Pismo Beach Classic California Beach Vacations

Stunning views of the Pacific Ocean are the trademark of Pismo Beach. As you veer around Highway 101 on the Central Coast, you'll suddenly notice hotels situated on cliffs overlooking the water. Beauty and the beach: it's the stuff travelers' dreams are made of. Top photo shows Best Western Shelter Cove location and bottom two show Best Western Shore Cliff. Another great hotel on the beach near the Pismo Beach Pier is the Sandcastle Inn. See classiccalifornia.com for official information on Pismo Beach.


Pismo Beach is charming city with an active downtown that includes shops, restaurants, hotels and a beautiful pier. Take a stroll on one of the best piers for sightseeing. We rate it with high marks because the walk back toward land is special in its own right. In Spring, the sun shines on green, gently rolling hills that frame this picturesque city while seagulls on the pier stand at attention and watch. Locals are especially proud of the pier, itself, and tell us that it cost over $1 million to build and is sturdy enough to carry the foot traffic of over a million guests who visit annually. 


When you visit Pismo Beach, you may notice clam insignias on things, and there's even a clam monument. Pismo Clams were once as much a part of the city as seals were to Seal Beach. In both places, the icons are more of remembrance than a day to day occurrence. Although, a sign with a sculpted clam greets visitors to the city, you can't dig for clams unless you purchase a license. Even then, you are allowed only a certain number per day, if you find them. There are plenty of other activities to keep you busy, however. 


Themed weekends such as the Clam and Jazz Festivals, shops, restaurants, bicycles, a factory outlet and 12 miles of camping, hiking and surf fishing on the State Vehicular Park make this one of the top vacation spots on the Central California Coast. Just being in love keeps romantics occupied in Pismo Beach.


The name "Pismo" originates from a Chumash Indian word, meaning "blobs of tar". Yuck! Actually, the blobs of tar found naturally along the California coast were very useful for building boats, the Chumash prized possession. Pismo was part of the original Rancho Pismo when founded by developer John Price over 100 years ago. His El Pizmo Company recorded a sale of a downtown lot in 1881 for $5.00.  The piece of land now known as Dolliver Street is lined with shops and buildings and is one of the city's primary arteries. And though we don't have recent prices on the cost of that land today, we know that houses perched on hills overlooking the ocean can range in the +million mark. 


A piece of Pismo land is valuable today but selling beach property wasn't as easy at the turn of the century so Price built a hotel overlooking San Luis Bay. His plans included a wharf and a railroad stop to lure newcomers. Growth through new construction and  discovery of oil and tourism carried El Pizmo Company into the 20th century and helped put Pismo Beach on the map. Clams which were plentiful in the region during those years, did their part in creating an image for the town, as well.

All Terrain Vehicle riding on the Dunes
Butterfly Tours November-February
Bowling  Pismo Bowl  805-773-2482. 
Farmers Market at Dolliver & Main,  May through October, Tuesdays 4 pm to dusk 
Horseback Riding:   Silver Spur Livery Stables, 805-489-8100.
Kayaking -Central Coast Kayaks  805-773-3500
Pool at Hotshot Billiards - 805-773-4542
Shopping at Prime Outlets, Exit Five Cities Drive of Hwy 101, Mon-Sat 10 am- 8 pm
Sun. 11 am- 6pm
Tennis Courts -Wadsworth and Bello  & European style red clay courts are adjacent to Shore Cliff Lodge (2555 Price St.) 


Where to stay: Pismo Beach hotel favorites (check out all of them) that we have personally checked out include beach front or beach close options:


Best Western Shelter Cove Lodge. Each room has a private balcony with an amazing ocean view! Guest rooms were completely redesigned and not long ago, providing modern, cool breeze, ocean view and fun time visits for romantic couples and families.

Best Western Shore Cliff Lodge at 2555 Price Street in Pismo Beach also include views of the Pacific Ocean. The two Best Western Hotels are three diamond rating. This means they are nice, but not full service. You won't find resort amenities such as on-site spa treatments, but at the great prices, who needs them?




Pismo Beach > Shell Beach > Avila Beach

Hot Deals
Save on Tickets


Universal City

Discount Disneyland Tickets


catalina express
Long Beach, Dana Point

Catalina Flyer

Newport Beach

Discount Disney's California Adventure tickets


Knotts Berry Farm
Buena Park

Discount Medieval Times tickets

Buena Park

Discount Pirates Dinner Adventure tickets

Buena Park

Discount Legoland California tickets


Discount San Diego Zoo tickets

San Diego

San Diego

Discount SeaWorld tickets