The Best of Oceano CA – Located on the southwest portion of the Discovery Route, the classic and historic beach town of Oceano is known for it’s majestic dunes, beautiful parks, fertile farm fields, and remains the only beach in California you can drive on. Established in 1893 as a railroad town, Oceano still retains most of the original flavor of the past. Oceano is a very family-friendly place. The Oceano lagoon with its abundant wildlife is one of the crown jewels of the central coast. The Guiton lagoon trail encircles the north side of the lagoon and provides excellent bird watching, exploring, and photo opportunities. Some of the best live stage entertainment in the area is at the Great American Melodrama, where the audience can participate in cheering and booing the heroes and villains portray by a cast of very talented performers.
Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area is the top tourist attraction in the city of Oceano. Gateway Post 1 to Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area is the entry point where cars and vehicles pay a fee to drive on the beach. Passenger cars can drive on a small portion of the beach but many are not sand-ready to drive to the dunes for camping and off roading. Sand dune terrain is best accessed with 4-wheel drive vehicles.
Enjoy the many wonderful beaches of Oceano, and the Central California coast (you’ll find a list here), then come visit Oceano. Our Oceano California Vacations guide has all your answers to start planning your beach vacation. Just keep reading.
Oceano Weather – When to Visit
The warmest month of the year is September with average temps from mid 50s to the high 70s. February is typically the wettest month with 4 of the 18 inches of annual rain. The winter months will be chilly with temperatures between 43 to 67 degrees. In the summer months, the temperature averages are between 53 and 78 degrees. You do need to know that the California coast is prone to “June gloom.” This happens when the offshore ocean fog layer comes inland and hovers over the shore all day long. The condition can start in May and often extends into July.
The Best of Oceano CA Area Beaches
Oceana Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area
Oceano Dunes Preserve is one of the most expansive coastal dunes left in California. The Preserve offers rare opportunities for on-the-sand activities—you can camp, go horseback riding, and drive right on the beach in the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). In fact, it’s the only California State Park that allows vehicles to do so (four-or all-wheel drive recommended). Thrill-seekers: Don’t miss the opportunity to fly up and down the massive mounds of sand in a Hummer or your own ATV or dune buggy.
Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area
At the southern end of San Luis Obispo County, the Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area offers a quiet preserve for flora and fauna. With a river, freshwater lake, dunes, and sweeping ocean views, this harmonious natural area is part of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.
Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge
Managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, this refuge contains some of the most remote and least disturbed areas of the Dunes Complex. Visitor access is only permitted from the beach, and requires a rigorous and sometimes hazardous two-mile hike from Oso Flaco Lake parking lot or Rancho-Guadalupe Dunes Preserve parking lot. No access or services available; visitors must walk in.
Pismo State Beach
Pismo State Beach has a pleasant year round climate making it ideal for outdoor recreation and exploring! Pismo State Beach offers visitors the options to choose from many diverse activites including: camping, surfing, swimming, fishing, bird watching, walking trails, a boardwalk through the dunes, a vistor center, free educational programs, a freshwater lagoon and the opportunity to observe Western Monarch Butterflies (November-February).
Eldwayen Ocean Park
Eldwayen Ocean Park is a grassy park that offers access to a strip of beach. The park has picnic tables, other seating and a set of stairs that leads down to the nearby beach. This beach is a popular spot to kayak from, as it offers relatively quick ocean access to nearby beaches that can’t be accessed from land due to erosion.
The Best of Oceano CA Restaurants
Chacho’s Mexican Food Under $10
Great food, great value and the locals love it! What more can you ask for? Everything is homemade, including the tortillas at Chacho’s. All of their food is authentic Mexican food. Try their infamous burritos made with their amazing homemade tortillas. Telephone: 805-489-5136 Web: Chacho’s Mexican Food.
Rock ‘n Roll Diner $11 – 30
The two old railroad cars that house this old-fashioned American diner aren’t the only attraction here. Generous breakfasts, juicy pastrami burgers, great guacamole burgers, and a surprising number of very good Greek dishes make this a popular place for a casual breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Fifties music, and a kid-friendly atmosphere make this the campers’ favorite. Telephone: 805-473-2040 Web: Rock ‘n Roll Diner.
Beach Burger Under $10
Beach Burgers in Oceano is serving up great burgers, fries – seasoned steak, sweet potato or beer battered. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Telephone: 805-473-2383 Web: Beach Burger.
Old Juan’s Cantina $11 – 30
Owned and operated by a local family with Mexican roots for two generations, Old Juan’s Cantina is a terrific spot for authentic Mexican food in a family-friendly atmosphere. Favored by locals and visitors alike, the extensive menu features festive appetizers, hearty combination plates, sizzling fajitas, and the best margarita on the coast. Telephone: 805-489-5680 Web: Old Juan’s Cantina.
Sylvester’s Burgers $11 – 30
It’s Big, It’s Hot, It’s Juicy! Serious Central Coast burger nuts swear by Sylvester’s, a bright yellow and turquoise shack whose meaty motto is a smiling burger with Mickey Mouse-like hands and feet declaring that he’s “Big, Hot ‘n Juicy.” Only 100 percent unfrozen USDA grade beef is used, and the chewy sesame seed buns are always perfectly toasted and buttered. Don’t forget milk shakes (including pineapple), malts and floats, all made with real ice cream, or the chili and just-cooked onion rings. Telephone: 805-270-4434 Web: Sylvester’s Burgers.
The Best of Oceano CA Bars
R & D’s (Ralph and Duanes)
R&D’s is owned and operated by Mother and Son, Marsha & Arly Maretti. They have an excellent team of friendly bartenders on staff, and a high-energy DJ ready to start the party. In addition to the main bar that features a pool table, pong table and dart board, there is a BIG outdoor patio – affectionately known as “Marsha’s Backyard” – which has plenty of seating, an additional bar, oak pit barbecue and a stage where bands come to entertain during the summer months. Telephone: 805-481-2871 Web: R & D’s.
Mason Bar & Kitchen
Drop in for casual dining in a spirited atmosphere at the bar, or enjoy fireside ambience in our dining room. Their menu relies on locally sourced ingredients to offer a diverse, evolving menu. With 25 beers on draft, an eclectic wine list, and only premium spirits, creative cuisine meets premium libations. Telephone: 805-202-8918 Web: Mason Bar & Kitchen.
Mongo’s Saloon $11 – 30
Mongo’s Sports Bar & Restaurant of Grover Beach, CA features great food, cold drinks and entertainment every day of the week. Stop by for great food, cocktails, cold beer, live music and meet the friendly staff and local customers. Try their award winning Bloody Mary’s, 1/2 lb Burgers, fabulous Fish & Chips, and homemade Clam Chowder!! Watch your favorite sport on their 9 HD TVs. Happy hour is daily from 3 – 7 p.m. Telephone: 805-489-3639 Web: Mongo’s Saloon.
Harry’s Night Club & Beach Bar
Harry’s specializes in FUN! Full service bar with live music every night at 9:00 pm. They also have afternoon bands on Saturday & Sunday starting at 3:00 pm. They have 3 pool tables that are always hopping too. Go for a cold one, dance the night away, or enjoy a game of pool. Telephone: 805-773-1010 Web: Harry’s Night Club & Beach Bar
The Best of Oceano CA Hotels