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The Secrets of Pismo Beach

secret gardenAnyone who has visited Pismo Beach has been enchanted by the beauty of this Central Coast beach town. Besides fun-filled trips to the white sandy beach and romantic walks on the Pismo Pier, there are some hidden gems in Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo County that are just waiting to be explored. Welcome to the secrets of Pismo Beach.

Secret #1: Avila Valley Barn

The Avila Valley Barn is a true family outing. From fresh cut flowers to feeding farm animals and taking a hay ride, everyone will be entertained.

The country bakery and farmhouse deli offer freshly made artisan pies, muffins, sweet-breads, roasted corn on the cob, specialty sandwiches and homemade ice cream. Sit down for a picnic or take a pie home. Either way you will love indulging in the sweet and delectable sensations the Avila Valley Barn offers.

Next up, hay rides! Hay rides are offered on weekends year round and daily during the summer for pick-your-own fruits and berries. Children of all ages are welcome on these rides and will enjoy the time of adventure and discovery.

Finally, send the kids to feed the farm animals including goats, pigs, horses, sheep, alpacas and emus while you stock up on freshly cut flowers as well as locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Secret #2: The Botanical Garden of San Luis Obispo

Who can resist a secret garden? San Luis Obispo’s own display of natural beauty, the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden, is hidden in El Chorro Regional Park off the Highway 1 between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. Four gardens encompass a range of exquisite plant life, offer a place to relax and meditate and combine plant and interactive fun for children. Visit the Preview Garden, Life Celebration Garden, Fire Safe Garden and Children’s Garden. Admission is free and the garden is open during daylight hours.

Additionally, the Botanical Garden strongly believes in “connecting people with nature through education and exploration.” Take part in tours, adult programs, kids’ events, classes, concerts, art shows, school tours and summer camps all designed based on a hands-on approach to fostering appreciation and understanding between people and nature.

Secret #3: The Charles Paddock Zoo

Take a short trip north on the 101 to where animal life thrives in acres of nature preserves at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero. Charles Paddock established the zoo in 1955. Paddock was a park ranger who passionately nursed wild animals back to health. Today, the zoo is the only zoo on the Central Coast accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is home to hundreds of animal species from around the world. These animals include red pandas, a Malayan tiger and lemurs plus many more mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds.

The zoo is open seven days a week at 10:00 am. Closing times vary by season.

Secret #4: Central Coast Kayaks Guided Tours

Discover the coast of Pismo Beach the way it was meant to be discovered, up close and personal and right in the water. Central Coast Kayaks in Shell Beach offers guided tours that will take you from Pismo Beach to Port San Luis. From surf zone launch to basic strokes, your guide will take care of you. All tours include a full outfit, snack and photo package.

The Cave Expedition will take you through a series of arches, caves and rock gardens only accessible by water exploration. The Tomol Tour is the perfect family or novice expedition taking you through the protected waters of Avila Beach and Port San Luis. This tour also includes a special visit to the historic Point San Luis Light House. The Pirates’ Excursion dedicates four to five hours to exploring where famed pirates and explorers ventured in the 16th century. Set your sights on amazing coastal vistas, kelp forests, caves and an abundance of sea life.

After indulging in one, or many, of Pismo Beach’s secret spots, put your feet up at SeaCrest, Pismo Beach’s OceanFront Hotel. The friendly staff, comfortable accommodations and pristine ocean views will guarantee you make the best of your Pismo Beach experience.

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