Visit Arroyo Grande

The first thing you’ll notice about Arroyo Grande is the genuine character and charm. Here you have a one-of-a-kind California original with a walkable downtown and a ton of beautiful Victorian buildings you’ll love to explore. Look closer and find dozens of intriguing antique and specialty shops, fine boutiques, and restaurants and cafés serving food and drink for every taste. The people are warm and welcoming. And the surrounding countryside is classic Central Coast. This is the Vintage California you will love exploring!  Arroyo Grande is located just south of San Luis Obispo City and only two miles east of the Pacific Ocean.

Enjoy the wonderful beaches of Arroyo Grande, and the Central California coast (you’ll find a list here), then come enjoy.  Visit Arroyo Grande!   Start planning your vacation today, we have all the answers!  Just keep reading!

Weather (When to Go)

In Arroyo Grande, the summers are warm, arid, and clear and the winters are cold, wet, and partly cloudy. The average temperature varies  from 42°F to 76°F.   The best time of year to visit Arroyo Grande for warm-weather activities is from late June to late September.   During this time you will have clear, rainless days with temperatures between 65°F and 80°F.

Arroyo Grande Area Beaches

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Grover Beach is the middle portion of Pismo Beach and the only beach in Grover Beach.  It is a small beach squeezed between Oceano and Pismo Beach.  Grover Beach is a wide flat sandy beach packed firm enough for passenger cars to drive onto.  It is still recommended to have four-wheeled-drive to avoid getting stuck in the sand.

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There are many activities at Pismo State Beach including camping, surfing, swimming, fishing, bird watching, walking trails, a boardwalk thru the dunes, a visitor center, a freshwater lagoon and the opportunity to observe the Monarch Butterflies (November thru February).

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This is a long narrow park along the bluff in the Shell Beach area of Pismo Beach.  There is a small grassy area with benches and picnic tables.  At low tides there are plenty of tide pools to explore.  Kayakers here can explore the impressive shoreline including the arches and caves.

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Avila Beach, Arroyo Grande beaches, Central California beaches, best beaches in California, Pismo Beach, beach travel, beach travel destinations, things to do in Arroyo Grande, best hotels in Arroyo Grande, best restaurants in Arroyo Grande, best bars in Arroyo Grande, Arroyo Grande beachesAvila Beach

Avila Beach City Beach is the large wide sandy beach that takes up the entire waterfront of the town of Avila Beach, CA. The wooden Avila Pier sticks out over 1600 feet into San Luis Bay from the center of City Beach.  For those that want to head out on bike, the Bob Jones Trail is a scenic paved bike path that begins at 1st Street and Avila Beach Drive.

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Fisherman’s beach is the smallest of beaches in the area and is called “Dog Beach” by the locals.  No matter what time of day it is, you will more than likely find dogs running free through the surf. The Port San Luis Harbor District currently allows well behaved dogs to be off the leash anytime on this beach and Olde Port Beach.

Arroyo Grande Tours & Activities

Dune Buggy, UTV or ATV Experience at Pismo Beach

Set out on a spectacular dune buggy adventure on the sands near Pismo Beach, CA, approximately 1.5-hours north of Santa Barbara. For 2-hours you’ll whip across dunes and zoom alongside the coastline past crashing waves in either a single or multi-person 4WD vehicle, enjoying what locals truly consider ‘off-roading.’ This is actually the only public beach in the state where driving is allowed. Instruction is included, so no need to worry if you’ve never ridden in a dune buggy before.  Learn more about the Dune Buggy, UTV or ATV Experience at Pismo Beach.

Surf Lessons

Pismo Beach is a surfing hot spot, with riders coming from all over California to catch a wave here. While you could just watch surfers from the shore, it’s much more fun to experience the thrill for yourself with a surf lesson. Instructors will guide you through the basics and get you out into the water. Plus, there’s no need to rent equipment with a surfboard and wetsuit included.  Learn more about Surf Lessons.

Hearst Castle Tour from Pismo Beach

Enjoy the scenic views on this 8-hour, small-group tour to Hearst Castle. Once you arrive at Hearst Castle watch the National Geographic IMAX Movie, Building the Dream, and learn about the construction of the landmark. Then, take a tour of the castle to discover its many rooms and secrets. This tour includes pickup and drop off from Pismo Beach, entrance fees, lunch, and a driver/guide.  Learn more about the Hearst Castle Tour.

Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tour from San Luis Obispo and Pismo

This semi-private door-to door, “hop-on, hop-off” wine tasting tour service lets you set your pace and create your own wine tasting itinerary in Paso Robles Wine Country. The approximately 5-hour service picks you up at your accommodations and start you on their loops. They service over 60 wineries in the region and you just pick and choose where you want to “hop on” and “hop off” all day long.  When you decide to “hop off” your driver walks you in, introduces you to the staff who will conduct your tasting.  S/he will return in approximately 40 minutes, come into the tasting room, let you know s/he is back and if you’re ready to go you just “hop on” and proceed to the next winery of your choice. If you are enjoying yourself, you can stay for another approximately 40minutes, or longer.   Learn more about the Hop On Hop Off Wine Tour.

Paso Robles Wine Adventure from Pismo Beach

The Wrangler Adventure Tour is a social tour and their most popular. You can expect to meet other wine enthusiasts and get to know them over the course of the day. You’ll share the day with a small group and visit between 4-6 wineries.  Learn more about the Paso Robles Wine Adventure.

Best Rated Restaurants

Mason Bar & Kitchen  $11 – 30

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.  For more information call 805-202-8918, or visit them on the web at Mason Bar & Kitchen.

Ember  $11 – 30

Ember Restaurant is all about serving authentic hand-crafted food cooked by a wood fire. They aim to create the ideal environment to experience Central Coast food and wine. For more information call 805-474-7700, or visit them on the web at Ember.

Rooster Creek Tavern  $11 – 30

Rooster Creek is a full-service restaurant with a modern bar, and several flat screen televisions throughout. They strive to offer a variety of quality menu items in a comfortable, family-friendly atmosphere.  For more information call 805-489-2509, or visit them on the web at Rooster Creek Tavern.

The Oyster Loft  $31 – 50

More than a restaurant, Oyster Loft is an experience, where excellent service rivals the taste and aesthetics of presentation. Oyster Loft boasts a menu rich with fresh fish and thoughtfully executed dishes. Their raw bar features a variety of oysters shucked on the half shell from both the east coast and the west. The menu also includes refined fish dishes, shellfish preparations and a selection of meat to round out the pervasive offerings. For more information call 805-295-5104, or visit them on the web at The Oyster Loft.

Wooly’s  $11 – 30

Wooly’s is a great place for fast-casual dining! Order at our service counter and sit wherever you like, we’ll bring your food to where you want to be! Sit back and relax on our open air beachfront deck for a lazy beach day full of elevated-casual fare and all your favorite wines, beers, and cocktails.  For more information call 805-295-5100, or visit them on the web at Wooly’s.

Best Nightlife

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. For more information call 805-481-2871, or visit them on the web at 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. For more information call 805-202-8918, or visit them on the web at Mason Bar & Kitchen.

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 and Sunday beginning at 3:00 pm. They have 3 pool tables that are always hopping too. Go on in for a cool one, dance the night away with friends, or enjoy a friendly game of pool. For more information call 805-773-1010, or visit them on the web at Harry’s Night Club & Beach Bar.

The Rooftop

The Rooftop at Inn at the Pier is the bar to visit in Pismo Beach, with elevated views of the Pacific coastline and effortless West Coast style. Bask in the sunshine poolside, or keep it cool under an umbrella. Choose from seasonally-inspired small plates at our Pismo Beach restaurant, perfectly complemented by signature cocktails and the best of local craft brews. Grab the girls for the ultimate Sunday brunch – did we mention the Build Your Own Bellini Bar? Or share a breathtaking sunset with that certain someone. At The Rooftop, every occasion is special. For more information call 805-295-5565, or visit them on the web at The Rooftop.

The Oyster Loft

More than a restaurant, Oyster Loft is an experience, where excellent service rivals the taste and aesthetics of presentation. The upscale cuisine and regional seafood dishes are prepared with the utmost attention to detail. Happy hour is Monday – Thursday from 4:00pm – 5:00pm. For more information call 805-295-5104, or visit them on the web at The Oyster Loft.

