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The hidden gem of the Five Cities, this little burg is part of what locals view as a hotly-contested debate on which towns actually comprise the official “Five” cities that make up the colloquial reference “Five Cities”. Of course the incorporated cities of Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach are the foundation but which two cities make the Five? Some say Oceano, and Shell Beach. Some say Shell Beach is a part of Pismo’s zip code. Some say Avila Beach and some even try to go historical with their definition and bring in the little town of Halcyon as one of the original founding cities. Nonetheless, on the scale of soon-to-be cities I believe we will all see Oceano incorporate and become it’s own full-fledged city in the near (decade) future.
That being said it has a lot to offer for it’s tiny presence at the South end of the Five Cities. Restaurants, a historic train depot and museum, the Vegetable Exchange where a great majority of our locally grown produces takes off for parts all over the country and the world. The little vaudeville theater the Melodrama and of course, the most well-known feature.
Oceano Dunes Stage Vehicular Recreation Area – better known as the “Sand Highway” is host to thousands of visitors each year interested in off-roading through the dunes with all manner of off-road vehicle. Sand-rails, ATVs, dune-buggies, jeeps, Humvees and all vehicles large and small make their way to the bottom of Pier Avenue for a day pass and are able to drive, bounce and fly over the dunes and the sand thoroughfare paralleling the water. You can even stay the night – with a state campground that boasts designated sections of beach and rangers to monitor them. Booked far in advance these coveted spots to park your rolling home are popular throughout the summer and even at Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s.
And if you are more inclined to a quieter commune with nature a beautiful opportunity exists in the natural hiking, fishing and visitors center at Oso Flaco lake. South of Oceano and North of Guadalupe lies one of the most scenic natural areas on the Central Coast – Oso Flaco Lake. Three miles north of Guadalupe this hidden State Park allows access sunrise to sunset throughout the year. There is a scenic beginner/intermediate hike through the lake’s cattails and to the beach. Avian enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy watching all manner of specimens.
Eat, play, ride, hike and enjoy the sleepy Oceano dunes and the surrounding community!
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