Day Use hours are from 6:00am-10:00pm
Pismo State Beach
- Stay Local: Stay close to home. Walk or bike into the park. Parking is very limited. Do not take road trips to parks and beaches or to neighboring states.
- Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
- Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
- Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
- Stay Covered: The state now requires you to wear a face covering in most indoor settings and public outdoor spaces when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more from people outside of your immediate household. For details, please visit CDPH’s guidance here. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.
Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
Welcome to Pismo State Beach! Located along the beautiful Central Coast of California, Pismo State Beach has a pleasant year round climate making it ideal for outdoor recreation and exploring! Visitors at Pismo State Beach enjoy many diverse outdoor activites including: camping, surfing, swimming, fishing and bird watching. There are also walking trails along the coastal sand dune habitat and around the freshwater Oceano Lagoon. Be sure to stop by the Oceano Dunes District Vistor Center to learn about our free educational programs and don't miss the special opportunity to observe Western Monarch Butterflies in the Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove (November-February)!
Day use hours are from 6:00am to 10:00pm.
Beach vehicle access is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Day use passes are $5.00 per vehicle entering the beach. Passes may sell out on summer weekends and holidays.
When the park is open, motor vehicles may access the beach at the end of West Grand Avenue located in Grover Beach. The speed limit on the beach is 15 MPH. It is strongly recommended that only those with four-wheel drive vehicles access the beach. For more information on beach camping and OHV use, please visit the website for Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreational Area by Click Here
Visitors wanting to access the beach by foot may park their vehicles in the lot located off of West Grand Avenue near Fin’s Bar & Grill Restaurant. A boardwalk to the beach and public restrooms are available for visitors.
Campfires are allowed on the beach but must not be greater than three feet in diameter and two feet in height. Only wood and untreated wood products free of metal, petroleum products or other toxic substances shall be used. Fires must be fully extinguished with water and left exposed, never burried in sand.
Dogs are allowed on the beach and park trails but must be kept on a leash, not longer than six (6) feet, at all times. Dogs are not allowed at the Pismo Dune Preserve or at Oso Flaco Lake.
All camping reservations must be made online at Reserve California or by calling Reserve California at 1-800-444-7275 8:00am - 6:00pm Pacific Time (PT). Reservations are required during peak season and holiday weekends. Reservations may be made up to six (6) months in advance, but they must be made at least 48 hours prior to arrival. A maximum of two (2) licensed vehicles (including motorcycles, trailers and RVs) are allowed per campsite. Vehicles may be parked only in your assigned campsite. Check-out time is noon and check-in time is 2pm. Both campgrounds within Pismo State Beach provide conventional amenities such restrooms, pay operated hot-showers, picnic tables and a camp fire ring. Fire wood is also available for sale at the Camp Host Campsites or by inquiring at the kiosk.
If you are seeking information about the primitive beach camping, please visit the Oceano Dunes SVRA Website.
North Beach Campground features tent camping facilities and a campfire center. There are no hook-up sites available in this campground. Visitors can access the beach from the campground and enjoy the the views along Carpenter Creek. The Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove is also accessible from the campground. In the summer months, Jr. Ranger Programs and Campfire Programs are held at the campfire center. Click here to view a map of the North Beach Campground: North Beach Campground Map
Oceano Campground features both hook-up RV sites and tent camping sites. Visitors can access the beach from the campground, explore wildlife along a freshwater lagoon, and enjoy the Visitor Center. In the summer months, Jr. Ranger Programs and Campfire Programs are held at the campfire center. Click here to view a map of the North Beach Campground: Oceano Campground Map
Interpretive Education Programs
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person interpretive programming has been suspended until further notice. The Summer 2020 interpretive programs were hosted online in a digital format and are now available for streaming on the links listed below. For the 2020-2021 School Year, all field trips will be hosted digitally
Virtual Field Trips
Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) program provides FREE live interactive videoconference programs, also known as virtual field trips. K-12 students from California and around the world are connecting with live State Park Interpreters and learning academic content standards within the context of California’s dynamic state park system. Using platforms like Zoom, Skype and Google Meets, we will connect with your students for these live video conferencing programs. Student participation is encouraged as we design these programs to be very interactive! Teachers can learn more about these programs and register their class by visiting our School Programs Page or by visiting www.ports-ca.us/ports-on-demand/oceano-dunes-svra
Join State Park Interpreters around the virtual community campfire for fun and interactive presentations about local wildlife and cultural topics. All ages welcome. Please visit our district YouTube Channel to view our Campfire Program video playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aaluoc7TtYw&list=PL3_0PQwwlzA21bO45auCmR3kZ_TbbbqD9
Junior Ranger Programs
Children ages 7 - 12 years old are invited to virtually join State Park Interpreters for fun online programs to learn about science, nature and history! Participants can earn digital Junior Ranger certificates! To view the programs, please visit our district YouTube Channel to see the Junior Ranger video playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58pwLpBHIic&list=PL3_0PQwwlzA1dtH8egFtBQL47O6_-lEb1
Little Ranger Programs
Families with young children ages 2 - 6 years old are invited to virtually join State Park Interpreters for our Oceano Dunes District Little Ranger Programs! To view the programs, please visit our district YouTube Channel to see the Little Ranger video playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3_0PQwwlzA1uDEoLkVbuqJFXyNJQwLjP
Oceano Dunes District Visitor Center
Located at 555 Pier Avenue at the entrance to the Oceano Campground, the newly remodeled Oceano Dunes District Visitor Center is a one stop place to learn about the park and local area. Friendly staff and volunteers will help answer your questions about the park and local area. This interpretive center will introduce you to the history of the area, teach you about local wildlife and give you fun ideas for adventuring in the park! Kids can pick up an interpretive activity booklet.
