California Beaches


Pismo Beach, CA Travel & Photos

The Pismo Beach Clam welcome sign sits on Price Street not far from the Pismo Beach beaches and pier.
One of the biggest clams along the California coast and beaches, the pismo, got bigger when they built a huge Pismo Clam welcome sign in the city of Pismo Beach, California. It is one of several signs on roads going into the city, welcoming travelers to the Central Coast beach vacation spot that locals call "classic".

How did Pismo Beach become associated with clams? Pismo is a type of clam you'll find here. At 4.5 inches diameter you can take them with the a salt-water fishing license, and you may find them as large as 7 inches on rare occasions. The Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce claims to have an 8 inch clam shell on display.

We've seen people clamming from Rincon Beach on the border of Ventura and Santa Barbara county lines, through Pismo Beach and further north. Pismo Beach, the Classic California city with its woody car, surfing, and good times, might also be associated with clams because of the big event each year, the Pismo Beach Clam Festival.
Also winning awards for clam chowder is the restaurant near the pier, Splash Cafe. If you long for a hot, tasty bowl of clam chowder or other tasty clam snacks, be sure to visit this local favorite that people rave about.

For visitors hoping to catch clams, first get your license, then head to the beach with the tools of the trade. A bucket is one item you'll definitely require to collect your treasures. Another item is the digging tool or clam fork with an attached caliper for measuring the clams after pulling them from the sand. You'll find clams just under the sand and usually detect them by the tiny air bubbles that rise to the sand.

The laws regulating clamming are strict, making clamming not one of the top sports fishing activities. The clamming time is half hour before sunrise and half hour after sunset, with a limit 10 clams per day. We've never done the math about the price of a license for clamming and just buying clams in the market, but it's easy to see which activity yields more free time. Clearly clamming is a sport for those who find it a novelty, or consider 10 clams worth the effort of a license that can cost just under $10.

Like surfing in San Clemente, riding a cable car in San Francisco, or snorkeling in Catalina, when in Pismo, it just feels right to clam. The signs to do it are all around you, in fact. And several local stores make it easy to get started.

You probably won't sink the big one, so be sure to stop by the clam statue on Price and take a picture next to the giant clam so you can tell everyone you clammed in Pismo Beach.