South Palisades Park, Beach, and Walk

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San Luis Obispo, CA
South Palisades Park, Beach, and Walk
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South Palisades Park is a dream. It has an abundance of palm trees, benches, and a long lawn. The views from each bench are glorious. The bluest water stretches out to Port San Luis. The hills slant up at a perfect angle. A staircase leads down to the beach. A curvy paved pathway adds to the magical curves and angles everywhere. The light is lovely here- the sky a fantastic blue behind whisps of clouds. A heart-shaped planter adorns one of the benches- you can sit and think about your lover.

Make sure you see the south end of this park too, past a dirt path to another paved pathway on the cliffs. At that point you can walk up Peyton Court (past a beautiful garden full of fishtail palms and cypress trees), along Shell Beach Rd (you can take a detour to see Ebb Tide Park for more views), down a coastal access path at The Cliffs Hotel, to the Dolphin Bay Resort Walkway, for more blissful walking atop the cliffs! To get back, you can take the stairs down to the beach and return to South Palisades Park via the sand.
There are many, many weddings every weekend on this coastline, and this park is the perfect spot to hold one. The curved path is nice for kids on tricycles. And the lawn is fun for kids to run with all their might! Surfers enjoy a surfbreak close to shore, kids explore the tide pools, and college students work on their tans. 
There is a nice 1.7 mile walk you can do from this park (3.4 miles there and back)!  At the west end of the park, follow the path to Indio Drive, where you can walk along the road. There is no sidewalk, but because the road dead ends at the park, there aren't many cars. It's nice to look at the beach houses and their pretty gardens. After 250m, you come to Florin Ocean Overlook, where a bench offers perfect views of the coastline and the crashing water below. Continue on Indio Drive another 250m to Topaz Ocean Overlook, where you will find another bench with an amazing view! After another 300m, you come to an overlook at the end of Encanto Ave- this one doesn't have a bench. Continue 400m and you come to the Cave Landing Trail Parking Lot, where you can hike along the Shell Beach Bluffs Trail! It goes for 0.4 miles along the cliffs over the ocean with the most stunning views. You can hear the ocean crashing below, and it soothes your nerves. There are lovely plants like agave americana and red bougainvillea along the way. Beach houses that make you envious are on your right. The spiffy path ends, and at this point you can turn around. Or you can continue on a steep (10% grade), more rugged path all the way to Cave Landing and Smuggler's Cave. Not many people continue to the end because it's very steep.
A short walk from South Palisades Park, on Florin Street you will find Palisades Park Playground, a fun, tall, pastel-colored playground for kids. It has baby swings, a spinner, a tall slide, double slides, and climbies galore.
Next to South Palisades Park (via Peyton Court then Shell Beach Rd) is a cafe called Marisol at The Cliffs Hotel, with lovely views of the ocean. One building further is Lido, a fine dining restaurant in Dolphin Bay Resort, which has a happy hour 2-5pm with an ocean view. And one further than that is Spyglass Inn, with happy hour on M-F 4:00-6:30pm, with half off pizza and appetizers.
While you're in the Shell Beach/ Pismo area: For a place to eat, check out the restaurants and the lively scene at Pismo town and pier. For a wooden boardwalk over pristine dunes, and butterflies Nov-Feb, check out the Monarch Butterfly Preserve. For a super fun playground, head over to Dinosaur Caves Park.

Continue to directions...

Good spot to watch the surfers.

Daisies, and path to the beach...

Looking toward the western section of the park.

Beach below South Palisades Park.

Perfect spot for a wedding.

A peaceful place to rest.

Heart-shaped planter in front of the bench.

Another delightful place to sit...

The bench with the lovers' planter- so sweet.

Wildflowers and hills- what more could a girl ask for?

Two surfers in the water at South Palisades Park.

Bright bougainvillea and ocean.

Picnic table with a wonderful view.

Winding path on a sunny day.

Ice plant and hills beyond.

Daisies and a surfer.

The tide pools below.

A wedding!

Pink bougainvillea spilling over a fence.

Pink and dark pink bougainvillea.

Bougainvillea and canary palm.

A set-up for a photo shoot.

Sweet flowers.

A snowy egret cruising along on a foggy afternoon.

I love this snowy egret.

Snowy egret keeping an eye on something.

Snow egret in flight.

Staircase to the sand on the far south end of the park.

Walking along the shore.

Tide pools and honeycomb cliffs at sunset.

Stairs down to the beach, and gorgeous cliffs.

Exploring the tide pools.

Point San Luis looks amazing in the distance.

Log on the beach below the park.

Walking down to the beach.

Formal photos of a family, at the tide pools.

The tide pools are a nice place to take formal photos at sunset.

Photo session setup on the lawn.

The park is right on the water.

A family picnics on the lawn at sunset.

Bench with a peaceful view.

South Palisades Park, a beauty.


South Palisades Park is located at 198 Beachcomber Drive, Pismo Beach CA. There is plenty of parking along the road.


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Thu, 15 Oct 2009

A year ago I moved to live in Shell Beach mainly because it is a fantastic spot, great views, and not all junked up with snack bars and tacky gift shops. Glad I found this place.

Last Updated: Fri, 07 Jun 2024 00:57:30 GMT

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