Avila Beach – Fun Things to Do in This Beach Town

Avila Beach - San Luis Obispo CountyAvila Beach is a small seaside village overlooking San Luis Obispo Bay. It is an unincorporated community located south of San Luis Obispo. Enjoy stunning ocean scenery and the charms of a small beach town.

The temperature is typically 10 to 15 degrees warmer than other area beaches. Thousands of local and migratory birds are found here. Avila Beach is a bird sanctuary. A variety of marine life lives in these waters, so keep your eyes open!

#1 – Go Wine Tasting

Alapay Winery Six wineries have wine tasting rooms in the downtown area. It’s easy to park your car and walk from one tasting room to the other. Alapay Cellars, Croma Vera, and Sinor La Vllee are all on 1st Street. Peloton Cellars and Morovino are both on Front Street facing the bay. Avila Wine Company is on San Miguel Street.

Kelsey See Canyon WineryIf you feel like driving to more wineries, there are many more world class wineries to visit in the area. Learn more about San Luis Obispo Wineries. A little further north, check out the outstanding wineries in Paso Robles

#2 – Explore the Bob Jones Trail

San Luis Creek - Bob Jones Trail
Walk, bike, or even skate on the scenic The Bob Jones Trail. This paved trail meanders along the San Luis Creek through a lovely wooded area, past a golf course and fields, and crosses a bridge before ending at Avila Beach.

It’s a flat, shady trail with benches and picnic tables along the way. Bring your binoculars as you will be sure to see a variety of birds. You might even spot a deer or two.

Avila Beach Sea BirdsOnce you are at the San Luis Bay there will be plenty of sea lions and marine birds to observe. Otters are commonly seen. It’s not unusual to spot a gray whale. The trailhead and parking lot is on Ontario Road just off of Highway 101. Bikes can be rented at Avila Hot Springs, which is nearby.

The trail is approximately 5 miles roundtrip. Dogs are allowed on leash. If you wish to start at Avila Beach and take the trail east, bike rentals are available at Wally’s Bike in downtown Avila Beach. Electric bikes can be rented at Perego also in downtown Avila Beach.

#3 – Dine at Mersea’s on the Harford Pier

Mersea's Avila Beach Drive onto the pier a mile or so west of the downtown area to enjoy a meal at Mersea’s. This casual restaurant/bar is located at the end of pier. Dine inside or outside surrounded by the San Luis Bay. It’s a great spot to relax and watch the local marine life. Hear barking seals and watch hundreds of birds. Sometimes otters, playful dolphins, or even a whale is spotted here.

Friendly servers and very good food. The menu focuses on fresh seafood, salads, sandwiches, and clam chowder, My wife and I shared the Nachos. They were delicious. Mersea’s is a must stop whenever we are in the area.
Mersea’s Website

#4 – Soak in a Tub of Hot Mineral Water at Sycamore Mineral Springs

Sycamore Mineral SpringsSycamore Mineral Springs is a longtime favorite retreat. They offer gorgeous accommodations with a private hot tub filled with mineral water on the balcony outside each room. If you aren’t staying at the resort, hillside hot tubs tucked away in the trees are available by the hour.

There’s an extraordinary full service spa and a gourmet restaurant as well. Yoga, pilates, and Tah Chi classes are available daily. A creek runs through the proper and it’s a wooded, peaceful setting.
More Information

#5 – Browse the Shops in Downtown Avila Beach

Downtown Avila BeachFront Street runs along the beach and is a good place to start. Forgot to pack something you need for a day at the beach? The Sea Barn is sure to have it. Hula Hut sells freshly made fudge, ice cream, and deli food. Del Sol sells color changing clothing and accessories. There’s more. Wander through the charming downtown and see what you can find.

#6 – Play a Round of Golf at Avila Beach Golf Resort

Avila Beach GolfThe Avila Beach Golf Resort has an 18 hole championship golf course. I didn’t have a chance to golf this par 71 course, but did take a look. The course is nestled in the hills surrounding the bay. It’s a beautiful setting with fresh ocean breezes. It’s close to the ocean, but with no ocean views. The front nine is situated on hilly terrain with small, often-elevated, smooth greens within oak-lined valleys. The back nine transverses a tidal estuary, with several forced carries over the water and multi-level greens to test your will and your skill.

#7 – Spend a Day at the Beach

Avila Beach - the beachAvila Beach is located in the downtown area. Simply relax on the beach. If you want more action, consider body boarding or surfing. Rentals are available during the summer months at the rental stand under the Avila Beach Pier, which runs through the middle of the beach. Body boards, wet suits, surfboards, chairs, and umbrellas can all be rented.

#8 – Go Kayaking or Paddle boarding

kayakingLessons, equipment rentals, and guided tours are all available at Avila Beach Paddlesports. All ability levels from beginner to expert can be accommodated here. Visit the historic San Luis Lighthouse, which is only accessible by kayak or paddle board.

