Shell Beach – Margo Dodd Park Beach

shell pismo beach

Shell beach stretches 17 miles of the Pacific coast and consists of nine secluded beachy coves beneath the towering cliffs of Pismo Beach. During low tides, most have exposed tide pools, and the beaches become very small during high tide.

Margo Dodd Park Beach

Margo Dodd Park is a small grassy patch atop the bluffs of Shell Beach. There is a gazebo and some picnic tables with benches to sit on while you enjoy the coastal views.

shell pismo beach stairs
Steep stairs leading down the cliffs to Margo Dodd Park Beach.

Here is where you take the staircase down to the beach.

shell pismo beach tide pools
There are plenty of tide pools collecting hermit crabs, small fish, sea urchins, etc.

Luckily, we arrived during low tide, and the beautiful tidepools and caverns were exposed to explore. The tidepools were filled with crabs and other sea life.

shell pismo beach rock texture
Beautiful rock patterns help pave a path for exploring Shell Beach.

Massive boulder rocks rested in the sea and became lounging spots for the local sea lions and a variety of birds.

shell pismo beach seagull
A seagull is checking out a baby sea lion.
shell pismo beach pics
Shell Beach is an excellent place to explore.

Climbing around the multi-colored rocks was an adventure in itself. We carefully stepped, trekking through this stone garden to see what was around the other massive boulders ahead. More caverns to explore and enjoy their natural beauty.

shell pismo beach cave hole
Cool caverns throughout Shell Beach.
shell pismo beach colors
Large boulders collect seagrass and creatures, creating magnificent colors along the coast.

Several rock arches can be seen from this beach and large sea stacks attract a variety of birds, making this location great for birdwatching.

shell pismo beach sealion
Sealions are easily found along the coast of Pismo Beach.


We were staying at the Inn at the Cove, so we walked from there along the bluffs, passing Dinosaur Caves Park, before we reached Margo Dodd. There is free street parking available off of Ocean Blvd and Seaview Ave if you don’t want the added walk.

shell pismo beach cliff path
Beautiful walkway near Dinosaur Cave Park, leading to Margo Dodd Park Beach and staircase.

Strolling along the cliffs of Shell Beach is refreshing, relaxing, and different from the beaches of Orange County. Listening to the crashing waves, enjoying the wildlife, and breathing in the salty air calmed my senses and soothed my soul. This stretch of Shell Beach is a majestic example of the differs California coast.


  • Bring sunblock and water.
  • Wear good water all terrine shoes.
  • During a calm high tide, snorkling is recommended.
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