ATTENTION! POOL & SOUTH SPA CLOSED from October 23, 2017-January 31, 2018. North Spa and Direct Beach Access will remain open during this time. LOBBY BUILDING undergoing revitalization from October 23, 2017-February 28, 2018. Lobby may be re-located during this time. For more information on how this could affect your stay please see our hotel revitalization updates.
Any time of year is the perfect time to plan a trip to Pismo Beach. The SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel is located in beautiful Pismo Beach, along California’s Central Coast. With year round temperatures ranging from 66 to 84 degrees and an average of 315 days of sunshine each year, the area is one of the most popular destinations for beach getaways and family vacations and offers 23 miles of coastline with some of the best beaches in the state.
Many of the California Central Coast's top attractions and fun activities are an easy drive from the SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel, here are just a few to help with your vacation planning. For more recommendations, please contact our helpful guest services staff.
No matter what brings you to town, Pismo Beach has something for every vacationer!
Food & Wine
"Wine" Down on the Central Coast
Pismo Beach is tantamount to great wine. The small beach town is surrounded by some of the best California wine-growing regions including Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Edna Valley and Paso Robles. Experiencing local wine is as easy as strolling the streets of downtown Pismo Beach, pairing premier tasting with mild weather and a laid-back beach environment.
Visit our friends down the street at the Sans Liege tasting room. Their winery aligns with the freedoms of the New World and the heritage of the Rhone Valley. Enjoy fruit from vineyards across the San Luis Obispo County from Paso Robles and all the way down to Solvang.
Explore the Edna Valley Wine Country
Here’s an easy and affordable way to enjoy the wineries of South San Luis Obispo County. Take advantage of our Edna Valley Wine Tour Package. You’ll travel the back country roads and discover the hidden local favorites of San Luis Obispo County’s wine country. We’ve teamed up with Breakaway Tours to give you more than just ‘something to do’, with knowledgeable and fun wine tour guides.
Bakeries, Cafés, and More
Pismo Beach is filled with charming bakeries, grills, sandwich shops, and cafés. Perfect for breakfast or lunch, these establishments cater to casual dining or carry-out for a family picnic at the beach.
Old West Cinnamon Rolls was established in 1973 as an intimate bakery offering freshly baked treats daily. Three generations since its founding, this family business is a tradition at fairs, shows, and bakeries nationwide. Betty Clemens, Founder and original recipe creator, still peeks in at the Pismo Beach location each day. Say hi and pick up a handmade cinnamon roll baked using Betty’s original recipe.
Splash Café is a Pismo Beach destination with its casual beach-style café that will make the family smile. They serve over 30,000 gallons of specialty clam chowder each year and have been featured in national publications as well as receiving requests from Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines. This café’s close proximity to the Pismo Pier and beach makes it the perfect picnic solution for lunch.
Cool Cat Café provides a ‘50s diner atmosphere for you and your family to enjoy. Look for burgers, sandwiches, salads, and more. Plus you can build your own shakes. Pick your ice cream, toppings, and sauce for your customized treat.
Penny’s All American Café offers weekday breakfast and lunch specials your family will crave. Try the meatloaf, fried chicken, or tortilla soup. They also provide a specialized kid’s menu. Their famous clam chowder is served daily. Try it in a bread bowl!
Hoagies Sandwich & Grill is located a block from the Pismo Pier and maintains a large outdoor patio fit for surfers and families alike. The restaurant serves up a delicious mix of omelets, scrambles, breakfast burritos, soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, seafood and tacos. Kids 10 and under dine from their very own breakfast, lunch or dinner menu!
Chipwrecked is where you go to get the ultimate potato chip experience. Offering a dozen varieties of handmade potato chips, or plantains if requested, you can experience anything from salty and crispy to fresh basil, parmesan and lemon. Ever had a potato chip for dessert? Try Applewood bacon and dark chocolate, vanilla salt, dark chocolate and caramel sauce, birthday cake, or cheesecake flavors! Seasonings are specially created using fresh herbs, cheeses, and drizzles and served with the ‘Tugboat’ dipping sauce of your choice. Chipwrecked serves more than just chips. Enjoy a full menu of sandwiches, salads, and soups.
Shell Café, an all-day-long breakfast specialty and Pismo Beach favorite for over 90 years! Live entertainment and an ocean view patio complement the delectable menus the whole family will enjoy, including a 12 and under kids’ menu. There is something for everyone with scrumptious sea food, mouthwatering sandwiches and can’t-miss desserts. Stop on by daily for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
You can certainly come to Pismo Beach to kick back and relax, but this town draws its fair share of thrill-seekers too… for good reason. Whether you’re ready to go from zero to sixty, or looking for a milder form of activity, there are plenty of adventure-friendly options in Pismo to answer your call.
The SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel is ready to send you on a one-of-a-kind adventure with our Santa Margarita Zip-line Adventure Package which includes a 2.5 hour zip-lining tour for two at the Santa Margarita Ranch!
The Best Trails by Foot, Horseback or Mountain Bike
Whether adventuring by foot, horseback or mountain bike, there are miles of great trails for everyone. In fact more than 15 trails of varying difficulty (from easy to strenuous) are calling you to venture out just minutes from Pismo Beach’s central point, the Pismo Beach Pier. Set your itinerary and get ready for scenery to leave you wanting more.
Watch the time fly by as the miles pass under your feet along these top trails, ranked best Pismo Beach hiking trails by the park visitors themselves:
- Dinosaur Caves Park boasts a vista view cliff walk and is a great place to stretch your legs after a long drive, enjoy the sunset or walk your dog. If you’re feeling extra adventurous you can descend the stairs and explore the actual caves at the sea’s edge below.
- At Pismo State Beach you may spy a pod of playful dolphins as you stroll along the length of soft sand and gentle lapping tides. This lovely respite is known as one of the best walking beaches along the Central Coast.
- For a quick and easy walk or run, try the Bob Jones Trail. This 3-mile city to the sea paved pathway inspires walkers and joggers alike to consistently rave about this shaded natural sanctuary.
Whether at morning, midday or sunset, there is something uniquely magical about trotting on horseback out in nature. Pismo Beach offers both beach riding and trail riding in locations well known for their stunning beauty. Make time to explore one of these wonderful trails by horseback and enjoy making Pismo Beach memories to last a lifetime.
- Ride along the spectacular 5 ½ miles of sand dune trails and sandy beach at Oceano Dunes. This park, shared by joggers, dog walkers and off road vehicles is a favorite recreation escape and one of the most popular parks in the whole state.
- To enjoy more of a vista view of San Luis Obispo, ride along the beautiful Madonna Mountain behind the Madonna Inn.
If you have your own horse and live in the area you may know these trails well. Let this short list be a reminder to you to get out and enjoy the paradise we call home here in Pismo Beach. If you are bringing your own horse into the area there are great boarding opportunities, like Pacific Dunes Ranch, where your horse will enjoy a Pismo Beach vacation just like you. And, if you don’t keep your own horse, the stables in town are delighted to set you up with everything you need for a special adventure. Check out Pacific Dunes Ranch & RV Resort or Madonna Inn Trail Rides for a full, guided trail ride experience.
Mountain Bike Trails
As Pismo Beach is located where the mountains meet the sea, the mountain bike riding is as epic as the scenery.
Two local favorite trail circuits are
- the Montana De Oro State Park with various levels of difficulty, elevation and scenery available in one stunning park and
- the Johnson Park Ranch with connector over to Irish Hills, a network of easy to moderate riding with grassy hills and a beautiful view of San Luis Obispo.
Riding the Waves
There’s a magical point where the westward road to Pismo Beach ends and you find the threshold to a whole other world – the expansive Pacific Ocean. This great sea sets the stage for playful adventures, enticing you to make the most of every moment of your Central Coast vacation. When you’re not kicking it at the SeaCrest, take your board, boat, snorkel, or tank and kick off your recreation straight from the water. Surface top options include surfing, SUP, sea-kayaking, windsurfing, and kite-boarding. Underwater adventures include snorkeling and scuba. Whether your first or fiftieth time, water sports at Pismo Beach will challenge and delight you.
Pismo Beach offers multiple breaks, with surf to stoke you out at any experience level. The best breaks are typically at the morning high tide, though you will find surfers riding all hours of the day. The Pismo Pier is even lit at night for later surfers, because sometimes you just want to sleep in.
The Pismo Beach pier is not as exposed as some other local areas, which makes it less windy. Local surfers report south side surfing is better than the north and the further south you stroll, the more secluded your session will be.
For current conditions and recommendations, check out wannasurf.com.
This is one sport where the work feels anything but hard. Get in a great upper body workout while you focus on the stunning beauty of the sites near and far, on and in the water. Pismo Beach and surrounding waters are home to adorable sea otters, turtles, and loads of other marine life. You’ll also have a good chance of seeing dolphins and whales. Or paddle over to explore the Dinosaur Caves. Grab a sea kayak and unplug all the way – to the biggest escape of all, big blue.
Kayak Dave gives you a taste in this short video journey.
Looking for higher adrenaline water play? Pismo Beach can meet you there too. Lean into your dream adventure as you ride the wind and waves to your limits of fun.
