Things to do in Avila Beach – California

Avila Beach is a community in San Luis Obispo County, California. It is located on the Pacific coast, about 9 miles south of the city of San Luis Obispo. The town is known for its beautiful beaches and scenic views, as well as its small-town atmosphere and relaxed way of life. It is a popular destination for beachgoers, outdoor enthusiasts, and travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

This small beach town is packed with tons of fun things to see and do. Avila Beach is a great get away for you and your significant other. It’s even a great place to take the kids. Avila tends to be a little bit warmer and the waves are much smaller than the other beaches close by. You can thank Point San Luis for making the ocean appear almost lake like at times and creating a wind break from the Northwesterly winds.

Avila Beach Source : Flickr

History of Avila Beach

The history of Avila Beach dates back to the turn of the century. During this time, the town was home to a booming oil industry. In fact, it was the world’s largest crude oil shipping port. Oil tankers were stationed on the shores of the city, and the town’s beachfront was dominated by them. In the 1990’s, the city suffered from a major oil spill and extensive cleanup and restoration efforts were required.

Fortunately, this small town is a thriving center for activities, including shopping, dining, and the occasional concert. It has a vibrant arts scene and boasts a growing number of top-quality wineries. The beach offers ample opportunities for relaxation and enjoyment, as well as fun and excitement.

The town was also home to a historic pier. In 1907, a supermajority of County voters approved the construction of the Avila Municipal Pier. This structure featured several hoists and a large warehouse. It was later used by the Avila Lumber Company to unload cargo from ships. In addition to this, Front Street was turned into a lumber yard.

Today, Avila Beach is a small town in the Central Coast region of California. It is home to less than a thousand residents and a few hotels and small businesses. The 0.5-mile-long shoreline is backed by the Point San Luis, which helps to break the prevailing northwesterly winds. This provides the town with a warmer climate than most of the beaches on the central coast. The temperature is usually in the 70s in the summer.

Must do

You’ve made it to Avila Beach, what should you do first? Hit the beach, that’s part of the reason you’re there, right? You will love the sandy beaches, warm weather, and mild swells. The sea life in Avila is very active. Take a walk out on the pier and you will be able to watch the sea lions swimming, along with the Sea Otters. If you happen to be visiting between December and April you will most likely see the whales migrating along the coast.

If you are a fan of sea creatures swing into the Central Coast Aquarium. Staffed by Cal Poly’s Marine Biology students, you will be able to touch and learn about the ocean life in the area and other exciting facts about the local ocean climate. If you are In Avila on Friday evening make sure you take a stroll through the Farmers Market. Filled with local vendors selling local hand made crafts, locally grown produce, freshly made baked goods, and more.

Avila Beach Source : Flickr

What do you like best about Avila Beach?

Avila Beach is where I prefer to go on a day outing to the beach. The park, beach, aquarium, shops, everything about it just puts you in a good mood! Good Vibes summer music festival is a huge hit and it wouldn’t be summer if this wasn’t part of the entertainment line up! This small town may look like a quite beach retreat but this is a hot spot for fun in and out of the sun!

Best Walk in Avila Beach

There are some things that are best done on foot. Bob Jones Trail also known as City to the Sea is a beautiful walking path. Where She’ll Beach ends and the road to Avila begins. This well maintained, paved walking trail takes you on a low intensity stroll through the beautiful landscapes, park, and by the athletic club. A few short miles and you will arrive in Avila Beach.

If you’re looking to burn some calories and take in some breath taking views take a hike along the Avila Ridge. Starting at Pirates Cove in Avila you will follow the coastal ridge, take in the ocean view and the costal rocks and caves that make up the landmarks along the coast. As you hike along keep your eyes open for the tree swing that points you in the direction of the local apple orchards and vineyards. You better have your camera handy because you will definitely want to share these photos when you get back home.

Avila Beach Source : Flickr

Best Restaurants in Avila Beach

With all of the places to eat how do you pick where to go. A big hit with the locals is Fat Cats! Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, The family friendly cafe has all off the breakfast favorites, lunch classics, and home cooked comfort style dinners. There is a little something for everyone here! Now if you love fresh fruits and veggies Kravabowl is a mandatory stop! Fresh pressed juices, blended fresh fruits making the best smoothie to ever hit your lips. Acaci bowls blended fruits on the bottom top it off with Acaci and sliced fresh fruits, fresh hand crafted salads, makes this a mandatory must try before you leave town.

To be honest you will probably be a place you will want to eat at again before you leave! If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial The Custom House is the place to go! They are open daily for lunch and dinner and offer a very well rounded happy hour menu if you’re looking for something between meals. The Custom House is a great place for a great steak dinner or enjoy some fresh sea food. Indoor and out door seating is available. The ocean is viewable from almost every seat in the house. They also offer a full bar and have a variety of local wines and craft beers available.

