First destination, Guadalupe, CA (west about 12 miles from Santa Maria, then west further to the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex – home to the highest dunes in the Western US and the most biodiverse coastal dune-lagoon ecosystem on Earth. Reaches 18 miles of shoreline and was used as a backdrop of the 1923 The Ten Commandments movie. Mussel Rock Dune reaches 500’ high. It is home to several threatened and endangered bird species including the California least tern, CA brown pelican and the Western snowy plover. It was cloudy, cold and windy so we ate our picnic lunch in the truck watching the waves splash/crash in. Did get out for a bit and spotted a humpback whale spout – quite a ways out.
Estuary – Santa Ynez River as it meets the dunes and the ocean.
Rangers were using shovels and wheelbarrows to clear the parking lot and the road in/out was sand-covered and deep in some areas.
As we leave…dunes and wildflowers.
Main Street, Guadalupe, CA
On Hwy 1 as we go further north
We stop at Pismo Beach Rec Area and pay $2.50 (with our discount pass) to drive on the beach. This is ATV/dirt bike paradise…and very busy on a Sunday afternoon. Without 4WD, we wouldn’t drive our RV on the beach, but it was packed. Chilly and windy.
Back on 1 going north, we find street signs for Pacific Coast Highway…Pismo, Shell Beach, etc.
We check out Avila Beach area near San Luis Pier. $35/night to camp
Back south – beautiful views and beautiful homes. Touristy towns.
Stopped in Guadalupe to eat at the Far Western Bar and Grill, once featured on Bobby Flay’s show on tne Cooking Channel. Closed and a sign on the side of the painted faded red brick building declared it a hazard in an earthquake. So on to Santa Maria and stopped at BBQ Land for more Santa Maria BBQ, cole slaw and pinquinto beans.