Is Monterey Or Pismo Beach Better?

Traveling along the famous Highway One in America, you can see so much entertainment value that it might be hard to choose. Along Highway One, Monterey and Pismo Beach resorts appeal to residents and tourists alike. Let’s see which is more popular!

Comparing facets of Monterey and Pismo Beach answers some questions about which resort is more appealing to holidaymakers. Pismo Beach is slightly better than Monterey in its safety, visual beauty, amenities, entertainment, crime rate, overall feel, and economic climate.

We have access to many statistics, but some readers might prefer a less technical answer. Let me show you what Monterey and Pismo Beach are like and the benefits of visiting one place compared to the other.

Pismo Beach Is More Popular Than Monterey

Of all the resorts in California, Pismo Beach ranks slightly higher than Monterey. Pismo Beach has about two weeks extra sunny days than Monterey. It has about 1.5 inches more rain than Monterey and no snowfall, while Monterey has less than an inch of snow yearly.

Pismo Beach has a warmer average summer temperature of about 73 °F and winter temperatures of around 42.9 °F. Monterey has summer highs of about 66.5 °F and January lows of about 42.6 °F.

Overall Feel Of Pismo Beach And Monterey

Monterey and Pismo Beach are similar. Both have many restaurants, coffee shops, and parks with a mild suburban feel. Pismo Beach is notable for its bars and is less urbanized than Monterey. Residents of Monterey are more likely to rent their homes, while those in Pismo Beach tend to own theirs. Both those locations had median rental fees of about $1 800 per month in early 2022.

Pismo Beach is a small but scenic town with a profoundly coastal sense of tourism and is historically renowned for the quantity and quality of its clams. Monterey has less swimmable shorelines but beautiful scenery and cozy beaches. Monterey has many more tourist activities than Pismo Beach.

Safety In Pismo Beach And Monterey

Both Pismo Beach and Monterey have remarkably high property-related crime compared to the rest of the United States. Pismo Beach has considerably more of this kind of crime than Monterey. Pismo Beach has lower violent crime levels than the national average. In Monterey, violent crime is higher than the national average.

Pismo Beach Tourist Attractions

There is a vast series of tourist attractions in Pismo Beach. Despite the quantity and quality at Pismo Beach, Monterey has more tourist sites! Here is a list of those attractions.

  • 36th Annual Classic Car Show from June 3rd-5th, 2022 
  • Hearst Castle
  • Dinosaur Cave Park
  • Oceano Dunes
  • Pismo State Beach and Pier
  • Pismo Beach Wineries
  • Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove
  • Pismo Preserve
  • Avila Hot Springs
  • Pirate’s Cove Beach
  • Margo Dodd Park
  • Horseback Riding

Monterey Tourist Attractions

The list of attractions at Monterey is grandiose! Attractions at Monterey have legendary status. Here is a list of the tourist sites at Monterey, ironically a less popular place than Pismo Beach.

  • Breakwater Cove and the Coast Guard Pier
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, Ca
  • Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
  • Whale Watching 
  • Wine Tasting 
  • Kayaking Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
  • Pacific Coast Highway Historic Park
  • Cannery Row
  • World-Class Golf
  • Hear the Bagpiper at the Links of Spanish Bay
  • E-Bike 17 Mile Drive
  • 17 Mile Drive Attractions
  • Old Fisherman’s Wharf Monterey
  • Monterey State Historic Park
  • Carmel By the Sea 
  • Point Lobos State Natural Reserve –
  • Monterey Museum of Art
  • Monterey Coastal Trail
  • El Estero Park and Dennis the Menace Playground 
  • Monterey County Youth Museum (MY Museum)

Land-Mark Attractions At Pismo Beach

I am not listing the more typical types of beach activities. Some of the less obvious ones are unique and need more attention. Let us go a little deeper. Pismo Beach is rich in history and adventure!

Pismo Beach 36th Annual Classic Car Show From June 3rd-5th

The Pismo Annual Classic Car Show is one of the greatest in America. This show is FREE to the public! It features hundreds of classic cars, live music, sumptuous food, and a buzzing festive sense. These attractions focus on the beach and pier, but you will also find them along the streets of Pismo.

Tourists Love Dinosaur Cave Park

The park features various sculptures: a dinosaur, two dolphins, three seals, a boat called the USS Imagination, and three dinosaur eggs. Over the 11 acres (about half the area of Millennium Park in Chicago), you will find other amenities, like wedding ceremony facilities overlooking the ocean, a reception area, and a theater for entertainment events.

The Majestic Glory Of Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle is majestic to behold. Brilliantly designed by Julia Morgan, the first woman to win the American Institute of Architects Gold Award, the exterior, rooms, and fitments are intriguingly ornate. The owner, media magnate William Randolph Hearst, was an avid collector of various art forms. He incorporated much of his collected works and fittings into its design.

More Info About Monterey’s Attractions

Monterey has much to offer holidaymakers and adventurers. It became famous for its sardine trade, the acclaimed author John Steinbeck, and legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix!

Cannery Row Truly Exists

Cannery Row was once considered the sardine capital of the world. John Steinbeck immortalized Cannery Row in his eponymous novel, written in 1945. Filled with shops and restaurants, the street which made this historic district famous is soaked in that tradition. The Old Fisherman’s Grotto’s chowder has been voted Best Clam Chowder in Monterey County for 16 years.

Paradisical 17 Mile Drive Attractions

This stretch of road is paradisical, with many attractive points of interest, rich historical references, natural beauty, and many fun-filled activities, even for the kids! It also offers what could be the last chance to see a rare and endangered species of tree.

Ghost Tree Is A Place

Pescadero Point has an area called Ghost Tree, famous for the gnarly, white Cypress trees, scraggly and moribund. A blight of beetles has endangered them, and they might not be around within the next 20 years.

The Lone Cypress Is Not Alone

The uncanny tree, dubbed the Lone Cypress, seems to have grown from a seedling, either planted or miraculously blown by the wind to emanate from a scraggly rock outcrop 250 years ago. 

Monterey Cypress trees are native to only two places on Earth, Carmel Bay at Point Lobos and the stretch of land between Fanshell Beach and Pescadero Point in Pebble Beach.

El Estero Park Featuring Dennis The Menace Playground

A tribute to the famous cartoon character Dennis the Menace, this playground features a giant ship, park amenities such as slides and climbing structures, a skateboarding park, an outdoor exercise course, and picnic tables.

Monterey County Youth Museum (MY Museum) Theme Center

This fantastic play center is designed like a theme park for kids with cute renditions of a theater, town hall, hospital, and the beach.

The John Denver Sanctuary In Monterey

Iconic 1970s music star John Denver died in a plane crash in 1997. A Song Garden sanctuary was built for him at Rio Grande Park to pay tribute to his genius and effect on people.

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Monterey and Pismo Beach are similar coastal resort areas, with almost equal ranking in Californian area status. Pismo Beach is ranked 7th best area in California, just one position higher than Monterey, even though Monterey has more tourist attractions.

Considering all the fun activities in both areas, choosing one place over the other is socio-cultural. Pismo Beach has higher property crime, while Monterey has higher violent crime.