Ask a number of people what they like about their town and you're bound to get a variety of answers. Does it hold true when you ask people about Pismo Beach, California? Well, yes and no. Ask a few people what they like about this Central Coast town of about 15,000 covering about nine square miles along Highway 1 and you'll probably hear something like€¦
One gentleman who has called Pismo Beach home for decades says the best thing about the community is the people. Oh, and the weather. "The climate is pretty sunny," he says. "We do get fog, but not like the beaches north of here were it hangs around for days, and definitely not like out in the Valley." Maybe that's why the people are so easy going, he muses. "It's just a pleasant place to live."
According to a woman who works downtown, Pismo Beach manages to hang onto its beach town essence as it grows along with the rest of the Central Coast. "I think this is how places like Ventura and even Santa Monica used to be," she remarks. "Pismo is still small enough to feel like you're back in the heyday of California beach towns. And the weather is great."
A businesswoman who brings groups to stay in Pismo Beach each year says, "There are so many different things to do, I never have to worry that guests will get bored. The weather always seems to cooperate too."
Her visitors choose from activities as varied as:
"You don't have to visit the family-owned shops on Price or Pomeroy very often before people start to recognize you and give you an extra warm greeting. Once they see you a few times, you feel like you're among friends." So says a two-year resident of Pismo Beach. She is particularly fond of Pismo Bob's historic hardware and garden store where Bob says: "If we don't have it, you don't need it nohow." She adds, of course, "And the weather's great here."
So is the weather in Pismo Beach, really all it's cracked up to be? Actually, it is. Average high temperatures range from about 60 to 80 degrees, with lows in the 40s and 50s. Late summer and early fall months are warmest, and any fog that rolls in overnight usually burns off in the afternoon.
The Chumash Indians, residents of Pismo Beach a few thousand years ago, surely enjoyed the weather. But even more valuable was the natural tar, which they called "pismu" and used for their canoes. The area encompassing the town became a Spanish land grant in the 1800's like the rest of California. After the land changed hands several times, the original wharf was built to facilitate shipping.
For several decades during the 1900's Pismo Beach was famous for its clams. The town still holds an annual Clam Festival in the fall and you can dine on delicious chowder in the area's dozens of restaurants, even though the mollusk is not as abundant today.
Tourism is the mainstay of the economy of Pismo Beach as visitors enjoy events like the Dixieland Jazz Festival in October and the huge Classic Car show in June. The influx started in the late 1800's, when people from all over the state began to come to enjoy, yes, the weather.