An impromptu “ditch day” at Santa Maria High School led to about 300 students converging upon Pirate’s Cove in San Luis Obispo County on Thursday, prompting officials to close Cave’s Landing Road to allow emergency medical personnel access to the beach.

A teenaged crowd began appearing at the cove, which is just down the coast from Avila Beach, at about 8 a.m., said San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. David Nottenkamper.

No serious problems were reported, but several people who had become dehydrated due to warm weather and alcohol required light medical treatment, officials said.

About eight sheriff’s deputies as well as CHP officers and emergency medical responders remained on scene monitoring the activity, Nottenkamper said.

The Sheriff’s Office estimated between 200 and 300 student-aged people were partying on the beach.

While Cave’s Landing Road was blocked to traffic, Avila Beach Drive and other neighboring roads were not being affected.

“It got to the point where the road was just being heavily impacted by cars and emergency personnel couldn’t get through to get to kids who needed some help,” he said. “We’re just trying to make sure we can get those kids who need it safely up the hill and out of the area.”

Nottenkamper estimated the road would remain closed until the early evening.

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Matt Fountain is a reporter with the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Contact him at