1. Pismo Beach
What is it: An iconic surf destination with great breaks at high tide, warm waters and solid swell direction that's ideal for all skill levels, Pismo Beach is one of California's premier surf spots.
Why go: Even if you're not getting in the waves yourself, the 17 miles of shoreline and sun-doppled cliffs are enough to make you consider a dive into the water—or at least a move to SLO. Be sure to take a stroll on that picture-perfect pier, where you can usually spot the surfers bobbing around and under it between rides.