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.

Amenities & Facilities
Beach Wheelchair Nature Trails
Exhibts & Programs Off-Highway Vehicles
Family Campsites Swimming
Fishing Parking
Guided Tours Picnic Areas
Hiking Trails Restrooms
Horseback Trails Visitor Center

Reservations & Fees PRICE CHART

Reservation Information
Online reservations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reservations can be made 7 months in advance on the first day of the month beginning at 8:00 a.m. PST via the website, by mail, or by calling the toll free telephone number at 1-800-444-7275 (PARK).

Due to seasonal volume, access to the Reserve America's website and telephone line may be limited at times.

Download a Camping Reservation Guide . You will adobe acrobat to open this file.

Reserving Campsites
On Sale Dates

On the first of each month, campers will have access to an entire month of available start dates, up to 7 months in advance. See the chart below to help you find out when you can make reservations.
You may secure camping reservations as late as 2 days prior to your planned arrival, but it is subject to availability.
Website inventory for the "on sale dates" are available at 8:00 a.m. the same time the inventory is made available over the telephone. After that time the data is available for reservations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Camping Rules

Campsite assignments are made upon your arrival.
For after-hours staff assistance contact the camp hosts who are located within the park to take reports of any problems or call 911.
All vehicles in the park must be currently registered with a receipt displayed on the lower left corner of the windshield.
A maximum of 3 vehicles per campsite are permitted at one time
Bicyclists under the age of 18 years old must ride with a protective helmet
Generators can only be on between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Dogs must be kept on leashes no longer than 6' and in a tent or enclosed vehicle at night. Except for guide dogs, pets are not allowed in park buildings, on trails, or on most beaches. Check out our map (link) that shows beaches where dogs are permitted.
Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times
Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Coin operated showers are available at most campgrounds. Prices are usually twenty-five cents.

Beach Camping at Oceano

State Vehicular Recreation Area Camping is allowed south of Post 2 on the beach and in the open dune area. Vault toilets and chemical toilets are provided, but water must be brought in and trash must be packed out. Campsite reservation information can be obtained by calling 1-800-444-7275. Campsites are available by reservation year-round and can be made from 10 days to six months in advance. Reservations are highly recommended, especially for holiday periods.
High tides, heavy rains, and blowing sand determine whether or not you can drive down the beach without getting stuck. Access to the OHV and camping area may be restricted periodically by Arroyo Grande Creek which is subject to water releases at Lopez Dam and increased flow during winter storms.
Beach camping is recommended for 4- wheel drive vehicles only. A dump station, located on

Le Sage Drive , 1/10 miles North of Grand Ave. on Hwy 1, is available to campers.
Post 2 is one mile south on the beach from Pier Avenue and marks the beginning of the OHV area. All OHVs must be transported to this point before off-loading. Fenced and signed areas are closed to vehicular use either because the property beyond is private or because the area contains sensitive plant and animal life.

In case of vehicle accidents or injuries, contact a ranger or attempt to radio ranger base on CB radio, channel 9. An emergency solar-powered call-box is located at the entrance to Sand Highway . Do not move an injured person unless he is in immediate danger.
If your vehicle becomes stuck, you might try the following:

Drop your tire pressure, but don't go below 15 lbs PSI.
Dig out the sand from around your tires.
Recruit some friends and — keeping the front wheels straight — push and drive your vehicle either forward or backward. Don't allow your wheels to spin, this will dig you in deeper.
Beach towing is available if needed.
Dangerous currents, called riptides, are caused by the combination of wave action and the shape of the shoreline. Should you become caught in a riptide while swimming, don't try to swim against the current. Swim parallel to the shore until you're out of the rip. Then make your way to shore. There is lifeguard service available at Oceano Dunes SVRA June through Labor Day.
All OHVs must be registered through the Department of Motor Vehicles and display a current green sticker. Funds generated from OHV registration are used for acquisition, development, and operation of OHV areas.

Driving an OHV can be an exciting, yet dangerous, adventure. You can minimize your chance of injury and maximize your enjoyment through common sense, intelligent vehicle operation and by extending courtesy and respect to other riders.
It is recommended that all ATV operators take part in a formal safety training course under supervision of a certified ATV instructor. Such training is mandatory for those under 18..
Proper riding equipment is essential to the safe operation of an OHV. Each ATV rider must wear a helmet and should wear proper protective clothing.
Before starting out, familiarize yourself with the terrain. Learn to recognize the telltale signs of a slipface. AVOID SURPRISES.
Inexperienced riders should thoroughly acquaint themselves with all vehicle controls before starting out. Be especially cautious when driving east in the dunes because dune slipfaces normally face to the east.
Drive within the limits of your ability. Don't go faster or climb higher than you can safely handle. Watch out for other riders. When in doubt, take time to think and look the situation over before you proceed.

On major holiday weekends, the ranger staff is supplemented by volunteer groups such as the Sheriff's Search and Rescue and the Equestrian Mounted Assistance Patrol. All of these people are prepared to offer help and information to visitors. On most holiday weekends a mobile ranger station is located at the Sand Highway entrance.

Oceano Dunes
State Vehicular Recreation Area
576 Camino Mercado, Arroyo Grande , CA 93420
(805) 473-7223 (Recorded)
Reservations: (800) 444-7275


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