Pismo, the perfect fall break trip

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It’s that in-between time of year here in the Santa Clarita Valley; back-to-school is behind us and the holidays are not quite upon us. Yet, for many school-aged kids and teens, they look forward to fall break.

For elementary school-aged children in the Saugus Union School District, that’s an entire week off school the first week of October. For high schoolers in William S. Hart District, it’s a long weekend with Oct. 1–2 off. No matter which age group, Pismo is great place to visit during fall break, either for a long weekend or a full week.

Pismo is 160 miles northwest of Santa Clarita, a roughly 3- to 4-hour drive up the coast. Just south of San Luis Obispo, Pismo is a dreamy beach town with a population of 8,000. Pismo is the perfect destination for families, the self-proclaimed beach bum, and golf and wine aficionados alike.

Where to Stay

Cottage Inn by the Sea is a charming English cottage-inspired style boutique hotel. Located on the ocean front sea bluffs, it provides a dramatic view of the ocean with a  convenient location for nearby activities and restaurants. Rates start at $180 per night, but the hotel is offering discounts for fall break trips. Cottage Inn by the Sea, Pismo Beach, 2351 Price St., (805) 773-4617, Cottage-Inn.com.

What to Do

Families flock to Pismo Beach for two reasons: the beach and sand dunes. Take your time and lounge on the beach, like you would at any other oceanfront destination. Visitors love to sunbathe, surf, kayak and explore the tide pools.

The more adventures can visit the Ocean Dunes Natural Preserve. The Preserve is one of the most extensive coastal dune areas left in California and offers miles of protected sand dunes to let your inner-child unleash.

Take your own all-terrain vehicles for a ride on the dunes and sand bowls or rent ATV’s of all sizes for family members of all ages from Sun Buggy Fun Rentals. Smaller ATV pricing starts at $60 for 4 hours and goes up from there. Sun Buggy Fun Rentals, 328 Pier Ave, (866) 728-4443, SunBuggy.com.

For a truly unique family experience, take the family clamming. The Pismo Clam is one of the largest clams found along California coastlines and can grow to seven inches. Legal sizes are a minimum of 4 1/2 inches for harvesting.

First, head to CVS or Gotta Go Fish’n to get a clamming permit, which can be obtained year-round, and grab a fishing license, which is under $15. Then grab a caliper, or clam fork, and head to the ocean just before sunrise or just after sunset and hunt for clams. It will be a truly unforgettable and photo-worthy experience for the family.

Where to Eat

Huckleberry’s is a local favorite that offers a wide selection of classic American food. Only open for breakfast and lunch, the restaurant prides itself as having “Southern cooking with a California twist.” Huckleberry’s features delicious plates, like tasty Mardi Gras Beignets and Stuffed French Toast. Huckleberry’s, 300 Five Cities Dr., (805) 773-4117, huckleberrys.org.

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