This is the only healthy travel guide you’ll need for your visit to Pismo Beach, California! I’m sharing my insiders’ list of favorite clean eating restaurants and cafes, along with the best outdoor activities.
Pismo Beach, California, is the one of the most special places in the world! I’m probably biased since the Central Coast of California has been my home for well over a decade now, but if you’ve ever visited, then I think you might agree.
Where is Pismo Beach? It’s north of Los Angeles and south of San Francisco, almost exactly between the two cities along the coast. My husband and I originally escaped from Los Angeles after we got married to find less traffic and more reasonable home prices. We’ve moved a few times on the Central Coast, but we’ve found our “forever home” in Pismo Beach, CA, in 2014.
Once you visit Pismo Beach, you’ll never forget it. It’s a lovely, magical place where people are friendly, traffic is rare, and the weather is perfection almost every day of the year. Even the animals will greet you with a smile.
Given all of these fantastic traits of Pismo, I thought it was high time that I share my healthy travel guide to the area, including my favorite local cafes and adventures. Due to the nice weather, outdoor activities like walking, surfing, paddle boarding, and hiking are highly recommended. We do have seasons, but each one has its benefits.
As far as healthy dining options go, we have some hidden gems. What you do have to look out for are the tourist traps where you’ll get served sub-par, expensive food. Let me help save you from that! I do eat gluten-free and dairy-free, so that’s not exactly an easy task in a small-ish town. I also prefer locally-grown foods, including seasonal fruits and vegetables, so I am probably one of the pickiest eaters you’ll ever meet.
Guide to Healthy Dining & Eating in Pismo Beach
Most people want an ocean-front dining experience, especially for a sunset dinner, but many restaurants along the ocean end up offering over-priced, sub-par food to unsuspecting tourists. I can understand how that happens, but my suggestion would be to seek out the quality food and either make a picnic to take to the beach OR eat somewhere nice and then head to the beach for the sunset.
All of the restaurants I’m including here offer excellent healthy dining options and are places where I’ve eaten many times. Here are my favorite healthy restaurants and dining options in Pismo Beach (listed alphabetically):
- California Fresh Market. 555 5 Cities Dr, Pismo Beach, CA 93449. Grocery store. This locally-owned store is incredible! It has a fantastic selection of natural food products if you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen. The salad, juice, and hot bars are very limited, but you can find organic fruits and vegetables, along with a huge selection of other healthy options.
- Giuseppe’s Cucina Italiana, 891 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449. Italian food. Great for cocktails and dinner. Get there early because you’ll probably have to wait. Gluten-free options available.
- Hapy Bistro. 821 N Oak Park Blvd, Pismo Beach, CA 93449. Mediterranean food. Open for lunch and dinner. Ask for gluten-free options. I recommend the Dr. Marquis salad! Patio dining available. You won’t believe the great wine options (I don’t even drink, but I’m always impressed with the selection).
- Y’not Juice Bar. 897 N Oak Park Blvd, Pismo Beach, CA 93449. My absolute favorite spot in Pismo Beach. You might see me there! Breakfast and lunch options, 100% vegan and organic, with gluten-free options. Don’t miss the gluten-free brownies bites. Here’s a collage of some of the various gluten-free and dairy-free delicious options I’ve eaten at Y’not Juice:
Check back for more restaurant and dining selections.
Guide to Healthy Outdoor Activities in Pismo Beach
Pismo Beach has a few claims to fame, including the Dunes and the clams. Check out this clip of Bugs Bunny referencing our little beach town. I’m not a big fan of dune buggy-ing since the activity seems to have increased the amount of particulate in the area. Also, there are a few fatalities every year on the dunes, so it’s not high up on my list of healthy outdoor activities. My recommendations include the more sustainable and less dangerous activities of beach walking, hiking, and bird-watching. Sure, you won’t get the adrenaline rush of going airborne over a sand dune, but you’ll also be safer and possibly more relaxed if you stick with my recommended activities (listed alphabetically).
- Beach walking. My favorite beach to walk on is the Pismo Pier Beach. You can access the Pismo Pier Beach in several places, public parking is free in many places.
- Farmers’ Market. There is a farmers’ market every day of the week on the Central Coast, all year ’round. Talk about access to locally-grown produce! The farmers’ market in Arroyo Grande (on the border of Pismo Beach) is on Wednesday mornings, 8:30 am – 11 am, and is worth a walk-around!
- Hiking. The Pismo Preserve is an incredible public hiking area where you’ll get spectacular views of the California Central Coastline. Just be sure to check the website since the Preserve is only open on special days.
- Walk the pier. This is such a fun way to get close to the water, people-watch, and bird-watch. The Pier is currently closed for renovation, but should re-open soon!
- Yoga class. If you’re visiting Pismo Beach and want to take a yoga class, you are in excellent hands! I highly recommend Harmony House in downtown Pismo. You’re blocks away from the beach and free street parking is available. The instructors are exceptional and the environment is beautiful and invigorating.
Commonly asked questions about visiting Pismo Beach and the Central Coast in general.
How do you get to Pismo Beach? You can fly into the regional airport of San Luis Obispo, CA, rent a car, and drive 20 minutes south to Pismo. Or, you can drive about 3 1/2 hours from either Los Angeles or San Francisco. To further orient you, Pismo Beach is about 90 miles north of Santa Barbara, CA, and about one hour south of Cambria, CA (where Hearst Castle is located).
What is the best season to visit? There are no bad days here in Pismo Beach, but some months might suit you better. The summer and fall will likely have the warmest days. The winter is gorgeous, and there might be a few rainy or windy days in the spring. If I had to pick the “best” time of year to visit Pismo Beach, it would probably be the fall, from September to early December.
What is there to do in Pismo Beach? It’s all about the beach and the outdoors here. With an average temperature in the mid-60s and low humidity, you can be outside all day, every day. That said, there are indoor activities too! Like most small towns, we have the typical movie theaters, shopping, and small museums.
Where can I see the best sunsets? Anywhere along the coast here will surely provide you with spectacular sunsets. Since our coastline faces west, if you can see the horizon on the water, you’re likely going to get a feast for the eyes.
Let me know if you have a favorite restaurant or activity in Pismo Beach! I’ve lived in the area for over a decade, but I’m always finding new things to do. And, of course, please let me know if you plan to visit the area. I always love meeting blog readers in person.
Also, be sure to let me know if you like this type of guide. There are plenty of other great cities on the Central Coast that I would love to explore with you!
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