Oceano and Nipomo

Oceano and Nipomo are authentic California beach towns at the edge of the largest dunes complex in the state, found along California’s Highway 1 Discovery Route. The Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area is the only place in California where visitors may drive on the beach and enjoy the area’s diverse recreation opportunities, from ATV cruising to horseback riding to surf fishing. The historic Oceano Train Depot served as a class Type 22 train depot until 1973, and is now a museum filled with railroad artifacts.  Nipomo is home to three world-class golf courses, and the historic Dana Adobe home and gardens. Nipomo’s flower-filled greenhouses, orchards laden with citrus and avocados, and fields of strawberries reflect the community’s agriculture roots. The Whale Trail sign is located on the overlook to Pismo State Beach at West Grand Avenue (next to Fin’s Seafood parking lot).


Where the Whales Are

From the overlook, scan the horizon and catch a glimpse of a whale spout. Gray whale spouts are heart shaped, while humpback whale blows are tall and bushy. A big splash could mean a whale has just breached. Look out for large groups of birds feeding on the krill that typically feed in the same areas as whales and dolphins. 

December to April are the best months to watch gray whales on their annual migration. Humpback whales may be seen year round, and are increasingly seen in these waters. Search for dolphins surfing waves and southern sea otters seeking food and protection in the kelp.


Stewardship Activities

“Oceano and Nipomo’s Whale Trail site along California’s Highway 1 Discovery Route is representative of San Luis Obispo County’s ongoing commitment to Stewardship Travel” states Cheryl Cuming, CAO of unincorporated San Luis Obispo County’s Tourism Business Improvement District.  “We want to welcome visitors interested in learning about and preserving California’s natural areas and historic sites. We have also created Wildlife Viewing and Stewardship Tips  so our visitors can enjoy our abundant wildlife both on land and sea.” 

Oceano and Nipomo encourages visitors to connect, learn about, and preserve the natural beauty of the area through our unique Stewardship Travel events & activities:

  • Experience California State Parks Oceano Dunes District Visitor Center
  • Oceano Model Railroad & Historic Depot Restoration Days
  • Monarch Butterfly Migration
  • Huell Howser Memorial Nature Walk at Oso Flaco
  • Volunteer at Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Natural History Center
  • Nipomo Native Garden Volunteer Days
  • Rancho Nipomo Historical Dana Adobe Visit

For more information about these unique visitor opportunities, please visit: highway1discoveryroute.com

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The Whale Trail

Address / Contact

25 West Grand Ave 

Grover Beach, CA 93433


Whale Trail Features

The Whale Trail sign is located on the overlook to Pismo State Beach at West Grand Avenue.


  • camping
  • restrooms
  • accessible
  • trails
  • picnic-area

Marine Mammals Commonly Seen Here

Marine Mammals Occasionally Seen Here

Marine Mammals Rarely Seen Here

The Whale Trail is a nonprofit organization in partnership with
Partners NOAA Seattle Aquarium People for Puget Sound Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife The Whale Museum National Marine Sanctuaries