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Pismo Beach SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel – A Classic California Beach Vacation

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Want to experience the quintessential California beach vacation? Head to Pismo Beach. This little town is everything I imagine California to have been in the 1960s. It’s ruggedly beautiful with a sleepy feel, bursting with mom-and-pop establishments. Located less than an hour north of Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach is an easy drive from Southern California or the Bay Area. It’s a great halfway stopping point for rest, food and fun for travelers making the all-day journey from SoCal to San Francisco or vice versa.

Pismo Beach vacation

Pismo Beach vacation

Relaxing in Comfort in Pismo Beach

There are quite a few places to stay in Pismo Beach, and most of them are smack-dab on the stunning coastline. Many are clustered right in the downtown Pismo Beach area, which means dealing with crowds and more noise than we wanted on this particular trip. Our location at the SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel made a great choice because it was on the northern end of Pismo Beach. It has several hotels, but is considerably less congested than the downtown area.

SeaCrest’s property doesn’t look like much from the parking lot, but don’t be fooled. All of the beauty is on the other side of the hotel, facing the Pacific Ocean. It has a small but serviceable lobby that’s been updated with a bright and modern feel. Pleasant staff checked us in at the front desk and gave us a helpful map. SeaCrest provides a free continental breakfast and offers rental bikes for both adults and kids right on-property.

SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel (Photos courtesy of SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel) - Pismo Beach

SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel (Photos courtesy of SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel)

We booked a suite, with a main bedroom area for the parents outfitted with a very comfortable king-sized bed and TV, along with a sliding glass door that opens onto a patio or balcony—amazing ocean views included! We loved snoozing to the sound of the surf at night.

SeaCrest is Perfect for Famlies

The family suite at SeaCrest makes a terrific option for families who want a bit of privacy after the kids go to sleep. It includes a small kitchenette area with refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave and storage. I appreciated having access to snacks or a glass of milk for the kids without having to hit up a convenience store. The adjacent children’s room is equipped with two twin beds, a separate TV and—very cool—a Wii console. My kids loved this feature and enjoyed having their own space to relax. The bathroom is spacious, with a shower only (no tub). Parents with little ones who still take baths, be forewarned.

SeaCrest's pool with a view of the Pacific (Photo courtesy of SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel) - Pismo Beach

SeaCrest’s pool with a view of the Pacific (Photo courtesy of SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel)

Our suite also had a view of the moderately sized pool and hot tubs. The pool was heated to 85 degrees in November. The hot tubs had different temperatures, one being 95 degrees Farenheit and the other, 104. My husband and I relaxed in the hot tub while the kids played in the pool after our drive up from San Diego.

Although the room was comfortable and roomy, I noticed that the insulation between floors is very thin. We were on the ground level, and had some heavy-footed neighbors above us who left us with a less-than-peaceful sleep the first night. I’d recommend going with a second floor suite to avoid this problem. The hotel also has dog-friendly rooms available, if you’re traveling with a furry friend.

Location, Location, Location

SeaCrest’s number one selling point is its location. Because the hotel is set up on a cliff, the beach is far beneath the hotel. It’s a steep descent from the hotel to the beach, but once you finish, you are rewarded with a view that is, quite simply, incredible.

Pismo Beach sites

Pismo Beach sites

SeaCrest is situated on one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever visited, with big rocks to climb, caves to explore, and a lovely stretch of flat sand that leads all the way downtown.  It took us about 20 minutes to make the walk to the Pismo Beach boardwalk on the sand. At the pier, there’s a swingset for kids as well as dozens of shops and restaurants. After a yummy fish and chips dinner, we made our way back to SeaCrest on the beach in the dark. It made for a fantastic evening.

A joy-filled beach sunset - Pismo beach

A joy-filled beach sunset

What’s the number one thing you look for in a beachfront hotel? Let us know in the comments!

A Note from Travel Mamas: Gigi received a media rate at the SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel for purposes of this review. All opinions are her own.

All photos by Gigi Ross, except where indicated.

About Gigi Ross, The Organized Travel Mama

Gigi Ross, The Organized Travel Mama, is a regular contributor to She is a tech-obsessed mom who’s lived in eight different cities in the last fifteen years. Her blog, KludgyMom is a sometimes-snappish, sometimes-heartfelt take on parenting and pop culture. Gigi’s writing has been featured at, BlogHer and Mamapedia. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband and two kids, who are all scheming to rid her of her fear of camping. Connect with Gigi on Twitter as @KludgyMom.

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