Oceano Dunes SVRA

Update (Oct. 20, 2020): California State Parks announced a three-phased reopening plan for vehicular use at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) and Pismo State Beach (SB), starting Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Vehicular access to all state park units was closed in March to prevent visitation surges and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

In recent months, State Parks has worked with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access across the State Park System where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. The phased-reopening plan for Ocean Dunes SVRA and Pismo SB is designed to support a safe and healthy environment for employees, visitors and natural resources such as the endangered Western snowy plover and California least tern. Though the first phase is expected to begin October 30, specific dates for phases two and three have yet to be determined.

For a summary of the three-phased reopening plan for Oceano Dunes SVRA and Pismo SB click here.

Drivers are advised that the dunes and topography changed during the closure of the park unit, creating unfamiliar terrain. All drivers are being asked to drive with care and provide shorebirds and pedestrians plenty of space as they enjoy the park. The speed limit on the beach is 15 miles per hour.

Visitation and physical distancing will be monitored at Oceano Dunes SVRA and Pismo SB and if unsafe conditions develop, access may be restricted again. The public is reminded to plan ahead, maintain the proper physical distance, avoid crowds and wear face coverings and limit the group to people from the immediate household. For additional OHV COVID-19 tips, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.

Updates on all aspects of the phased-reopening plan will be posted on the Oceano District’s Twitter and >Facebook social media accounts.

State Parks understands that outdoor enthusiasts have questions and concerns about the safety measures the department has implemented for the phased reopening. It is important for us to keep you informed of our actions. As such, we have developed frequently asked questions (FAQs) – view here.

The State of California is committed to providing high quality, sustainable OHV recreational opportunities through our commitment to prudent resource management, outdoor recreation safety education and environmental stewardship. Explore the links below to learn more about ongoing programs at Oceano Dunes SVRA:


The Economic Impact Analysis Report estimates the impact visitors to the Oceano Dunes District generate in the local economy of San Luis Obispo. Oceano Dunes District includes the Oceano Dunes SVRA and Pismo State Beach. The Report was prepared for the purposes of management planning and decision making. [3/5/18]

 Final Report 2016-2017 [PDF]

Welcome to Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area!

Formerly Pismo Dunes SVRA, this sand dune complex is geologically unique and also provides an impressive playground for off-highway enthusiasts from throughout the United States. One of several OHV areas administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Oceano Dunes also offers visitors other recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, surf fishing, camping, and hiking. The staff at Oceano Dunes wishes you an enjoyable and safe stay.

Post 2 is one mile south on the beach from Pier Avenue and marks the beginning of the OHV area. All OHVs must be transported to this point before off-loading. Fenced and signed areas are closed to vehicular use either because the property beyond is private or because the area contains sensitive plant and animal life.

High tides, heavy rains, and blowing sand determine whether or not you can drive down the beach without getting stuck. Access to the OHV and camping area may be restricted periodically by Arroyo Grande Creek which is subject to water releases at Lopez Dam and increased flow during winter storms. 

Beach camping is recommended for 4- wheel drive vehicles only. A dump station is available to campers and it is located on Le Sage Drive, 1/10 miles North of Grand Avenue.

In case of an emergency, contact a Ranger or dial 911 from a cell phone and advise that you are at Oceano Dunes SVRA. An emergency solar-powered call-box is located at the entrance to Sand Highway at approximately Post 4-1/2. Do not move an injured person unless he is in immediate danger.

Image of rip current in ocean showing directional water flow and waves

Dangerous currents, called rip currents, are caused by the combination of wave action and the shape of the shoreline. Should you become caught in a rip current while swimming, don't try to swim against the current. Swim parallel to the shore until you're out of the rip. Then make your way to shore. There is lifeguard service available at Oceano Dunes SVRA June through Labor Day.  


Driving an OHV can be an exciting, yet dangerous, adventure. You can minimize your chance of injury and maximize your enjoyment through common sense, intelligent vehicle operation and by extending courtesy and respect to other riders.  As you plan your visit to the Oceano Dunes SVRA, be sure to first check out our page on safety tips for riding in the dunes.

All OHVs must be registered through the Department of Motor Vehicles and display a current green or red sticker. Funds generated from OHV registration are used for acquisition, development, and operation of OHV areas.