Grover Beach, CA (GVB)
Across Cabrillo Highway from the boardwalk and dunes of Pismo State Beach, the station is also within walking distance of the shops and restaurants along West Grand Ave.
180 West Grand Avenue
Grover Beach, CA 93433
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 18,987
- Facility Ownership: City of Grover Beach
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Grover Beach, Union Pacific Railroad
- Platform Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Track Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Across Route 1 (the Cabrillo Highway) from the boardwalk and dunes of Pismo State Beach, the Grover Beach station nestles in a small cluster of similarly Mission-themed modern buildings in the heart of this small city. The station shelter has a distinctive center-gabled red barrel-tiled roof and colorfully-tiled architectural detailing. The west side houses the city’s Chamber of Commerce, and the north side serves as the primary entrance for rail-bus service as well as access to the neighboring commercial, retail and restaurant businesses which look onto West Grand Avenue.
The station’s opening was timed to coincide with the arrival of the Olympic Torch on the Amtrak San Diegan the morning of November 2, 1996, all carefully coordinated with NBC and its local affiliate, KSBY in San Luis Obispo. Grover Beach Mayor Ronald Arnoldsen, in 1880s costume, addressed the crowd in a “State of the Train Station” speech for the station opening, and many dignitaries from the local communities and all parts of the state attended.
The city made its first ties to the railroad with the new $1.6 million station, which had been a coordinated effort between Caltrans, Amtrak, and the city of Grover Beach with funding from State Transit Capital Improvement and Proposition 116 bonds. RMO Architects of Grover Beach designed the station, which the IBEX Construction Company of San Diego built. The proximity of the station (now served by AmtrakPacific Surfliner trains) to local government offices and the public beach have made it a valuable addition to the community’s residents, businesses and tourists.
Rolling hills dotted with sagebrush coming down to the dunes were first claimed in 1867 as part of an 8,838-acre U.S. land grant to Isaac J. Sparks, who named it El Pismo Rancho. Sparks sold half of this property, which eventually was transferred to D.W. Grover, a 35-year-old lumber man from Santa Cruz in 1887 for $22,982.20. On August 1, 1887, Grover filed plans at the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse and thus founded Grover City.
Grover had originally sought to build a train station to bring investors and tourists, but Southern Pacific instead put the station in nearby Oceano, an unincorporated township. Nonetheless, Grover set aside land for a train depot, hotel, and city park and promoted his town as a seaside resort. However, it remained a small agricultural town until 1935, when Horace V. Bagwell invested in 1,100 acres and thereafter promoted Grover City as the “home of the average man,” putting land prices down within reach of the working class.
Word spread, and the town grew enough that the first post office and fire department opened in the mid-1940s. An affordable and pleasant place to live on the California coast appealed to many after World War II. However, into the 1950s and 1960s agriculture was still the primary economic motivator—a large turkey farm sat next to the present downtown—and growth was slow until Grover City incorporated on December 21, 1959. Some of the community later found “the City of Grover City” to be redundant, and desired that the focus be turned to their place at the seaside. The city renamed itself to Grover Beach, with much ado, in 1992.
Today the city draws about one million visitors a year, given its outdoor attractions such as walkable dunes, a beach open to off-road vehicles, horseback riding, wine-tasting and fishing; and the Chamber of Commerce holds its annual Stone Soup music festival in late August, featuring dance contests and a race.
A natural mystery also lives there: from November to February, thousands of Monarch butterflies flock yearly to the eucalyptus trees of the Pismo Beach Monarch Grove, which is close to both the train station and the beach boardwalk. The butterflies form dense clusters on the eucalyptus leaves, with each one hanging with its wing down over the one below it to form a shingle effect. This provides shelter from the rain and warmth for the group.
The weight of the cluster help keeps it from whipping in the wind and dislodging the butterflies. This colony is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the last five years, and is one of 11 such wintering roosts in California. Curiously, the butterflies only live six months, so those which leave in the spring will never return; it is not known how their descendants find this grove, year after year.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at the unstaffed Grover Beach station. The Pacific Surfliner service is primarily financed through funds made available by the State of California, Department of Transportation, and is managed by the LOSSAN Joint Powers Authority.
- 71 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 71 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Dedicated Parking
- Metrolink Kiosk
- Quik Trak Kiosk
- Wheelchair Lift