Day 1 Jun30


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LAtoPismomap2147 miles

12:30 pm arrive Pismo Beach, check in SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel
The drive from the south, mostly inland, reveals blue Pacific only in mini segments until we reach the beach cities. In all there are five, delightful little cities clinging to the Pacific shoreline. We drive through Oceano, Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande, Shell Beach, finally Pismo Beach. This is classic California with a feel of mid-century America and just minutes from wonderful wine county. A “Wine and Waves” destination.

SeaCrest, a little north of Pismo’s main area, sits on a high bluff with uninterrupted views of the surrounding beaches. We check into Room 248…a fabulous space, with 180-degree view from the balcony. We can see the Pismo pier and follow the crescent shoreline to Oceano Dunes. Looking the other direction we can see to a distant point – which might be Avila Beach?

Our spacious room with a sitting area has a cozy corner nook pillowed for reading and windowed for viewing. We unload quickly and hurry back to the lobby for a property tour. The hotel is U shaped; sides of the U are 4 stories high, the long center is 2 stories high. Most rooms have outdoor access or a balcony. Remodeled in the last two years it is well designed for guests to have a great experience. A very safe stairway leads to the beach about 40′ below. Sunsets are always magnificent. Benches set along the bluff edge allow guests to anticipate the sunset in comfort. A group of teens grill their lunch at the patio near the pool. They are visitors from New York City, here as a reward for excellent academic achievement.

1:30 pm lunch Fin’s Seafood Restaurant
We passed Grover Beachbefore entering Pismo and have come back for the famous dunes and beaches of Oceano. We take a quick look and arrange for a permit to drive on the beach. Because of its convenience (located at the entrance to the Dunes) we lunch at Fin’s Seafood Restaurant. We’re momentarily seized by regret by a life size Captain Hook sculpture greets and kitchy cute dolphin/surfboard themed booths –  but food smells good and time is of the essence. Out on the dunes a father and son are kite flying. Pleasant staff delivers our Pismo Clam Chowder, and Fish ‘n’ Chips. Recommend a stop here for quick service, inexpensive and well prepared seafood.

3 pm drive car on beach tour Oceano Dunes SVRA State Vehicular Recreation Area
Passenger cars can easily drive on the northern portion of the beach. The hard-packed sand easily supports the cars weight. It’s quite a unique experience and the place in California where you can do it. Many family groups come down at the end of the day and set-up to watch the sunset.

4 pm sightsee Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove
Nearby is the famous butterfly grove. Although this is not migration season still much to learn about the monarchs from the educational materials. Worth a visit. Many well maintained camping and trailer parks surround the dunes and butterfly grove. Seems people come here and stay awhile.

6 pm sightsee drive through downtown Pismo Beach
“Historic” Downtown is on the level with the beach. Newer parts of town went uphill and east. Looking back at Pismo from the pier the residential areas looks to be built on two hills. Tonight a farmer’s market on the pier has brought lots of action to the area. Artists, craftspeople, entertainers fill the spaces between the local produce and prepared foods.

Always walk a pier when one is available – that’s our mantra. This one is very long with an unusual shape. It’s the third pier built here – fire destroyed one and a storm the other. The walkway lumber is very thick and weathered….it might be recycled from previous piers. You can cast a line and fish from here or people watch. Below on the sand family groups are beginning to pack up for the day but the surfers aren’t giving up yet.

Off the beach shops sell every imaginable water toy. Bicycles, peddle carts, surfboards, boogie boards can be rented. Quick foods easily available but the line-up is a the Splash Cafe. Need a bikini? sunscreen? floppy hat?…all here. Hotels, fancy or budget, are available. Easy town to settle into.

9 pm by dinner Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery
Given the hour we decide to eat nearest to our hotel. Service is swift. Food OK but not memorable….but they are having a whole pie sale! and we buy one. $5. They pack our cherry pie carefully, include napkins, plates, forks, a knife/spatula for serving. Back at the hotel we enjoy it.

stay SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel
Shower and luxuriate in the fluffy white robe while checking out the evening view from the balcony. Mellow temperature, clear sky, lights twinkle.

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