Windsurfing multiplies the chance for speed by using both the force from the wind and the power of the waves. If you’re seeking to fly across the waves, tap into the regular coastal winds, constant waves, and smooth sand bottoms of Pismo Beach.
Kiteboarding (or Kitesurfing)
This relatively new extreme sport will lift your spirits along with your bag of bones. Take the fun and the physics of windsurfing to another stratosphere as a kite rather than a sail powers this sport. Getting the kite into the air is well worth the effort as surfers can catch up to 30 feet of air, even from a smooth surface. For the variety-obsessed, there are even different styles of kiteboarding, including freestyle, freeride, downwinders, speed, course racing, wakestyle, jumping and wave riders.
For those fishes or dolphins amongst us, claim your delight a few feet under water as you explore the coastal wonderlands with mask and snorkel. There’s a large tidepool at the end of Pier Street, from Margo Dodd Park.
Last but certainly not least, consider a deeper dive with a full tank and a bold adventurous spirit.
From Pismo Beach and surrounding areas, depths can range anywhere from 5′-30′. Explore kelp beds as well as rocky areas, with crevices hiding fish, crabs, octopus, and more. Common sights include nudibranchs, rockfish, perch, sea hares, rays, and plenty of anemones.
To get a close up sense of the wildlife you can visit under the sea, here is some footage of recent Shell Beach dives from a SLOcal. Always check the local weather and conditions before diving.
Is there anything more romantic than a sunset on the beach? Or a sunrise, for that matter? The SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel is romance central for couples who are celebrating new love, a honeymoon, or years together. Ask for special room enhancements to make your stay at the SeaCrest even sweeter, or allow us to plan a lovey-dovey itinerary for you including wine tours or dinner at the finest restaurants in Pismo Beach. Or simply bask in the beauty of your relationship in our heated pool, outdoor hot tubs, or the privacy of your own suite.
So, what kind of couple are you?
The “Adventurous” Couple If the great outdoors constantly calls your names, you are likely an adventurous couple. You enjoy exploring and taking in all that nature can provide be it great views, exercise, historical outings or exhilarating feats. With an average winter high of 65 degrees, you can get out and get active anytime in Pismo Beach. Try hiking, running, exploring the beach, surfing or horseback riding, just to name a few of Pismo’s great outdoor adventures.
The “Wine And Dine” Couple Do you enjoy experiencing delicious meals complete with the charm of stunning ocean views? Pismo Beach restaurants will satisfy. Whether you love fine wine, are discriminating foodies or simply love a night out, you will find the perfect romantic setting within your price range. From casual California-style dishes to coastal seafood and wine country-inspired experiences, there are over 40 restaurants within a five mile radius of downtown Pismo Beach. Yes, there are endless and delectably delicious possibilities. To help you out, here is our list of the top culinary destinations complete with romantic views:
Ventana Grill – where virtually every seat has an ocean view
Steamers of Pismo – sit in the main restaurant for one of the best views in town
Shell Café– we recommend getting here for the sunset
Splash Café – order to go and take your food just steps away to a bench, the pier or the sand for your perfect view
Cool Cat Café – sit on the patio for a great view of the pier
Desire a wine tasting adventure prior to your big night out? Visit SLOWineCountry.com to plan your outing. Plan on picking up a bottle or two as many restaurants will offer a discounted or waived corkage fee for bottles purchased at local tasting rooms.
The “Laid Back” Couple If rest and relaxation is what your bodies crave, Pismo will accommodate both. Lazy walks along the beach followed by a soak in a hot tub and maybe some room service or a massage will create pure vacation magic. And the SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel is here to make your holiday visit the best it can be. No matter what you and your significant other enjoy and expect from a vacation, let SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel in Pismo Beach be your romance central. We offer special enhancements designed just for your special stay, book your romantic holiday today!
Let's Have a Bowl of Fun
You would be hard-pressed to find any place more suited to family travel than Pismo Beach. Nearly every event, attraction, and destination offers activities for adults and children. The SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel takes it one step further by making your four-legged family friend welcome in our rooms as well. While Pismo Pier, Dinosaur Caves Park, and the tasty eateries of Pismo Beach await, you don’t have to go further than the grounds of the SeaCrest to get some family down time, with our heated pool, ice cream in the lobby, and direct beach access.
Bowl Pismo Beach & Beyond: Traditional Family Fun with a Spin
A novel pastime in this age of extreme sports, bowling is the kind of activity that unifies us all once we lace up those silly-looking shoes and attempt to maneuver an extremely heavy ball down a greased-up lane. If you have yet to take the kids to the bowling alley, your trip to Pismo Beach is the time to start. An exciting and fun counterpoint to the beauty of the Central Coast, a bowling adventure will help the little ones and teens burn off steam, build some muscle, and create long-lasting memories for your entire family. Check out Pismo Bowl or Cal Poly's Mustang Lanes for some good ol' family fun!
