Looking for fun things to do in Oceano/Nipomo? Home to scenic dunes and great casual dining, this serene coastal oasis is one of Highway 1’s best kept secrets. Motor across the beach by day and take in live theater by night—It’s all on the roster. Ready to get out there? Plan your own awesome overnight stay encompassing all the best that Oceano/Nipomo has to offer.
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Explore Things to do in Oceano/Nipomo
Early stroll of Oso Flaco Lake Boardwalk
Begin your day with a visit to Nipomo’s Oso Flaco Lake and embark on a chill journey from forest to sea. Bring the kids and trek along the flat boardwalk that meanders through a scenic lake and dunescape. Along this relaxed route to the ocean, you’ll catch sight of the many seabirds that thrive within Nipomo’s pristine coastal habitat. The best part? You need not stray from Oso Flaco’s grand boardwalk to take in all the sights.
Humvee Tour Oceano Dunes
Get your blood pumping with a fast-paced spin along the sand. Sure, you can always rent a four-wheeler or dune-buggy to drive along Oceano’s famous beach, but why not embark on a high octane ride designed by the experts at Pacific Adventure Tours? Hold on to your seat as a real-life USMC Humvee speeds you and fellow passengers down steep sandy valleys and up towering dunes. Needless to say, this is a one-of-a-kind experience not for the faint of heart.
Lunch at Pier Street Deli
When hunger hits, head to Pier Street Deli in Oceano—it’s where the locals go. Located right at the entrance of the Oceano dunes, you’ll have no trouble grabbing a satisfying post-beach bite. Home to massive sandwiches that stick to your gills, satisfy your craving for savory meats, tangy sauces and fresh toppings. Also featuring a selection of Mexican tortas and beefy burgers, you’ll find that Pier Street Deli is the local favorite for good reason.
Horseback Ride on the Beach
Trot along the Oceano surf with an unforgettable horseback ride courtesy of Pacific Dunes Riding Ranch. This family-friendly activity allows everyone to swing into the saddle and enjoy the coast from a whole new vantage point. Horses are available for ages seven and up (weight limit is 250 pounds). Plus, pony rides are free for kids under seven!
Jeer Villains at the Melodrama
Laugh, cry and jeer with gusto at the Great American Melodrama in Oceano. Featuring a barrel of vaudevillian antics, audience participation is encouraged at this time-honored Highway 1 venue. Featuring family-friendly shows all year long, catch multiple shows per day at this unique live entertainment destination. That said, seasonal reviews are known to sell out fast. Be sure to grab your tickets while you can.
Oak-fired Steak at Jocko’s
A trip to Nipomo is incomplete without dinner at Jocko’s Steakhouse. Home to famously killer cuts cooked over red oak coals, this casual cowboy joint is considered the best steakhouse along Highway 1. What makes Jocko’s wood-fired beef so great? Taste the perfectly-aged flavor for yourself. Utilizing the Santa Maria-style grill method first popularized by Spanish rancheros, each well-seasoned steak is delightfully charred on the outside, juicy on the inside. Not much has changed at Jocko’s since it opened in 1962—thank goodness for that.
Wake to the Monarch Butterflies
Start your day with a natural mood boost: Vibrant Monarch butterflies dancing along Highway 1. With two different viewing locations to observe the butterflies—the Pismo Monarch Grove (near the Oceano Dunes) and adjacent to the Trilogy Golf Course in Nipomo—there’s no excuse to miss this colorful spectacle. Winter is the best time to watch thousands of majestic Monarchs hovering along coastal Eucalyptus branches. Orange, black and fluttering all over—you won’t believe your eyes!
Fuel up for the day ahead with classic comfort food served in a vintage 1950s train car. Yes, the Rock and Roll Diner in Oceano is all about cooking up tried-and-true goodness: Enjoy a traditional American breakfast with all the fixings amidst the kitschy, mid-century ambiance. The Butterfly Grille in Nipomo is another awesome option to start your day right, especially if you intend to stroll the nearby Nipomo Butterfly Grove. Featuring a heated patio overlooking a sprawling golf course, tuck into fabulous omelets, breakfast burritos or perhaps a perfectly fluffy stack of pancakes.
Fly a Biplane over the Beach
Spend the afternoon with your head in the clouds. Soar over the sand in an old fashioned biplane ripped from the pages of a classic adventure novel. A yellow biplane set against the blue coastal sky is a common aerial landmark in Nipomo—and it should be. Banner Airways has been flying out of the Oceano Airport for three decades, satisfying thrillseekers and sightseers alike. Ride as a couple or solo: the choice is yours. Whether it’s a first date or a big celebration, you’ll make high-flying memories together.
Lunch at Sylvester’s Burgers
When you’re ready to come down to earth, Sylvester’s Burgers in Oceano is here to make the wildest lunch dreams reality. Widely considered to serve the best burger in SLO County, you won’t leave hungry (and that’s a promise). Whether you order a stacked bacon burger dripping with cheddar cheese or an equally filling vegetarian option, you’ll find your craving crushed. Extra famished? The famous Sylvester’s Five Pound Challenge encourages brave souls to consume a massive meal in just 30 minutes. Winners get their photo on the wall plus bragging rights, too.
Golf the Mesa or the Dunes
Tee off and forget your to-do’s when you golf the Mesa or the Dunes in Nipomo. The Monarch Dunes “Old Course” is a traditional 18-hole par 71 course, while the “Challenge Course” is a 12-hole par 3 course with plenty of stimulating obstacles to overcome. Looking for a customized experience? Blacklake Golf Resort boasts 27 holes (three different 9-hole courses) so you can create your own 18-hole match combining the Canyons, Oaks and Lake Courses. Enjoy some friendly competition or work on your swing at the course’s handy 275-yard driving range.
Stewardship Travel for Good
Wind down your day with an enriching experience that gets you closer to Highway 1 history. Travel for Good when you support local cultural and historical attractions in Oceano/Nipomo. The Dana Adobe and Cultural Center supplies a fascinating look back to Nipomo’s early rancho days while the Train Depot brings America’s rail history roaring back to life. You can also volunteer at the Native Garden or Natural History Center, both great ways to get in touch with local flora and fauna.
Where to next
A day in Oceano/Nipomo is a treat, but there’s always more to explore nearby. Simply head north to Avila Beach, known for its sunny days and calm, glassy waters. This family-friendly white sand beach is a great jumping off point for a variety of fun activities. Stroll the pier, kayak to a lighthouse or hit the hot springs. You can also head east to Arroyo Grande, a quaint village known for its charming downtown antique shops, wine region and iconic swinging foot bridge. Plus, find nearby lakesports, ziplining and more just a stone’s throw from the town square.