Why I love Pismo Beach: I love Pismo Beach for its crisp air and the relaxing sound of the rolling waves. The ocean view we have from the balcony where we stay is the closest thing to Maui.
Favorite memory: There are too many of them for one favorite memory, but I think one that stands out was seeing a giant sand castle one of the locals created. Someone told us he goes out there every Saturday and builds one. This was toward the end of the day when the tide was coming in. People were gathered around waiting for the first of the ocean waves to knock it down.
What Pismo Beach is known for: Clam chowder, of course!
Where to sleep: There are several places to stay, but the Kontiki Inn has been our one and only place to go. It’s comfortable, the staff is friendly and every room has an ocean view. There is also easy access to get down to the beach. The rates are more affordable if you go during the off-season.
Wake up and: After grabbing a bite to eat and some coffee, take a stroll along the beach and look for some sand dollars or baby crabs wandering through the sand.
Best shopping: You have a couple of options. On your morning stroll along the beach, you can hit the shops along the pier. There are several souvenir shops to browse through. You can also jump in the car and head into San Luis Obispo, which is about 13 miles away. There are all kinds of specialty shops and eateries in Old Town.
Where to grub: There are several great places to go, depending on whether you are looking for a casual, light meal or a finer dining experience. For salads, sandwiches and clam chowder, you can try the Shell Cafe, right across from Kontiki Inn. Another place for really good clam chowder is Chele’s Food & Spirits, overlooking the pier. For fine dining, you can try Steamer’s of Pismo, which is right next door to the Kontiki Inn. Seafood is the specialty along with steak. You can also drive a couple miles to F. McLintocks Saloon and Dining House for a good steak along with all the fixings. Remember to bring your appetite for this one.
What to do during the day: There are places to rent dune buggies or tide pools to look in. We like to venture through the caves along the water’s edge. The wear of the water over the rocky cliff through the years has worn some of the rock away. You can spend a couple hours wandering through them, taking pictures, reading notes people have written on the cliffside while dodging the waves as they come up to the rocks. Usually, it is best to go in the early afternoon when the tide is just right. Another activity we enjoy is flying kites on the beach. You can bring your own or you can find something unique in one of the souvenir shops on the pier.
Dive in: The Kontiki has a heated pool with chairs to sun in just overlooking the ocean. You can also take a dip in the hot tub. There are two to choose from. The tub closest to the ocean view is fun to relax in while watching people down on the beach below. The view is especially breathtaking during the evening hours as the sun sets.
— Pam Bauserman/News-Sentinel features editor