I've been having a constant itch to travel and I try every chance that I get. When I saw available slots to camp at Oceano Dunes, I immediately booked it. This would be my first ever opportunity to solo beach camping at Oceano Dunes.
The Legal Battle
Oceano Dunes is the only beach in the entire state of California where you can legally camp and drive your vehicle on the beach. But, that's likely to come to an end soon.
There's been a four-decade-long legal battle between conservation groups and offroaders over the rights to camp and drive on the beach and dunes. It seems that the conservationist have won said battle and the days of camping and offroading in Oceano Dunes have been numbered.
Check out this guide by nomanbefore.com for more information on the multi-year plans to restrict Pismo Beach.
Tips for other Travelers
Here are a few things that I wished that I knew before arriving:
The reservecalifornia.com booking website sets numbered camping spots for Oceano Dunes. (Beach camping is wide open and there aren't any numbered spots. I believe it's just the way their web programming works.) Because of this, it might not let you cannot book multiple days in a row even if there are available slots. You can either call in to book or book each consecutive day separately online.
On top of checking the weather, also check for winds. If you are camping in a regular tent, winds of 20+ mph may result in a bad experience. Sand constantly blowing in your eyes is not fun.
Bring something to block the wind around your campsite and under your vehicle. I've seen people set up cardboard and plywood barricades to help neutralize the winds.
Bring a whip flag if you plan to drive your 4x4 vehicle in the dunes. Figure out how to attach it to your vehicle before arriving. If you're just camping, you can disregard this tip.
Remember to hose down your vehicle when you return home. This means the undercarriage as well. The saltwater will eat your car's frame and body panels. I hosed down my truck for a few minutes and then ran it through a wash.
If you have the opportunity of offroading and beach camping at Oceano Dunes, you should do it before the laws and restrictions change.
It was a great experience and I hope to be able to do it again soon.