Photo by Caron Krauch

Pismo Beach

There have been a lot of songs written about California.

Dreamin’ about it and drivin’ through it; the curvy coastal highways and the sandy, sunny beaches. Face it, we live in a state that inspires a lot of love.

And if there’s one city that perfectly exemplifies the best of what the Golden State has to offer, it’s Pismo Beach.

The always popular Taste of Pismo in April is the place to be if you’re a wine and food lover. Photo by Bob Dickey
The always popular Taste of Pismo in April is the place to be if you’re a wine and food lover. Photo by Bob Dickey

Pismo is a classic beach town. White beaches, surfing, fishing from a 1,200 foot pier, strolling along the boardwalk, riding ATVs across the dunes, shopping at quaint coastal shops, and even touring world class wineries—there’s something for everyone.

For those of us in the Valley, it’s the perfect weekend and holiday destination. About halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco along the Pacific Coast and 101 highways, it’s just a two and a half hour’s drive from here.

Year-round, you can find plenty of activities and events to enjoy. Wine tasting aside (because we’ll get to that later), you can cram your weekend full of guided nature hikes to ancient Chumash Indian sites, Hummer rides along the rolling dunes, sea kayaking, and even an aerial view of Pismo and the sea from an open-cockpit World War II biplane!

Photo by Caron Krauch
Photo by Caron Krauch

Kids of all ages will appreciate the abundance of wildlife here. In addition to the types of sea creatures found in tide pools, you can also expect whales, adorable otters, and elephant seals. And if you’re visiting between October and February, you can experience the magical Monarch Butterfly Grove, where thousands of butterflies perch on eucalyptus and Monterey pine trees.

For those in the mood to visit Pismo for the culinary options, you’re in luck. Fine dining abounds, as well as a number of cafes and bistros, cooking up everything from world-class seafood dishes (including the clam chowder Pismo is famous for) and steaks to sandwiches and pastries. Pair that with a glass of wine at one of Pismo Beach’s three wine bars. At Taste of the Valleys on Price Street alone, they serve over 170 wines daily!

Photo by Caron Krauch
Photo by Caron Krauch

However, now is the perfect time to visit, especially if you’re a wine lover, because Pismo Beach is hosting some spectacular events starting in late April, in addition to the bevvy of wonderful wineries just a short drive down Price Canyon Road.

Kicking off the season is the 11th Annual Taste of Pismo on April 25, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m., where wine and amazing local cuisine mix.

The afternoon is jam packed with unforgettable food, drink, and scenery. Along the cliffs of Dinosaur Caves Park, overlooking the sea, guests gather to sample culinary delights prepared from local eateries, and sip both premium Central Coast wine and delicious microbrews. Visit TasteofPismo.com for more details.

Photo by Caron Krauch
Photo by Caron Krauch

Then, from April 29-May 3, the 6th Annual Wine, Waves, & Beyond event will celebrate both the art of Classic California surfing and Central Coast winemaking. It’s a five-day event packed with artisan brews, local California farm-fresh and seaport-inspired cuisine, as well as lively music and local art on display. These are some of the nights you’ll want to make sure you’re in Pismo. There’s the annual VW Classic Car Show, the 805 Beach Party, a winemakers dinner, Surf Film Night, and the Central Coast Veterans Golf Classic. What makes this amazing event even more special is that proceeds are donated to Glean SLO, a program of the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County, which connects farmers and backyard growers with volunteers, who harvest fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste, for local food banks. WineWavesandBeyond.com

The fun continues through the end of May with the Chardonnay Symposium. Between May 28 and May 30, Pismo Beach and Avila Beach are hosting the 7th Annual International Chardonnay Symposium, which brings top chardonnay producers from around the globe to this neck of the woods in order to host seminars, grand tastings, educational panels, winemaker luncheons and dinners, vineyard tours, and tastings. For those wanting to attend, Pismo Beach and Avila Beach have partnered with several local charming, seaside hotels to provide luxury accommodations. Find out more at TheChardonnaySymposium.com.

After all that, it’s easy to see why Pismo Beach is known as everyone’s Wine and Waves Destination!

If you’d like more information about any of these events or about Pismo Beach activities, visit ClassicCalifornia.com.

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