Inside information on living in Pismo Beach.

By Susan Haynes
March 23, 2005
Mark Gibson

Setting: In San Luis Obispo County, Pismo Beach enjoys alocation convenient to numerous other cities, waterfronts, andinland destinations. San Luis Obispo ("SLO") and CaliforniaPolytechnic State University (Cal Poly) lie 11 miles northeast.It's a 90-minute drive south to Santa Barbara and roughly three anda half hours to San Francisco or Los Angeles.

Attractions: Ample beach access for waterfront activitiesdefines this place. Winter and summer temperatures average 42 and81 degrees, respectively. An active newcomers' club and advocacyorganizations attest to community spirit. Produce from the inlandCentral Valley is endlessly fresh and bountiful.

Drawbacks: Real estate prices continue to rise. Shopping forhigh-end items is limited. Those seeking fine restaurants havesome, but not many, choices. Most head to SLO for theater and thearts.

Housing Options: Residents may choose among a fairly widerange of styles and landscapes, from funky beach shack orhigh-ceiling Mediterranean to condo or ranch style. The Shell Beachneighborhood offers pristine oceanfront properties. In the hillsoverlooking Pismo Beach and the Pacific, some Arroyo Granderesidents enjoy panoramic views. Reasonable home prices in GroverBeach and Oceano make up for their more aesthetically mundane realestate.

What It Costs: Availability of homes here is limited. "Anearly 3,600-square-foot clifftop house recently closed at $4million," says broker Lenny Jones. "Median home price is $500,000.That will get you a 1,600-square-foot, 30-year-old house, no waterview." Expect a median price of $650,000 for a water-viewcondo.

Your Next-door Neighbors: A Cal Poly professor; a biplaneaviator; retired farmers from the Central Valley; Pismo Bob, whoowns the hardware store; a schoolteacher who walks histrick-performing, potbellied pig; an actor from the Great AmericanMelodrama & Vaudeville; a high-tech entrepreneur.

How You'd Spend Your Free Time: Sampling lobster-stuffedravioli at Giuseppe's; surfing the breakers; fishing from the townpier; jogging the six-mile Bob Jones City-to-the-Sea Trail;picnicking at Spyglass Park; mountain biking in Los Padres NationalForest; wine tasting over in the Edna Valley.

(published May 2005)