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Why Go To Pismo Beach

Full of beachgoers, surfers, fresh seafood and colorful storefronts with a casual charm, Pismo Beach offers everything you might expect from California and then some. Sitting about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Pismo Beach is an ideal place to get a feel for central California thanks to its undisturbed natural landscape. From the rolling sand dunes of Oceano to the jagged cliffs that drop into the Pacific, you'll be in awe of Mother Nature throughout your trip. If you're a hiker, check out the trails on the Pismo Preserve, which offer panoramic sea views.

This city centers around the beach both physically – as it's located alongside Pismo State Beach – and otherwise. The beach is part of everyday life, and you can experience it any way you desire, whether you want to ride a horse on the sand, admire the sea from above, or drive your car all the way to the waterline. Aside from its plethora of beaches and picturesque piers, the city is also known for its food and wine. In fact, the city is known as the "Clam Capital of the World." When it comes to wine, there's a host of vineyards nearby as well as tour operators that will take you from place to place.

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The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how we rank vacation destinations.

Best of Pismo Beach

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Pismo Beach Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Pismo Beach is from September to November. The fall offers warm temperatures in the 70s and 80s and with less fog than the summer months. There are also many festivals and events in the city during this time, including the iconic Pismo Beach Clam Festival, which takes place every October. Spring is also a nice time to visit as the temperatures hover around the 60s and 70s. While the winter weather in Pismo Beach is crisp and hovers around the 50s or 60s, it's typically sunny, which makes for a nice offseason vacation. The summer months are known to be gloomy and foggy, so many sun-loving travelers try to avoid a visit in these months.

Weather in Pismo Beach

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Average Temperature (°F)
60
45
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62
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64
48
65
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66
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66
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68
54
67
52
65
48
60
44
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Average Precipitation (in)
3
4
3
1.1
0.4
0.07
0.03
0.07
0.14
0.87
1.52
2.73
Jan
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See details for When to Visit Pismo Beach

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

  • Beware of June Gloom Pismo Beach, along with many other coastal California towns, suffers from a summer fog, so if you're visiting between May and July, don't expect sunny skies.

  • Enjoy the great outdoors Surfing, riding all-terrain vehicles, hiking, fishing and horseback riding are just some of the many outdoor activities Pismo Beach has to offer, so be sure to pack accordingly.

  • Explore wine country When it comes to California wine, many travelers only think of Napa Valley, but Pismo Beach has its fair share of vineyards, wine tours and tasting rooms close to the city center.

How to Save Money in Pismo Beach

  • Take the bus There are four main bus routes that can bring you to the town center, outlets, beaches or the downtown area. Fares won't cost more than a few bucks.

  • Summer or winter The most popular time to visit Pismo Beach are the spring or fall months, but if you visit in the offseason you're sure to find cheaper accommodation options.

  • Pitch a tent Pismo Beach is a popular place for camping thanks to its scenic campgrounds and prime weather. Plus, camping is also a great way to avoid high hotel costs.

Photos

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Pismo Pier is a great place to catch a sunset.

Mimi Ditchie Photography/ Getty Images

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