California Travel Tips

Pismo, Shell and Avila Beaches – Public Beach Access Trails and Hotel Stairs

Published on: August 02, 2012

The Central Coast beach cities span hundreds of miles between Ventura, Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Monterey, Carmel and Pebble Beach to comprise what many consider the premier California beach destination. Among the treasures of this Pacific Coast in San Luis Obispo County is a stretch of beaches filled with sand dunes, several public piers and lots of hotels with direct beach access. Pismo Beach, Shell Beach and Avila Beach all feature hotels with stairs or direct sand access to public beaches.

While spending the night in a hotel room overlooking the Pacific Coast is one of the best ways to enjoy the journey, day-trippers passing by on Highway 101 between San Francisco and Los Angeles can stop to dine on decks with ocean views, or spend a few hours sunbathing at these great beaches containing some hidden coves and less crowded beachcombing spots. Here is a list of beach access points you can drop by and enjoy during your road trips.

  • Ocean view dining can be found at Cliffs Resort, Dolphin Bay Inn – Lido Restaurant (our favorite,)  and a handful of  restaurants open to the public. A local favorite approx. one block from the beach is Splash Cafe, known for its clam chowder.
  • Special events include the annual Pismo Clam Festival each fall and Butterfly Groves with thousands of butterflies seen late October through February annually. The Monarch Butterfly Grove is located half a mile south of Pismo Beach just off Hwy 1. Free parking is available inside the North Beach Campground, north of the Trees. For more information or directions, call the Pismo Beach Visitor Information Center: (805) 773-4382.
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