Wedding Photography serving Pismo Beach San Luis Obispo Avila Beach Santa Barbara and Destination Weddings by Tony A. Hertz Wedding Photography



Beach Wedding Venue Information for Pismo Beach and Central Coast


As a San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach Wedding Photographer I’m often asked “where can we be married right on the beach?” I’ve been a resident of Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo for almost 30 years and feel quite familiar with Pismo Beach and Central Coast wedding venues. Here are a few select locations to be married right on the beach with the sand between your toes (or close to it)!

The Sea Venture Hotel offers an actual beach wedding in the sand. It’s a nice wedding ceremony setting although the general public may be walking in the distant background. They will be seen in some of the wedding photos. This may not be an issue for you but it’s good to know what to expect. The sandy beach wedding photo on this page originally had people in the background during the ceremony at the Sea Venture but the people were Photoshopped out. This may be okay for a few images but may add a lot of post production time for a photographer to work on multiple images.

The Sea Crest Resort offers a great ocean scene with private bluff ceremonies and receptions. A rugged stairway to the beach is adjacent to the property for wedding portraits by the water.

The Shore Cliff Lodge and Ventana Grill in Pismo Beach offers private ocean bluff wedding ceremonies and receptions. However, a 5 minute drive needs to be made for wedding pictures on the beach.

The Inn at the Cove in Pismo Beach is also a nice venue to be married right over the ocean cliffs. A very rough and inadvisable stairway to the sandy beach is available nearby. This hotel lacks reception facilities.

The Spyglass Inn is a nice wedding and reception location overlooking the ocean. It's about a 10 minute walk to the closet beach stairway.

For elegant service and extra fine facilities, The Cliffs Resort and Dolphin Bay Resort are side-by-side. A beach stairway is moments away for wedding portraits on the beach.

In Shell Beach (a small village that's part of Pismo Beach), Margo Dodd Park is a popular wedding setting. It offers a classic gazebo in a small park on the ocean bluffs. If you’d like wedding photography on the beach, a long stairway to a beautiful beach amid giant rocks is about fifty yards away.

Dinosaur Caves Park is adjacent to the gazebo. Choose a large grassy area in the park or a open air circular patio terrace on the edge of the bluffs. Both areas offer expansive ocean views for a wedding ceremony. A wedding ceremony at this city park can be quite affordable.

The reception can be held at another nearby site such as the nearby La Perla del Mar Chapel, Ventana Grill or McClintock's. You could also opt to rent a section of the park and have it outdoors. Contact the City of Pismo Beach to make reservations.

Avila Beach, a few miles north of Pismo Beach, is another location for a beach wedding in the sand. An open area about 300 yards south of the pier could be relatively private. Some couples opt for an area in the sand closer to the pier to allow easier access for elderly guest. Again, the general public may be walking in the distant background.

Nevertheless, Avila Beach is a cute little beach town with delightful weather. Avila is usually a little warmer and sunnier than other beaches on the Central Coast. The wind patterns and surrounding mountains help make it a warmer climate.

Check with one of the local hotels such as La Fonda or the Lighthouse Suites to help arrange a wedding and/or reception site. The Custom House also has a fairly large reception facility across from the Avila pier.

Further up the North Coast of San Luis Obispo County are the small towns of Cayucos and Cambria. The Cayucos Veteran’s Building offers a large building where the ceremony can be right on the sandy beach with the reception just a few steps away.

Moonstone Beach Drive in Cambria has a large number of small motels across the street from the ocean. This area has a long public wooden boardwalk lining the bluffs. The Cambria Pines Lodge is a good place for a large outdoor reception. The lodge is a few minutes inland from the beach. It has a forest environment in a well kept rustic garden setting for weddings and/or receptions.

The Ragged Point Inn is a great venue with great service, facilities and scenery. It’s located high on a bluff about 20 minutes north of Cambria on Highway One. It may be rather remote but it's a very special place to be married.

Memorable beach wedding memories can be made all along the San Luis Obispo coastline. Contact me at or call or text me at 805-550-6172 for more information about venues and wedding photography.


...Planning Your Wedding on the Beach

Here's important considerations for having your wedding on the beach:

  • Check a tide table on how high the water level will be at the time of your wedding ceremony.
  • How far will elderly or handicapped guests have to walk in the sand to the ceremony site?
  • Fog happens. The summer months are the most common for fog but it often burns out by the late mornings. Fog is less frequent during the autumn months of September, October and November.
  • If you're having a wedding ceremony at a hotel and want portraits on the beach then check ahead with the hotel about beach access.
  • The optimum time for great looking wedding portraits is shortly before and after sunset while the light is softer and warmer in hue. Even if your wedding photographs don’t fit in for this “magic hour” you’ll still be pleased with the results as long as you have a professional photographer with plenty of experience in all kinds of lighting situations.