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It’s the dividing line between youth and age. It was about 63 degrees at the beach where we camped at a nearby Pismo Beach RV park. A sharp wind made me wish I could retract my head into my body like a turtle. At the same time, my boys, 10 and 12, jumped through crashing waves, challenging each other to belly flops into the ocean. No wetsuits. I remembered doing that when I was their age and it made me smile to see them so carefree. It wasn’t just that I had become more attached to the warmth of my body, it was also that the world had changed.
Gone are the days of sipping Mai Tais on warm sand dripping into the blue water of the Pacific Ocean. Waiters, who would hover nearby, ready to refresh libations at your posh beachfront resort. Hopefully, we can do that soon again, but in the meantime, families can still have their beach adventure through safe family RV road trips up the California Coast. And lucky us! Since the coast of California only has one season, with temperatures that fluctuate about 20 degrees through the months, a weekend away anytime is just as good as a week at the Pismo Beach camping site, Pismo Coast Village RV Resort.
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Set in-between San Diego and San Francisco, Pismo Coast Village RV Resort is perfect for a Los Angeles weekend beach trip. Immaculately cared for by staff, the campsites provide those essential full hook-ups to make any glamping trip comfortable. The Pismo Coast Village RV Resort is walking distance to a long sand beach, crashing waves, and a pier filled with laid-back restaurants, bars, and small-town shops.
Our family took our very first RV road trip, in the travel trailer we bought and figured out how to use, to Pismo Coast Village RV Resort, which hosted our stay. A big thank you to them and to GoRVing.com who made the arrangements. GoRVing.com has tons of tips to buy, rent or plan your family RV trip.
We arrived at our site in the dark. That wasn’t part of the plan but we had to be flexible with the day, just like we’ve had to accept the unexpected since March. Still, we made it and that little thrill went a long way.
Our campsite, #10, faced a lagoon where we heard birds calling to each other from what seemed like the Late Jurassic era into our current Holocene era. Festive bushes threw their leaves into the air and green abounded on the water’s edge.
The lagoon is perfect for young explorers to spot those giant migrating birds and an assortment of critters. Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire pit and, as I mentioned before, full-hook ups. Full hook-ups means you could power all the electrical things in your RV without worrying about draining the battery. You could also take long, hot showers and use your toilet to your heart’s content. Full hook-ups means you could drain the grey water (shower, dishwater) and the black water (toilet) from the holding tanks of your RV without leaving your campsite. It takes just a few minutes to complete the process. You also connect your RV to their freshwater supply so you have ample, clean water at all times for that shower. Though you probably want a good water filter if you’re going to drink it because it’s still tap water.
Since the coast of California only has one season, with temperatures that fluctuate about 20 degrees through the months, a weekend away anytime is just as good as a week at the Pismo Beach camping site, Pismo Coast Village RV Resort.
Each site also comes with complimentary WiFi and cable. We didn’t use the cable because we sat by the campfire at night and played games but we did post to social media because, OMG, we’re finally at the beach!
We had bought a big mat to collect the dirt we anticipated would make its way from our site into our travel trailer but it was rocks that covered the campsite ground so that minimized the amount of particles that made their way inside.
The campground has three access points to the beach and all the campsites are a short walk from any. When you make your reservation, you’ll tell them how big your vehicle is and they’ll put you where you fit. Here’s a Pismo Coast Village map of the campground so you could angle for the best location but really, you can’t go wrong.
Our site was close to a gazebo and small grassy area. Perfect for a mom to stretch her body, or do some yoga, before taking on the needs of everyone else in the family.
Also, because of the COVID situation, they are offering online check-ins so you can minimize your interaction with other people and breeze right in.
When they bill themselves as a resort, they’re not kidding. They have a restaurant that serves Happy Hour and also delivers to your campsite. The Pismo Coast Village Grill is open for outdoor dining during this pandemic and the fresh ocean air is wonderfully punctuated by the smell of cooking meat wafting from their large outdoor grill.
There is a Recreation Center that organizes games and contests for the kids. They have a costume contest for pets! There is mini-golf and a basketball court and a heated swimming pool! There’s a horseshoe court. There is a bike rental service where you can rent one of those fun surreys too.
There is an arcade but I didn’t want to break the boys’ hearts by telling them because it was closed due to COVID. Most of the amenities are closed right now because of COVID but the swimming pool is still open, you just have to bring your own lounge chairs. We didn’t get the memo and just sat on the ground.
It was fine. The boys played in the water. There was a group of kids playing games together like kids do.
There is also a laundry facility (still open) and a general store (open) that has a surprising amount of things you’d never expect in a small campground store. Like all those things you forgot to buy before your trip in your RV.
There is a timeshare option for this campground which seems like a pretty good idea if you like beach camping since the second we told friends how awesome the location is, they tried to book a reservation for the next month and couldn’t because it was already sold out.
Check the Pismo Coast Village RV Resort Facebook page for the most current updates on COVID restrictions.
Please remember we are new to RV camping so don’t laugh when I tell you how I kept setting off the smoke alarm in our travel trailer the first time I made breakfast. Not once, but many times. An ear-splitting sickly wail cutting through the morning calm. We finally just pulled the intrusive alarm off the ceiling. Yes, we opened the windows and turned on the stove vent. It didn’t help. I kept looking out the window at our neighbors’ sites to see if they could hear us and calling in the fire department. I was so embarrassed.
Breakfast out of the way, we started every day with a walk to the beach. Before we headed out, the boys biked around the campgrounds like a pack of wild kids. This is one of my favorite things about camping. Because of the situation worldwide, they didn’t meet other kids as easily as they typically would. On vacations in general, kids meet their best friends in an afternoon but on camping trips, they also get to have adventures like the kind kids have in movies. Climbing trees, raiding other kid’s clubhouses, getting dirty.
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We brought our walkie-talkies and I taught the boys how to say “over” when they were done speaking into them. I felt like a girl scout. They loved the sense of freedom they suddenly got. They rode their bikes everywhere. They ran errands to the general store. They found a baby rat near the gazebo and ached about rescuing it since its mother wasn’t around. These are not my children. My children are scared of flies and spiders. They would never come near an ailing rat. Yet, here they were.
The best part was the beach. Getting such easy access, we went multiple times each of the three days we spent there. The boys challenged each other to take the shortcut across the lagoon.
Kaleb and Howard surfed one day while Knox and I raided a candy store on the nearby pier for a snack. We pranked Kaleb by buying him a lollipop with a cricket trapped inside.
Sadly, the sand dunes at Pismo Beach are closed now due to COVID but read Pismo Beach: Family Fun! about the thrill you can have when they reopen!
We’d eat dinner outside every night and make s’ mores afterward. I baked cookies in the oven to get that cozy smell. Howard and I talked late into the night and slept soundly with the sound of crashing waves. People were unusually quiet for a campground in the morning there (except for those that set off their smoke alarms), so we slept in a couple times. After enduring so much of 2020, we really needed it. For a few days, we got to disconnect from the madness and find comfort in the most simple of things. Each other.
(And the beach).
When You Go
Pismo Beach is about a three-hour drive from Los Angeles on the US 101‑N. Easy.
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