A Stairway to Nowhere in Pismo Beach

Photo Credit: Renée M. Besta

Known as a “vintage gem” in northern Pismo Beach, the Stairway to Nowhere is a beautiful, intriguing and masterful sight to see. Renée Besta, a local fine art photographer and owner of Ren Mar Photography, captures the splendor of the stairway masterfully. Renée’s passion for photographing decaying structures, along with a helpful customer who tipped her off to the location, led Renée to the Stairway to Nowhere. One fortunate evening she was able to photograph the antiquated stairwell against a magnificent sunset backdrop. Check out her updated (Pismo Beach Stairway to Nowhere – April 2015 Update) and original blog (Pismo Beach Stairway to Nowhere) posts on the subject.

About the Stairway to Nowhere

The staircase was dedicated to Pismo Beach in 1981 and then again in 1985. Pismo Beach locals can remember the day when the spiral staircase let beach-goers walk down to a quaint cove surrounded by steep jagged bluffs. A bridge connected the stairway to the bluffs for public access. It was also a popular location for wedding, graduation and family portraits, as one could imagine.

The bridge rotted away many years ago, but the now leaning and perilous staircase remains alone and deteriorating in a rather unforgiving coastal environment. At this time there is no other way to get onto the beach where it stands.

Ventana Grill and the Stairway to Nowhere

The staircase stands just behind what is now, Ventana Grill, a Pismo-chic restaurant specializing in coastal fusion cuisine and an atmosphere that enchants you with “the pleasures of the natural world”.

If you wish to view the stairway as its original structure, head over to Ventana Grill soon as there are proposed plans for partial demolition and restoration. It has been said that the stairway’s present core will remain while a new spiral staircase will be constructed around it. A new access bridge will accompany the stairway’s restoration to give the public access to the sand and water once again.

The potential reintroduction of the stairway’s access is exciting, but it is also a sight to see as it stands now. Don’t miss it!

Other Central Coast Historical Sites

Along with the Stairway to Nowhere, the surrounding communities of Pismo Beach offer several other historical landmarks worth visiting. Here are 3 of our favorites:

The Point San Luis Lighthouse: visit this charmingly restored lighthouse rich in local history and enchanting stories of lighthouse keepers and their families. The Light Station Park was built in 1890 and today provides unsurpassed views from Avila Beach to Vandenberg. Take a guided tour or feed your adventure bug by visiting Avila Beach Paddlesports. This company offers direct access to the lighthouse by taking a kayak or paddle board to a beach access point. A short hike later, and you will be at the historic Point San Luis Lighthouse.

Independence Schoolhouse: this gorgeous structure, located within the pristine Edna Valley, was originally built in 1909. Today, it is home to the Baileyana Winery tasting room and gift shop. Surrounded by Estate Firepeak and Paragon Vineyards, this site is perfect for experiencing a piece of history, stunning views and delicious wines from the Niven family wines lineup: True Myth, Baileyana, Tangent, Zocker, Trenza and Cadre.

Price Historical Park: take a step back in time and learn about early Pismo Beach from 1850 to 1893. Visit The Price Anniversary House, Chumash Exhibit, Portola Trail, Anza Trail, El Camino Real, Ortega-Price Tri-Gable Adobes, Meherin House, and The Stone Corrals.

The SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel in Pismo Beach is located right around the corner from the Stairway to Nowhere. Walk or ride a bike to take in the view and grab a delectable meal at Ventana Grill. Then, make your way back to your luxurious oceanfront accommodations. On day two, a short ten minute drive will take you to one of our other favorite historical sites: Point San Luis Lighthouse, Independence Schoolhouse or Price Historical Park.

Need help planning your historical visit? Contact us at the SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel.

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