Beach walkers, horses and motorized recreational vehicles share the same expansive stretch of sand at the Oceano Dunes Vehicular Recreation Area. While the combination brings about controversy at times, it boosts tourism especially during the summer months and extended holiday weekends.
The Oceano Dunes are considered one of the most extensive coastal dunes remaining in California. Fortunately a large portion of it has been set aside for environmental conservation and scientists, naturalists and photographers flock to the area on a regular basis.
One of the most interesting stories about the area surrounds "The Dunites" who lived within the Oceano Dunes during the 1930s. As a mecca for artists, writers and other free thinkers, they believed that the Oceano Dunes were one of the centers for creative energy. Much has been written about them over the years as their lifestyle continues to pique readers' interest. Another point of historic interest is "Pavillion Hill" where in the early 1900s a large dance pavilion was built right on top of the large dune.
Horseback riding on the beach is popular here with stables located nearby. The Oceano Memorial Park and Campground also enhances the community of Oceano and its many visitors each year, offering fishing, camping and picnicking facilities.
The historic Oceano Train Depot, once the center of most of the commercial and transportation activity in South San San Luis Obispo County from the early 1900s until the 1950s, now acts as a historical train museum and community center.
Agriculture has played a large economic role in the community with generations of local families are still farming vegetables and strawberries today. These families living in Oceano make use of the Oceano Elementary School with middle and high schools available in nearby Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach.
As part of the Five Cities area, additional cities in the immediate area include Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande and Shell Beach. Historic towns, a world-class wine region, long, expansive beaches and one of the largest monarch butterfly groves in the United States are all within miles of downtown Oceano. The Oceano Airport also brings travelers and residents alike to the local area.
Just a few blocks from the beach area is a popular train car diner called the Rock n Roll Diner. With an old-fashioned dining venue straight out of the 1950s, it comes complete with red vinyl booths and a popular menu. Old Juan's Cantina is well-visited restaurant in the Oceano area serving fine Mexican food.
Downtown Oceano also hosts the Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville where theatergoers are welcomed into a comfortable atmosphere of cabaret tables and sawdust on the floor. Here, professional performers from all over the United States gather to present top-notch productions of great classic comedies, musicals and melodramas. This is a place to bring the entire family.