Though the population of sweet, beachy Cayucos hovers below 3,000 people, nearly 30,000 people descend on the town for 4th of July every year. Why? Because Cayucos has perfected its patriotic festivities over the course of several decades. Visitors even plan their year around the 4th of July in Cayucos, to connect with friends who do the same, year after year.
Here, there’s fun for the whole family, all day long! The action starts with a sand sculpture contest, followed by a hometown parade, barbecue, bingo, and fireworks off Cayucos Pier. It’s no wonder folks settle in for the whole day here: the setting is quaint and the festivities make everyone feel like family. See for yourself to find out why, when it comes to the 4th, nothing beats small, seaside Cayucos.
2020 4th of July Schedule in Cayucos
- Sand Sculpture Contest 5am to 8am by the pier
- Annual Parade 10am on Ocean Avenue
- Lion’s BBQ/food 11am to 3pm at the Vet’s Hall
- Lioness Bingo 1pm to 4pm at the Vet’s Hall
- Fireworks 9pm from the Cayucos pier
Sand Sculpture Contest
Early on the morning of the 4th of July, artists of all ages and skill levels come out to Cayucos State Beach for an epic Sand Sculpture Contest. Visitors, locals, adults and children take their time in the sand very seriously as they compete for best in show. Past sand sculptures have included mermaids, hippopotamuses, sea turtles, castles, forts, and even sports cars. To enter, show up to the Cayucos Pier starting at 5 A.M. to claim your spot and start sculpting. Otherwise, grab coffee and a muffin from Luna Coffee Bar (82 Ocean Avenue) and watch the magic anytime between 5 A.M. and 8 A.M.
4th of July Parade
The centerpiece of all Cayucos Independence Day fun, this homespun parade is beloved by locals and visitors alike. Community choirs, bands, businesses, and clubs take part in walking Ocean Avenue to the delight of thousands of spectators. The red, white and blue fly high on quirky floats, classic cars and towering unicycles. Witness decades-long friendly rivalries between float building families that vie for the coveted sweepstakes prize every year. Zany, kooky, and decidedly over-the-top, this beloved parade through downtown Cayucos will put anyone in a patriotic mood. The parade begins at 10am on July 4th and travels north along Ocean Avenue. Set up chairs and blankets on Ocean Avenue sidewalks after 6 P.M. on July 3rd, but keep driveways and shop doorways clear. Planning tip: Parking can be extremely challenging on the 4th, particularly along side streets. Some folks arrive during the Sand Sculpture Contest (5 A.M. – 8 A.M.) to secure parking for the parade. Otherwise, try carpooling, ridesharing (e.g. Uber, Lyft), or using public transportation to reach the parade. Note that parking along bridges and Highway 1 off-ramp shoulders will result in fines and/or towing.
Lion’s BBQ and Lioness Bingo at the Vets Hall
A longstanding tradition, the Lion’s Club of Cayucos holds a delicious barbecue every 4th of July, from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M. at the Veterans Hall. Get ready to taste some of the best local tri-tip and barbecued chicken around. (Other dining options include restaurants along Ocean Avenue as well as food vendors along Ocean Front Avenue, facing the beach.) When you’ve polished your plate, settle in for a fast-paced game of bingo, hosted by the Lions Club Lionesses in the tent next door. Held from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M., the proceeds benefit local children’s programs. If you choose to play bingo, be sure to bring cash for bingo cards and pull tabs! The Veterans Hall is located at 10 Cayucos Drive, just beside the Cayucos Pier in downtown Cayucos.
A spectacular fireworks display awaits those lucky enough to visit Cayucos on the 4th of July. At 9 P.M., after a long day’s revelling, the town’s residents and visitors turn out to see fireworks launched from the Cayucos Pier. Pack a picnic for pre-show nibbles, or find most restaurants open for dinner before the fireworks begin to fly. Be sure to bring a blanket, jacket, and low-backed chair. But be warned: like everything in Cayucos on the 4th of July, space is limited! Arrive early to get the best view possible.