Fun interesting things to do around Pisma Beach?
February 5, 2009 6:39 PM   Subscribe

Pismo Beach, Central Coast. What to do?

We come from the Los Angeles area to Pismo Beach a couple of time a year. On each trip we do at least one new thing. Because we have been doing this for more than a decade obvious options are depleted. Also right now my wife's physical endurance is less that optimum so physically demanding stuff won't work. Any suggestions on fun interesting surprising stuff to do? In the past we have visited the elephant seals, the Hearst Castle, took a hummer ride on the dunes, dis the whole wine tasting thing, visited the Monarch Butterflies,
rode that dumb glass bottom boat in Morro Bay, went to the Melodrama Theater in Grover Beach, and went on a boat ride on Lopez Lake. Don't misunderstand me. We are not bored. Something new and interesting and touristy or not are the sort of suggestions we are looking for. Ideas? Restaurant suggestions are welcome also!
posted by snowjoe to Travel & Transportation around Pismo Beach, CA (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A leisurely kayak ride in the estuary at Morro Bay?
I hate it, but Madonna Inn's a big draw, and the food's good. Also F.McLintocks in Arroyo Grande; I've never eaten there, but it's supposed to have the best steak in the area.
posted by lekvar at 7:16 PM on February 5, 2009

Have a soak and a massage at Sycamore Mineral Springs.
Eat street food at San Luis Obispo's Thursday night Farmer's Market.
Have English-style High Tea at The Tea Cozy in Cambria.
Go for an easy cliffside walk in Montaña de Oro.
Enjoy a schnitzel, a beer, and an oom-pah band at Old Vienna in Shell Beach on Fridays.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:09 PM on February 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

You can rent your own 18' boat for a Morro Bay cruise. They're extremely easy to operate, quiet, and clean.
Visit Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the fifth mission established by Junipero Serra.
And visit The Galley for great seafood.
posted by terranova at 8:43 PM on February 5, 2009

Not an all day affair (well, I guess it could be), but the famous clam chowder place at the pier, Splash Cafe, is pretty darn spectacular.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:56 PM on February 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Catch a show at Pozo Saloon.
Authentic Mexican food in Guadalupe, Guadalupe's 15 min south of Pismo on the PCH. After dinner there, walk up the street to the Far West Tavern for drinks and fantastic desserts, (you can have dinner there as well, but Guadalupe's is better for Mexican food IMHO) If you want steak then drive south a little farther to Casmalia's Hitching Post have some of the famous (Sideways) wine that they produce themselves. These are off the beaten path but truly authentic.
posted by hortense at 10:08 PM on February 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cayucos has some really weird and wonderful junk/antique/art/handmade jewelry shops.

The beaches along the central coast are fairly rocky, which makes for terrific tidal pools to play in. I used to shoot at least two rolls of film of the coastline itself when I'd go there with my folks. Morro Rock has tidal pools around it as well, and makes for some terrific shots.

Agree with the suggestion of missions - I like the smaller, less frequently visited ones, like Mission San Miguel. (the repairs are almost complete, according to my family)
posted by Grrlscout at 10:19 PM on February 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Definitely go to Linnea's on Garden St for waffles and coffee or tea. It's across from bubblegum alley, which is kind of gross and touristy, but you can skip it and go to the creek instead. The creek is near the Mission, so it'd be easy to pick up coffee at Linneas, cross Higuera, go through the little mall directly across from Garden street, and you're at the creek. Cross the small bridge across it (or walk down around it, and hop across on rocks), and you're at the Mission.

Climb Bishops peak.
I second Montana De Oro. One of my favorite places in the area.
Cayucos is nice, but very mellow.
If you're into jumping off piers, I recommend you go with the one in Avila and not the one in Cayucos. Avila at least offers a ladder where you can climb back up without having to swim to shore. Though you probably shouldn't do either, this time of year.
McClintocks is pretty good, as far as steak goes.
If you are in SLO on a Thursday night you could wander through the farmer's market, which used to be a mad rush of people, food, and merchants. I haven't been in some years, but I can't imagine it's changed all that much. It's not your typical "produce for sale!" farmer's market.
posted by routergirl at 11:59 PM on February 5, 2009

Gah. I did it. I didn't read well enough.

Skip Bishops Peak, but the creek walk is not at all taxing, and less than a block's worth of walking. Plus it gets you coffee + Mission after only parking once.

The rest all stands, except perhaps for the pier jumps. :)
posted by routergirl at 12:01 AM on February 6, 2009

Not far from Guadalupe is the Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area. These lakes are connected to the dunes you took the hummer ride on and have great nature and no suv's. Easy access, flat trails and board walks with the odd bold daytime raccoon/s (no danger unless you have fig newtons :) .

In Los Osos there is the tiny, free access sweet springs nature preserve, short easy trails and great views.
Not far from there in Los Osos is Noi's Little Thai Takeout, lunch perhaps? It's a local favorite with strange hours (call ahead?).

I third the Montaña de Oro State Park with easy access bluff trail, tide pools, long clean sandy beaches and a cute ranger station/museum.
If you happen to be in this area during the grunion run, spooners cove in Montaña de Oro becomes thick with hungry critters. Never in my life have I see so many sea birds, seals, otters and humans in close proximity as on grunion run days. The "run" is at night but the grunion's are there on those day's at the beach (some can't wait till dark?) and the critters go nuts.

And as routergirl suggested Thursday's in SLO (or San Luis Obispo for the uninitiated) still is a "mad rush of people, food, and merchants" especially in summer months.
posted by blink_left at 1:31 AM on February 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'll 2rd Linnaea's Café. They used to hold semi-nightly events like poetry readings, artfilms, local vegan cuisine, small concerts in the back patio, and local artist's exhibitions. I'm unbiased about Linnaea's though; I grew up there.

Also, Thursday Night Farmers Market.

If you're into music, SLO Brew, Mother's Tavern and Frog & Peach used to have good bands.

Did you know there's a waterslide at Lopez Lake?
posted by lekvar at 2:41 PM on February 6, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. We ended up going to San Simeon again to see the elephant seals. It was raining big time and that made me feel smart because we had umbrellas. Those elephant seals are quite a story. Almost extinct and now flourishing.

I am surprised no one mentioned the Old Port Inn at Port San Luis if for nothing but the ambiance alone. We love having lunch there. Thanks again!
posted by snowjoe at 1:33 PM on February 12, 2009

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