Backed by a wooden pier that stretches toward the setting sun, Pismo Beach is where James Dean once trysted with Pier Angeli. Fronted by an invitingly wide, sandy beach, this 1950s-retro town feels like somewhere straight out of Rebel Without a Cause or American Graffiti. If you’re looking for a sand-and-surf respite from coastal road tripping, break your journey here.
Pismo likes to call itself the ‘Clam Capital of the World,’ but these days the beach is pretty much clammed out. You’ll have better luck catching something fishy off the pier, where you can rent rods. To rent a wetsuit, body board or surfboard, cruise nearby surf shops.