Whether you’re on a road trip along the California Coast, taking a trip to San Louis Obispo, or just looking for a place to get outside and stretch your legs, Dinosaur Caves Park in Pismo Beach is an absolute must see!
The stunning park offers an easy trail over the bluffs, with jaw dropping views of the ocean. There’s even a playground (for those traveling with kids, or for adults who can admit that swings are still super fun), with dinosaurs in the sand! This guide is all about Dinosaur Caves Park in Pismo Beach – how to get there, where to go for the best views, and everything you need to know.
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How to Get to Dinosaur Caves Park
Dinosaur Caves Park is along Highway 101 (it’s in a spot where the iconic coastal Highway 1 meets the 101), just south of San Louis Obispo. If you’re traveling from SLO, just take the 101 south – it’ll be about 15 minutes, and Dinosaur Caves Park will be in the town of Pismo Beach, right off the highway!
And if you’re traveling north, take with the 1 or the 101 – shortly after they converge, the park will be on the left!
If you need to fly in, I recommend using Expedia to get the best deals on flights, hotels, and rental cars. The closest airport to Dinosaur Caves Park is the San Louis Obispo County Regional Airport – but if you plan to stop at a few other places in California, you may choose to fly into LAX, which is bigger and has more options. It is a 5 hour drive from there to Pismo Beach, so be sure to check out these other things to see on a California Coast road trip!
When to Visit Dinosaur Caves Park
Dinosaur Caves Park is truly amazing any time of year. Pismo Beach has pretty consistent weather throughout the year, so while winters are a little colder, you can usually expect temperatures in the 60s during the day.
Summers are typically more foggy in Pismo Beach, so if you visit this time of year, it may be a little overcast – but the fog usually burns off in time for some amazing sunsets! Spring and fall offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds than summer, while winter is sunny and great for travelers coming from colder parts of the world.
No matter when you go, I recommend bringing a windbreaker! The ocean breeze can be surprisingly chilly, so it’s best to bring an extra layer. The best time of day to see the coastal bluffs and rocky formations is sunrise and sunset, which is usually a little colder than midday as well.
The Dinosaur Caves Park Bluff Trail
The trail along the coastal bluffs is absolutely stunning, especially considering how easy it is! The Dinosaur Caves Bluff Trail is 1.2 miles long, and you can hike the entire thing, or just catch a glimpse from a few of the overlooks.
From the parking lot of Dinosaur Caves Park, you just walk towards the ocean – go past the playground, and the trail extends in both directions! My favorite views were to the right, so I recommend going that way first, but if you have time, definitely check out all of it.
When you head right, you’ll walk along the stunning trail, with views of the ocean. This trail is dog friendly, so you can bring your pup!
Keep going right – the best views are coming up, and the trail is easy to follow. This is technically a different park (Margo Dodd Park), but it’s adjacent to Dinosaur Caves and offers an amazing views of these sea stacks in the ocean. The crashing waves and the setting sun make for a really jaw dropping view, and it’s hard to believe that you don’t even have to leave the city to see it!
There are some stairs that descend down to the beach, but at the time I’m writing this, they’re closed – the sign says they’re unstable. But, don’t worry! Go back to the left, and there are more views, and another spot where you can safely go down to the beach.
To get down to the beach, just follow the Dinosaur Caves Bluff Trail east. You’ll see the Inn at the Cove, and make a turn into the paved “yard” of the hotel. From there, you’ll see a gazebo – this is a great overlook, but to get to the beach, keep going to the white arch. At the arch, you can take the trail to the stairs, which descend down to the beach!
The beach is beautiful, with rocks and a cool arch formation. At low tide, it’s a great place to explore tide pools and marine life.
Where to Stay Near Dinosaur Cave Park, Pismo Beach
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay near Dinosaur Cave Park, there are tons of places that offer views of the ocean right from your room! The most convenient option is the Inn at the Cove, which is right next to the park.
For more places to stay in Pismo Beach, check out this map!
More to Do Near Dinosaur Cave Park, Pismo Beach
Have you been to Dinosaur Cave Park, or have recommendations for things to se nearby? Let me know in a comment below!
Here are some other adventures to have while you’re in California:
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