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Beach Trip

By Kevin Wing
Co-Host, Catch a Wave: A Journey to Californiaís 10 Best Beaches

Kevin Wing(Editorís Note: This regular column about Americaís best beaches and beach communities is written exclusively for AARisings by Kevin Wing, an Emmy Award-winning San Francisco Bay Area-based television journalist who co-hosts Catch a Wave: A Journey to Californiaís 10 Best Beaches. Kevin is also a news writer/feature reporter at KRON-TV Channel 4 in San Francisco, and performs voiceover work in the Bay Area. He also writes another AARisings column, Suite Surrender, which showcases Americaís best hotel and resort destinations. Whereís Kevin this month? Heís back in California, at picturesque Pismo Beach on the central California coast.)

Whether you live in the Bay Area or in southern California, Pismo Beach is fairly simple to get to. Located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Pismo Beach is a recreation and tourism-oriented beach town. The regionís clean beaches and famous sand dunes are the top attraction of Pismo Beach as far as this column is concerned, but the area also features a variety of activities for visitors and vacationers, from scuba diving and horseback riding to hiking and exploring the coastís tide pools, coves and caves.

Of course, thereís also the famous 1,250-foot-long Pismo Pier, which is perfect for sightseeing, people-watching, walking, fishing and seeing the beautiful central California sunset. The pier is also a great place to watch surfers. Interesting to note is that the pier is lit at night.

About 8,000 people live in the city of Pismo Beach, making this a friendly, down-to-earth beach town.

Pismo State Beach, just north of the city, is flat and sandy until itís cut off by the cliffs of Shell Beach.

For many years, Pismo Beach was famous for its clams. Clam-lovers would love to dig through the sand to find their succulent morsels. Sea otters, a usual suspect, are also to blame for the depletion of clams in this region.

Shell Beach is also a nice beach area, situated between the Pacific Ocean and sharp, rocky cliffs. Not far from Shell Beach, situated on an ocean bluff, is Margo Dodd Park. It features a breathtaking ocean view, covered gazebo, grassy recreation area with park benches. Itís one of my stops whenever Iím in the area. From here, there is beach access to a large tide pool area at the end of Pier Street, where snorkeling and tide pools invite exploration.

The Pismo Beach Dunes, to the south of town, are famous for off-road activities. Rent a dune buggy or all-terrain vehicle, or hop aboard on horseback and see these famous dunes that can be seen for miles.

The Central Coast Wine Country, between Pismo Beach and Paso Robles is a growing wine region where you can experience wine tasting and a nice excursion off the beaten path.

Surrounding the actual Pismo Beach are a host of shops, restaurants and hotels that cater to just about everyone. Looking for a great restaurant? One of my favorites is Alexís BBQ, on the frontage road for U.S. Highway 101. If youíre craving for beef ribs or a juicy hamburger, this is the one place in town to go.

All of these amenities, along with the beach and abundant recreational activities, make Pismo Beach a quaint beach community thatís worth a stay for the weekend, or longer.

How to get there: From San Francisco or Los Angeles, follow U.S. Highway 101 to Pismo Beach. Watch for the exit signs for Pismo Beach and Shell Beach. This is just south of San Luis Obispo.

Next time from Beach Trip: Kevin continues his trek along the coast of California with a stop at the beaches which grace the beautiful city of Santa Barbara.

To learn more about the Catch a Wave television show and Kevin Wing, go to www.catchawavetv.com. You can email Kevin and the Catch a Wave crew at catchawavetvshow@aol.com.

Beach Trip. Where Itís Summertime Year Round.
Copyright 2007
All Rights Reserved
Kevin Wing / American Travelers Television
Issue 11 / May 2007

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Photo used by permission courtesy of Kevin Wing. Photo copyright by Kevin Wing.