Oceano Dunes Pismo Beach, CA

This 3,600 acre off road area is among the most popular and unique of California State Parks. The 5 ½ miles of beach open for vehicle use and the 1,500 acres of sand dunes available for off highway motor vehicle recreation are attractions for visitors from throughout the United States.

Oceano Dunes is the only California State Park where vehicles may be driven on the beach. Passenger cars can easily drive on the northern portion of the beach.

Four wheel drive vehicles are recommended for driving to the camping and off highway vehicle use areas in the park. Beach wheelchairs are available for loan at the Pier and Grand Avenue entrances to the beach.

Surfing, swimming, surf fishing, horseback riding and bird watching are popular activities.

The recreation area is located in Oceano, three miles south of Pismo Beach off Highway 1.

The Oceano Dunes SVRA District Office is located at:

340 James Way
Suite 270

Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Telephone: (805) 773-7170

Alternative Access Study
The Oceano Dunes SVRA District recently completed the Alternative Access Study for the Ocean Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. This feasibility study identifies alternative routes for a road to the camping areas on the beach and the OHV riding area in the dunes. It also identifies and assesses alternative equestrian routes to and from the beach. This study was completed in November 2006. For more information on this study and to review the document click here .

Off Roading
One mile south of the Pier Avenue beach ramp is Post 2, a post on the beach which marks the beginning of the off-highway vehicle riding and camping area.

OHV's must be transported to this point before unloading. Any areas on the beach or in the dunes that are fenced or signed are closed to vehicular use because they either contain sensitive plant and animal life or are private property.

Seasons/Climate/Recommended clothing
Summer temperatures – Highs: 60's and 70's; Lows: 50's; Dense morning fog. Winter temperatures – Highs: 50's and 60's; Lows: 40's; high winds in Spring. The weather is often quite changeable, layered clothing is recommended.

Pismo Clams
Pismo clam populations fluctuate dramatically due to a variety of natural influences. A fragile and valuable resource, Pismo clams may be taken under the following regulations: Clammers must have a fishing license and an accurate (rigid) measuring device in possession. Only Pismo clams at least 4 1/2" in length may be possessed. Undersized Pismo clams must be immediately reburied in the area where dug. Bag limit is 10 Pismo clams . Hours of clamming are 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.

Sand Dunes
The Oceano sand dune area is recognized by scientists, conservationists, government agencies, and the public as the finest, most extensive coastal dunes remaining in California. Most of the material that forms these dunes has been carried down to the ocean by various rivers and creeks, deposited here by ocean currents, and then shaped by the wind into the dunes that we see today.

The prevailing winds that blow in from the ocean push sand particles up into wave-like crests that run north-south. On the west or windward side the slope is gentle. On the east or leeward side the slope is quite steep. Sand grains, as they are blown over the dune crest tend to accumulate high on the leeward slope; then, periodically thin tongues of sand slide down. For this reason the leeward slope is called a "slipface."

Dune Dwellers
Walk where the Chumash and Dunites walked. See and learn what attracted both cultures to this (Pismo Dunes Natural Preserve) beautiful dune area. Binoculars suggested. Bring a picnic meal, water, sunscreen and windbreaker. Meet at the Nature Center at the entrance to the Oceano Campground, Pismo State Beach.
(A) 3.5 mi., 4.5-5 hr.

Hearst Castle Tours

This premiere "must see" visitor attraction is one of the most popular destinations in California. There are four tours daily and the 55 mile drive from Pismo Beach alone is worth the trip.

Discover this legendary estate's history.

Hearst Castle's history begins in 1865, when George Hearst purchased 40,000 acres of ranchland. In 1919, William Randolph Hearst inherited what had grown to more than 250,000 acres, and was dreaming of ways to transform it into a retreat he called La Cuesta Encantada—Spanish for “Enchanted Hill.” By 1947, Hearst and architect Julia Morgan had created Hearst Castle: 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways—all built to house Hearst's specifications and to showcase his legendary art collection.

Tour Hearst Castle

Step back in time and relive one of the most decadent chapters in American history with guided tours through Hearst Castle.

Envisioned by newspaper giant William Randolph Hearst and designed by architect Julia Morgan , Hearst Castle began as a modest hilltop retreat, but ended up one of the world's greatest attractions and showpieces for ancient art —one that still rivals museum collections around the world.

Experience the 1920s and 30s grandeur that surrounded W. R. Hearst and his esteemed Hollywood guests at La Cuesta Encantada—Spanish for “Enchanted Hill”—with guided Hearst Castle tours.

The Visitor Center: where your visit begins

Begin your journey at the Visitor Center. Although advance reservations are strongly recommended as there are times when tours sell out, you can purchase tickets to Hearst Castle at the Visitor Center, grab a bite to eat, explore the gift shops, learn about the history of the Castle , and watch the exclusive movie “ Hearst Castle – Building the Dream ” on a giant five-story screen—all before boarding your bus to the Enchanted Hill.

The Bus Ride: your journey to Hearst Castle

When your scheduled tour time arrives, board the bus at the Visitor Center to begin your five-mile journey to Hearst Castle. Narrated by Jeopardy's Alex Trebek, the scenic bus ride provides vistas of the natural beauty that surrounds this historic hilltop estate.

