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Pismo State Beach in San Luis Obispo County is famous for clams, butterflies, birds, camping, and driving your car on the beach.

The famous Pismo clam can be dug up right out of the beach if you know what you are doing and have the proper clamming permit.

In the winter months thousands of colorful monarch butterflies make the park’s eucalyptus grove their home and create quite a buzz (figuratively not literally).

Birding is also popular on the beach and at the lagoon on the north end.

Most unique of all though, Pismo State Beach is one of only a few in the state where you can drive right onto the sand legally!

Here are the other beaches in California that you can drive on.

IMG_3637 (Large)Pismo State Beach on a sunny day

Beaches and Campgrounds

This popular Central California state park has three separate units.

  1. The southern entrance to Pismo State Beach is on Pier Avenue in the town of Oceano. As you approach the beach Oceano Campground is on your right. At the end of Pier Ave you can drive your car onto the beach. From there if you drive south, you enter Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area where hard-core 4×4 and ORV enthusiasts roam the massive dunes.
  2. The central entrance to Pismo State Beach is on Grand Avenue in the town of Grover Beach. Visitors can drive onto the beach at this entrance too, but they are only allowed to drive south towards the Oceano entrance. There is no state park campground at the Grover Beach entrance, but the day-use facilities are superb.
  3. The northern entrance to Pismo State Beach is next to the North Beach Campground in the city of Pismo Beach. A trail to the beach begins on Highway 1 outside the campground. The beach at this location is only for walking. Vehicles are not allowed on the sand north of the Grover Beach entrance. But that makes this end of the state beach much quieter and because of the lagoon that forms next to the campground this is the best bird-watching location. If you are visiting between October and February, check out the Monarch Butterfly Grove which is next to the campground.

Enjoy your walk or drive on Pismo State Beach!

Beaches on this map

Other locations on this map

  • Pismo City Pier

    The city pier is the central focus of the large sandy beach on the Pismo Beach waterfront. Nearby are many shops, restaurants, and hotels.

    See details