13 Best Things To Do In Pismo Beach, California - Updated 2021

things to do in pismo beach california

Pismo Beach is a city in San Luis Obispo County, full of weird and unusual things, attracting an array of people to the coast. Whether it’s weird landmarks you wish to explore or the local parks which hold bizarre history statues, you’ll find something of interest with all the amazing activities in Pismo Beach! With some of the top campsites in the area and amazing Vrbo vacation rentals, finding the perfect home base for your trip won’t be a problem.

So, just scroll down now to check out the best things to do in Pismo Beach, California.

1. Bubblegum Alley

Bubblegum alley pn5
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Penubag used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

A weird but increasingly popular tourist attraction, this 4.5-meter (15-foot) high and 21-meter (70-foot) long alley has accumulated chewed gum left bypasses by embedded in the walls. Some recognize it as distasteful others have seen it as art, it has gone on to inspire. Professional artists have gone on to replicate, artist Matthew Hoffman who erected a self-portrait of himself entirely made of bubblegum titled “Project Bubblegum.” Town historians are at a loss as to do whereas some local shopkeepers say it’s an eyesore. Others are calling it a special landmark that brings in trade! Visit the alley and make your mind up yourself.

Bubblegum Alley has been featured on a number of TV shows and news programs. It has also appeared in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! The alley also featured in the reality TV series The Girls Next Door. Concrete evidence of how this wall started is not known, but some historians suggest that the tradition of the alley started after WWII as a San Luis Obispo High School graduating class event.

Bubblegum Alley

Address: 733.5 Higuera St, 93401 San Luis Obispo, CA

Website: Bubblegum Alley

2. Monarch Butterfly Grove

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists educated the public about Western monarch butterfly conservation at Western Monarch Day in Pismo Beach on February 4, 2017.
Source: Photo by Flickr user USFWS Pacific Sou... used under CC BY 2.0

Every year thousands of vibrant colored butterflies descend to Pismo Beach, seeking shelter from the northern winters. From October to February the butterflies gather within the grove of Eucopitis tree at Pismo Beach. This is one of the largest in the country with over 250,00 butterflies visiting over the last 5 years. When visiting the caves, volunteers are on hand to offer daily talks.

They offer information and facts about the yearly spectacle that brings visitors to the beach. The natural history museum in Morro Bay offers up excellent additional information about Monarchs. So if you’re looking for things to do in Pismo Beach this weekend, just drop by Monarch Butterfly Grove. Daily talks are held at 10 am and 2 pm. weather permitting.

Monarch Butterfly Grove

Address: 400 S Dolliver St, 93449 Pismo Beach, CA

Website: Monarch butterfly Grove

3. Dinosaur Caves Park

Source: Photo by user Photos by Lito used under CC BY 2.0

Getting its unusual name from history was once the mighty T-rex battled a TriceRaptors to the death - the image the artist wanted when conveying a 15-meter (50-foot) long Brontosaurus tail. To adjoin to the cave in a shrouding of a mystery until residents deemed it an eyesore where it was later removed. Today a 4.5-hectare (11-acre) oceanfront top park is great for those who love the outdoors.

A favorite spot for joggers and walkers overlooking the ocean. For the children, a unique Dinosaur theme play park is on hand to entertain containing a gentle dinosaur, two concrete dolphins, three beautiful dinosaur eggs, three playful seals and a tire swing and the USS imagination. A great day for everyone.

Dinosaur Caves Park

Address: 2701 Price St, 93449 Pismo Beach, CA

Website: Dinosaur Caves Park

4. Pismo Pier

Pismo Pier sunset 018 8x72
Source: Photo by user iPismo used under CC0

A beautiful beach of 24 hectares (60 acres) to explore of pier and promenade. A perfect family day out is to be had with a children’s play area, volleyball courts, and equipment. The park contains drinking water fountains along with plenty of ocean recreations nearby. Visit spyglass pine, a 1.8-hectare (4.5-acre) park with ocean view and access to tide pools.

For those who love holiday mementos, you can now buy a piece of the pier to take away with you. The city of Pismo Beach is selling pier planks as well as a limited number from the historic project. Limited edition items include historical sentiments and a golden hammer.

