Home » 2021 California Surf and Turf

Pismo Beach, CA

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - 10:15am by uberHerb
48 miles and 1 hour from our last stop - 1 night stay


My favorite Morro Bay OtterMy favorite Morro Bay OtterOur drive from Cambria to Pismo Beach took us right through the town of Morro Bay, a place we had visited two times in the past, but always with bad weather. Today was perfect, and reinforced my desire to someday kayak out to Morro Rock, a 576 foot volcanic plug that stands at the entrance to the harbor.

However, since we didn’t have the kayaks along, we satisfied ourselves with gazing at it from the Morro Bay T-Pier, where the cuddly little otters like to hang out. If reincarnation is a thing, I want to come back as an otter, because I have never seen a more carefree and playful creature than an otter. They are utterly adorable, as they playfully float on their bags, resting their cute little heads on each other’s bellies. You can just stand there smiling, watching them for hours.

We made one more stop at the Monarch Butterfly Grove before getting to Pismo Beach. Timing is everything, and we knew that we had missed the October - February window for the gathering of 110,000 butterflies on the eucalyptus trees in this grove. We, and a dozen or so other ill-timed tourists, saw one either dumb or very independent monarch fluttering around the grove. I wonder what he was thinking?

Our next and final stop for the day was Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area (or OHV), a 5.5 miles stretch at the southern end of Pismo Beach that allows off-highway dune buggies to play in the huge sand dune complex. Racing around dunes is not exactly the 4Runners specialty. We were just there to be able to drive on the beach and camp.

Pismo Beach campingPismo Beach camping4WD is highly recommended, not just because of the deep sand, but also, to get to the camping area one has to cross the Arroyo Grande Creek, which is only passable at lower tides. There was very little water in it when we drove over it in mid-afternoon. The other recommendation is to make sure you camp above the high tide line, or you might wake to find yourself with the sound of the surf a bit closer than you would like.

We found a place to settle for the night, and spent the evening watching dune buggies zipping up and down the beach after returning from their more adrenaline-pumping ride through the dunes.

There was one near calamity when a pick-up truck pulling a trailer with a dune buggy on it got too close to the surf and got stuck. The next hour involved some frantic detaching of vehicles and desperate pushing onto the drier sand. Thankfully, they made it in time.

The next morning we got up early because we had a 6 hour drive ahead of us to get to Anza-Borrego State Park. Unfortunately, the tide was too high to cross over the Arroyo Grande Creek, so we had to wait about an hour for the tide to fall.

Pismo Beach location map in "high definition"

Javascript is required to view this map.