Featuring Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, Oceano Dunes, Oso Flaco Lake
From San Luis Obispo, take U.S. 101 south for 12 miles and take the San Luis Bay Drive exit. Turn right and follow this road west toward the beach.
Less than one mile down the road is See Canon Road. During Fall months, this makes a nice side trip to buy apples fresh off the tree, cider and organic honey and to see longhorn cattle grazing the hillsides.
Continue straight on San Luis Bay Drive until you reach Avila Road.Turn right and proceed about three miles to San Miguel Street.Turn left and you’ll reach the beach in a few blocks.
Avila is a classic California beach town with the area’s warmest swimming beach. It also has several restaurants and a pier perfect for seaside strolls. Just one mile further is Port San Luis which offers marine services and deep-sea fishing excursions.
Return to U.S. 101 and proceed south past areas of rocky coastline to the Highway 1 exit into Pismo Beach.At the exit, drive straight ahead onto Dolliver Street and straight into downtown Pismo Beach, famous for its clams (mostly in chowder, now) and its wide beach.
After seeing Pismo, continue south on Highway 1 past Grover Beach where ATV rentals are available, allowing you to see the Oceano Dunes up close.
Just past the Grover Beach city limit sign is a eucalyptus grove which is home during the late fall/winter months to thousands of Monarch butterflies. Park your car here to experience this unusual natural spectacle.
Continue south on Highway 1 past Oceano and ascend to the Nipomo Mesa. Eight miles further south, turn right on Oso Flaco Road. Park at the end of the road and, if you feel up to it, take the one-mile walk to the lake in the beautiful Guadalupe Dunes. If you’re in shape, walk awhile in the dunes and you’ll feel as if you’re in the Sahara Desert (In fact, several desert movies have been filmed here).
Return to Pismo Beach via Highway 1. From Pismo Beach, you can also travel east on Price Canyon Road to visit the various wineries in the beautiful Edna and Arroyo Grande valleys (see winery map).
Then head north on Highway 227 and return to San Luis Obispo through some of the prettiest country on the Central Coast.