Pismo Beach, California

Just south of San Luis Obispo, there is a stretch of beach for the family who likes to rough it and ride ATVs.

This Labor Day weekend. Friends and I took off to Pismo for family camping. It’s become a bit of a tradition. We load up our trucks and SUVs and head for the Oceano Dunes SVRA.

We arrived Friday night in the dark. This made it hard to find our campsite buddies because every inch of the beach was roped off into campsites and the mile markers weren’t visible. And this first thing I did was manage to be looking for our campsite and get my little Rav4 stuck in the sand. Luckily, I had lodge myself in the sand less than 1/10 of a mile from my campsite. I was rescued by my group and towed into the campsite. (The joys of shifting sand.)

img_3412I was thankful for my instant tent because it literally only took 3 minutes to set up with the expert assistance of my 10 year old niece. It allowed me to get my double cot up in a jiffy and set up my latrine in mere minutes.  I was able to get out and enjoy pizza with my family friends.

img_3413The first night ended peacefully despite the bumpy start. Around noon Saturday, the excitement started. A wind storm begun that gusted for about a five hours. After fighting the good fight, a sand and wind facial, I sought refuge in my car and had a nice nap. My tent became a victim of the winds. The elbow broke and the tent collapsed. Not to mention, my personal camp toilet turned over. Thankfully the contents of the toilet was only the wet stuff.

That evening, the men had packed duck tape. They patched up the elbow so I could make it through the weekend.


You will end up with half the beach in your car!

The weekend ended in happiness though.  We were able to deep fry a turkey.  Have a Friendsgiving at the end of summer.  The kids got to ride an ATV in the safety of our roped off campsite. The dogs got to rome around and check out the sand.  We had nightly campfires.  Played music as loud as we wanted.  Watched fireworks courtesy of our neighbors. Made campfire S’mores (recipe coming soon).  And generally enjoyed ourselves.

About Oceano Dunes SVRA:

Primitive campsites: no assigned spots, no showers and port-a-potties.

Reservations are recommended.  Cost is approximately $10 a day.

ATV rentals are available and there is day time access passes available most of the time

Windstorms can be fierce. Parking your vehicle behind your tent can help.

RVs are allowed.  Check length restrictions.

4 wheel drive is recommended. It helps, but isn’t fool proof.  Remember to air down your tires for added traction.

Nights can be cold.  Remember your warm PJs.

Don’t expect to hear the waves at night! You’re more likely to hear the humming of ATVs.

Be kind to your neighbors.  People are pretty neighborly and helpful when you get stuck!  I learned that the hard way both times I’ve been in Pismo.








11 thoughts on “Pismo Beach, California

  1. I live in Los Angeles, but I’ve never been to Pismo beach. However, I was at Santa Barbara this last weekend. I love that you went camping. I haven’t done that in forever.


  2. I absolutely love Pismo Beach! My oldest daughter graduated from Cal Poly SLO, so she was close to all the fabulousness the entire area has to offer. It’s a slice of paradise.


  3. I love this post! I went to college in San Luis Obispo and frequented Pismo. I just wish I’d been ATVing there! Sounds like it was a lot of fun! (also always wanted to try a deep fry turkey! ha)


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