect be­gin­ning perch from which to plan your lo­cal itin­er­ary.

Wine Coun­try and Wildlife

Pismo Beach al­lows vis­i­tors to di­vide their time equally be­tween the waves of the Pa­cific Ocean and the wine­mak­ing re­gions of Edna Val­ley, Ar­royo Grande and Avila Val­ley, lo­cated only 10 min­utes out­side of town. And when you’re strolling through down­town Pismo Beach, many restau­rants in­clude lo­cal wines on their ex­ten­sive wine lists, to be paired with fresh wine-coun­tryin­spired cui­sine.

Beaches serve as the front yard of Pismo Beach, with sandy shoes along the Pa­cific Coast avail­able for nearly any level of adrenaline or re­lax­ation. Ro­man­tics en­joy lin­ger­ing on the beach to watch the Pa­cific Ocean sun­sets. Off­shore, you can spy sea ot­ters, mi­grat­ing whales, seals and tide pool in­hab­i­tants through­out the day. Fol­low­ing their an­nual mi­gra­tion, thou­sands of monarch but­ter­flies drip from the limbs of eu­ca­lyp­tus and Mon­terey pine trees from late Oc­to­ber through Fe­bru­ary.

Pismo’s Great Out­doors

With six state beaches, two na­ture pre­serves and three state parks within a 30-minute drive of town, Pismo Beach is an out­door ad­ven­turer’s dream. Dis­cover these re­serves on foot or by bike, while your best op­tions for wa­ter ex­cur­sions are kayak, surf­board and stand-up pad­dle board.

Sports en­thu­si­asts can find plenty to do around Pismo, whether their fa­vorite pas­time is golf, fish­ing, surf­ing, kayak­ing, kite­board­ing or horse­back rid­ing. And once all the ac­tiv­ity is over, the beach is still there, beau­ti­ful as ever.

MORN­ING COF­FEE in Pismo Beach, above; dirt bike rider on the beach, be­low.

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