Last year we wrote a story entitled “Five and a Half Days” in which we visited San Francisco, Sausalito, Napa, Fairfield, Suisun Bay, Benicia, The Delta, plus visited the Jelly Belly Factory, fished Grizzly Island, and so much more yet only in five and a half days. We never felt rushed and spent hours just leisurely kicking back or fishing along the rain saturated banks of the delta.
This time we are doing a mini version called, Three and a Half Days. On this trip, we visited Cayucos, Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Oceano, Summerland, The Dutch town of Solvang, Carpenteria, Downtown Ventura, and Santa Barbara. We visited a butterfly grove, an ostrich farm, we saw six piers plus drove on two, we fished at night under a full moon, we saw otter and seals, and made it back home in time to watch the 6:00 news. As with the other trip, we never felt rushed.
After spending the earlier part of the day in Avila and Cayucos, I wasn’t ready for the more crowded scene at Pismo Beach.
Even though it has a lesser population than Avila Beach, it is better known and has a higher volume of visitors. Part of that reason is that Pismo Beach has a unique attraction… you can drive on the beach!!
Pismo Beach is six miles south of Avila and has a whole different feel. I liked it there, although after visiting the other two cities first, it felt like it was inflicted with TMP (too many people.)
We headed to the pier first as this seemed to be where most of the tourist attractions, shops, restaurants, and TMC congregate. The beach was just as terrific as Cayucos or Avila and the pier although on the smallish side, added to the scenic atmosphere.
Pismo Pier at Sunset
I wanted to walk on the pier but it was closed just like the others. So I did my obligatory walk on the beach for sea glass hunting and yet again only found a few less than prime pieces.
We had heard about a butterfly grove at the state park, so we decided to drive past town to see it for ourselves. Each year thousands of orange monarch butterflies flock to Pismo Beach to find shelter from the cold northern winters.
We were lucky that we were in the middle of the migration period that runs from October to February and were able to see this phenomenon.
Walking into the grove, you are not sure where to go or where they are amongst all of the tall eucalyptus trees. It doesn’t take long to figure it out though as you soon run into a gathering of people all looking up into the trees.
The thing is, you can’t really see them. So I took my telephoto and there they were, thousands of them hanging on to the limbs!! It was an amazing
Closer view of butterflies
The grove provides a few telescopes that are set up for anyone to use plus they have informative talks scheduled at designated times and guides to help you. At the time we visited, they reported that there were over 14,000 monarchs present. I wonder who did the counting.
Anyway, if you are ever in town during this time frame, be sure and check out the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove.
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