Go three miles south of Pismo Beach to find Oceano Dunes Preserve, one of the most expansive coastal dunes left in California. The Preserve offers rare opportunities for on-the-sand activities—you can camp, go horseback riding, and drive right on the beach. In fact, it’s the only California State Park that allows vehicles to do so (four- or all-wheel drive recommended). Thrill-seekers: Don’t miss the opportunity to fly up and down the massive mounts of sand in a Hummer or your own ATV or SunBuggy.
Sand is a signature element of the Pismo Beach area, but there are plenty of water activities too. For an adrenaline rush, try kiteboarding or surfing; for a more mellow activity, go on Central Coast Kayak’s three-hour Cave Excursion to explore the protected coves or rent a kayak to sightsee at your own pace.