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11 San Luis Obispo Beaches To Visit Now

11 San Luis Obispo Beaches To Visit Now

A visit to SLO is incomplete without hitting the local beaches. These are 11 San Luis Obispo beaches you need to visit now!

Roubina Al Abashian


5 min read

March 13, 2022

Happiness comes in waves, and San Luis Obispo is where you’ll be making your favorite memories in flip-flops. Here, enjoying life in the slow lane means strolling on secluded beaches, sipping on a refreshing beverage on a romantic stretch of sand, and splashing around at the best shores in California. From hidden gems to surfing hotspots, good times and tan lines await at San Luis Obispo’s beaches!

Say goodbye to your inbox and hello to sun tans and sandy toes at William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach.

1. William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach

Location: Cabrillo Highway and SLO San Simeon Road, San Simeon
Amenities: Fishing pier, store, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, barbecues, benches, tide pools, tours, rentals
Dogs allowed: No

Visiting Hearst Castle is one of the most unforgettable things to do on the Central Coast, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Across the castle’s visitor center is William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach. As one of the coolest beaches near San Luis Obispo, this sandy stretch promises a fun time for those who love water activities. Make sure to walk the entire length of the shore, stop at the pier and join the fishermen, and kayak into the ocean to check out the San Simeon Cove. 

2. Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery 

Location: Cabrillo Highway, San Simeon
Amenities: Seal rookery, trails, observation platforms, accessible features, no facilities
Dogs allowed: No

Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is where you’ll encounter the playful mammals resting on the S.L.O beach. Depending on the time of the year, you might catch the elephant seals mating, giving birth, or even shedding skin. Make your way through the coastal trails to get a good view of the animals. 

3. Arroyo Laguna Beach

Location: Cabrillo Highway, San Simeon
Amenities: No facilities
Dogs allowed: No

Offering a number of activities for visitors, Arroyo Laguna Beach is a fun spot for a day full of fun. Considered one of the best beaches in San Luis Obispo, CA, this sandy stretch is located in Hearst San Simeon State Park. Try your hand at windsurfing, watch the pros kiteboarding, and spend a little time fishing for the catch of the day. 

You can't beat the warmth of the sun, the refreshing chill of the sea at your feet, and the relaxing sound of waves crashing against the sand.

4. Moonstone Beach

Location: 6216 Moonstone Beach Drive, Cambria
Amenities: Boardwalk, accessible features, no facilities
Dogs allowed: No

Searching for the ideal place for beachcombing? Head on over to Moonstone Beach. A wonderful place to go on a relaxing walk along the shore, this beach in S.L.O. has several restaurants nearby whenever you feel hungry. Make sure to stick around to watch the sunset on the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk—the views are mesmerizing.  

5. North Beach

Location: 399 South Dolliver Street, Pismo Beach
Amenities: Campground, restrooms, showers, butterfly colony, trails, boardwalk
Dogs allowed: On leash

North Beach is a popular spot for those who like roughing it out in nature—it’s by far the best beach camping destination in California. This stretch of sand is shared by surfers, fishermen, hikers, and kiteboarders. Whenever you’re here, check out the Monarch Butterfly Grove, which is the largest over-wintering colony of butterflies in the U.S.

6. Eldwayen Ocean Park

Location: Ocean Boulevard and Morro Avenue, Pismo Beach
Amenities: Tide pools, picnic tables, barbecues, benches
Dogs allowed: On leash

Are you an explorer by nature? You’ll explore to your heart’s desire at Eldwayen Ocean Park. Visit during low tide and kayak into the ocean in search of arches and caves below. Make sure to keep an eye out for rich tide pools—you’ll love seeing the little critters.  

Next time you're having fun in the sun and relaxing with your toes in the sand, take a second to capture the moment on camera.

7. Morro Rock City Beach

Location: Coleman Drive, Morro Bay
Amenities: Restrooms, picnic tables
Dogs allowed: On leash

The first thing to do in Morro Bay is to stop by Morro Rock, a 576-foot giant watching over the city—anyone who has gone on a Big Sur scenic drive will vouch for this. The ‘Gibraltar of the Pacific’ is best enjoyed from Morro Rock City Beach. As one of the best beaches near S.L.O County, this place offers tons of exciting activities such as surfing, fishing, and bird watching. If you’re ever done snapping pics of Morro Rock, try tackling the waves on your surfboard. 

8. Fishermans Beach

Location: Avila Beach Drive and Diablo Canyon Road, Avila Beach
Amenities: Fishing pier, RV campground, no facilities
Dogs allowed: Yes

There’s absolutely nothing you can’t enjoy at Fishermans Beach—you don’t have to leave your four-legged pal behind either! Marking the end of Avila Beach, this beach in S.L.O County is popular among campers. Spend the day tanning under the sun and go kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding before calling it a night. 

If you're not barefoot, then you're overdressed. Your tan may fade, but the memories you make will last a lifetime.

9. Avila Beach City Beach

Location: Front Street and San Francisco Street, Avila Beach
Amenities: Fishing pier, restrooms, lifeguard, picnic tables, barbecues, shops, grass park, basketball court, aquarium, kids play area, tide pools
Dogs allowed: On leash 

Taking up the entire length of the Central Coast beach town of Avila Beach is this stretch of sand. One of the best beaches in San Luis Obispo County, this is where families gather for fun under the sun. Have lunch around the picnic tables, try your hand at fishing, and try to win a basketball game on the court. 

10. Pirate’s Cove Beach

Location: Cave Landing Road, Avila Beach
Amenities: Trails, caves, tide pools, no facilities
Dogs allowed: On leash

Perhaps the most spectacular cove in the Golden State is located at Pirate’s Cove Beach. The south-facing cove is fully protected from the winds, making this one of the best winter beaches in the state. Search for caves across the shore, walk the length of the beach, and get your tan in check at this coastal hideout.

There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.

11. Cayucos State Beach

Location: Cayucos Drive and Ocean Front Avenue, Cayucos
Amenities: Fishing pier, lifeguard, picnic tables, restrooms, showers, kids play area
Dogs allowed: On leash

Wondering which of the best beaches in San Luis Obispo, CA are uber-cool surf spots? Make your way to Cayucos State Beach to find what you’re looking for. Thanks to the beach’s gradual slope, it’s easy to wade into a surf—that is, of course, if you can handle the cold waters. What’s more? You’ll also encounter plenty of tide pools in this spot. 

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