OCEANO, Calif. -- Vehicles are once again allowed to drive on the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area and Pismo State Beach.
On Friday morning, California State Parks began a planned phased reopening to the area, providing access only to "street legal vehicles."
"It's great," said Daniel Buchanan of Riverside, "I've been waiting all year for it. I see everybody is happy and excited, and as you can see, it's Friday and there's already a lot of people out here. It's nice that it's finally reopened."
A limit of 1,000 vehicles per day will be temporarily observed per day for both park units.
"We are so thankful because of the money they bring in for the State Parks system. They are so needed because it keeps the parks going," said local resident Mary Waggoner. "It's people have fun and that's what they're out here for and we need to accept everyone for what they are, and so that's why it works."
Off-highway vehicles (OHV) are currently still prohibited from entering the park.
The popular recreation area has been closed to vehicle use since March to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Overnight camping remains prohibited on the Oceano Dunes, but may reopen in a limited capacity over the next few weeks.
State Parks has two additional phases planned for further reopening, but has not yet announced a start date for either.
Phase two will allow for OHV use on the Oceano Dunes.
I'm just waiting for them to open up the dunes so they can completely open for the off-road vehicles so I can start riding," said Reyes Asalto, who lives nearby. "That's the best part right there, getting back out there on the dunes. Riding the ATVs and the quads out there, boom, that's real the real fun is at."
Just outside the entrance to the Oceano Dunes, Pier Street Deli celebrated its grand opening.
The family-owned restaurant opened its doors for the first time on the same day the dunes area opened for vehicles.
"It means that we're going to get a lot of customers that are going to view our business, so it being seen, it's going to help us promote our business."
"It's really going to help out our business," said owner Monica Villegas. "It means that we're going to get a lot of customers that are going to view our business, so it being seen, it's going to help us promote our business. We're very happy that it's open."
While many people were happy to see cars and trucks back on the sand, others were disappointed.
"It is a lot prettier without the vehicles," said Tiz Tomalin. "I think it's bad for the environment. I don't think it's good for the beach and if I had vote I would say no. No more cars."
Both park will be open daily from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. for day use.