The Ultimate Guide to Beaches Near Santa Maria Valley
From world-famous barbecue to mouth-watering strawberries, there are tons of reasons to visit Santa Maria Valley—but the best one of all might just be our convenient central-coast location that allows you to experience so much more for less. (Talk about the perfect home base!) Whether you’re coming to our Valley for surf, sand, smiles, or a bit of all three, today we’ve rounded up a list of the 15 best beaches in Santa Barbara County or San Luis Obispo County within a 30-minute drive of Santa Maria Valley. Strap the surfboard to the car and start packing that beach bag—when you stay in our Valley, you’ll have endless places to dig your toes in the sand.
The middle portion of Pismo State Beach with super-packed sand that most passenger cars can drive on (four-wheel drive is always recommended). Dogs are allowed on a leash—so bring along your four-legged friend.
A five-mile-long sandy white beach. This is the only California State Park that allows non-street-legal vehicles to drive on the beach, so it’s perfect for ATVs, quads, and all types of four-wheeled adventure.
A beautiful (and large) sandy beach that runs the entire waterfront length of Avila, California. This is a perfect place for a morning run or sunrise fishing session, or an afternoon volleyball session.
Locals have dubbed this one “Dog Beach” because dogs are allowed off-leash here. It’s also a great place for paddle-boarding on calm-water days. Be sure to walk to the end of the pier for a panoramic the view of Port San Luis Harbor and surrounding hills.
This is the beach that’s located in front of the North Beach Campground at Pismo State Beach. You can take a stroll along the beach or on a boardwalk through the dunes and to the entrance of Grover Beach (number 3 on this roundup).
Tucked away beneath a steep bluff in the Shell Beach neighborhood of Pismo Beach, this one’s been dubbed “Shelter Cove” by locals. You can find stairs and ramps down to the beach on the ocean side of the Inn at the Cove Hotel.
A long and narrow park along the bluff in the Shell Beach neighborhood of Pismo Beach. You’ll find a small grass area with benches and picnic tables and, near that, a stairway that offers beach access.
About an hour north of Santa Barbara, this hidden-gem beach is the perfect spot for those seeking seclusion. Jamala Campground offers 107 sites for tents and RVs—and Jamala Beach Grill serves up a tasty (and iconic) Jamala burger you won’t want to miss.
*** In Santa Maria Valley, there’s so much to do from here. Hit the road and explore it all with our 24 hiking trails, 34 tasting rooms, seven unique AVAs, 13 beaches, and a growing selection of local breweries, all within a beautiful 30-minute drive. There is no need to venture far if you are looking for sand dunes, cycling and authentic Santa Maria Style dining. You’ll find it’s the perfect home base, where you can eat, drink and do more for less.