I don't know why I was expecting a Manhattan or Huntington Beach, but in town the architecture in Pismo Beach is much older than our local beaches in L.A. or O.C.
PB brought to mind the film Brighton Beach Memoirs because most of the buildings looked to be built in and around the 30's and 40's. Indeed, the first fishing pier was built in 1924. You can still fish of the end of the pier without a license.
In the water there were plenty of surfers, body and boogie boarders. I passed a few people sprinting theoretically post work toward the water in their half-suit with a board under their arm trying to get in some time on the water before the sun went down.
Parts of the town are a tiny bit run down and there are some prime beach front pieces of property empty and for sale, a sign of the economy probably more than a sign about Pismo Beach.
Pismo Beach was thrumming with vacationers this week.
The hotel I stayed in, every restaurant I visited and the water's edge were all populated heavily with Europeans. "Foreign", said the waiter near me at one spot when I stopped for local oysters on the half shell.
I heard Spanish, British, German, Japanese and more.
Conveniently for me, Pismo Beach sits right at an intersection of the 1 and the 101, making it an easy 40 mile trip from the ocean to my training site inland.
There are other little beach communities to the north including Grover Beach, Avila Beach (home to one of my favorite wine bars, Cuvee), Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo.
Pismo Beach is known as the clam capitol of the world, hosting the Clam Festival every October.
The places you'll go and the things you'll see.