Pismo Beach, California

Pismo Beach is a city located in the state of California and the county of San Luis Obispo. It covers an area of thirteen square miles and has a population of approximately eighty-five hundred residents. The city is often called the Clam Capital of California. Every year, Pismo Beach holds a Clam Festival in the autumn. This festival features a clam themed parade and clam chowder competitions. Upon first entry into Pismo Beach, visitors are greeted by a giant clam statue made out of concrete. The city is known for its beaches, which are firm and hard enough to drive a vehicle on. The city also hosts a large gathering of classic and custom cars every June.

An attraction that brings a ton of visitors to Pismo Beach is the Monarch Butterfly Grove. Every winter, thousands of black and orange Monarch Butterflies come to Pismo Beach in order to escape the freezing temperatures of the north. Between October and February, these butterflies form clusters in Eucalyptus trees that are located at Pismo State Beach. Visitors from all over North America delight in the beauty of this Monarch Butterfly collection, appreciating it as “living art in motion”. During this time, tourist guides are always available to answer questions about these majestic insects. The butterflies gather in these trees with their wings overlapping. This creates a shingle effect, much like the roof on your house. This prevents the wind from blowing the butterflies all over the place. The average amount of butterflies at the Monarch Butterfly Grove at any one time is in excess of twenty-five thousand butterflies. While its not exactly known why these butterflies gather at the same location every year, scientists do have a theory. It is believed that the Monarch Butterflies have a built in natural GPS system that bring them back every year. Another great location to view these flocks of Monarch Butterflies is about forty-five minutes away from Pismo Beach in Morro Bay State Park.

Morro Bay State Park is about eighteen miles from Pismo Beach and is located in Morro Bay, California. This state park has a ton of activities available to visitors and these include butterfly watching, bird watching, sailing, hiking and fishing. The park has a public golf course and a marina. The northern portion of the park has a saltwater marsh that contains a large variety of different types of fish. This marsh is not only great for fishing, but also supports a rather large bird population. Lucky visitors will also get a chance to see the Elephant Seals at the beach in the park. Depending on when you visit, there are usually between twenty and thirty bull seals and hundreds of female seals on the beach at any given time. Morro Bay State Park also contains two volcanic peaks, Cabrillo Peak and Black Hill. Also located at the park is the Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History. Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum that was founded in 1962 and overlooks the Morro Bay estuary. This museum focuses on Native American culture, oceanography, cultural history of the area and geology. It attracts over sixty-five thousand visitors every year.

Since Pismo Beach is so well known for its clams, its no wonder that clamming is one of the favorite activities of visitors to this city. The Pismo Clam is one of the biggest clams found along the coast of California. These clams can get as big as seven inches. That is if they aren’t snatched up by sea otters or a hungry clam hunter. It can take five years for clams to reach the legal size required to be able to be clammed. The legal size is four and a half inches in diameter. The largest clam ever found in Pismo Beach was eight inches in diameter and is currently located at the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce. Clams gather their nutrients by siphoning water through a series of gills. As this water is taken in, it removes sand particles and digests food particles. A clam that is three inches in diameter can filter up to fifty-eight hundred gallons of water per year. Visitors coming to Pismo Beach and want to give clamming a shot should keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, clammers are required to obtain a salt water fishing license. These licenses can be purchased at a variety of locations throughout the city, including K-Mart and Longs Drugs. There is no set clamming season and properly licensed clammers can clam all year round. Another thing to keep in mind is that the clamming limit is ten clams per day per person. As mentioned earlier, the clams collected can be no smaller than four and a half inches in diameter.

Close to Pismo Beach is Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. This coastal sand dune is one of the remaining places in California where it is legal to drive vehicles on the beach. Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area covers an area of thirty-five hundred acres and has a five mile stretch of beach that can be used for vehicles. Other activities that are popular in this recreation area are surfing and swimming. It is also a great location for bird watching. Price Historical Park is another popular attraction for visitors to Pismo Beach. This city park covers an area of seven acres and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has also been designated as a California Historical Point of Interest and a Pismo Beach Historic Landmark. Its key features include the rancho home of founder John Price, a Chumash Village and various trails. Other attractions in Pismo Beach include Pismo Pier, Breakaway Tours & Event Planning, Harry’s Night Club & Beach Bar, Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant, Pelican Point Bar & Restaurant, Rosa’s Italian Restaurant, Steamers of Pismo and the Cracked Crab. Pismo Beach also has a number of prominent hotels which include the Sandcastle Inn, Pismo Beach Hotel, Pismo Lighthouse Suites, Kon Tiki Inn and the Cottage Inn By the Sea.