Pismo Pier

Address: 760 Mattie Road, 93449 Pismo Beach, CA

Website: Pismo Pier

5. The Dorn Pyramid

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The pyramid stands alone in an isolated location just out of Pismo Beach. Because of the weight of the pyramid the location was the only one solid to support the massive structure. Constructed in 1905 by a wealthy lawyer after he lost his wife and son during childbirth in their honor the mysterious tomb was built. The entrance of the pyramid also reads ‘Disturb not the sleep of death.’ Two stones on the pyramid remains unsealed till date. It is said that the lawyer, Fred Adolphus Dorn, wanted to be buried in the same place and then the last two stones were to be sealed. He moved over to San Francisco and remarried, and died in 1940 and he was thenburied at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma.

The Dorn Pyramid

Address: Higuera Street and Elks Lane,Oddfellows Cemetery, 93401 San Luis Obispo, California

Website: The Dorn Pyramid

6. Margo Dodd Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

A gorgeous park overlooks Pismo Beach to see the ocean views. There are fantastic opportunities to spot wildlife along the pier. This park has been hailed as one of the best places to watch a sunset in Pismo.

Bird life and marine animals are frequent visitors. At the end of the pier is a tide pool allows snorkeling for exploration adventures. It is great for budding photographers with plentiful photo opportunities. Dinosaur coves and the dunes can be seen. Join in the art in the park every Sunday of every month.

Margo Dodd Park

Address: 93449 Shell Beach, California

Website: Margo Dodd Park

7. Surf with Pismo beach surf shop (from USD 82.0)

The ocean calls...
Source: Photo by Flickr user troy_williams used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

More than just a shop, Pismo Beach Surf Shop offers a wide range of water tours such as kayaking, paddleboarding, surfboarding, and boogie board rentals. Surf’s up! You’ll never run out of fun things to do in Pismo Beach. If you’re not wanting to learn a new hobby/skill, then the store offers up a range of classes. Surf lessons have proven the most popular and they have been teaching visitors since 1962 so you’re in safe and capable hands. Lessons begin with water safety and last up to 1.5 to 2 hours.

Pismo Beach Surf Shop

Address: 470 Price St, 93449 Pismo Beach, CA

Website: Pismo Beach Surf Shop

Pismo Beach Surf Lessons

Duration: 2 hours

8. Pismo State Beach

 Pismo Beach
Source: Needpix

Never miss the chance to enjoy different recreational activities in Pismo State Beach, a charming 17-mi (27.35-km) beach line fronting the towns of Oceano, Pismo Beach, and Grover Beach. Being located along the central coast of California gives Pismo State Beach the advantage of a year-round pleasant climate which locals and tourists alike find great for many outdoor activities like fishing, camping, surfing, swimming, and even birdwatching. Day passes for vehicles costs 5 USD. If you plan to go camping, you can make reservations via their website 48 hours to 6 months in advance.

Pismo State Beach

Address: 555 Pier Ave, Oceano, CA 93445, United States

Website: Pismo State Beach

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

Price: 5 USD

9. Oyster Loft

Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Top your great Pismo Beach adventures with equally great seafood and dessert here in the Oyster Loft. This Californian restaurant along the Pismo beachline and waterfront offers a range of appetizers, mains, and desserts and mainly serving seafood. You can kick off with crab cakes, orange-glazed octopus, or fresh oysters from the raw bar. The main course includes oven-roasted seabass, wagyu steak and lobster, and pan-seared scallops. Caramel basket, tiramisu, and blackberry corn custard cake are offered for dessert. While mainly seafood-heavy, the resto does serve vegan options. Walk-in diners are accepted but reservations are highly encouraged.

Oyster Loft

Address: 101 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, United States

Website: Oyster Loft

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 5pm - 9pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

10. Rooftop at Inn at the Pier

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you’re looking for a great spot to relax and unwind or maybe to have a great bonding time with your friends, you should definitely check out Rooftop at Inn at the Pier. Perched at the roof deck of the Inn at the Pier Hotel, this establishment offers a sweeping view of the stunning Pacific coastline. With its effortless West Coast ambiance and breathtaking sunset views partnered with playful cocktails and beautifully curated menu, it is undoubtedly a place you cannot miss before leaving Pismo.