Best Places to Stay in Avila Beach

I have added some of the more popular places to stay in Avila Beach. Please hit the links for more details and also for customer reviews at TripAdvisor

  1.  Avila Lighthouse Suites is the only all-suite oceanfront hotel in beautiful Avila Beach, California. Make yourself at home in one of our 54 newly renovated two-room suites, with a variety of family-friendly options boasting 550 to 1,100 square feet of coastal comfort—each with a private balcony or patio overlooking Avila Beach.
  2. Inn at Avila Beach is your all inclusive oceanfront hotel! The Inn at Avila offers so much more than just room. Every night we end the day with our 8pm pie reception with homemade baked pie and ice cream. At the top of the hour, guests enjoy access to our rooftop coffee house for breakfast.
  3. San Luis Bay Inn is a home away from home, the hotel rooms offer a flat screen TV, a refrigerator, and a kitchenette, and getting online is easy, with free internet access available.

Music Festivals that Rock Avila Beach

Some of the best performers come to play right here by the beach! From the Good Vibes Summer tour and blues festival, to Boots and Brews for the country lovers, and classic rock bands there is always good music to be heard! Rebulation, Jon Pardi, Gary Allen, ZZ Top, and George Throrogood are just a few of the epic performers that have hit the stage by the bay in Avila Beach. If you want to snag a spot you better be ready to purchase tickets as soon as they hit the box office. If you don’t get the tickets don’t worry you can still enjoy the music you just won’t get to see the concert, but like many of us locals dancing on the beach is just as fun!


Avila has a beachfront lineup of open air bars, a few spots to play pool, a little bit of dancing, in a fun and laid back setting. Mr. Ricks is a local favorite and always brings in a big crowd with their custom cocktails and highly skilled bartenders. If you’re not much into that scene you should grab some wood and hit the beach! Bon Fires are always glowing along the beach. Even if you don’t start the fire there is a good chance you if you hit the beach you will bum into some other fun party people and be invited to join in on the fun! The locals here are very friendly and enjoy making new friends and showing visitors how to cut loose like the locals do!

Best Day Trip Out of Avila Beach

There are so many amazing things to see outside of Avila too. If you have the chance to get away for the day you must take a trip to Hearst Castle. Take a trip further north to San Simeon and take in the beauty of this National and California Historical Landmark. Truly rare art, beyond gorgeous views, and stunning one of a kind architecture is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to visiting this Castle!

Young and old will enjoy its beauty and will leave in awe that something so beautiful actually exists somewhere and not just in fairytales. If I you have time on your way back to Avila, take a quick stop in San Luis Obispo and grab a late lunch or early dinner at The Maddonna Inn! Owned by Alex Madonna this place has original decor chosen by Mrs.Madonna. Take a walk through the dinning hall and sitting areas. If by chance it’s the off season ask if you can see inside a few of the rooms. Each room has its own unique design and no two rooms are alike!

Something that not many travellers would know about Avila Beach

Over the years this special spot has gotten more popular with travelers, but it has always been a hot spot with the locals! Sycamore Mineral Springs was an accidental discovery in 1886 when two men who were drilling for gold. Sadly no gold was found but what they did stumble upon was hot sulfur mineral water. These therapeutic waters are known for their curative properties, so in 1920 Sycamore Mineral Springs was born.

Along the hillside settled in among the oak trees, are 23 hot mineral hot tubs. All of these tubs are positioned to give you the most private and relaxing experience possible. When soaking in the tubs it’s recommended to follow the clothing optional suggestion and are completely shielded from the view of others.

You can add water and change the temperature for the ideal conditions. The winds are minimal and the view of the stars above is breathtaking! This is a spectacular place to spend a romantic evening. You can book one of the 72, rooms that have their own private tubs on the back deck. You will enjoy every minute of this spectaculars destination.

As you can see Avila Beach has something to offer everyone. This is defiantly a destination that she be added to yro bucket list. If I wasn’t fortunate enough to live here it would definitely be on mine. I hope you enjoy your visit to Avila Beach California.

David Cronk - Editor

David Cronk is the editor of online travel magazine Travelodium Travel Magazine. David has travelled to over 30 countries of the world and his writing has been published by enRoute magazine - Air Canada's inflight magazine and by Hotel & Accommodation Management Magazine. David has worked as a Sales Executive for Sheraton and Hilton Hotels and for Hotelbookers in London. He has worked also as a Hotel Night Manager and in bars throughout Europe. David eventually settled into a position working as a croupier for several years before changing careers to become a Data, Sales and Statistical Analyst.

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