Tour Hearst Castle: relive history by walking through it

Three distinct guided Hearst Castle Tours are offered throughout the day. Each one explores a different part of this luxurious estate comprised of 165 rooms and more than 125 sprawling acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways. Accessibly Designed Tours , group tours , school tours and the seasonal Evening Tour are also available.

The Grounds: visit the gardens and pools at your own pace

After the guided portion of your daytime tour concludes, explore the lush gardens , expansive grounds, sparkling Neptune Pool and majestic Roman Pool at your own pace, before boarding the bus for the Visitor Center .

Find the tours that interest you most, by learning more about the daily Hearst Castle tours open to the public, in addition to our Accessibly Designed Tours .

Already know which tour you want to take? View tour tickets and prices before you book them.

Price Historical Park in Pismo Beach

Historic Ranch and 1893 Price Anniversary House.

Price Historical Park

(805) 773-4854

This 7-acre city park features the rancho home of city founder John Price. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as a California Point of Historical Interest, as a Pismo Beach Historic Landmark, and designated by the Department of Interior National Park Service as a Juan Bautista de Anza Trail Interpretive Site, it is planned to become a ranch museum with Indian village and adobe ruins. Trails and replica Chumash Village are open daily to the public for hiking and picnicking. The 1893 historic Price Anniversary House is undergoing restoration and is open for tours by appointment year round or at 1:00pm 1 st & 3 rd Sundays May through October except holidays. Take the trail at the end of Frady Lane 2 blocks south of 7-11 on Hwy 1, or drive to 100 Rancho Pismo Drive via Highland Drive. Info and tours.

The San Luis Obispo Children's Museum

(805) 773-3011

Fall Hours

Closed Mondays
10am-3pm Tues.– Wed.
10am-5pm Thur.– Sat.
1pm-5pm Sun.

Free Moonlight Hours
October 17th 5-8pm

The Children's Museum inspires learning through play by offering a rich environment of more than 30 interactive exhibits. Guests are able to actively explore, investigate and create through educational exhibits, programs and outdoor learning environments. The Children's Museum is perfect for children ages 2-10 years of age and is conveniently located in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo at 1010 Nipomo Street.

Live Theater in the Pismo Beach Area

San Luis Obispo Performing Arts Center

(805) 756-ARTS

The magnificent performing arts center is the result of a partnership and a true spirit of cooperation between California Polytechnic State University, the City of San Luis Obispo and the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center. Information and schedule of performances visit website.

Great American Melodrama

(805) 489-2499

Family-oriented theater featuring musicals, comedies and audience participation. Beer, wine, desserts and dining at the in-house pub.

Clark Center for the Performing Arts

(805) 489-9444

Family-oriented theater featuring musicals, comedies and audience participation. Beer, wine, desserts and dining at the in-house pub.

Mineral Springs in the Pismo Beach Area

At nearby Avila Beach there are naturally heated mineral springs where you can swim in the pool or take a hot mineral bath. Sycamore and Avila Hot Springs are two of the best mineral springs still operating in California.

Avila Hot Springs

(805) 595-2359 or (800) 332-2359

Sycamore Mineral Springs

(805) 595-7302

Bowling in Pismo Beach

Pismo Bowl
(805) 773-2482

Pismo Bowl is the place for affordable family fun! It has been family owned and operated since 1939 and is an original Pismo Beach experience. As one of the oldest continually running bowling alleys in California we offer a unique bowling experience that's fun for all ages. Daily 10 am-10 pm. Fri-Sat until midnight

San Luis Obispo Farmers' Market

Barbecued ribs, fresh produce, locally made products, live entertainment… it's San Luis Obispo's lively Farmers' Market!

Held every Thursday night, Farmers' Market brings the community together to shop for fresh produce, sample San Luis Obispo's delectable and varied cuisine, browse local shops, listen to live music and interact with local entertainers. Keep your eyes open for the six-foot bear giving hugs and paw shakes – that's our Farmers' Market mascot, Downtown Brown.

Recognized as a leader of such activities in California, Farmers' Market is held on five downtown blocks of Higuera Street – between Osos and Nipomo Streets. The area is closed to vehicles to make room for this bustling event. Please remember that City Ordinance prohibits smoking as well as non-service animals from attending this event, so please leave your pets at home.

Food and Produce

Does the tantalizing scent of prepared bar-b-que ribs, or the cornucopia of color of freshly picked produce delight your senses? Then Thursday Night Promotions-Farmers Market is the place for you to be from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. every Thursday. With more than 120 vendors providing everything from ribs, sausage, tri-tip, fresh flowers, organic produce and seasonal treats within walking distance of our historic mission. It's an amazing place to people watch, shop, and enjoy an event that has the distinction of being one of the greatest weekly events of California.

Table and Chair Seating

Located on the south corner of Broad and Higuera streets, Market goers can enjoy their “market meal” in comfortable chairs and spacious tables provided by the SLO Downtown Association . Seating is on a first come-first serve basis.

Farmers' Market FAQs

Q: When is Farmers' Market?

A: Farmers' Market takes place every Thursday (except Thanksgiving Day or if it's raining). Barbecues and entertainment begin at 6:00 p.m. All activities close at 9 p.m

Q: Where is it held?

A: Farmers' Market is held on Higuera Street in Downtown San Luis Obispo between Osos and Nipomo Streets. Watch for special activities at the intersections.


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