Celebrating the Winter Wonderland of Pismo Beach

One of the most magical gifts Pismo Beach presents is the opportunity to be outside year round. While many areas of the country are scraping ice and hunkering down this winter, Pismo Beach is, in dramatic contrast, an inviting wonderland. Some of the most spectacular scenery and opportunities unfold right in the midst of deep winter. Come see for yourself the whimsy of Pismo Beach’s wonderland.

Abundant Wildlife

Many species quiet down and become harder to find during winter months. There are a few however who prefer to delight us by taking center stage during this otherwise dormant time. If you’re craving a way to connect with nature and enjoy the cycle of life without the snow and ice, come dance with the butterflies, listen to the song of both whales and birds, and see how seal pups get welcomed into their large families.

The Monarch Butterfly Grove

Right here in our front yard, Pismo State Beach is winter home for a different kind of ‘snowbird’, the wintering Monarch butterflies. The park has the largest over-wintering colony of monarch butterflies in the U.S. (Nov-Feb), averaging more than 25,000 per year over the last five years.

The Beautiful Birds

All around Pismo Beach you can expect to find birds dancing in flight and singing, even in the rain. Here are a few special birds popular in the Pismo Beach area.

  • Pelicans can be seen flocking together in gorgeous flight, skimming along the surface of the water. Observing these majestic fliers can be a gentle reminder to slow down and enjoy the blessings of the moment. Sometimes their powerful plunge can be so large it can be mistaken for a whale blow. Pelicans can dive from 60 feet high and always surface upright, ready for flight creating quite a show.
  • Heron and Egret. These two similar wading birds can be seen standing perfectly still like royalty or walking awkwardly about with their reversed knees. They are seen frequently around San Luis Obispo county, along the coast and inland alike.
  • Of course our old friends the seagulls are everywhere along the shore looking for fish and (sadly) chips. For info you may not know about them, check out Tony Hyman’s informational overview about the gulls and other birds. And please don’t feed them. We need to keep their habitat natural to keep ours safe.
  • Other birds you’ll find include cormorants, terns, and sooty shearwaters.
  • If you catch it just right you may find pelicans, gulls, cormorants and other birds all feasting together, a common sight along the central coast. These bird gatherings can also launch into a sea of birds in flight, a must see experience.
  • The Central Coast is right along the migratory path of a few different whales. From December to May, the California Grey Whales travel south to breed in the lagoons in Baja, Mexico and then back up north to their normal feeding grounds, a round trip up to 14,000 miles. This impressive migration involves more than 23,000 gray whales each year.
  • Wildlife Working Together. When the whales are migrating, you’ll see an especially vibrant bird show as these two fauna and animal families have been known to work together to stir up schools of fish for the ultimate seasonal feast for all.

Scenic Landscapes

After days and now weeks of rain, our thirsty mother earth is soaking up this moisture and smiling back with her radiant green hills. Scenic trails for hiking, riding and even driving are boasting lush beauty with deep tall green grasses blowing in gentle crisp winter breezes all over the county. The contrast of bare trees against blue skies with a rich green base is a picture worth seeing for yourself.

The stormy weather brings with it a unique stirring up of the tidal areas along Pismo Beach. Plentiful with sea life and interesting shells, rocks, starfish and more, the winter tidepools are a colorful and rich contrast to what you’ll find in the spring or summer.

Short but lengthening days means perfect sunset views to cap a day of recreation, play or rest at the beach, much quieter and sparsely populated during the winter than you’ll find at the peak of summer.

If you’re looking for the perfect temperate winter escape, the Pismo Beach wonderland offers a range of unique seasonal beauty you will not find anywhere else. Enjoy while you can! Book your getaway today.

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