A little about the cities.
Arroyo Grande – This is where my grandparents had a house. It is considered more rural and has an old town charm to it. You can be riding horses on dirt roads 1 minute and be at the beach just 10 minutes later. I personally loved Arroyo Grande as it was the best of both worlds.
Grover Beach – This is the city I lived in the longest. It’s got a lot of stores and shops. I use to walk or ride my bike everywhere until I got a car. The beach isn’t as busy here as there is no pier or shops. Most people go here to fly kites or exercise. I usually walked from Grover to Pismo because it was a better view than walking on HWY 1.
Pismo Beach – This is where the tourists go. We always dreaded summer when the people from Bakersfield (we called them Bakos) would show up in their sweats on the beach. If you are a local, you only go to Pismo to hit the pier (for the view or to fish off of), beach, arcade, bowling alley, pool hall or grab some food from one of the many tasty places around.
Shell Beach – This area is more full of upscale homes. It has access to the beach, but these beaches are rocky. It’s absolutely beautiful, but definitely more secluded.
Avila Beach – Avila is all around fun. It’s pretty small, but has a pier, beach, park, lots of shops and even a farmer’s market. I do not go to this beach to go in the water because this is the one beach that has had many sharks.
Oceano – This is not actually considered a city, but it’s right next to us. Oceano is where you went to get to the dunes, and the only place where you can drive your car on the beach! Many people went so they could ride ATVs or show off their trucks’ power on Competition Hill (Comp Hill). Riding ATVs was a blast except you never knew who was on the other side of that dune. It is the #1 reason for ER visits during the summer. I went to Comp Hill with my cousin and I went up with him once. We took off and heading straight up the hill. I was in the passenger seat and my window was down, and I kid you not the dune was right there, I could have just stuck my finger out and touched it because it was so steep!
San Luis Obispo – This is not part of the 5 cities either, but is our bigger city, the name of our county nd nestled in the foothills. There are tons of stores, shops, eateries, and home of Cal Poly Technical University. They have larger stores not in our community, hiking, rock climbing, bouldering, mountain biking.
There are many wonderful places to eat, but these are a few of the popular spots.
Splash Café – Do you want the best clam chowder? In the heart of Pismo Beach on your way down to the pier, grab the best clam chowder bowl around! It’s a smaller establishment and the line can be long, but it’s worth it!
F.McLintocks – Need a great steak house? Overlooking beautiful Shell Beach, conveniently off the north 101 with the sparkling ocean to the west, you will find this gem! It’s large, has a bar and a gift shop, and not to mention the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had.
Madonna Inn – Who wants dessert? Located in the foothills of San Luis Obispo this is an oldie but a goodie, so look no further as these are the best pies and cakes for miles! You could also have breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Old Juan’s Cantina – Who doesn’t like Mexican cuisine? Head south on scenic HWY 1 to Oceano! From margaritas to tacos, this place has the best authentic Mexican food in town.
There are many acceptable places to stay, but these two take the cake!
Madonna Inn – As an international landmark destination, you will want to stay here as each room is uniquely themed. There is also a gift shop and spa, and a popular spot for weddings.
The Cliffs Resort – Simply beautiful! Coastal access, pool, restaurant, spa and weddings.