Rooftop at Inn at the Pier

Address: 601 Cypress St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, United States

Website: Rooftop at Inn at the Pier

Opening hours: 11am - 9pm (daily)

11. Pismo Beach Premium Outlets

Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Pismo Beach Premium Outlets is a small shopping outlet located in Central Coast California, just between Los Angeles and San Francisco. You can easily spot its beige facade as it is right off the freeway. Enjoy up to 65% discounts at all of its 40 designer brands which include Levi’s Outlet, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, Aeropostale, Calvin Klein, Carter’s, Coach, Guess Factory Store, Kate Spade New York, and many others. The shopping center also has restaurants, lots of parking, a dog park, an ATM, and a baby changing station.

Pismo Beach Premium Outlets

Address: 333 5 Cities Dr, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, United States

Website: Pismo Beach Premium Outlets

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 10pm - 7pm

12. Eldwayen Ocean Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

A visit to the Eldwayen Ocean Park is a must for families who are on their California tour. The 1.5-mi (2.41 km) stretch of the oceanfront park is perfect for different recreational activities or simply relaxation. As a long narrow park along the bluff in the Shell Beach area of Pismo Beach, Eldwayen Ocean Park has grassy recreational areas. These are great for outdoor games, picnic tables, and benches where you can enjoy snacks, and stairs leading to tide pools and a sandy beach where you can take long walks while watching the sunset. The park has a first-come-first-serve policy, so reservations are not necessary.

Eldwayen Ocean Park

Address: Ocean Blvd, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, United States

Website: Eldwayen Ocean Park

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

13. Oceano Pismo Dunes Preserve (from USD 80.0)

Pismo Beach (California, USA), Signs at the Beach -- 2012 -- 4733
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dietmar Rabich used under CC BY-SA 4.0

An explosive coastal range of dunes allowing rare on sand activities - horseback riding, camping and even driving on the beach. Oceano Pismo Dunes Preserve is the only California state park that allows four or all-wheel drive vehicles to be driven along its shores. A great chance to take part in riding a sand buggy is on offer: a must for thrill-seekers. With your own vehicle, you can fly up and down the massive dunes of sand in a Hummer or even your own ATV or Buggy.

Besides all the activities on the sand, you can also indulge in water activities. You can try surfing or kiteboarding. You can also go on a three-hour cave excursion and explore some protected coves. If you want to go at your own pace, rent a kayak.

Oceano Pismo Dunes Preserve

Address: 555 Pier Ave, 93445 Oceano, CA

Website: Oceano Pismo Dunes preserve

Pismo Beach Dune Buggy Experience 2-Hour Scenic Coast Ride

Duration: 2 hours

2 reviews

Weird but wonderful

Still wondering what to do in Pismo Beach? While the attractions at Pismo vary from interesting to just plain weird, it’s always fun to explore something different on your trip to Pismo Beach. Check out the Bubblegum Alley and see what brings everyone to this strange yet popular attraction.

Frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Pismo Beach, California

1. What are the top attractions to visit in Pismo Beach?

If you find yourself in Pismo Beach, then you definitely have to visit these top attractions: the unique Bubblegum Alley, the educational and interesting Monarch Butterfly Grove, and of course, the gorgeous Pismo State Beach and Eldwayen Ocean Park.

2. What are the best outdoor activities in Pismo Beach?

Some of the best outdoor activities in Pismo Beach include a day visit to Monarch Butterfly Grove, beachside activities like enjoying a picnic, strolling, or playing beach volleyball on the sands of Pismo State Beach. You can also go dune cruising with Oceano Pismo Dunes Preserve.

3. What are the most popular things to do with kids and family in Pismo Beach?

Have a blast with the whole family - both kids and parents are sure to enjoy a tour of Monarch Butterfly Grove, a visit to Dinosaur Caves Park where kids can have fun in a dinosaur-themed park, and of course, a day out in the waters and sands of Pismo State Beach.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Kirsty is based in the U.K's countryside, she loves travelling although she loves culture and exploring new places to visit. Her heart and favorite place will always be Disneyland. In her spare...Read more

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