A Guide To Dinosaur Cave Park in Pismo Beach


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Last week I decided to explore the northern area of California with my parents.

We came across Dinosaur Beach Park and much to my surprise, not many articles have been written about this place.

Which is understandable since it’s mostly considered a children’s destination place, but it’s still worth mentioning.

If you are ever near Pismo Beach be sure to check out this park as well. 

dinosaur park picture


Walking among the park you can see the history of how the park originated by a sign.

History tells us that the Chumash Indians once occupied the area.

Throughout the years after being passed down from several owners it was Douglas Brown that decided to take it up a notch in creating an amusement park attraction.

He constructed a dinosaur in hopes of attracting people to this place, but was turned down by the city after residents from the area complained of the dinosaur construction.

Sadly, a fire later broke out that destroyed the dinosaur and nothing really remain.

It wouldn’t be until 1992 that the City of Pismo Beach would acquire the property and open a park in which everyone could enjoy.

Its name Dinosaur Cave Park still remains a symbol of Douglas Brown legacy of making an amusement park as well as the caves found near this place. 


At Dinosaur Cave Park you can find just as the name implies a park. The park is situated by Pismo Beach and near a quiet neighborhood.

There is a playground for kids, so it’s common to see many children around the playground. There are also picnic tables and a grassy field in which some families host picnics.

However, one feature I didn’t see was that there was no fire pits nor BBQs. As I strolled through dinosaur cave park I saw several dogs walking around with their owners as it appears to be a friendly dog park.

You take several different hiking trails and some lead you into the ocean. 

dinosaur cave map


Dinosaur Cave Park is located in Shell Beach. But, it is not to be confused with the other Shell Beach in La Jolla (San Diego County area). You can learn more about how La Jolla ranks as one of the top family beach destinations here.

Shell Beach is in the central part of California being the San Luis Obispo County area. It’s composed of several beaches, and Dinosaur Cave Park falls under its coast. 


The unique interesting feature about Dinosaur Cave Park is it’s unique scenery. You have a park that looks uniquely made.

dinosaur cave park picture

On these rocks you can find several different types of wildlife, especially birds. When I was there we saw thousands of seagulls and pelicans.

I wondered if all those birds had come together for a family reunion. If only I could understand bird language, they would be saying something like this:

“Hey, Bob, how’s it going? Long time no see.” or “Looking good there, Wanda, how goes the sea adventures?”

It was as if they were all having a meeting. You can hear lots of squawking from the cliffs.

One interesting feature that I noticed was the color of the rocks in the ocean. At first you would think that it was calcium from the rocks or rock nature formation, but the closer I looked the more horrified and shocked I came to see that this was not the case.

It was in fact all of the bird feces that cover up the rocks. It’s also important to note that if you plan on visiting this park and roaming around the cliffs don’t be surprised to have the tainted smell of sea water and bird from the ocean. 



Nearby Dinosaur Cave Park you can find Margo Dodd Park Beach. It’s a small tiny beach that overlooks the sea. This park has a gazebo along with several benches for people to sit and overlook the coast.

Birdwatching as well as gazing at the sunsets is a common activity I noticed.

On the south part of Dinosaur Cave Park you can find Elmer Ross Beach. The Inn at the Cove Hotel overlooks this beach.

There’s no restaurants, bars nor accommodations nearby except Inn at the Cove by Elmer Ross Beach. Dinosaur Cave Park resides more of a park in a residential area.

Many beautiful unique homes surround this park. It’s a peaceful neighborhood. You can spot many home owners walking their dogs and tourist visiting the area. 

dinosaur cave sunset


When it comes to visiting Pismo Beach you can’t go wrong. Aside from many of the different beaches you can find it’s checking out the parks such as Dinosaur Cave Park.

You can’t be disappointed with the hiking trails, a children’s playground, and the uniquely spectacular view of the sunset. The uniquely formed rocks that combine with the crashing of the waves is worth viewing. Just be cautious of the birds!


Jess & Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette, two sisters who founded Unseen Beaches, were inspired by their family’s beach vacations while growing up.

Their passion lies in guiding you toward the most remarkable beach destinations across the U.S., while also protecting and preserving these beautiful coastal treasures! 🌊❤️

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