Our guide book describes it thusly:
Pismo is about the beach. Forget about chic. Shorts, a t-shirt, sandals, a beach hat, and lots of sunscreen are all you need to pack...And by goofing off, the book includes riding ATVs on the beach.
In the 1900s, with saloons, brothels, and a dance hall established, the town had become a tourist getaway for wild times, and that reputation was furthered during the Depression when Pismo Beach became a well-known source for illicit booze. Currently, it's merely a time-warp shrine to days when California beach towns were unpretentious places meant for just goofing off.
The Pismo dunes are the only place in California where it's legal to drive on the beach--in specially designated Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area... A five-and-a-half mile sand highway at the ocean's edge parallels the mountainous dunes; you can take the family car onto the sand highway, but the dunes themselves are off-limits to all but four-wheel-drive and all-terrain vehicles.Alas, we only came to scope the place out, not ride ATVs on the beach.
Here are some pictures.
When I was about four years old, an obnoxious uncle told me to watch my step on the wharf in Santa Cruz or I might fall through. "Heh, heh!"
I was damaged with fright for years. Taking me to the Wharf became an ordeal for my parents which is unfortunate because we used to go there frequently.
By the weekend, I'm sure Pismo Beach was packed.
The trip continues in Part 10.