Shell Beach City Guide

    Although some may argue that Shell Beach and Pismo Beach are essentially one and the same — sharing a zip code and just an exit apart – those that know what “Shell Beach Village” means will beg to differ.

    Perched on a bluff overlooking the ocean, Shell Beach claims the area of Pismo’s coastline from Dinosaur Caves Park at the Southern end – host to the monthly “Art in the Park” and other awesome festivals and concerts – to the Ontario Ridge trail to the North. It is easy to stroll, walk or run the approximately seven mile length of this darling little burg which is home to several blocks of beach cottages and upgraded beach palaces dotted with restaurants, watering holes, boutiques, markets and small businesses.

    This is a prime hopping off point for paddling among the pinnacles off Dinosaur Caves Park. Launch your own paddle of choice – SUP, Kayak or the like – to normally glassy waters at the end of Pier Avenue or sign up at Central Coast Kayaks for a private or guided tour.  You will be entertained by the raucous seals and sea lions who sunbathe on the rocks, dive amongst the kelp and come in for a closer look at you – making you wonder who is watching whom. And don’t forget those fuzzy otters!

    For a strenuous but manageable day hike try Ontario Ridge. Park on El Portal or Indio and take the narrow trail up the Spine of Ontario Ridge to enjoy breathtaking views of the entire Pismo Coastline. Take a box lunch from De Palo’s, an authentic Italian Deli.

    And for lunch or dinner enjoy ocean view patios at both The Lido at the Dolphin Bay Resort or the Marisol at The Cliff’s. Or stop by and enjoy a wide selection of local and non-local craft brews at Shell Beach Brewhouse along with yummy snacks and full meals. Or sample fresh and authentic Mexican fare at Zorro’s. And of course, if you have a hankering for a steak there is the famous McClintock’s Steakhouse perched on the East side of the 101 in Shell Beach overlooking the Village.

    And of course no description of Shell Beach would be complete without mentioning the many picnic-worthy shoreline parks where you can carve out your spot of grass for lunch with a spectacular Pacific Blue view – Margo Dodd, Dinosaur Caves Park, Palisades Park, Eldwayen Ocean Park, Ebb Tide Park and Spyglass – hopefully we haven’t forgotten any! And there are many coastal access points for kayaking, surfing or taking a dip all along the Shell Beach coastline.

    So now you can see how much the tiny burg of Shell Beach has to offer, all on its own. Stop and stay awhile. We have plenty of room!