California’s Central Coast: Pismo and Avila Beaches

Traveling through California’s Central Coast, one cannot refrain from visiting Pismo Beach and Avila Beach, located just 30 minutes south of Morro Bay and bordering the San Luis Obispo Bay.

Beachgoers seem to love the perpetually sunny Avila Beach. Nestled just beneath scenic Point San Luis, the beach itself is less than 0.5 miles long and remains mostly undeveloped.  Home to the young at heart, this seaside town attracts families, college students, and water enthusiasts with its two piers, ocean-view restaurants, deep-sea fishing, mineral springs, tennis courts, golf courses, and historic Victorian lighthouse. Established in the latter half of the 19th century, the town served as the main shipping port for San Luis Obispo. Today, Avila Beach still has a working commercial fishing pier and extensive apple orchards line the inland areas. The Point San Luis Lighthouse built in 1890 is the oldest historical structure still standing.





Pismo Beach is part of the Five Cities Metropolitan Area in San Luis Obispo County which includes Shell Beach, Grover Beach, Oceano and Arroyo Grande. The town has a retro charm, with lively bars, restaurants, and tattoo shops. The Pismo Beach Premium Outlets located along Five Cities Drive draws droves of shoppers seeking premium brands at affordable prices.

Pismo Pier


Point St Louis Lighthouse


The city adopted the name, “Clam Capital of the World” in the 50s and it holds a Clam Festival every October which includes a clam-themed parade.

clam festival sign


The 1200-foot Pismo Pier draws many sightseers and fishermen or people just wanting to see a great sunset.

While at Pismo State Beach, visitors can rent all-terrain vehicles and go four-wheel driving on the seemingly endless dunes of California’s only drivable beach—the Pismo Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.


Pismo Beach is also home to the largest Monarch Butterfly Grove. Each year thousands of Monarch butterflies flock to Pismo Beach seeking shelter from the freezing northern winters.  From late October to February, the butterflies cluster on the limbs of Eucalyptus trees located in a grove at Pismo Beach.

Pismo Monarch Butterfy



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