Pismo Beach, CA | Atlantic Beach, NC | Cordova, AK
Jacksonville, FL | Kahului, HI | Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Pismo Beach, California: Make the Sea Your Home
BY THE NUMBERS:
Elevation: Sea level
Average July water
Temperature: 63ºF (17ºC)
Median Home Price: $824,500
Main Industries: Tourism, retail, real estate; in San Luis Obispo, education and health care
Picture a classic California beach town—or just an ideal ocean town anywhere—with a sandy strand, a wooden pier, and waves dotted with surfers. That's Pismo Beach. Located about midway between the Bay Area and sprawling Los Angeles, it lies tucked amid redwoods and rocky outcroppings on one of America's least developed stretches of coast.
As with most shoreline retreats, tourism fuels Pismo's economy: More than 50 hotels fill with visitors during summer months, when Main Street's boutiques and wine bars bustle. Once high season ends, though, the town becomes positively idyllic. Winters are mild and quiet, with temperatures in the 60s (16 degrees Celsius) and the streets all but empty. Still, things seldom get dull—a handful of neighboring towns lend the area a cosmopolitan flair. You can drive 15 minutes north to San Luis Obispo for theater or ten minutes south to Arroyo Grande to shop at the farm stand. These nearby towns also offer more diverse employment and cheaper real estate (second-home buying has sent prices in Pismo proper skyward).
When it comes to the outdoors, however, Pismo is the epicenter. Six state beaches, two nature preserves, and three state parks lie within a 30-minute drive of town. Montaña de Oro State Park (www.parks.ca.gov) boasts the 3.3 mile (5.3 kilometer) Bluff Trail, one of the region's best beginner mountain biking routes, and Central Coast Kayaks conducts kayaking tours ($60 for two hours; www.centralcoastkayaks.com) of the marine-life-rich waters nearby. Action aside, the finest way to commune with the coastal environs is to slip away for a sunset picnic on Pismo's namesake stretch of sand.
Getting There: Pismo Beach is 190 miles (306 kilometers) north of Los Angeles and 245 miles (394 kilometers) south of Frisco. Commuter flights arrive daily to San Luise Obispo.
Where to Stay: The new Dolphin Bay Hotel ($204; www.slh.com/dolphin) over-looks the Pacific.
Where to Eat: Steamers of Pismo (www.mclintocks.com/locations/steamers.asp) servers the area's famous hard-shell clams.
Moving There: Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce (www.pismochamber.com). Check www.pismocoastliving.com for real estate listings.
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