Shell Beach Community


Shell Beach is one of the most beautiful, unique communities on the Central Coast of California. You find quaint little cottages that look like they were built in the 1940s right next to 2000 something mansions.  I wondered if I about the history of the town.

The picture from the mansion is taken from the porch of the cottage with a 70-300 lens.

From my friend Google I discovered that “Floyd Calvert bought and developed much of the land in 1926. He paid $45,OOO for 41 acres between the ocean and the highways. When Calvert first visited Shell Beach, there were about 50 residents in the area. Calvert sold lots in the area for as little as $195.” Just like now the San Joaquin Valley supplied most of the buyers in the 1920s.

The same view with an 18-55 lens.

By the 1940s buyers began living in Shell Beach full-time, so my guess was correct.

Shell Beach growth is limited by the mountains on the east and the cliffs bordering the ocean on the west. The strip of houses illustrate the creativity of each owner.

If you walk to the north end of Shell Beach you come to a little park named Dinosaur Park. That’s another story.

My friends and I stayed in a delightful cottage that has two bedrooms and 2 baths and rented for $175 per night.  The kitchen counter is faded red linoleum, the furniture is mid 1980s blue, and the floor is linoleum that looks clean when it really needs to be swept. (I like that). You bring your own towels and sheets, and settle in and pretend it is your own cottage on looking out on the ocean.

The large yard gave us a lot of privacy, so we could sing at the top of our lungs, dance with abandon the silly dances we learned as children or made up right there on the spot.  We barbecued and roasted marshmallows.  (There I admit it!  I’m a marshmallow addict!)

The interesting thing about Shell Beach is that every house is different, and just about anything goes.

So if you don’t have a beach house in Shell Beach, don’t worry.  You might find one to rent.  If not, you can just walk around the uncrowded, friendly small town streets and enjoy NOT making payments on a $700,000, 1,000 square foot cottage built in 1940.  I’ll pay $175 to rent this ambiance any day of the week.


Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, author, blogger and retired teacher/consultant. Read more about me here.

18 thoughts on “Shell Beach Community”

  1. I love that area of the central coast. We have long been big Pismo Beach goers. Would love to have a place at the coast… Seems that many folks inherited their places from a family members who purchased the property when it was far less expensive.


    1. I lost my comment, so I hope you don’t get two of these. Our friends are in that category, and divide the time up between siblings. We purchased a time share several years ago in Ocean Canyon RV Park in Avila instead. Very reasonable, but not always easy to book.


  2. FABULOUS post!!!!! Right, must materialize there at this remarkable Shell Beach place, immediately! I think I’ve found HOME! Exquisite post indeed, and too funny describing your antics in the privacy of the backyard. Gorgeous photos. Oh yes, this was a marvelous trip, thank you!!

    Autumn Jade Toad


    1. Shell Beach, yes when you move there, I will come visit you often. Tiny houses start at about $700,000. We have a friend who rents us his house on an extra lot for only $100. a night. It is adorable, and just a half a block from the beach! You’d love it. It’s right next to the library. 🙂


          1. YES AYE ARG YES YES!! She is a dear darling heroine for this ol’ briny brute, aye aye absolutely, LOVE her! And YOU too lass! Both VERY inspirational. Excuse the high exuberance, it is all just so blasted grand!!!


          2. And that was her last try – at least until the next adventure. Maybe she has a blog, and … no she probably doesn’t sit still long enough to write one! Good thought though! 🙂


          3. She is! I don’t think you’d even need the boats surrounding you to keep the sharks away. I think you’d be catching a ride with them on their sharky little back fin, to make it easy for you to go another 100 miles or so! 🙂


          4. Sharkies are actually quite attracted to boats- they have learned that they often mean trapped fish, easy to snap up! Har har har haw! And aye aye dear lass, how well you know me, why I think that is precisely what would happen! 😉


          5. 🙂 I do know you pretty well after around of year of writing to each other! I would worry about the poor shark if he got too close to you. You’d hide in a school of whales, or underneath a sharp coral until they passed by!


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