Pismo Beach, located north of Los Angeles, and is a good place to stay before driving up Highway 1. There are a lot of fun things to do in the area.
Here are 8 things to do with kids in Pismo Beach, CA:
Spending an hour kicking back, watching California surfers always seems like a great way to pass some time. Park at the inexpensive, metered parking in downtown Pismo Beach. Then walk out to the end of the pier for great views of both the city on the hill, and of the surfers. The beach is really nice here, but far too cold for swimming, at least in February.
The downtown has some cute shops and restaurants, as well as a Visitor’s Center to get acquainted with the things to do in the area. Catch a wave and get your surfboard here.
Downtown Pismo Beach:
Outside the Pismo Beach Visitor’s Center:
2. Shell Beach
Shell Beach is located in the city of Pismo Beach, and is known for having some colorful rocks and sea glass. Visit early in the day for a better chance at finding some of the sea glass that washes up with the tide. We only found one actual piece of sea glass, but we did find some mighty pretty rocks to add to our collection.
If you have a four wheel drive vehicle, you can drive onto these dunes, but I watched too many large vehicles get stuck in the sand. You can just as easily park at Pier Street and walk to the dunes. Prepare for a windy one mile walk just to reach the dunes. There is nothing better than playing on the dunes, feeling like you are in a different world. Better yet, bring a sled or board to slide down the dunes, and some warm clothes. This will be a sure hit with kids and adults alike.
Even if you don’t have kids, stroll through the Dinosaur Caves Park near Shell Beach. Our kids enjoyed playing inside the dinosaur eggs and climbing on sea lions and whales at this unique playground, while we enjoyed ocean front views. Win, Win.
Arroyo Grande, just a short ride from Pismo Beach, has a little pizza joint tucked away off the main street. Dirt floors, peanut appetizers, and pretty good pizza make a unique atmosphere. At the tables, they had fun stories about how the owners met, which was entertaining as well.
Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab hosts a Creamery tour. Participants can learn about the making of ice cream. Then, everyone can help to create a new flavor, complete with ingredient selection, naming, and a free tasting.
I thought this museum might be a little bit “too” young for my boys, but my fears were unwarranted. This was a really great Children’s Museum, and although a bit smaller than what we are used to in Chicago, there was plenty to keep them busy for several hours.
Of the 3 floors, each level is geared toward different age levels, which are obvious as you move through the Museum. The first floor was where my kids spent the most time, tinkering with science and engineering exhibits. There was a really nice arts and crafts area, a magnetic word wall, a tape wall, magnetic blocks, engineering for earthquakes, and a dinosaur dig.
The second floor was for imaginative play- dress up and puppet area, vet office, fire station, kitchen and store, along with a small climbing area. The third floor was designed for early ages, and we did not even visit this floor. Outside there was also a small play area with some water activities, riding toys, and a log cabin.
If you are in Pismo Beach between November and February, the Monarch Butterfly Grove is an amazing stop! At first sight, looking straight up between the trees, you are greeted by hundreds of butterflies fluttering between the trees. But, as you look closer, you realize that what appears to be leaves are actually huge clusters of monarchs. The volunteers provide information, as well as telescopes, so you can really understand and witness this phenomenon. This was awesome!
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