Become a Discovery Agent
Help Secret Agent Bill the Beaver on his mission to discover the Oceano Lagoon at Pismo State Beach. Download the Agents of Discovery App on your smartphone or tablet and select the Oceano Lagoon mission!
The App is FREE and does not require WiFi or cellular data to play once installed! Agents of Discovery is an augmented reality App that allows users to independently explore the park through playing interactive games and triva. At the park, users are able to search for challenges and answer questions about wildlife and the cultural history of the Northern Chumash Native Americans.
Pismo Clams are bivalves, which means they have two siphons and a two halfed shell. These clams bury themselves a few inches below the wet sand using their digging foot. The intake valve draws seawater into the body of the clam to capture diatoms, algae and plankton! In 1947, Pismo Beach deemed itself the "Clam Capital of the World". The Pismo Clam and the Pacific Razor Clam made up most of the catch by clammers. The largest Pismo Clam recorded in California came from Pismo Beach and was 7.37 inches across and estimated to be 26 years old. An influx of clammers and sea otters (natural predators to the Pismo Clam) led to the depletion of the Pismo Clam population. Pismo clam populations fluctuate dramatically due to a variety of natural influences.
A fragile and valuable resource, Pismo clams may be taken under the following regulations:
- Clammers must possess a valid fishing license and an accurate (rigid) measuring device.
- Pismo clams must measure at least 4 1/2" in length to be possessed.
- Undersized Pismo clams must be immediately reburied in the area where dug.
- Bag limit is 10 Pismo clams.
- Hours of clamming are 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.
The Pacific Razor Clam can be taken at all times during the year, with a valid fishing licence. There is a limit of 20 clams per person.
Surf fishing is a popular activity along the shoreline here at Pismo Beach State Beach. A valid fishing licence is required. For information on licensing, species, size, and take limits, please visit California Fish and Wildlife at www.wildlife.ca.gov. The ocean can be dangerous and unpredictable. Never turn your back on the waves and be aware of your surrounding at all times while fishing. Sand bars are evershifting and strong ripcurrents are prevalent along this coastline.
The Oceano Lagoon is located behind the Oceano Dunes Visitor Center and the Oceano Campground. A valid fishing licence is required. For information on licensing, species, size, and take limits, please visit California Fish and Wildlife at www.wildlife.ca.gov. There is an ADA accesible fishing platform.
The dunes at Pismo State Beach and to the south in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dune Complex are considered the finest and most extensive along the California coast. Most of the sand that formed these dunes was carried down to the ocean by rivers and streams, deposited on the beach by ocean currents, and then shaped by the wind into the dunes seen today, a process that took millions of years.
The Chumash Native Americans have lived in this area for thousands of years and continue to do so today. Evidence of their historical presence can be seen in several locations in the dunes in the form of “middens,” which are piles of discarded shells that were left behind after being harvested for food. These middens are protected by state and federal law; please do not enter or disturb these areas.
In 1769, members of Gaspar de Portola’s inland Spanish expedition traveled through our coastal dunes, encountering not only the Chumash but an area full of native black bears and grizzly bears. While Portola’s group was traveling through Oso Flaco they tracked and killed the skinniest bear (un oso flaco) they had ever seen, giving the area its current name.
The Dunites were a primitive settlement of free thinkers, artists, writers, and mystics that lived in the dunes beginning in the 1930s. They predominantly lived in the area they named Moy Mel (Gaelic for “pastures of honey”). Many Dunites considered this area to have mystic vibrations. The last Dunite, Bert Schievink, died in 1974. The area today is still known by its given name and is a popular location in the park.
In 1934, California State Parks first aquired the land that is now know as the Oceano Campground. Over the following decades, more land was aquired and the Oceano Dunes District was formed. Today, the Oceano Dunes District includes Pismo State Beach and the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.
There are ADA accessible restrooms at Grand Avenue and Pier Avenue beach access ramps. Sand wheel chairs are available at all park entrance stations free of charge, on a first come first serve basis. California State Parks supports equal access. Visitors who need assistance should contact the Oceano Dunes District Ranger Station at (805) 473-7220 or 711 TYY relay service prior to arrival.