Valentine’s Day Weekend in Pismo Beach, California

While I generally do not book weddings on holidays (WHY do people insist on getting married on Christmas, New Years, Easter, etc. anyway?!) I went ahead and booked a wedding on Valentine’s Day this year. It was hard to say no when the location was so ROMANTIC!
So my husband and I spent Valentine’s Day weekend along the Central California coastline on a working vacation – which was far more romantic than I’d expected it would be! On Valentine’s Day (which we deemed “Valentine’s Day Eve” this year) we shot the wedding which took place at the historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis, followed by a gorgeous seaside tent reception on Grover Beach.
After the wedding, (and a romantic night at the Vagabon Inn in San Luis Obispo!), we spent our officially unofficial Valentine’s Day at Pismo Beach, visiting the Monarch Butterfly Grove, the Pismo Beach Pier and nomming on yummy clam chowder bread bowls at the famous Splash Café! Here are some photos from our Valentine’s Day weekend at the coast!




After sleeping in (I didn’t realize how much I MISSED sleeping in.. and I never imagined I would consider waking at 7:30am “sleeping in”) the hubby and I visited the Monarch Butterfly Grove to catch the tail end of the Monarch Butterfly migration.
Each year thousands of vibrant orange and black Monarch Butterflies flock to Pismo Beach, seeking shelter from the freezing northern winters. From late October to February, the butterflies cluster in the limbs of a grove of Eucalyptus trees at Pismo State Beach. The last time we visited (about five years ago, when we were still just dating!) the butterflies were so thick on the trees that they looked like living leaves on each branch! Because we caught the end of the migration there were nowhere near as many.. but it was still fun to walk the groves and see speckles of orange in the trees, and fluttering along the hiking trails.





One of the photos on our fridge is a selfie picture of my husband and I kissing at the Monarch Butterfly Grove from five years ago… so we decided to walk down memory lane with a bit of photography recreation. 😉 Also, since we were missing our baby girl so much, we also decided to take a “duck face” photo for her. She somehow learned how to make the “duck face” (I seriously have NO IDEA where she picked that up, haha) and so it’s somehow become the silly family thing to do for quirky photos.
After a short walk around the Monarch Butterfly Grove, we headed to the foodie famous Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach for some of their award winning clam chowder bread bowls. The bread bowls and chowder are made from scratch every day, and the tiny restaurant goes through roughly 200 pounds of clams a week.. about 30,000 gallons of chowder a year! There is always a line that wraps around the building, and sometimes stretches down the street so far it actually blocks intersections! We got there fairly early, so got in rather quickly. A very yummy way to start the morning!



After eating our fill of clam chowder we went for a walk around the Pismo Beach Pier to watch the fishers lining the pier, and people watch the kids playing and surfers surfing along the shore.
We had fun watching the harbor seals and birds begging for fish scraps from the fishers along the pier. At one point, a bay pelican was hanging out near where we were standing when a fisherman randomly walked up to the bird and was like, “Hey, you want a fish?” And then he straight up HANDED THE BIRD THE FISH! It was one of the coolest frikkin’ things. The live fish was flipping and flopping around in the neck of the bird for a long time, before the bird finally flew off over the water.





Since we were homesick for our little one (who was spending the weekend at Grandma’s) we decided to head home after our yummy meal and morning of sightseeing. Overall, it was a lovely Valentine’s Day weekend!

What did you do for Valentines Day? Share below!

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Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at or via the contact form on her website at

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at or via the contact form on her website at

64 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Weekend in Pismo Beach, California

  • 16 February, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Gingi… it sounds like you had a pretty great Valentines day… I love the idea of seeing the Monarch butterflies… how amazing ♡

    I went to a Valentines dance on my own… just to get dressed up and have fun… which I did ♡ xox

    • 17 February, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Kudos for going alone! I would be too insecure to go by myself.. I’m almost 30 and to date I STILL have not ever gone to a movie or event all by my onesie (unless I just needed some alone time and wanted to avoid all humans, lol!) So glad you had fun my friend! Happy (belated) Valentines Day! <3

  • 16 February, 2015 at 4:02 am

    This sounds like a fantastic Valentine’s Day trip! Butterflies are so pretty so I would love to visit the butterfly grove if I got the chance! The last few pictures of the live fish in the pelican’s beak are pretty cool too!


    • 17 February, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      If you ever DO get the chance, it’s worth going.. especially if you hit the MIDDLE of the migration. We hit the tail end, so it wasn’t so jaw dropping as the last time. But in the height of the migration?? OMG, super amazing…

  • 16 February, 2015 at 5:20 am

    Sounds like an incredible weekend!!!! Everything looks so pretty!
    Melanie @

  • 16 February, 2015 at 5:50 am

    How wonderful
    I loved the pics!

