Welcome to the town of Oceano, located on the beach and is a small community of fewer than 7,200 people one of the only towns that decreased in population over the past decade. Oceano is an unincorporated town within San Luis Obispo County and a part of the 5 Cities which includes Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande, and Shell Beach. Located about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, just south of Pismo Beach it does not get the same type of tourism that Pismo Beach gets.
There is a lot of history here in the Oceano area and the dunes, the Chumash Indians used to live in the area and the dunes still have protected areas where they deposited their used clam shells that the sand still has not been buried to date. There used to be a community that lived out in the dunes called Dunnites and a large Pavilion was built for tourism which is no longer there. Many people lived out in the dunes called Dunites where many were artists, mystics, writers, and political activists that lived in small homes basically shacks from the 1930s to the 1950s.
Oceano is called the gateway to the Dunes and has a completely different attraction as a destination point than neighboring cities. Oceano Dunes SVRA has two entrances, the primary entrance is off Pier Ave. In Oceano. The dunes get over 2 million visitors a year for off-road recreation and for a small town there are a lot of people driving through. There has been talking about closing the dunes but so far, all the attempts have failed as there are people and nonprofits that have rallied to fight against organizations like California Coastal Commission, Air Pollution Control Board, and others from fighting to close the State OHV Park. Oceano Dunes SVRA is the only State beach in California that you can drive on legally plus there are 10-plus acres of dunes that you can ride OHVs out there for recreation. For more information on how to contribute to the fight to keep it open visit www.oceanodunes.org
Being so close to the ocean and such a small town, the weather is about the same throughout, averaging around 65 degrees.
Oceano is a small, flat beach community that is unincorporated and has had a negative growth over the past few decades.
Oceano as a whole has very little commercial, and as all the tax dollars goes to the county very little gets put back into this small beach community. Much of the small business and restaurants rely on the income from the visitors of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area. Oceano has a small, unmanned airport and the agricultural aspect as well.
There are so many outdoor activities to do near and throughout the County that you can stay plenty busy all year long. Oceano has the Melodrama right in the heart of downtown on Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) or known locally as Cabrillo Highway. Fruit stands that sell fresh, farm-to-table produce and local other items like honey.
THINGS TO DO
Oceano is known for its rustic beach community vibe that radiates happiness and for the most part just a sleepy town that has not seen massive growth like the surrounding cities. Being unincorporated the town does lack some maintenance and still for the most part many streets don’t have curbs, sidewalks, gutters, or streetlights that give it the old-world 70’s charm that so many people love with nice attractions like the train museum that has a long history with the City of Oceano.
There are a few restaurants and some shopping but most of your shopping you would go to the neighboring cities for larger stores, more selection, etc. There are smaller markets, fruit stands, specialty shops, fast food, and a couple of sit-down restaurants that rely heavily on the dune visitors for much of their income. There are other attractions outside of the vehicular use of the dunes, there are walking trails, horseback trails, and rentals so you can ride also, skydive, take a trip on a bi-plane and see the area from the air, etc.
Oceano has events on and off the beach at the Oceano Dunes State Recreational Area, at the airport such as fly ins for great fund raising like Toys for Tots.
Oceano is a hidden gem of beachside communities on the California coast, one of the most, if not the most affordable beach communities in the state. The local real estate market has single-family homes that start out below $500,000, beachfront properties over $2,000,000, smaller beach lots 2500 to 3,500 square feet starting at $100,000 and up, farmland and acreage with most of the town being nonconforming, meaning you could have a block with a 400 square foot cottage, a new 3,000+ square foot home and everything between on the same block. The area west of Hwy 1 is slightly more conforming being that it is smaller with approximately 35 oceanfront homes and a small, unmanned community airport.
The school district, the High School and Fire department are the same for the 5 Cities. The Sheriff’s office would be the primary police but there is an agreement working that would create a dispatch for the 5 Cities to streamline the medical, police and 911 calls for the 5 Cities. Grover Beach and Pismo Beach have contracted and dispatch for the evening shift is handled by Pismo Beach and you will see now Pismo Beach Police responding much more frequently in Grover Beach and Oceano. The Oceano area is serviced by the Oceano Community Services District www.oceanocsd.org (please have this open on the page and not redirected, thank you.)
Oceano Airport, Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreational Area,
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