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Pismo Beach (population 8,000 in 2020) is in San Luis Obispo County in the Central Coast region of California. It is part of the Five Cities Metropolitan Area which also includes Shell Beach (within the northern part of the Pismo Beach city limits), and Grover Beach, Oceano and Arroyo Grande, all to the south and south-east of Pismo Beach.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Pismo Beach is off Highway 101 south of San Luis Obispo.

By train[edit]

The nearest train station is a quarter mile (400 m) away in Grover Beach, served by Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner between San Luis Obispo and San Diego. South County Transit's bus #21 can be used to reach downtown Pismo.

San Luis Obispo also has an Amtrak station, served by the Surfliner as well as the Coast Starlight between Seattle and Los Angeles. Taking public transportation from there is more difficult, so Uber is recommended.

By plane[edit]

The closest commercial airports are San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria. SLO's airport has service to a several western U.S. hubs. Santa Barbara Airport is 80 miles (130 km) south, with more departures than SLO. The nearest major international airport is Los Angeles International Airport, about 175 miles southeast of Pismo Beach. To reach Pismo, take the Central Coast Shuttle to Santa Maria, then Uber. Alternatively, take the Flyaway Bus and then Amtrak to Grover Beach.

A small general aviation airport exists in Oceano.

By bus[edit]

San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority provides bus service on Route 10 along Highway 101 between San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande, Nipomo, and Santa Maria.

Flixbus stops in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria.

Orange Belt Stages provides service between Santa Maria, Paso Robles, and Visalia/Hanford in the Central Valley. Transfer from Amtrak in Hanford or Greyhound in Visalia.

Greyhound stops in Santa Maria.

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]

Car travel is fairly easy, but parking can be challenging on weekends and in summer.

By bus[edit]

SLO RTA provides service within the city on Route 21 and 24, which generally run in opposite directions.

By trolley[edit]

A free beach trolley runs between hourly between Port San Luis, Avila Beach, Shell Beach and the Pismo Beach Outlets on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, April to October.

By foot[edit]

By bike[edit]


  • 1 Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove (parking is off Highway 1 at the extreme southern end of the City of Pismo Beach, just south of North Beach Campground). Each year thousands of beautiful butterflies migrate to stay in Pismo Beach. Between 2010-2014 an average of 25,000 butterflies spent the winter in the grove. Butterflies arrive in the winter months, starting in late October and ending in February. Docents are onsite to answer questions.


  • 1 Pismo Beach. A fun place to go to the beach for all kinds of tourists. They offer beach bike rentals, surf board rentals, and atv rentals for the Pismo Beach dunes. Pismo State Beach (Q7198390) on Wikidata Pismo State Beach on Wikipedia
  • Pismo Beach Clam Festival. During the 1950s Pismo Beach billed itself as the "clam capital of the world", with clams so abundant that they were harvested with plows on the beach. Over-harvesting led to a massive decline, but the town still celebrates its yearly clam festival every year in mid-October. The weekend festival includes live music, a clam dig, clam bake, parade, chowder cook-off, and other festivities.


  • Pismo Beach Premium Outlets Major shopping center.


  • 1 Splash Café, 197 Pomeroy Ave, +1 805-773-4653. Wildly famous clam chowder dive, with more awards to their name than Donald Trump has buildings. Burgers, chicken strips, and other assorted staples accompany the world-famous chowder. Perfect lunch spot. Get there early, or get in line.
  • Ada's Fish House, 558 Price St, +1 805-556-3077. Su-Th 11:30AM-9:30PM, F Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Happy Hour everyday 3-6PM. Family-owned restaurant, boasting fresh fish and seafood in a relaxed atmosphere. Classic coastal dishes such as steamed clams, lobster rolls, specialties of Pacific Coast halibut, grilled swordfish, and seafood pasta. Features a mostly-local wine list and full bar.



Go next[edit]

  • Grover Beach, Oceano and Arroyo Grande to the south and south-east
  • Avila Beach - Avila Beach is a small coastal community located seven miles northwest of Pismo Beach that offers a number of quaint inns, spas and resorts. Point San Luis, accessible via a scenic docent-led hike or by trolley, is home to a lighthouse that dates back to 1890 and is the only surviving Prairie Victorian on the West Coast. Visitors looking for relaxation can soak in nearby mineral hot springs or lounge on the sandy beach that gives the town its name.
  • San Luis Obispo - 13 miles (20 km) north of Pismo Beach and almost exactly half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this small college town and its neighboring communities boast extraordinary resources for hiking, mountain biking, sea kayaking, swimming and surfing, outstanding natural beauty, a carefully preserved and thriving 19th-century downtown centered around a meticulously restored 18th-century mission, a small but thriving art gallery scene, and a large and growing collection of top-quality wineries.
Routes through Pismo Beach
SalinasSan Luis Obispo  N  S  Grover BeachSanta Barbara
MontereySan Luis Obispo  N  S  Grover BeachSanta Barbara

This city travel guide to Pismo Beach is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.