Pismo Beach offers a variety of family fun adventures for those driving up Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean from Southern to Northern California.
Checking into the Cottage Inn By The Sea it offers charming curb appeal, similar to the properties in Carmel, CA with an English Countryside design.
The oceanfront location has renovated rooms with some facing the Pacific Ocean. Inside the cozy lobby is a dining room that offers complimentary breakfast to guests in the morning starting at 7 a.m. In the evenings, guests sit at tables with food picked up or delivered from nearby restaurants. There is a large wall Scrabble board and board games for families to play together in this large room.
Our room 217 offered two queen size beds, a gas burning fireplace, complimentary wi-fi, flat screen television, wall safe, and shower/tub combination. With two windows our view was of two different parking lots, one in the front and one in the back. Next time I would request an oceanfront room. This property is located next to Highway 1 and the sound level can be loud. I recommend bringing earplugs. Also, our room didn’t have air-conditioning, so opening a window to let the cool sea air in, also allowed the sound of cars and trucks in. The oceanfront rooms offer sea breezes with the lulling sound of ocean waves in.
What I liked about this motor lodge was the small pool and hot tub, fire pit conversation areas along the ocean view bluff, and pathway leading to a wooden stairway to the expansive sandy beach.
Before walking on the beach in the morning, we enjoyed a breakfast of coffee, baked goods, hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese, fresh and canned fruit cocktail.
Walking down the stairs towards the Pismo Beach pier, we collected seashells before walking out to the end and watching the surfers. Afterwards, we explored the small town of Pismo filled with a variety of surf shops, cafes, and boutiques.
Walking back to The Cottage Inn By The Sea, we saw pods of dolphins jumping into the air and splashing back into the ocean, while flocks of pelicans and other sea birds flew overhead.
Checking out of The Cottage Inn By The Sea, we first drove south of Pismo Beach is the Monarch Butterfly Cove. It’s open from late October through the month of February. This area houses the largest colony of butterflies with an average of 25,000 clustered in the limbs of Eucalyptus trees. For some reason, these Monarchs have a lifespan of up to six months, while most Monarch varieties live only six weeks. This area offers docents, a gift shop and educational signs.
Nearby is the Oceano Dunes, where visitors can pay $5 to drive five miles on the hard sand beach along the water’s edge. This is a popular spot with RV owners and ATV riders. Stop your car to climb up the vast array of sand dunes offering Pacific Ocean views from Avila Beach to Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Within is fifteen minute drive is Avila Beach and the Avila Valley Farm with farm animals, a fresh fruit and vegetable stand, sweet shoppe filled with candy treats, tractor and pony rides on the weekend. Inside the produce stand there is a basket of lettuce in a plastic bag to purchase for $1 and hand feed the farm animals. They also have a cafe selling hot dogs, sandwiches and barbecue.
About five miles away along See Canyon is the Gopher Glen Apple Farm set among oak, sycamore and maple trees. The farm has a variety of 100 year old apple trees that grow Fuji apples, Jonadelicious, Pippin Granny Smith and Pink Ladies. Visitors can purchase a cup of hot apple cider, or go to the refrigerator section for quarts and half gallon jugs. There is a apple tasting counter inside the gift shop, where you can purchase a bag of apples by the pound. It’s a good stop before heading back home to to a new travel destination.