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If you’ve never witnessed the sun slip gently beneath the Pacific, felt the tickle of sand on your bare feet, or felt the cool ocean breeze on your face, you should. If you’ve never seen the western sky turn brilliant shades of tangerine and magenta atop the azure waters, it’s waiting for you in Oceano, California. Nestled along the San Luis Obispo Bay, Oceano is one of the best examples of small-town central California excellence that you will find. At just 1.5 square miles, Oceano is small, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in beauty and adventure.
The Oceano area offers an eclectic mix of everything that makes California great. There are miles (and miles and miles) of sandy beaches to enjoy and it’s the only place in the state where you can drive and camp in your Oceano RV rental on them.
Your campsite on the beach is just a short walk from some wonderful shopping and dining experiences that are pure California. Oceano is one of several small towns on the San Luis Obispo Bay, including the famed Pismo Beach, with activities for the whole family and endless options for just sitting back and relaxing by the ocean. Its proximity to Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo also puts you in touch with some great attractions and plenty of nightlife. Public bus service, offered by SoCal Transit allows you to leave your RV rental in Oceano and explore the neighboring communities at your leisure.
Like most of coastal California, the San Luis Obispo Bay is a great place to surf. It’s known for gentle waves that are great for longboarding and is one of the best spots in the state for seeing dolphins. The beach and surrounding hills are also packed with hiking, mountain biking, and horseback trails that wind their way through the canyons overlooking the ocean. Oceano is also within an hour or two of some great national and state parks that will make a fabulous day or overnight trip with your Oceano camper rental.
Perhaps the biggest draw for RV renters is the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). The park is located on coastal dunes and is great for swimming, surf-fishing, hiking, camping, and more. South of Post 2, the beach is open for driving and camping in your motorhome or camper. The beach is open to vehicle traffic of all kind, although off-road vehicles are recommended. Several businesses in Oceano offer dune buggy and other ORV rentals, or hook up a trailer to your Oceano motorhome rental and bring your own.
Inland adventures also await you when you rent a travel trailer in Oceano. Backpackers and hikers can experience a diversity of environments at the Montana de Oro State Park which offers numerous trails through rugged coastal cliffs, secluded beaches, coastal plains, canyons, and hills. Guided hikes are also offered by Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E), including the eight-mile Rattlesnake Canyon loop and the Pecho Coast Trail, a 3.75 -mile loop that visits the historic Point Luis Lighthouse. Hikers can also delight in the short, but breathtaking Cave Landing Trail, an easier, half-mile loop that visits a natural sea cave, sometimes called Pirate’s Cave. Be wary of bringing children along, however, as the beach at the other end of Pirate’s Cave is clothing-optional and you’re likely to encounter some adults hoping to avoid those pesky tan lines.
If that’s not enough, Oceano is a great starting point to launch some longer trips to some of central California’s great national and state parks. The Los Padres National Forest is a perfect example, about an hour’s drive from Oceano. The northern portion of the forest includes the famed coast along the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, a haven for musicians, artists, and writers. The area is also home to one of a handful of sanctuaries for the California condor, one of the largest and most endangered birds in the world, and has over 1,200 miles of trails, plenty of scenic byways, and campgrounds to park your Oceano rental motorhome and breath in the fresh mountain air.
Camping in Oceano couldn’t be easier. Just drive your RV rental to the Oceano Dunes SVRA and camp right on the beach. Just be sure not to get stuck. If the SVRA is filled up, there are dozens of other options for camping in your RV rental near Oceano, including the Oceano Campground and the Pacific Dunes Ranch and RV Resort. Several campgrounds, most with full hook-up sites, are also available up the shore including in Pismo Beach and Port San Luis. Family-friendly camping can be had at the Avila/Pismo Beach KOA which offers modern amenities and activities for adults and children. For those seeking to take their travel trailer rentals on overnight trips, both the Montana de Oro State Park and Los Padres National Forest have plenty of RV-friendly campgrounds.
Oceano and the surrounding communities aren’t just about the beach, they also provide some great options for shopping, sightseeing, and, of course, dining. Quirky, beachy shops dedicated to art, beachwear, and surfing are in abundance in Oceano and Pismo Beach. In Port San Luis, stroll through the Port San Luis Harbor District which features recreational entertainment such as paddle boating, chartered sportfishing tours, as well as several outdoor restaurants and cafes along the Port San Luis Pier which has stood since 1873. Visitors in the fall and winter months can experience the Monarch Butterfly Grove, a picturesque eucalyptus grove that acts as a stopping point for thousands of monarch butterflies during their annual migration.
Dining in and around Ocean provides a trifecta of California cuisine: insanely fresh seafood, greasy burgers, and authentic Mexican fare. Dozens of restaurants line the beach and featuring fresh seafood in an outdoor setting just feet from the ocean. Book an RV in Oceano and you can relax and sip exotic cocktails while the sun goes down at one of the many beach-side bars. If you’d rather have a “home cooked” meal, the Port San Luis Pier has a great fish market where you can purchase your own seafood (always fresh) and cook it up over a fire at the campground.
For a wider range of options, park the RV rental in Oceano, CA, and take the commuter bus to San Luis Obispo which offers a diversity of shopping, dining, and all of the nightlife you could hope for. The city has plenty of historical attractions celebrating the early Spanish history of the area. For those who long to be pampered, drive your Oceano RV rental by owner to Avila Springs, just a few minutes north of Oceano. Avila Springs is centered around natural mineral hot springs and has several resorts that provide full spa treatments.