The Central Coast is beautiful, but let’s admit that from time to time we all like to get out of the fog, out on the road and take a trip with our canine companions. Traveling Canine reports on fantastic destinations for you and your dog.
Traveling Canine Visits Pismo Beach
by Sharon Miller
Sparky’s favorite exercise is running on the beach at Asilomar/Spanish Bay with his extended family of humans and canines. From time to time, however, he hankers for new saltwater smells and we head off to Pismo Beach, the quaint old-fashioned seaside resort about 135 miles south of Monterey on Highway 101.
Sparky loves the 23 miles of clean white sand that gently slopes to the generally calm, shallow waves. He doesn’t even mind that the rules require that he stay on his (longish) leash, and that he is barred from going out on the 1,200 foot Pismo Pier.
There is plenty for him to do, what with eyeing the many migrating birds and dolphins, helping us collect sand dollars and other shells, investigating the seacaves at the north end of the beach (at low-tide) and avoiding the ATVs allowed on the far-south end of the beach at Oceano.
Some dogs might want to dig for some of the famous Pismo clams here, once so numerous that 45,000 of them could be collected in one day (and were often fed to the pigs!) Nowadays, humans (or dogs?) need a fishing license and are limited to just 10 clams. Oh, well, we can always satisfy our clam hunger at the hugely popular Clam Festival in October, or with a bowl of rich clam chowder from Splash or another of the seafood restaurants near the beach.
When Sparky tires of the sand, we can take a walk on the boardwalk that crosses the dunes from the 9-hole Pismo Beach Golf Course to the Monarch Butterfly Grove at the state beach. Yes, not all monarchs spend their winters in Pacific Grove; a great many of them head on south to Pismo Beach.
On another day Sparky might prefer to jog along the paved 2-mile-long Bob Jones Bike Trail through the sycamores and past Avila Beach Golf Course to another attractive, sheltered little beach and its rebuilt promenade. Or perhaps he has a yen to go kayaking with us at Morro Bay or Baywood Park----wearing his life-vest and after checking the tide-tables, of course!
Occasionally Sparky wants to go out for a meal with us. We are happy there is an abundance of dog-friendly restaurants around---like Seaside Café and Bakery in Shell Beach or Mo’s Smokehouse BBQ on Pomeroy---or where we can pick up a meal and sit on the beach watching the surfers. Of course, there are those occasions when we need some “alone time” for a romantic meal away from the kids, I mean, the dog, so then we head for Rosa’s Ristorante with its lovely Italian décor and patio (and the best bread ever!) or Steamer’s, where we have a view down to the beach and can see beachcombers romping with their happy dogs, making us feel a wee bit guilty. If we bring home a doggy bag and take Sparky for an evening stroll he forgives us for our occasional outings without him!