Pismo is more than the name of a tourist beach along the central coast of California. It is also the name of the local clam that made the beach so famous. Known as the "Clam Capital of the World" for more than 50 years, the city celebrates this heritage every October with a Clam Festival. Vacation homes in Pismo Beach allow visitors to stay for the duration of the festival, which includes not only a clam chowder contest that draws seafood lovers for hundreds of miles around, but also what may possibly be the world's only clam-themed parade.
The Clam Festival will make any stay in Pismo Beach fun, but it is not the only reason to book a holiday home here; harvesting these tasty mollusks is still legal on the local beaches throughout the entire clamming season. Tourists who stop by the local Chamber of Commerce can view an eight-inch shell from a clam harvested on Pismo Beach. The local clams also provide a source of food for the California sea otter, and sometimes individual animals and groups can be spotted from shore as they lie on their backs and nibble away.
Pismo Beach has been featured in several television shows. In one episode of Bugs Bunny, for example, the cartoon characters tunnel in an attempt to reach Pismo Beach where they can enjoy "all the clams" they can eat. In the Dragnet television series, Frank Gannon explains his plans to retire to Pismo Beach with the words, "The clams, man. The clams."