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The Vespera Resort on Pismo Beach: Experience Lux Beach Living on Your Next Family Vacation

A Fun and Charming Central California Coast Destination: Family-Friendly and Pet-Friendly

The Central California Coast along the Pacific Ocean is a favorite for family road trips year after year. Need some beach therapy? One stop you definitely MUST include on your itinerary for your next family vacation is the small town of Pismo Beach! Beach, sand, surf, and sunshine,... that is Pismo Beach. It's a place to relax, rest, and find tranquility.

A shining star and the only hotel you should book while there is The Vespera Resort on Pismo Beach, part of Marriott International's Autograph Collection luxury hotels, opened at the end of 2019. It's a family-friendly, pet-friendly, sunshine-loving haven for beach lovers!

Stylish Hotel and Perfect Beachfront Location

The Vespera Resort is a waterfront beachy-chic hotel just footsteps away from the boardwalk and the Pismo Beach Pier. The hotel also overlooks the Pacific Ocean and you can walk right to the water's edge from the hotel "backyard"! It's centrally located and within biking distance to everything Pismo Beach has to offer. Bring your family and your dog and as you unwind, you'll feel like you're staying at your best friend's stunning, modern, beach house for the weekend.

This family-friendly, ultra pet-friendly resort has 124-rooms and suites to choose from, many with ocean views and private patios or balconies. Everything is pristine and modern with a maritime vibe. A soft beige and blue palette flow throughout the property and guest rooms, offering a casual, stress-free atmosphere. The lobby feels like you're relaxing in a lux living room as you look out the windows to see the "backyard" of the hotel, complete with an event lawn for games or lounging, fire pits, Adirondack chairs, and a heated pool and hot tub overlooking the ocean. The backyard is ideal for taking in Pismo Beach's gorgeous sunsets.

There is a fitness center, but it was closed (due to Covid) during our stay. However, a plethora of leisurely pursuits can be found in and around Pismo Beach, which will keep you and your family happy all weekend long. The one amenity I did love having at the hotel was access to a washer/dryer. Running out of clean clothes can be rough. What a luxury!

Ocean-View Dining

The Somerset Grill offers ocean-view dining and a romantic and unforgettable experience. Innovative California-coast cuisine and regionally-inspired flavors of the sea are incredibly market-fresh and perfectly prepared with the centered wood-fired grill. Available all day long for indoor, outdoor, takeout, or Grab & Go. Somerset Grill also partners with local farms and specialty vendors from San Luis Obispo County, It's wine country so plan on trying a variety of local wines and beers during your stay. The chef will even prepare a special dinner for your dog upon request. The exceptional service and outstanding amenities mean you don't have to lift a finger on your family vacation, just relax and enjoy the scenery!

Other dining options are available around Pismo Beach as well. Be sure to try the award-winning bread bowl Clam Chowder and Lobster Roll Sandwich at Splash Cafe. Also, the cinnamon rolls at Old West Cinnamon Rolls are decadent, so don't miss those either.

Getting to Pismo Beach

If you're flying into California, the closest option for Pismo Beach is San Luis Obispo County Airport (SBP). This option is just 15 minutes from the city. Rent a car or just Uber there, as it's really easy to get around by foot or bike once in Pismo Beach. However, you can also fly into LAX, Burbank, Santa Barbara, or Fresno. If driving from LA, it's a tad over a 5 hour drive (or more), depending on how many stops you make along the way.

The Climate

Pismo Beach summers are warm, arid, and clear. Most of the time the days look a little overcast, but we happened to be there during a beautiful, sunny and warm week! September is the hottest month for Pismo Beach with an average high temperature of 74.5° and the highest temperature you might see would be 88°F, but that's still not a bad place to be during a heat wave. The winters are somewhat cold, slightly wet, and partly cloudy. If you like staying active and do a multitude of activities, the time of year to visit would be June to September for swimming, surfing, biking, etc. If you're like me and love the rain, then travel during the California autumn. Don't forget though, the best time to visit and see the Monarch Butterfly Grove is November to February. ​​The winter months are the best time as butterflies make their way from the north in October and then November through February you will see the largest congregation. It's definitely worth experiencing at least once.

Local Attractions and Fun Things To Do In Pismo Beach

Soak up the sun while in Pismo Beach, either at the heated pool or walk out on the boardwalk, down the slide (yes, that's right, the slide) and onto the beach. Live your beach life here! Since the hotel is just footsteps away from all the action of the award-winning boardwalk, the Vespera Resort is a great place to stay and play.

We found so many fun things to do and we honestly could stay for a whole week. Here are a few of the things we did while on vacation and some ideas we've pinned for our next visit to Pismo Beach as well.

Monarch Butterfly Groves - We rented a single surrey from Pismo Beach Bike Rentals and Tours (next door to the hotel). They also offer different hourly options such as cruiser bikes or e-bikes and you can ride all over the little town. We pedaled our surrey over to the Groves and had the best time walking around in nature. Make sure if you want to see butterflies you go at the right time of year.

Dinosaur Caves Park - This 11-acre, ocean-front, bluff-top park is popular with walkers, photographers, dog lovers, joggers, and fishing enthusiasts. We spent about an hour exploring the beach and the caves. You can also rent a kayak from Central Coast Kayaks and try out your skills along the coast with a stop at this beautiful beach.

Margo Dodd Park - This ocean-bluff park (above the Dinosaur Caves Park), includes a breathtaking ocean view, covered gazebo, a huge, grassy, recreation area, bicycle parking and on-street parking. Such a great place to bring the kids and dogs for some playtime.

Shell Beach - Relax all day on the beach or have fun surfing. Watch for sealife and flying birds or go on a hunt for beach treasure.

Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area - One of several off-highway vehicle (OHV) areas administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) offers visitors recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, surf fishing, camping and hiking. The Oceano Dunes SVRA is an extraordinary geological complex of sand dunes and beaches providing a wealth of activities for visitors including camping, hiking, surfing, and fishing, as well as off-highway vehicle recreation. The Oceano Dunes SVRA is open daily from 7 a.m. to one hour past sunset for vehicle day use. You you use your own car like we did or rent an ATV or Dune Buggy. You can also ride a Hummer over the dunes with Pacific Adventure Tours.

Avila Valley Barn - A favorite spot to stop off and buy the freshest fruit and vegetables grown locally, pick up a pie or bakery treat, stop off for lunch from our deli or get an ice cream. There are hayrides, feeding the farm animals, pony rides (May - November), pumpkin patch (September - November), hay maze (October), Christmas trees (Thanksgiving weekend - December 25th), U-Pick, chicken shack & smoke house deli, roasted corn and homemade fudge. Avila Valley Barn is truly a place built for the whole family in mind. We loved this place and so did our doggy. Yes, they are pet-friendly!

Whale Watching - Harbor and Whale Watching Tours and San Luis Obispo Tours - September - October is a great time to see Humpback Whales.

Pismo Preserve - Ready-to-use routes ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

Edna Valley Vineyard - Offering indoor tasting experiences of limited-release wines and iconic panoramic views! Seating is limited capacity, but there is an outdoor patio available for bottle service reservations. They also offer a Curbside Concierge.

Pismo Beach Premium Outlets - Shopping anyone? Enjoy savings of 25% to 65% every day at 40 designer and name-brand outlet stores.

Vandenberg Air Force Base - Space enthusiast? Visit this iconic space launch base which has been launching spacecraft from the Western Range, and also performing missile testing.

Pismo Beach Bowl - This retro 8-lane center in downtown Pismo Beach has an arcade and a coffee shop diner.

Pacific Dunes Riding Ranch - Unique activities you can explore for beach and dunes include:

* Beach Fishing

* Basketball

* Horseback Riding

* Billiards

* Sand Sledding

* Surfing

Central Coast Aquarium - Exhibit hall is open Thursday-Friday 12pm-3pm and Saturday-Sunday 1pm-4pm. Masks are recommended due to the size of our aquarium. No reservations required.

SCHS Heritage House - A cultural museum, housed in a Victorian cottage, depicting elements of home life and costume spanning over a hundred years, in permanent and changing exhibits. Currently closed due to Covid restrictions.

San Luis Obispo Children's Museum - Created to provide a fun place for children and families to explore, discover and learn through hands-on exhibits and programs. Three floors and an outside playscape are jam packed with exhibits for children ages 1-10. Unique, educational programs and activities are scheduled throughout each week. FREE for Children 2 and under $8 for adults and children - Open Wednesday – Monday 10:00am – 12:00pm and 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Biplane Rides - Want a thrill ride? How about sightseeing from the air? "That yellow biplane" has become a familiar piece of Pismo Beach as it takes its passengers for sightseeing tours and/or thrill rides along the coast.

And, if you're in the mood for a drive one night, about 45 minutes away is Bruce Munro's Light at Sensorio. It's definitely worth seeing and just a straight shot on the 101. We hopped in the car for this one and we were definitely not disappointed. Gates open at 7pm and you'll be done by 9:30pm. Reservations are required. It was perfect to come back to the hotel afterward and jump in the pool to cool off. We then hung out in the backyard and played cornhole while sipping some beachy cocktails! So relaxing to hear the ocean at night and smell the ocean air.

More Activities Close to The Vespera Resort

Biking trail (5 miles) Boating (10 miles) Bowling (0.2 miles) Hiking (0.5 miles) Horseback riding (4.5 miles) Jet-skiing (1 mile) Kayaking (1 mile) Mountain biking, trail (0.5 miles) Tennis (4.5 miles) Volleyball (0.5 miles) Nature preserve, trail (5 miles) Bike Rentals (0.5 miles)

The Vespera Resort is Your Quintessential Family-Friendly, Pet-Friendly, Beach Vacation

We wanted to stay where the stars kiss the ocean. The name 'vespera' literally translates to 'evening star' and once you see its California coast-inspired aesthetic and hear the sounds of the waves, you'll truly feel like you're living at the beach, where the stars kiss the ocean.

Exploring the California coast will never go out of style and Pismo Beach is unequivocally a gem of a town, so be sure to include it on your itinerary. The Vespera Resort on Pismo Beach will be my choice again and again when staying in this cute little beachy community. It has everything your family will need to have fun in the sun and it's the perfect location. Staying at the Vespera Resort lets you feel like you live at the beach. Families will love all the activities for kids and how family-friendly the resort is as well. Being able to bring your furry friend on vacation with you is the cherry on your ice-cream sundae! The Vespera Resort is the quintessential family-friendly, pet-friendly, beach vacation!

The Vespera Resort on Pismo Beach, Autograph Collection is located at 147 Stimson Avenue, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Phone 805-773-1011 - Please check website for room rates and reservations at

Chanin Victor, the Travel and Lifestyle Editor at the Santa Monica Observer, presents her column "Travel Trends" bi-weekly in the print edition, offering readers a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of travel. Become a Subscriber Today! Beyond her role at the Observer, Chanin is a versatile freelance travel journalist, crafting engaging narratives that transport readers to intriguing destinations. In her 9-5 role, she serves as a creative director, dedicating her expertise to promoting tourism destinations across Southern California, blending her passion for storytelling with her professional pursuits. Based in Los Angeles with her family, Chanin seizes every opportunity to embark on new adventures. Discover her travels and insights at - PLUS - if you're interested in Chanin's family-friendly travel stories, inspiration and travel tips, look HERE: at the Santa Monica Observer!


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