Home Breaking News San Luis Obispo County beaches: Open or closed?

San Luis Obispo County beaches: Open or closed?

COVID-19 sign posted at Fisherman’s Beach in Avila. Photo by Anna Paulson

From San Simeon to Oceano Dunes, beaches in San Luis Obispo County have differing rules to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

According to California’s Department of Parks and Recreation, 66 state parks and beaches are temporarily fully closed. Fully closed means that there is no public access to these parks, including the trails, beaches, and restrooms on the perimeter. There are also no parking facilities available at these locations. 

According to the list, San Luis Obispo County doesn’t have any beaches that are forced to be closed by the government. Regardless of this, many beaches along the Central Coast are either temporarily closed or moderated by new rules. 

To make it simple for all the beach lovers in San Luis Obispo County, here is a list from north to south of the majority of beaches along the Central Coast and their COVID-19 guidelines. 

Hearst San Simeon State Park 

Open for local use. Locals are allowed to walk, jog, bike, hike, and swim throughout the park and on the beaches but are not allowed to lay out on the beach for long periods of time. Parking is prohibited in the public parking facilities as well as along the roadways. The beaches located in this park include W.R. Hearst Memorial Beach, Pico Creek Beach, and Arroyo Laguna Beach. Both Pico Creek Beach and W.R. Hearst Memorial Beach are open to the public as long as beach-goers abide by social distancing rules and do not loiter. Arroyo Laguna Beach is temporarily fully closed. 

Moonstone Beach, Cambria 

In Cambria, open for exercise only. Jogging, walking, and swimming are allowed, but sitting on the beach is prohibited. The parking lots are closed. 

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve 

Includes Harvey Accessway Beach, Santa Rosa Creek Beach, and Moonstone Beach. Harvey Accessway Beach and Santa Rosa Creek Beach are both open to the public, but social distancing rules apply. The preserve’s hiking trails are also open but they ask that people avoid all narrow single track trails. 

Harmony Headlands

According to the receptionist at the Cambria Chamber of Commerce, the Harmony Headlands trail head and walk to the beach is still open for exercise purposes even though Harmony Headlands State Park is temporarily closed. 

Cayucos State Beach 

Open for exercise purposes, but it is prohibited to lay out and sunbathe, even if you are alone. The parking at the beach has been closed down to make the beach only accessible to locals. The Cayucos Pier is also closed to the public.  

Morro Bay State Park 

Temporarily closed. Morro Rock Beach remains open to the public but there is no parking. The Coast Guard station is as far as you can drive out towards the beach. People are allowed to walk out to the beach and swim, surf, jog, etc., but similarly to other beaches, laying out and gathering with groups is prohibited. 

Sandspit Beach

Open from 6 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. Surfing and other exercise activities are allowed as long as people stay the appropriate distance of six feet apart from each other. 

Montana de Oro 

Closed for vehicular access. Although park authorities say there is no parking throughout Montana de Oro,  people have been seen parking along the roadside to go on hikes or walk down to the beach. People are required to be doing something active while visiting and the park reserves the right to ask people to leave if there are too many people already there. Parties and gatherings of any kind are prohibited. The beaches in Montana de Oro include Spooners Cove, Hazard Canyon Reef, Coon Creek Beach, Point Buchon Trail Beaches, Sandspit, and Morro Dunes National Preserve. 

Avila Beach 

Open to the public but about half of the parking lot is closed off. 

Pirate’s Cove Beach 

Open for public use. 

Shell Beach 

Open for public use as long as people maintain social distancing guidelines. There are a variety of parks in Shell Beach that are also open for public use with limited parking and closed restroom facilities. South Palisades Park is open all day, Spyglass park is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Dinosaur Caves Park is open for day use as well. The parks are only open for exercise purposes and any sort of gathering is prohibited. 

Pismo State Beach

According to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Pismo State Beach is temporarily fully closed. This means no visiting for any form of activity. The receptionist at Oceano Dunes National Preserve, which is in control of both the Oceano Dunes Beach and Pismo Beach, stated that Pismo Beach is open for public use but visitors are only allowed to use the parking facilities for one hour. 

Oceano Dunes Natural Preserve 

Closed for all vehicular access, but people are welcome to walk onto the beach. 

Many of the state park and beach websites are not properly updated with information on whether a beach is actually open or closed, and what COVID-19 precautions they are taking. The best way to get information is by calling the specific state park’s home office that the beach is located in, or calling the beach’s ranger station. 

Help flatten the curve and abide by your local beaches rules to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.