  • 16 February, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Sounds like a nice time away. Meanwhile, back in Indiana we had below zero temps and until this morning no snow. It has now changed. 🙂 The sun makes me jealous.

    • 17 February, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      I’m surprised at HOW MANY people are commenting on the warm sun and blue skies.. I guess I’ve been taking this lovely weather for granted! Meanwhile, I’m burning with jealousy at everyones wintery and snowy pictures! haha! 😉

  • 16 February, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Love the pictures of you! So adorable! 🙂 And I would love to see all the butterflies, that must be so fascinating! I love animals so much! Glad you had such a lovely weekend!

    • 17 February, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      I wish I could have taken better photos of them flying around! The last time we visited I got some AMAZING photos.. resting, in flight, piled one on top of another.. ugh! I wish we’d made it out a little earlier in the year! But we’re planning on taking our little ones next year!

  • 16 February, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Gingi! What a fun trip. Sleeping into 7:30 is totally sleeping in. Have 2 kids with colds right now who are beyond cranky..and they still got up at 5:30. Ughhh. WHat a lovely trip with stunning photo’s, the real feel temp where I live is minus 30 degrees! Glad I didn’t try planting my seeds yet. And I can’t tell you how many weddings I’ve been invited to on Valentine’s Day, we go of course cause it’s not like we have plans, but I do think it’s interesting just the same.

    • 17 February, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      Oh man, cranky kids with colds?! No fun!! Glad I have some mommies on my blog that “get it”.. I never thought sleeping in would top my list of “trip highlights” while at the coast, haha! 😉 I haven’t planted my seeds yet, though I really should! Ugh! My husband bought me some last minute flowers (carnations, morning glories and zinnias) as a Valentines Day surprise present, so I’m waiting till I get my last seed shipment in to get into full on gardening mode! I DID spend all of yesterday spreading manure onto the raised beds! (Fun fun!) haha.. anyhoo, I’m off to go stalk your blog now! Talk to you soon! 😉

    • 17 February, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Thank you Angie! <3

  • 16 February, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Beautiful photos! I am happy to hear that you all had a lovely weekend 🙂

  • 16 February, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    What a beautiful setting. Just seeing that blue sky… I can “almost” feel the warmth (as I woke up to zero degrees.) Great way to combine work and some fun. I’m sure your daughter loved that duck face photo — too cute!

  • 16 February, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Heaven! I’m so happy you two got a little alone time before baby number two arrives! I’m living in a frozen tundra right now, you have no idea how jealous I am of that blue sky and coast. Keep the gorgeous Cali pictures coming, they’re the only thing getting me through this ridiculous Chicago winter.

    • 17 February, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Yeah, we were calling it our “Babymoon”, hehe! It’s ironic, the whole time we were excited to have some alone time, we were ACHING for our little girl! Every fun thing we saw, we wished we could share with Tessa! Haha! I think future dates are going to be tricky from now on! hehe! <3

  • 16 February, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Sounds like such a fun (working) Valentine’s! And romantic too! Glad you guys had a great time. Though I’m sure you were happy to get home to your little one! 🙂

  • 16 February, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    We had romantic dinner at home (was tooo cold outside to even get out) with my husband and watched few comedies (best day ever)!
    I just love the sunny warm photos, wish I could be there at least for 2-3 days )))

    • 17 February, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      Awww, thank you Patricia! <3

  • 16 February, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Great photos! It looks like you had a pleasant time and a great Valentine´s Day.
    Have a nice start at the week 🙂
    /Charlotte – My Green Nook

  • 16 February, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Gorgeous pictures!!! I always wonder why people plan weddings on holidays, too. Glad y’all made the most of your time away!!!

    • 17 February, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Right?! It seems like it would be a huge inconvenience for friends and family (and vendors!).. this couple gets a free pass though, because they picked a romantic location, haha! 😉

  • 16 February, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Looks like you both had an amazing Valentine’s Day! I gather the photos from the wedding shoot turned out equally wonderful. I can’t believe you got action shots of the pelican swallowing the fish. Unbelievable!

    • 17 February, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Yes, the wedding photos did come out great.. even though I had the WORLDS PUSHIEST VIDEOGRAPHERS in my way the ENTIRE WEDDING.. seriously, I have never EVER had such rude vendors get into every single one of my shots before like this past weekend. Haha. But ANYWAY. Yeah, we had a blast. I’m in love with those bird / fish photos myself, hehe…

  • 17 February, 2015 at 3:56 am

    Looks sunny and warm for those of us with snow on the ground! Was just there in California for a big family affair! Love the pelican shots!