Best Hotels

Inn at the Pier


Overlooking the golden sand of Pismo Beach – just footsteps from the pier and boardwalk – you’re invited to experience the all-new Inn at the Pier. Located on Cypress Street, this upscale, craftsman-style oceanfront hotel in Pismo Beach features boutique guest rooms and first-class amenities reminiscent of a luxurious beach house.

Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa


Offering unparalleled service and stunning ocean views, Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa is the ideal destination for romantic getaways, family vacations or weddings. Set along the California Coastline south of San Luis Obispo and midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa is centrally located in Pismo Beach.

Beach House Inn & Suites


The Beach House Inn and Suites is oceanfront, fifteen unites have private balconies and seven have open porches. All balconies and porches are covered. Nineteen unites have either a limited ocean view, good ocean view, very good view or a great view. The great views include a view of the strand and ocean. All are very comfortable with appropriate furniture. Each room or suite has all the amenities you would expect a beach property to have. The price varies depending on the month, location and the size of the room or suite.

Cottage Inn by the Sea


Cottage Inn by the Sea is a newly renovate hotel.  Nestled in a scenic oceanfront location with spectacular views, the charming architecture is set against the dramatic backdrop of the lapping waves and golden bluffs of the great Pacific Ocean. Here, guests of this relaxing hotel in Pismo Beach, CA can select from 80 newly-remodeled ocean or garden view hotel rooms with cozy fireplaces, complimentary Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs, plush robes, and ocean or garden views.

Shore Cliff Hotel


Overlooking the serene Pacific coastline, these Pismo Beach suites and rooms promise to make your stay memorably comfortable. Spend a day exploring the endless Pismo Beach attractions, then return to the hotel and be absorbed by the relaxing atmosphere of their award-winning, stylish and modern design, and find that they strive to provide every possible amenity to their guests.

30 Comments

  1. Benjamin

    Awesome place and great article. Thanks for sharing this leahrae. I wish I could go there just even one week, it would be fantastic. I enjoyed the video you posted as well.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Benjamin, glad you enjoyed and thank you for stopping by to visit Arroyo Grande!

      Reply
  2. Boryana

    Once again – awesome article!
    You never fail to deliver.
    I’ve never been to California and you make it so hard to keep resisting!
    So much information…
    I know where to dine now and all those attractions are definitely worth to visit.
    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are so welcome Boryana and you would love visiting California. It really does have so much to offer, especially the Central California beaches. Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations.

      Reply
  3. Dave

    Sorry to sound stupid, but how do you pronounce Arroyo? Is it ARR-O-YO ?

    Our family took a trip into Washington and Oregon and stayed in Cabins and just LOVED it, so ever since, we’ve been looking for places that have these little rustic cabins. Your link to Lopez Lake looks perfect, but it also looks pretty busy. Is this a really busy camping destination? I’m wondering if we went in the 1st or 2nd week of September, if it would still be as busy, but still have the nice temperatures?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Not a stupid question at all Dave, it is pronounced Arr-OI-oh GRAND-ee 🙂 Yes, Lopez Lake is a popular spot and it is best to reserve a cabin well in advance. So September will be busy as well. But, it is well worth the visit here. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  4. Brandon

    California’s Central Coast is so beautiful we try to drive up once a year. Hearst Castle is one of our favorite spots just such a cool place to visit. Great wrote up with tons of great info and recommendations.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Brandon for visiting and taking the time to leave comments for me. I agree, and everyone should visit Arroyo Grande and make a stop to Hearst Castle.

      Reply
  5. Sam

    Love this! What a great guide! No excuse to be bored, with all the resources you have provided. Wonderful photos, too!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you loved visiting my site, Beach Travel Destinations. I hope that you can visit Arroyo Grande soon! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Reply
  6. Matthew

    Girl! You are going to cost me so much money as whenever I log onto the internet my wife always asks me to pop onto your website to see the new places you have written about and she has fallen in love with Arroyo Grande…Until you write about another new place that my wife would love to spend MY money going to visit, so thanks for that, lol
    I really like the look of the Lopez Lake though, is there any accommodation by the lake that we could book into as a family of six?
    I could see myself relaxing by that Lake for a week or 2 doing a bit of camping and fishing

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am so glad your wife enjoys visiting my site. Yes, Lopez Lake has accommodations for all of you 🙂 The cabins can accommodate up to 6 people. You can make reservations online here. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  7. Christy

    Great information about Arroyo Grande Leahrae – I’ve never been to the Central Coast of California and it sounds like a great place to take a vacation and relax and unwind. You’ve listed so many options – for dining and fun things to do! I’ve always wanted to learn how to use a kayak – have you tried before? Is there a harbor or cove where the waves aren’t too much to handle?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for reading Christy and great question. I would head to Avila Beach as it is going to be less rough, as it does sit in a little cove. Yes, I have kayaked and it is a blast!

