Living Here Guide

Cayucos Lioness Club makes a big difference in small beach community

Shirley Lyon of Cayucos.
Shirley Lyon of Cayucos.

Shirley Lyon and about 40 other Cayucos women are part of a rare breed: They’re proud, active members of the Cayucos Lioness Club.

Most women elsewhere now can join their town’s Lions Club, but Cayucos has had a Lioness Club for about 60 years.

Cayucos has a Lions Club, too, and it’s frequently lauded for its sponsorship of the town’s huge Fourth of July parade and sandcastle contest, as well as for other events and activities.

The Cayucos Lioness Club might fly under the radar of public notice most of the time, but residents and visitors all benefit in one way or another from the many good deeds done by the dedicated women.

Lyon, a multitasking senior who’s eligible for Medicare but doesn’t tell her age, describes Lionesses as “ ‘just do it’ people.”

She said club accomplishments have included campaigning for and raising half the funds to install the Hardie Park swimming pool and tot pool (San Luis Obispo County paid for the rest), as well as purchasing playground equipment for the park, tot lot and beach play area.

Lionesses also worked feverishly alongside many other Cayucans to quickly raise money toward restoring, reopening and maintaining the Cayucos Pier.

The club annually provides three weeks of swim lessons for each Cayucos Elementary School student. Lionesses pay for or support summer arts and music programs, as well as junior lifeguard training for any Cayucos child.

The club bought flagpoles and supplies flags for those poles, purchased and maintains two surf chairs for wheelchair accessibility on the beach, and provided downtown trash and recycling containers, as well as two benches on beach walking paths.

The club has sent supplies to military personnel since the Korean War and supports a host of school, educational and other programs.

Lyon, her husband Bob and their son Dave moved to Bob’s family’s Cayucos property from Valencia in 1980. Bob Lyon died in 2012, but Shirley has no intention of slowing down any time soon. Nor does she plan on leaving the community they both loved for so long.

“It’s one of the oldest and funkiest beach communities on the shore. No fast food joints, no Coney Island feeling,” she said. “Residents and business people are warm and friendly to everyone … There may only be 2,200 people here,” but they make a big difference for each other and the people who visit.


Population: 2,553

Key employers:

• Cayucos Elementary School District

• Area hotels, shops and restaurants

Community events:

• Fourth of July Parade and Celebration

• Central Coast Woodcarver’s Show, Sept. 17-18

• Antique Street Faire, Oct. 16

• Cayucos Car Show, Nov. 5

• Carlin Soulé Memorial Polar Bear Dip, Jan. 1