Oceano Dunes, CA

Oceano Dunes SVRA - RV Camping on the beach
Oceano Dunes is the only California State Park where vehicles may be driven on the beach.

Name: Oceano Dunes State Recreation Area (formerly Pismo Beach)



Southern California, 12 miles south of San Luis Obispo

Oceano Dunes Vicinity Map


The last remaining coastal sand dunes open to Off-Highway Vehicles. Formerly known as Pismo Beach.  There are about 3,500 acres in the SVRA, with 2,000 set aside as buffer/preserve. During the Snowy Plover nesting season (March - September), the riding area is reduced to about 1,100 acres.

The prevailing winds that blow in from the ocean push sand particles up into wave-like crests that run north-south. On the west or windward side the slope is gentle. On the east or leeward side the slope is quite steep. Sand grains, as they are blown over the dune crest tend to accumulate high on the leeward slope; then, periodically thin tongues of sand slide down. For this reason the leeward slope is called a "slipface."

Both the threatened snowy plover and the endangered California least tern nest within the SVRA. During the March 1 - September 30 breeding season, small fenced enclosures are constructed around the nests to protect these birds and their offspring from the surrounding recreational use. With ongoing support from OHVers, this nesting program has been a huge success.

Elevation -  0 - 200 ft.


The recreation area is located in Oceano, three miles south of Pismo Beach off Highway 1.
One mile south of the Pier Avenue beach ramp is Post 2, a post on the beach which marks the beginning of the off-highway vehicle riding and camping area.
OHV's must be transported to this point before unloading. Any areas on the beach or in the dunes that are fenced or signed are closed to vehicular use because they either contain sensitive plant and animal life or are private property.

MapQuest Map

Oceano Dunes SVRA Map

Arroyo Grande Creek Crossing: 

Ocean Tide Table

High tides, heavy rains, and blowing sand determine whether or not you can drive down the beach without getting stuck. Access to the OHV and camping area may be restricted periodically by Arroyo Grande Creek which is subject to water releases at Lopez Dam and increased flow during winter storms. Use caution during winter storms and high tide.

Oceano Dunes River Crossing

Oceano Dunes River Crossing   Oceano Dunes Arroyo Grande River Crossing   Oceano Dunes Arroyo Grande River Crossing

River Crossing Satellite Image

Camping Area: 

Ocean Dune State Vehicular Recreation Area has 1,500 acres, featuring beach and sand dune riding. Thousands of off-highway vehicle enthusiasts enjoy the beach dunes of this SVRA most weekends during the summer. It is a motorcycle, four-wheel drive, all-terrain vehicle, and dune buggy use area. Camping is allowed on the beach south of Post 2 and in the open dune area. Post 2 is one mile south on the beach from Pier Avenue and marks the beginning of the OHV area. All OHVs must be transported to this point before off-loading. Fenced and signed areas are closed to vehicular use either because the property beyond is private or because the area contains sensitive plant and animal life.

Oceano Dunes SVRA Aerial Photo

Vault toilets and chemical toilets are provided, but water must be brought in and trash must be packed out. Campsite reservation information can be obtained by calling 1-800-444-7275. Campsites are available by reservation year-round and can be made from 10 days to six months in advance. Reservations are highly recommended, especially for holiday periods.

Beach camping is recommended for 4-wheel drive vehicles only.

Oceano Dunes High Tide
Pay attention to the high water mark at high tide. Ocean Tide Table

ReserveAmerica - Oceano Dunes
Reservations: (800) 444-7275

There are several RV parks in town, but OHVs must be trailered into the SVRA.

Area Managed By: California Department of Parks and Recreation

Fees:  Fees - ReserveAmerica

Rules and Regulations:

  • Speed limit is 15 MPH on the beach and within 50' of any camp or group of people. California's Basic Speed Law applies in the dune area: Don't drive faster than is safe for conditions.
  • Laws that pertain to driving under the influence of alcohol are exactly the same for off-highway as they are for on-highway. Don't drink and drive.
  • Towing of any object other than another motor vehicle is prohibited.
  • Motor vehicles must stay out of vegetated areas.
  • Each unlicensed OHV/ATV operator must be under the immediate supervision of a licensed adult and must be capable of operating all vehicle control mechanisms.
  • Unlicensed OHV/ATV operators, with or without a safety certificate, are prohibited from operating a vehicle during nighttime hours or outside the designated OHV area.
  • ATV operators under the age of 18 must possess an appropriate safety certificate or be supervised by an adult who possess a safety certificate.
  • All sections included in Division 16.5 of the California Vehicle Code "Off-Highway Vehicles" apply in the designated OHV area.
  • All ATV riders must wear an approved helmet.
  • No passengers are allowed on three- or four-wheeled ATVs.
  • If your driving privilege is suspended or revoked , you may not operate a motor vehicle off road.

Other Information:

  • RV Dump - located on Le Sage Drive, 1/10 miles North of Grand Ave. on Hwy 1.

  • Ocean Tide Table

Access Issues:

Shorebird Protection - The endangered California Least tern and the threatened Western Snowy Plover nest on the sands of Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.

California Least Tern     Western Snowy Plover
California Least Tern                     Western Snowy Plover

Western Snowy Plover Chick
Western Snowy Plover

Please do your part to ensure the protection of these birds and your recreational opportunities, by following these rules:

  • Do not enter posted nest exclosures

  • Do not camp or park within 100 ft. of posted exclosure

  • Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times

  • Dispose of trash properly to avoid attracting predators

  • To avoid frightening nesting birds, kite flying is prohibited

Four Stroke Wars - June 2006

Oceano Dunes - 2006 Four Stroke Wars   Oceano Dunes SVRA - 2006 Four Stroke Wars   Oceano Dunes - 2006 Four Stroke Wars   Oceano Dunes - 2006 4 Stroke Wars

Pismo - 2006 Four Stroke Wars   Oceano Dunes - 2006 Four Stroke Wars   Pismo Beach - 2006 Four Stroke Wars   Oceano Dunes - 2006 Four Stroke Wars

Oceano Dunes - 2006 Four Stroke Wars   Oceano Dunes - 2006 Four Stroke Wars   Oceano Dunes - 2006 Four Stroke Wars   Oceano Dunes - 2006 Four Stroke Wars

Pismo - 2006 Four Stroke Wars   Pismo - 2006 Four Stroke Wars   Pismo - 2006 Four Stroke Wars

Other Photos

Oceano Dunes SVRA Aerial Photo   Oceano Dunes SVRA Aerial Photo   Oceano Dunes SVRA Aerial Photo
Oceano Dunes SVRA Aerial Photo   Oceano Dunes SVRA Aerial Photo   Oceano Dunes SVRA Aerial Photo
Aerial Photos from 4th of July, 2004 - Jim Suty

Pismo Beach Sunset   Oceano Dunes Memorial Weekend 2004



Oceano Dunes Weather - Pismo

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Trailer Rental & Delivery

Fresh Water & Tank Pumping

Help Save Access to Oceano Dunes
Join the
Friends of Oceano Dunes

Oceano Dunes Closure Map

We've lost a lot since 1982.  Together we can make sure we don't loose it all.

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