    • 17 February, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Oh yeah?? Where in California? I need to start meeting up with some of you lovely bloggers when I get the chance! And don’t be jealous of the sun.. I’M jealous of the SNOW!! hehe! 😉

  • 17 February, 2015 at 5:40 am

    Wow! Such a fun, warm, sunny adventure you and your husband had for Valentine’s Weekend!

    We didn’t have anything olanned, but we spent the day together doing normal things and unexpectedly had dinner out since we were out of town a! :something at a shop. 🙂

    • 17 February, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Hey, unexpected plans are THE BEST for Valentine’s Day.. that’s been the norm for my husband and I for the past 6 years now, haha. I think last year we stayed in and played video games all evening.. not even joking. Haha! 😉

  • 17 February, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Gingi that looks like a perfect Valentines day 😀 I ended up watching 50 Shades of grey with my girl friends – well it would have been great if the film was good! but none the less it was an enjoyable day spent with friends looool!

    Serene xoxo

    • 17 February, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Spending time with friends is an AWESOME way to spend V-Day! What is that phrase I keep seeing people use to describe a “friends” Valentines Day?? Awww, it’s gonna drive me nuts now! haha.. Starts with a g…?

  • 17 February, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    You two are so cute and it looks like such a beautiful and relaxing place! I’m not a fan of weddings on holidays either..

  • 17 February, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    What a fun Valentine’s Day! Definitely beats the snowy + cold weather Kansas City is currently having, ha. 🙂

    Le Stylo Rouge

    • 17 February, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Ahhhh, but I am so JEALOUS of the snow! We didn’t get any, it never snows here in the Central Valley!! lol! <3 Happy belated Valentines Day Ashley!

  • 17 February, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    It’s like a holiday for me to read this post, the pictures in front of me make me be in them!! (for quality, subjects, sunny weather, overall good mood that they transmit..).
    Think your daughter will appreciate them (and fortunately she’s to your to say ‘why didn’t you bring me there, too, but next year you won’t escape that easily :))


    • 17 February, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      LOL, yes, we are taking her next time for sure.. although, once we picked her up from grandmas I’m PRETTY SURE we missed her more than she missed us! hehe!! Happy (belated) Valentines Day Rosa!! <3

      • 19 February, 2015 at 11:53 pm

        Yes you’re right 🙂 think the preferred grandma <3


  • 17 February, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Aw you too are so cute. Love all the colours.. nature is beautiful 🙂
    Can’t wait until the holidays are finally there again!


    Fashion-Beauty-Healthy Lifestyle-&More

    • 17 February, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Ohhh, where in California did you visit???

  • 17 February, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Ack, it’s just SO different from here. We have so much snow and ice and cold here! And granted, I used to live in San Francisco but it’s really hard to get used to life being like this.
    I love chowder so much!! I got into it while pregnant with my son. What an awesome weekend!
    Will you share any shots from the wedding?

    • 17 February, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      I don’t really share shots from my weddings or photoshoots on my Domestic Geek Girl, but I do post them on my photography page (you can find it by following the Hire Me or Weddings link / buttons on the sidebar of the home page!) What brought you out of San Fran???

  • 18 February, 2015 at 7:07 am

    The water is so BLUE and inviting. You must have had such a great time. Sigh! 🙂

  • 18 February, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Those are gorgeous pictures! I live about 3 1/2 miles south of Pismo. I heard about the monarchs and would like to take my kids to see them one day.

    • 18 February, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      You live so close and you haven’t been there yet?!?! Remedy that, girl!!!

  • 18 February, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    How wonderful! I love the pictures and how you put everything into words. It sounds amazing!

  • 18 February, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Aww, I wanna be there! LOL. The views are amazing!! Glad you had so much fun.
    Poor fish, he was eaten alive. Hehehe.

  • 19 February, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    so sweet! and such a gorgeous place. i love how y’all did the duck face for your little one. cute!

  • 20 February, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    I visited Pismo beach during a childhood holiday to California, really enjoyed it there. I had no idea there was a Monarch Grove there, but then we were there at the wrong time of year for that. I’m just reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour, which is very sobering about the situation for the Monarchs

  • 20 February, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    This is a lovely post. Good to hear that you and your hubby had a good time. These are great images and thanks muchas for visiting my blog. Appreciated/Have a lovely weekend! 🙂

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