Dig Into the 66th Annual Pismo Beach Clam Festival

pismo beach clam festivalMake like a sea otter and lay claim to your share of the Central Coast's tasty Pismo clams (and more) at the 66th Annual Pismo Beach Clam Festival being held on and around Pismo Pier from October 19-21, 2012.

Visitors to Pismo Beach - the self-proclaimed Clam Capital of the World - are welcomed into the heart of the town by a giant clam statue. What better way to spend your time in Pismo than by celebrating the mollusk this laid-back town is known for?

Clam Festival Activities

A community tradition since 1946, the Pismo Beach Clam Festival is an October favorite for locals and visitors alike. Kicking off with a jolly parade, the weekend involves all manner of beachy pastimes, including a surf contest, sandcastle contest, live music, a beer garden, food galore, and a boisterous clam dig for kids 11 and under.

And no clam festival would be complete without a clam chowder cook-off. If you just can't get enough chowder to satisfy your appetite, there's always Splash Café and their award-winning chowder in a sourdough bread bowl to slurp up - New England clam chowder doesn't have anything on the Central Coast!

Clams and Spirits

What's a Central Coast celebration without a spotlight on local vintages? The festive spirits being poured at the Friday night Wine Walk will feature 13 different area wineries, including Kelsey See Canyon Winery, Morovino Winery, Phantom Rivers, Edna Valley Vineyard, and Labyrinth Cellars. At each sampling stop, guests will find tasty snacks to accompany their wine.

Must-Know Facts About Pismo Clams

Clamming is serious business in Pismo Beach and strict rules surround clam digging. Interested clammers must first obtain a license and be prepared to follow the basic laws of clamming: Clams must be no smaller than 4.5 inches in diameter; clamming time is 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunrise; there is a limit of 10 clams per day which is enforced by the Department of Fish and Game who regularly patrol the beach.

Clams make their home below the surface of the tidal mud flats and they're detected by tiny air bubbles that rise to the surface of the sand. At dawn and at dusk, when the tide cooperates, enthusiastic visitors or impassioned locals pull on their clamming boots and make their way to the beach to be one with the oozing sand and sea - and to fight the otters (who eat between 50 and 100 clams daily) for their share of the goods.

Stay Close to the Clams

While no visit to Pismo Beach is complete without involving clams in one fashion or another, the other must-have is a Pismo Beach hotel with direct beach access. The SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel will get you close to the heart of the Pismo Beach Clam Festival, and provides off-hours access to the calm and cool of the beach, the dunes, and the waves.