36 Hours in Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach is an easy breezy beach town located half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Its’ small town feel and endless beach draws California natives and West Coast dwellers alike. So of course I had to check it out!

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6:30pm: Dinner at Ventana Grill - This Latin inspired restaurant is situated on the cliffs of Pismo Beach. The panoramic views (see picture above), modern decor and flavorful dishes make this place a must eat . Ventana starts you off with homemade tortillas and cinnamon butter while you peruse the menu. We started with clam chowder, which was one of the best we have ever had — it had the perfect ratio of clams to  potatoes. For entrees, B ended up choosing the chicken burrito and I chose jumbo shrimp al ajillo. Both were a little spicy, but the flavor of each was unreal. I don’t love spicy entrees but I couldn’t get enough of the garlic and chile combo. For dessert, we chose the fondue plate with homemade churros. The dessert was very average. Next time, I would opt for an appetizer or side dish instead because savory is definitely their specialty.
Do note, Ventana Grill issues very few reservations (two per hour I think, they prefer leaving their tables open to walk-ins. ) so it is best to come around 6:30pm or the wait will be insane. They do have a lovely bar with the same stunning view if you do find your self playing the waiting game!

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8pm: Sunset – Watch the sunset on benches located on the balcony of Ventana Grill. It is the perfect spot to relax and remember what vacationing is all about.


9am: Breakfast at Honeymoon Cafe - The cafe caters to locals and tourists alike. Its’ fresh and simplistic menu leaves you wanting more.  I chose an english muffin egg sandwich with fresh spinach and B opted for the traditional egg, bacon & potato combo. It was very chilly and overcast when we arrived so I had to get a hot coco to bring me comfort. It was well worth it — look at the size of that thing! There is dinning indoors but it is pretty small. Honeymoon Cafe is located about 5 blocks away from the downtown area. There is only street parking so come early and you will leave happy!

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11am: Kayak – Grab a kayak and explore the caves of Pismo Beach. Central Coast Kayaks offers an amazing “Cave Expenditure” tour.  The tour lasts about 3 hours and all levels are able to attend. B and I were very much looking forward to this tour but the weather was not on our side. I really hope we are able to experience the caves next time because I hear great things! Tour includes guide, instruction, paddling equipment, water, snacks and pictures!

2pm: Lunch at Mo’s Smokehouse BBQ - Great little BBQ joint located right next to the iconic Pismo Beach pier! Their signature is ribs and pork sandwiches, but we ended up deciding to share half a bbq chicken. It was so juicy and the skin was grilled to perfection (just the way I like it). There are three different sauces available and so of course we had to dip the chicken in all three. Sweet Carolina sauce ended up winning the title in our book. All entrees are served with baked beans, potato salad and corn bread muffins. The portions are huuuuuge! And we had to order fries per B’s request. The side of fries could have fed 4 people comfortably. Needless to say we left with full stomachs and clogged arteries!

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4pm: Explore the Sand Dunes - As I mentioned before, Pismo Beach has endless beaches (18 miles I believe) so what better way to explore them than on an ATV?! I have driven an ATV in Park City (where B claims I almost killed us) but there is nothing like driving one with the ocean in the distance. It is a whole new experience. Sun Buggy offers a plethora of options of four wheelers and the prices can’t be beat! All prices include helmets and goggles.

7pm: Dinner at Ribline by the Beach - Located about two miles south of Pismo Beach in the smaller town of Grover Beach. Ribline has great BBQ style options with the the most clever names! I chose the “skinny pig” (there is also “naked piggy in the club” and “bye bye piggy”) which is a pulled pork sandwich without sauce. Ribline rubs their meat with special spices to sit overnight so even without the bbq sauce the meat was so flavorful! Ben ordered the burger and said it was some of the best fries he had ever had! Service was on the slower side, but the food comes piping hot!

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9pm: Roast s’mores on the beach! Pismo Beach represents how California used to be so live up the opportunity to make your own bonfire and roast those puppies! Have you ever bought waffle cones and filled them with marshmallows, peanut butter and chocolate chips then wrapped it in tin foil to roast over the fire? It is amazing and a lot less mess! I will have to do a little feature to show exactly what I mean because you need to try this.


9am: Breakfast at Penny’s All American Cafe – This diner style cafe is located not too far from the Honeymoon Cafe and offers the all american staples like fluffy pancakes, french toast, omelets, sausage, etc. It is one hearty breakfast! The line does get long fast so be sure to get there before your starving. Too often I come hangry to busy restaurants so this reminder is to me…

10:30am: Walk Downtown Pismo – From Penny’s, walk toward the beach and you will end up in the thick of the downtown area where there are many shops to gaze at. There is a taffy shop on the corner that offers quite the selection and tastes delicious. They also do tours of how taffy is made throughout the day.  Oh and don’t forget to walk a little north and grab yourself a cinnamon roll from Old West Cinnamon Roll. You can smell them from a block away!

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Pismo Beach was so quaint and charming. It is the perfect 36 hour getaway.
Oh and one more thing don’t forget to stay here when you come into town. It is a secluded oasis from the hustle and bustle, but still provides the ocean view!

Linked to: Local Adventurer

  • http://20somethingfashion.blogspot.com/ Emily

    I love Pismo Beach, I went there when I moved from SF. It’s such a great little beach town! This is making me want to go back (badly.) Looks like you had fun + good food which is always important!

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      You must return. It is such a great laid back city! I will meet you there!

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    Looks like a fun trip! I need to check it out. Also would love to hear more details on the waffle cone s’mores! That sounds so interesting!

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      Thanks for reading! Yes, I will have to do a post to show what I mean with the waffle cone s’mores. It is too good not to share!

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    These pictures are great! Looks like so much fun! PS that photo of the BBQ ommggggg!

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      Thanks Jess!

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    what a perfect getaway. the views are gorgeous!! love the photos :)

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      Pismo Beach is a stunner. You should definitely stay a night there the next time you are in the area! xo

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