Monday, November 11, 2013

Exploring California's Central Coast

We're currently spending a week in Oceano, CA, near Pismo Beach and the Central Coast Dunes. We are staying at Oceano County Park, only two blocks from the beach, so we're doing lots of beach walking. The beach here is a State Vehicular Recreation Area, so vehicles of all types are allowed on part of the beach. Fortunately the beach is huge and vehicles are not allowed in the dunes so we are able to enjoy the variety of terrain without much interference from vehicles. (Though the beach is a lot quieter on the weekdays!)

The shoreline here consists of wide flat beach flowing into plant covered dunes flowing into sand-only dunes. The variety of plants that grow on the dunes is amazing, not just grasses and bushes, sometimes you see huge pine or eucalyptus trees. There are small lakes and marshes in pockets as well.

We enjoy watching huge flocks of sandpipers running along the wave line.

One day we drove North to Avila Beach to hike the Shell Beach - Ontario Ridge Loop Trail. I started the hike off with a bang, literally, when I tripped over a piece of barbed wire and face planted down a short hillside. Luckily the damage was minimal and fairly superficial, but my nose may turn mighty colorful over the next week or so as it recovers from my sunglasses being jammed into the bridge of my nose!

Spectacular views from Ontario Ridge include Avila Cove.

The "cave" at Cave Landing.

The rugged coast line North of Cave Landing.

Enjoying a beer on the Avila Beach pier.
Ontario Ridge is the hill behind Hans' head.

Another day we drove about 15 miles to San Luis Obispo and hiked the Poly Canyon Desgin Village at Cal Poly and afterwards walked the charming streets of downtown SLO. California Polytechnic State University has a highly regarded architectural design program and the students are fortunate to have this wide open space to practice building unique structures.

Here are some shots from a walk on the beach last night...

The bird on the left is probably an osprey who just caught a fish...
we saw it happen!

Unique funnel-like cloud caught our attention in the distance.


  1. How beautiful...but oh so sorry about your fall Lisa...and what happened with Hans' beard? Great pictures!!

    1. :-) The beard is still there, just shorn very close!

  2. Beautiful photos, as always. We are still finding that balance between staying in one spot either too short or too long. Your photos have me longing for some beach/ocean time :-)

    1. We are finding that one - four weeks is ideal for us...if there is enough stuff to do in the area.

  3. That area is so gorgeous! My youngest son went to school in Santa Barbara, and that gave me a chance to get to know the area. I especially like San Luis Obispo. We will have to check out that county park near Pismo next June.

    1. The park is okay, it is priced very well for the area, but there are some cons. I'll post a review when we move on...

  4. Beautiful area. We're going to have to do the beaches one of these days. Hope the nose is better.

  5. Welcome to the world of the "Nimble Hikers!" Good to know I now have a new member:) I can say that I know how you feel. Hope you are all right. The next day is when I felt the muscles that took the most jarring.

    Your water, sky, and sunset are just like the east coast. But that is where the similarities stop! We have little, short dunes. No hiking around the beach, too many condos and way too many people.

    Enjoy your beach visiting!

  6. Wow! Beautiful views even without all the green and trees :) Hope you heal quickly! Love you!