California Central Coast

Beach Running: Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Morro Bay

Creative Commons: Blake Carroll

There is some spectacular beach running on California’s central coast. Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, and Morro Bay feature miles of rugged, undeveloped beach, with reliably firm, compact sand near low tide.  TIDE TABLE

Pismo Beach: The longest and most developed beach in the area. Located 13 miles south of San Luis Obispo. Miles of fantastic beach running. Start at the preserve or downtown and run south for miles and miles. It’s 12 miles to the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve.

Avila Beach. 2+ miles of gorgeous beach, from Avila Beach north to Harford Pier. Includes a short road section. There’s also a nice,  2-mile oceanfront section of Avila Beach Dr., which has a decent shoulder and great water views.

Morro Bay. Fantastic destination for a beach run. The favored route follows the course of the Brian Waterbury Memorial Rock to Pier Run. Starting out at the scenic “volcanic plug” known as Morro Rock (the “Gibraltar of the Pacific”), the route continues north on a beautiful stretch of wide, flat beach until arriving at the pier in the village of Cayucos. This stretch is about 6 miles one way, but you can turn around at any point for a shorter option, or do an out and back for a full 12-mile beach run. Like many of the coastal routes, it’s prettiest in the late afternoon while the sun is easing down over the Pacific. ROUTE MAP:  Morro Rock to Cayucos.

Essentials