My name is Shirin and I am an Iranian American living in the Pacific Northwest. Welcome to my journal where I share my travels throughout the PNW and beyond!
You will find travel itineraries, PNW bucket list hikes, and PNW weekend getaways, road trip ideas, and more! My aim is provide travel options for the working professional living in the Pacific Northwest to take advantage of your free time and get out in this big wide world!
January 16, 2023
Pismo Beach is one of my favorite areas in California. I spent my birthday this year there with some of my closest friends. We spent one weekend in Pismo Beach exploring the sand dunes, nearby beaches, and wineries.
Now, this was not my first time in Pismo Beach as I lived in Bakersfield for 3 years. From Bakersfield, we spent many weekend trips in Pismo, Paso Robles or San Luis Obispo. For that reason, you may not find everything you want in this weekend itinerary, but if you have the time I would suggest a half day Friday to add in the below Friday itinerary. Also, if you can, take Highway 1.
If you are planning on taking a half day on Friday, I would suggest starting your day at Hearst Castle. The castle is usually open between 8-6 PM, however check the website for more. You will also need to buy tickets ahead of time, unless you are going off season on a weekday. Between 1865-1947, George and William Hearst purchased and inherited thousands of acres around San Simeon. With help of architect, Julia Morgan, they attempted to create a castle with 165 rooms and over 123 acres filled with garden, pools, art collection, walkways and more. Hearst Castle is now a historic house museum and a California State Park. On the way leading up the entrance they had zebras and giraffes on the land!
After your tour filled with “oohs and ahhs,” check out sunset 45 minutes down the road at Morro Bay. Morro Bay is a quiet beach town that is famous for the seaside village fishing and big rock jetting out of the ocean. Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo is 30 minutes away. I suggest spending Friday night at the same location as Saturday for your one weekend getaway in Pismo Beach. We spent the weekend camping at Oceano Campground.
We woke up to beautiful weather. As we chose to camp in April we expected chilly and windy weather, around the 60’s, but coming from the Pacific Northwest, this was great! In the summer, you may feel temperature in the low to mid 70’s.
After we woke up Saturday, we walked 5 minutes to the beach and explored the beach area. After walking the beach, we decided it was time to ride! We had two off-road capable vehicles with us which we took with us to explore the sand dunes. If you don’t have an off-road capable vehicle, there are a plethora of places along the sand dunes where you can rent a 1-4 person ATV. The sand dunes took half of our day, but was totally worth it!
After that, we drove to San Luis Obispo to explore this super cute town. As it is a college town, you will find a plethora of bars, restaurants, cafes, and things to do. If you plan your vacation right, you may even see a rodeo or concert!
For Saturday night, we explored the property at the Cliffs Hotel & Spa, and enjoyed endless ocean views.
We woke up Sunday and knew it was time to part. We spent the morning exploring downtown Pismo Beach and its pier. Though small, it still has some shops, cafes, and trinket stores and it may take less than one hour to explore. If you would rather choose a different beach to explore, you can explore Avila beach. After eating breakfast at one of the beaches, we had time to only visit one winery, Edna Valley Vineyard before departing.
As shown above, you will notice Edna Valley Vineyard surrounds you with rolling hills. There is indoor and outdoor seating, and is dog friendly. Be that as it may, it can get exceptionally windy here so be prepared for any weather!
By all means, if you have time to visit more than one winery, look into: Claiborne & Churchill Winery, DAOU Vineyard, Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden, Tobin James Cellars. Some of the wineries I listed are dog friendly, but you will want to check with them if you are planning to bring your dog.
All in all, one weekend in Pismo beach is definitely worth your time.
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