Near Pismo Beach, we stayed at the Elks Lodge (must be a member to park there) - only a block from the beach -
And the entrance to Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. You can even camp in your RV on the beach if you don't mind driving in sand. There is a fee for day use and camping.
They were getting extra large waves when we were there.
Saw these cute little guys - some kind of Curlew.
Four miles north of the Hearst Castle is a pulloff where you can get close (on an overlook) to a huge herd of elephant seals. They are here almost all year, but this time of the year they are just resting. Only the seals that are too young to take part in the breeding season are here now.
The best time to come is the birthing and breeding season from December to March. Birthing peaks in January.
Some of the juvenile males are practicing their fighting.
And they all like to flip sand over themselves.
An elephant seal sandwich?
We also stopped at Mission San Luis Obispo, another one of Father Junipero Serra missions, this one founded in 1772.
It was nice, but probably the least impressive of the ones we've seen.
We also stopped to see Morro Rock, a 581-ft volcanic plug just offshore from Morro Bay.
You know you're in California when you see a sign like this!