Updated: Apr 30, 2019
There are various seaside towns/ villages along The One from where we are in Cambria, and I have really enjoyed getting to know the character of these spots. Obviously tourism is important, with surf shops and souvenirs being part of the culture. But there are also the saloon bars and wide streets, with busy weekends and empty weeks.
Cayucos is the closest to where we are. It has the cheapest gas around, so we go pretty frequently. The name is derived from the Native American word “kayak,” and is still a relatively secret coastal destination. Without sun it has a post-apocalyptic sense about it, with a rusty swing set sitting empty next to the pier and piles of drift wood stacked up like unlit bonfires. On a sunny weekend however, it is heaving with visitors, queuing up for ice cream and salt taffy (new to me) and making shelters with the driftwood.
Pismo is just beyond SLO and is the town where Brooks' grandparents used to live. He spent a lot of his childhood there, even living for a few years in the Landmark Hotel. Brooks's grandfather had quite a presence in Pismo, buying and building properties, running the local bar (Harry's) and even becoming Mayor for a stint (see the LA Times). On the main drag leading towards the pier you can still find the plaque for the Bailey Building.
Pismo is a classic beach town. For the rainy days theres the bowling alley or grabbing hot clam chowder in a dour dough bowl. Once we hit the Pismo Mclintocks (there are several in SLO) - a mastery in American style - with animals heads on the walls amidst birthday polaroids and a whole stuffed buffalo chilling in a corner. The highlight for me is playing pool at Harry's Bar under the watchful eye of grandpa Bailey, whose photos are still on the wall, posing with various local celebrities.
Pismo and Avila beach are also nearby. This side of Pismo is where the rich and famous are supposed to live, with huge tasteless houses. The actual beaches can get crowded (and one is nudist), but the trail up over the headland to see the keyhole rock is a pretty walk and has fantastic views over the bay to Pismo. We found it was a great spot to shoot some product images for Xicala Mezcal.