Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes are an absolutely beautiful place on the California coast.
After driving through the fertile Santa Maria Valley where I passed by vineyards and and a variety of farms where harvest was in progress, the sand dunes are a stunning contrast.
The dunes are different than those nearby Pismo Beach, which is a popular recreation spot for people with off road vehicles. These lands are protected and vehicles are only allowed on the designated paved road and parking area. It was windy when I was there and much of the pavement was covered with a layer of sand. I made it through just fine by driving slowly in regular, low profile car.
The parking area has a restroom, picnic tables and there are signs and a kiosk with additional information about the dunes and the wildlife that is in the area. A few people were fishing when I was there, but it looked like most of the other visitors were there to take pictures and enjoy this vast natural space.
This is a breeding area for numerous endangered and threatened species, including the California least tern and Western snowy plover. From March 1st until October 1st, access is restricted to protect their nests. There are signs and fences, so it’s easy to see which areas people need to avoid.
There is a clearly marked path to the beach. The surf is very rough and the water is cold this time of year, so I wasn’t even tempted to go in. It is a great place to walk, breathe in the fresh air, watch the birds and enjoy the good feelings that come along with being surrounded by nature.
You may have seen these dunes before, even if you’ve never been to the Santa Maria Valley. They have been featured in movies including Pirates of The Caribbean: At World’s End, Hidalgo, Sideways and the classic film, The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston.
Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes are a wonderful place to visit. Some people may just enjoy driving through to see the beauty. Others, like me, will want to get out of their cars to go for a walk or have a picnic.
Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes
6999 W Main
Guadalupe, CA 93434