Tide Pool Zones
The magic of the tide pool emerges where the ever-changing shore meets the sea. Here you will find several tidal zones, each with its own creatures and plants, and each of them shifting with the turbulent cycles from wet to dry.
Here’s a sweep through the delights of each zone:
Splish Splash. The most inland zone is called the splash zone – receiving only the peak blasts of waves at high tide and sometimes even just the sea mist off the high tide waves. Here you will find little acorn barnacles, sea lettuce and the periwinkle snail. All species in the splash zone are adapted to withstand long periods of exposure and very little direct contact with the sea. Most of them also have built in defense to avoid being eaten by the birds during high exposure periods.
High and Not-So-Dry. Progressing from inland out toward the sea the next zone is called the high tide zone, characterized by more moisture than the splash zone and populated more heavily with barnacles (larger ones here) and also now some mussels, rock crabs, anemones and chitons. These zones are covered by most high tides, so species requiring consistent moisture are able to thrive here.
Mid-Life Rises. The next zone out, called mid tide, is uncovered at most normal low tides. Here you can find the bulk of mussels as well as small fishes, shrimp, sea stars, hermit crabs and nudibranchs. The mussels tend to congregate, creating the characteristic shadowy color and texture along the shoreline. Of all the creatures in this zone, the shell-less snail, the nudibranch, is probably the most colorful, often having flowing plumes on their backs. They dine on sponges, hydroids, colonized plant-like organisms clinging to rocks, and bryozoans, moss-like creatures similar to coral line algae.
Lowest of Lows for the Height of the Treasure. Uncovered only at the very lowest tides each month, the low tide zone harbors some of the most vital of all the microcosms with anemones, sponges, sea urchins, tube worms, sun stars, sea cucumbers and thick beds of seaweed. The fleshy algae growing here along with the seaweed provides a rich source of nutrients for the abundance of life thriving in this zone. It’s worth tracking the tides and trekking out for these rich pools.
Where to See Tide Pools
From North County down, all along the Central Coast in and around Pismo Beach, you can find vibrant pockets of sea life. Here are a few hot spots known for great tide pooling:
Montana de Oro – Corallina Cove
Montana de Oro – Hazard Reef
Morro Strand Beach, north of Yerba Buena St., Morro Bay
Cayucos Beach – South of Ocean Ave. and “D” Streets
Shell Beach – Off the rocky reefs
Morro Bay – Windy Cove, north of Natural History Museum
Cambria – Moonstone Beach Boardwalk
Cambria – Leffingwell Landing
San Simeon- The rocky reefs off Highway 1 at Piedras Blancas
Along the way you can conveniently complement and contrast the tiny microcosm of the tide pools with an expansive view from an ascended vista point like Piedras Blancas Lighthouse or Hearst Castle.
How to get the most out of your tide pool play:
If you go tide pooling, please leave the areas as you found them. Replace rocks and creatures exactly as they were and handle everything gently. Wear non-skid shoes capable of getting wet and carry a walking stick for support.
You can also hire a docent guide to hone right in on exactly what you most want to see. Contact these resources for local guidance:
Avila Beach Aquarium & Estuary
50 San Juan St, Avila Beach, CA 93424
Phone: (805) 595-7280
The Central Coast Natural History Association offers docent walks at many of the above locations. Call (805) 772-2694 for information
Boat the Central Coast
Charter a Ride on the Central Coast
Are you game for rod-bending, break-a-sweat sportfishing? Or are you seeking a tamer but nevertheless heart-stopping pastime like whale watching? Virg’s Landing Charters in Morro Bay invites visitors to choose either of these activities, or book a private charter to go after the biggest fish in the coastal waters. Whether you’re boating solo or bringing the family, a charter trip is just the ticket to a memorable experience on the Pacific Ocean.
Make It a Family Affair
Your children will never forget your vacation to Pismo Beach or Avila Beach when you book a Central Coast Sailing Charter. Wildlife viewing and whale watching from a generous-sized sailboat are just two of the highlights of this intimate sailing trip, seating up to six people. Sailing lessons are up for grabs too when you book your own sailboat – there is room for just your family to learn, relax, snack, and see the sights.
Be One with Ocean Wildlife
Otters are some of the most lovable creatures in the sea, and when they’re not diving for delicious Central Coast clams, you can get a good look at them on a Lost Isle Adventure Tours. Choose your speed: Hop on a quirky tiki boat to get a glimpse of adorable otters and barking sea lions in Morro Bay, run your feet through the fine powder sand, or soak up a view of the coast by electric boat.