Top 3 Places to Celebrate the Fourth of July (Central Coast Style)

Pick Your Fireworks Location and Plan Your Day Around One of These Ocean Towns

What’s better than the Fourth of July—celebrating freedom, opportunity, and gratitude for all we have here in the USA, all wrapped up in red, white, and blue, and centered around time with family and friends?

And fireworks! (Did we mention fireworks?!?)

The only thing better than celebrations (and fireworks!) is that we’re steps from the Pacific Ocean!  Woot!

Here are three of our Flavorite Central Coast places to get your fireworks fix and create an Independence Day to remember, along with restaurant and other recommendations from the Flavor Team. (Please do call ahead and confirm places are open.)

Ready? Get set! Go celebrate!

First: Pick Your Sparkly Place

From Lompoc to Paso Robles, the Central Coast is filled with July Fourth celebrations. With so many to choose from, we suggest picking the place you want to watch fireworks and working backwards to plan the rest of your holiday from there.

Don’t get caught by a high tide. Here’s the Fourth of July Tide Schedule.
Sunrise: 5:52 am  / Sunset:  8:22 pm
Low Tide: 2:32 am / High Tide: 8:46 am / Low Tide: 1:45 pm / High Tide: 7:54 pm


Grover Beach/Pismo Beach/Shell Beach/Avila Beach

Pismo Beach and the surrounding beach towns are packed with Fourth of July activities.

Fireworks: The fireworks begin at 9:00 pm from the Pismo Pier.

Breakfast: Start the day with stick-to-your ribs fare from Penny’s All American Café in Pismo, L’il Bits in Grover Beach, or the Village Café in Arroyo Grande. Or, head to the Avila Beach Pancake Breakfast fundraiser from 8:00 – 11:00 am at the Avila Beach Community Center, 191 San Miguel Street. Cost is $7/person and $3 for kids ages six and under.


• Although the Pismo Pier is closed for repairs, Pismo Beach will be hopping. There will be arts, crafts, food, and music downtown.

• The Avila Beach Doggie Parade  starts at 11:00 on the Avila Promenade. Free to watch; if your pooch wants to participate, registration required.

• Check out the Village Band performance at 1:00 in the Rotary Bandstand in the Arroyo Grande Village, and munch on hotdogs, lemonade, and ice cream.

• Spend the day on the beach! Heading south from Pismo Beach to the Grover Beach Entrance Station, buy a day pass and claim your spot to set out blankets, beach chairs, and dig a pit for a campfire. Or take a long walk on the beach—from Pismo Beach all the way south past Oceano.

Lunch: If you’re not up for cooking your own lunch on the campfire, grab clam chowder from Brad’s in Pismo or Mexican from Zorro’s in Shell Beach and have a picnic. If you want to eat in, check out Rooster Creek Tavern in Arroyo Grande or Rosa’s in Pismo Beach.

Dinner: Take out: In Grover Beach, Juanita’s Mexican (al pastor tacos) and Villa Del Mar (shrimp tacos). Eat in: Divine Thai in Grover Beach; Fin’s Seafood, right next to the ocean; SeaVenture overlooking Pismo Beach. Or cook over the open flame of your campfire—hotdogs, anyone? Or more fancy fare cooked in foil packets (shrimp, vegetables). And remember the S’Mores!

Cayucos/Morro Bay

From Morro Bay up the beach to Cayucos, you can fill your day with Fourth of July fun.

Fireworks: The fireworks begin at 9:00 pm from the Cayucos Pier. If you spend your day in Morro Bay, check out several cruises that will take you to Cayucos to be closer to the fireworks. Or set up your beach chairs along Morro Strand and watch the fireworks from there.

Breakfast: Blue Sky Bistro in Morro Bay; Lunada Garden Bistro in Cayucos.

Cayucos Activities: Sand Sculpture Contest: 5:00 – 8:00 am by the pier. Annual Parade 10:00 am, Ocean Ave. Lion’s Club BBQ/food 11:00 – 3:00, Vet’s Hall. Bingo 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Vet’s Hall. Beach Games, 1:00 pm by swing set.

Morro Bay Activities: Unless otherwise noted, activities take place at Tidelands Park, on the south end of Embarcadero. Skateboard Race, 10:00 – 10:30 (registration at 9:00), starting at Morro Bay High School. Bike Parade, 12:00 – 12:30, starting at the bridge over Morro Creek. Don’t have a bike? Rent one, decorate it, and join in the fun!  4th of July Ceremony, 12:30 (flag raising, performance of the national anthem, reading of Declaration of Independence preamble). Family Carnival, 12:00 – 5:00, at Tidelands Park with dunk tank, bounce house, games, food vendors, and live entertainment.

Lunch: Ruddell’s Smokehouse in Cayucos.

Dinner: Ruddell’s Smokehouse (yes, it’s that good) and Cass House in Cayucos. Tognazzini’s Dockside Too in Morro Bay.


If your Fourth of July plans bring you to Cambria, be sure to take time for a walk on Moonstone Beach. (Wear your flip-flops; the pebbly sand is pointy on bare feet.)

Fireworks: Fireworks begin at dusk from Shamel Park, 5455 Windsor Blvd.

Breakfast: Linn’s Easy as Pie Café (eat in or take out)

Activities: •Cambria’s annual 4th of July celebration is held at Shamel Park from 10am to 10pm, with family fun events, music and a BBQ all day long.• Trolley service runs from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, from North Moonstone to Main Street to East Village with a turnaround at the Dog Park.

• Activities: Opening Ceremonies, 11:00. Live music, 11:30 am to 1:00 pm and 3:15 to 5:00. Waiter and Waitress Balancing Tray Relay Races, 1:00 to 2:00 pm. Linn’s Messy Pie Eating Contest, 2:00 – 3:00 pm.  Kid’s games, concessions, food, Starting at 11:30.

Lunch: Sandy’s Deli & Bakery

Dinner: Robins, Linn’s


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