As the preeminent surfer dude (not), I think I can report to you on Pismo Beach on the California coast. Gnarly, dude. That’s my report.
Clutched in a sliver of land between US 101 and the Pacific Ocean, and about 2 hours north of Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach is kind of a cool little town. Granted the town is a bit of a tourist mecca, but it is OK!
We arrived in Pismo Beach almost under the cover of darkness, having driven in well above 100+ degree temperatures (111 degrees at one point) all day getting across California. On arriving and getting out of the truck at our campground (Pismo Coast Village), I thought I would go into cardiac arrest from the cool temps (in the 60’s when we arrived). We enjoyed temperatures throughout our stay in the 70’s during the day, and into the 50’s at night.
We actually camped in two campgrounds for our stay at Pismo Beach – at Pismo Coast Village (private campground) and Pismo State Beach (North Beach Campground). They were both great in their own way. We made a last minute reservation at Pismo Coast Village because we didn’t want to stay at Pinnacles NP with no electricity and temps in the high 90’s – not fun.
Staying for two nights at the Pismo Coast Village campground, we thought for sure we must have arrived accidentally in Disneyland because there were so many kids here.
If I were a child, I’m pretty sure this is where I’d want to camp! A million other kids, places to ride your bike, a beach nearby, a short walk to downtown, a store where you can entice your parents to buy you an ice cream, basketball court… what’s not to love from a kid’s perspective. Quite frankly we enjoyed having so many kids around. There isn’t much better than listening to a child’s laughter.
The state park (Pismo State Beach North Beach Campground) was nice and practically on the beach, albeit no hookups.
One of the interesting things about this campground that I had not noticed before in other campgrounds was the number of campsites that had multiple tents, and typically a whole bunch of people. I actually thought this was kind of cool. I mean, anytime you see a family, extended family, or friends and family camping together? That’s just cool.
And I played golf at the Pismo State Beach Golf Course! Their usury prices (($18 for 18 holes on a Sunday, $16 on a weekday for seniors) were a bit much, although slightly better than the almost $300 for a round I paid a few years back at Torrey Pines. Perhaps the two courses don’t compare… It’s OK – I can hack one course as well as the next. Bring out the John Deere, boys – we got some patching to do. And the cool thing is the campgrounds were close enough that I could ride my bike (with clubs) to the golf course in about 5 minutes.
The beaches are of course nice, although to be honest we didn’t spend time on them. So no Speedo or bikini pictures. Sad. There are certain parts of the beach where you can drive out, so if you wanted to bring a picnic dinner you could easily.
We dined (well, we ate dinner) downtown one evening at the Splash Cafe. Splash is kind of a fish fry kind of place, and obviously a bit touristy (hey, we’re tourists).
BUT, they advertise their award winning clam chowder (proper spelling: choudaah). I, being a born and bred New Englander with a refined palette for good clam chowder (Karen is not a clam girl) was disposed to try the chowder. Oh yeah!! Not as good as the best New England has to offer, but really good! And their fish and chips were terrific! Typically there is a line at this place, but worth the wait.
The pelicans are the main show here, though. When they approach for landing, they look like they are crashing into the water, when in fact they land and at the same time try to grab a little fish dinner from right under the surface.
If you have a hankering for some music and a little dancing, there is Harry’s, right in the center of town. They have a house band, and I thought they sounded pretty decent. Then I noticed the piano player had stopped playing and was fiddling with some of the electronics… Apparently their sound as a band is a wee bit enhanced, but quite frankly no one on the dance floor seemed to care at all.
We don’t have a mortgage, but if we did we spent it here.
Food obsessed as she is, Dottie managed to have her way with a bag of trash while we were out, and dined on chicken bones, corn husks, paper wrappers and the like. She hasn’t been regular for three days now. I won’t get into the graphic details, but suffice it to say it is cornhusks one, Dottie’s colon zero.
The folks at the vet (Pismo Beach Veterinary Clinic), over the course of three days (and a lot of money), were very nice, very professional, and accomplished what we wanted for Dottie’s health. She is better now, thanks for asking. Does anyone need a dog, though? Slightly used. Smarter than us.