California Day Trip to Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach sign at the entrance to the pier.
The Pismo Beach sign at the pier.

Yesterday we drove up the coast to Pismo Beach. My husband, who is third generation Californian has never been there. I’ve never been there, either. It’s only an hour and a half drive north from Santa Barbara and we’ve always talked about exploring it. The drive is easy on the 101 along the Pacific Ocean to Gaviota. Then the highway goes inland through horse country and vineyards.

The boardwalk downtown Pismo Beach.
The boardwalk to the pier downtown Pismo Beach.

There’s a huge state park, lots of RVs and campers. Cars can drive on the sand along the ocean. We walked around downtown and walked out on the pier. We found a restaurant called Splash Cafe that had lines of more than 20 people at all times. It looked great for chowder and fish and chips and had plenty of outdoor seating. Unfortunately we weren’t hungry at the time we spotted it. By the time we were ready for lunch, we were in another town and stopped at a place recommended by friends. It was one of only two times we’ve paid the bill and walked out after taking a few bites.

Although I love the beach and the spectacular views from the pier, I felt so so about Pismo Beach. I think it was the strong wind from the ocean. Also, there’s a hodgepodge of industrial, farming and residential all mixed together. There were some cute beachy residential areas, but all in all, I like Carpinteria, Summerland and Santa Barbara more. Also Ventura and Laguna Beach.

Not LA, Not the Bay sign on surf shop.
Funny sign on a surf shop in Pismo Beach.
Pismo sign on a building downtown.
Downtown Pismo.
View of the ocean and beach from Pismo Beach pier.
Beach view from the pier.
The pier in Pismo Beach
The pier in Pismo Beach.

I’m glad we made the trip. It’s fun to explore new areas and see new sights.

Where is a new place you’ve recently visited?

Did you love it or did you want to leave it?

16 thoughts on “California Day Trip to Pismo Beach

    • I have a friend in Palm Springs who goes to Turks and Caicos every year. I need to go. Targets are always a good place to visit. My daughter calls Target her happy place.

      • The targets in Virginia were depleted of basic things that college kids often need….we needed to go to two different ones!!

      • I remember the Target shopping for college. I think once we got our daughter to Utah with our Sequoia packed to the hilt — we made five more trips to Target in Salt Lake City.

      • My daughter bathroom didn’t have shower curtain hooks….and it was supposed to. Needed two targets to find them

      • I get it completely! As it was….she had to order pot holders, cookie sheet and sauce pan. Can you imagine two targets being out of this stuff?!

      • It surprised me because these were things I can find in my local target. But lots of colleges in dc

  1. I kind of felt that too, just So so when I first experience Pismo, I guess I got spoiled with the beaches closer to me. But it was still fun and it was a on the way to LA. Great post. Thanks 🙏

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