Looking for an adventurous getaway on California’s central coast? Pismo Beach/Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area could fit the bill well in that case. Pismo beach is approximately three/four-hour drive from the bay area. Located in the city of Oceano just off Pacific Coast Highway 1, this beach is famous for a lot of reasons. Be it the sand dunes overlooking the beach, surfing or boogie boarding in the ocean, bird watching, or just the thrill of driving your own vehicle on the beach.
Let me tell you that riding a four-wheel ATV (all-terrain-vehicle) in the sand dunes can be quite an adventure. We have been to Pismo beach a few times and trust me, the fun factor of driving ATVs in those sand dunes has gone up on each consecutive trip. ATV rentals are available very close to the beach and most of the rental agencies will give you a quick training on how to operate and control your vehicle. Although we have only rented ATV’s, there are mini-cars and three wheelers that can be rented too. The sand dunes at Oceano are vast with varied degree of steepness on the slopes, so there’s something for all levels of ATV riders. I am SOOO NOT into off-roading, but I have always enjoyed to the fullest every time we have gone there.
For people not interested in an ATV adventure on the sand dunes, Pismo is famous for bird watching, or watching boogie and surf boarders. And, Oceano Dunes at Pismo is the ONLY state park/beach in California where you can drive your vehicle on the beach. There are places on the beach in Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area where only AWD vehicles are permitted but there is a stretch of beach where you can drive any vehicle. And that is indeed fun!
Pismo Beach/Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area makes a great day trip on California’s central coast. Pismo is about an hour north of Solvang and little more north of Santa Barbara, so if you are planning a visit to any of these wine towns, you could easily spend a few hours for a mini adventure at Pismo.