      Reply
  8. Mercy

    This is awesome! I have always wanted to visit 2 places in California, Hollywood and Sillicon Valley and for some reasons Malibu! After reading your article i now see how am gonna intergrate my Tour by adding your suggestions, The Rooftop in Pismo beach has caught my eyes just can’t imagine in a high view watching the the panaroma. Thank so much for such a great article!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for reading Mercy and yes, definitely an area of California that is worth visiting. Thank you for reading about the great beach travel destination of Arroyo Grande.

      Reply
  9. Carole

    Leahrae, this is such a great article! I will bookmark your site for future reference. There is a lot of good information that will be very useful for me later! Great job and thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Carole, glad you enjoyed and thank you for stopping by. Hopefully soon you can visit Arroyo Grande!

      Reply
  10. Jerry Huang | Smart Affiliate Success

    Another awesome travel guide from you Leahrae! I always love to check out your website because there will always be great travel ideas. I’ve been to California but have not heard of this beach yet. Will definitely bookmark this and add it to my travel list. Thanks a lot 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed Jerry! Definitely a beach destination that belongs on the bucket list. The whole area is wonderful. Hopefully soon you can visit Arroyo Grande.

      Reply
  11. Davona

    Such an awesome article. I LOVE the beach. I don’t get to go on vacation much because of money and since I live in the North East there is natural beach within my vincinity. When you said that the people are warm and welcoming, I believe it. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is real and because during fall and winter months we have shorter sunlight. This place sounds like a dream!You’ve given me a place to strive to go. Thank you for opening my eyes to a whole new world.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you for stopping by Davona and leaving comments. You will love this destination. Arroyo Grande has it all, and what is not to love with great beaches, right?

      Reply
  12. Michelle

    Hello Leahrae,
    Oh wow! Great pictures and so very concise descriptions. I almost felt as if I was somewhere in the Caribbean. I have never heard of Arroyo Grande, but I would sure love to visit. Thanks for all the tips and suggestions. I am also going to check out the rest of your site as I have a ‘travel bug’ in my bones!
    LOL
    All the best.
    Michelle

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed reading and learning about Arroyo Grande! Thanks for visiting and I will look for you back again 🙂

      Reply
  13. John

    Leahrae,
    So much to do at the beach with all these rentals. I would like to rent a dune buggy for some serious dune riding. The Ember Restaurant sound like a great way to end the day with a meal cooked over coals.
    Why do you say that Feb is a busy month, do they have some kind of activity going on in this region.
    John

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      A lot of people vacation to Arroyo Grande in February because the humidity is low, the winds (and they do have some winds) tend to be non existent around this time of year, and it is a little bit cooler. I myself prefer the summer months, because I like the heat and I am used to the humidity. Yes, dune riding is a must! Something not to be missed in this area. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  14. Mick Krug

    Arroyo Grande looks like a great vacation spot. I would take the wine, beer and hard cider tasting tours for sure! The Hearst Castle is a must do. I loved the video, it shows all the sites you need to see while there.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Mick! I am glad you enjoyed reading about this great beach travel destination. Arroyo Grande is a wonderful coastal community, and definitely worth a vacation too. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  15. Eric

    I want to visit Arroyo Grande to check out the Hearst castle. That looks like a great place to discover the history and get into the right mindset. Then take on the swinging bridge before going down to the beaches to recharge. Do you know how much of the castle is available for tourists to explore?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You can visit quite a bit of the castle. Unfortunately, you have to purchase tours for them. I added the link for Hearst Castle here, so you can see all of your options. Those would be my two options too besides the beaches of course 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed reading about Arroyo Grande!

      Reply

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