Get up close to the many marine animals that live in these waters. Sea otters, seals, sea lions, sea stars, and numerous birds are routinely seen. Sometimes you might be lucky to catch sight of a playful dolphin or humpback whale. Reservations are required and can be made online.

#9 – Visit the Central Coast Aquarium

Central Coast AquariumVisit the Central Coast Aquarium> This is a very small aquarium that’s located right on the main street in town. Learn about local sea life through hand-on experiences. There’s a touch tank of small sharks. Watch the octopus feeding. Expect to see sea stars, lobster, flounders, horse shoe crab, and sea urchins. There are special activities for young children. There’s a children’s playground next door. This aquarium is just steps from Avila Beach and the boardwalk.

Directions to Avila Beach From Highway 101

Avila Beach Sign - California Avila Beach is approximately 10 miles south of San Luis Obispo. Take Highway 101 exit at at Avila Beach Drive and head west. Follow this road into Avila Beach.

Have you been to Avila Beach? If you have, please share your thoughts about this beach town with us. There’s a comment section below.

Hike Bishops Peak – Panoramic Hike in San Luis Obispo

Calling all hikers and rock climbers!

Bishops Peak - San Luis ObispoBishops Peak is a popular reserve in San Luis Obispo County. Treat yourself to a panoramic view from this rocky peak. It’s the highest peak (1546 feet) in a chain of nine volcanic buttes called the Nine Sisters. The famous rock at Morro Bay is one of the buttes in this chain. It was named long ago by the padres at Mission San Luis Obispo because of the three sharp points on its summit.

Hikers are rewarded with a spectacular view that includes Morro Bay, the Pacific Ocean, Cal Poly, and surrounding hills. It’s a 4 mile round-trip hike. The hike up takes approximately one to one and a half hours while the hike down can be done in about 45 minutes. Allow time to sit and enjoy the view, enjoy a snack, and take some pictures with your camera.

View from Bishop's PeakI did this hike during the morning. Next time I think I’ll bring a flashlight and time it so I can watch the sunset from the top. The rocky peak at the top of this hike would also be a fabulous place to watch the sunrise.

I recommend this as a short day hike. If you’re spending time in San Luis Obispo, it’s a great way to get out, enjoy the outdoors, and get some exercise.

Tips: Go during the week to avoid crowds. Early morning hours are also not as busy. Watch out for the poison oak that is located throughout the area.

Bishops Peak Contact Information:

San Luis Obispo County Parks Department
Telephone: (805) 781-5930

Hiker on trailDirections from Hwy. 1
Within the city of San Luis Obispo, Highway 1 is also called Santa Rosa Street. From Santa Rosa Street turn east on E. Foothill Blvd. Turn right at Patricia. Turn left on Highland Drive. You will pass Bishop Peak Elementary School on the left. Continue on Highland until it ends. You’ll see a trail head sign on the left. Park on the street and begin your hike!

Ready for Another Hike?

Hike Black HillIf you’ve hiked to Bishop’s Peak, you’ve hiked to the tallest of the nine peaks in the series called the Nine Sisters. Why not hike to another? Hike to Black Hill, which is another of these peaks. Black Hill is a three mile round-trip hike. The Black Hill Trail begins in the campground at Morro Bay State Park. This state park is not far away. While visiting Morro Bay State Park, also consider kayaking, golfing, or even camping.

Raise a Glass

SLO brewingThe Central Coast of California, and especially San Luis Obispo, has a number of brewmasters who are producing high quality brews. If you enjoy a good beer, be sure to visit a few of the fabulous breweries located in the area. Many are also restaurants and serve food as well. Some even have live entertainment. Click Here to learn more about San Luis Obispo breweries.

Women Wine Tasting in VineyardSan Luis Obispo is also known for its world class wineries. This area makes some of the world’s best Chardonnays and Pinot Noir. However, you will find fabulous other wines being produced here as well. There are many great wineries with tasting rooms to explore. Click Here to learn about the best San Luis Obispo Wineries to Visit.

If you have hiked to the top of Bishops Peak, please leave a comment below telling us about your experience.

San Luis Obispo Farmers Market – World Famous!

San Luis Obispo Farmers MarketIf you are visiting California’s Central Coast, be sure to check out the San Luis Obispo Farmers Market. It’s a festive, lively event that attracts visitors from throughout the state and beyond.

This popular street fair and produce market is held every Thursday evening in the downtown area.

San Luis Obispo Farmers Market
Enjoy a variety of food such as barbecued ribs, fish tacos, turkey legs, corn-on-the-cob, Italian ices, and Moroccan food. Find fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers for sale directly from the famrers.

It’s a shopper’s delight with fresh produce, arts and crafts, and dozens of downtown shops to browse. Live music, juggling, dancing, face painting all contribute to the hometown atmosphere.

The San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market is held on Higuera Street in downtown San Luis Obispo between Osos and Nipomo Streets. Special events are also held on Garden Street. Activities begin at 6 PM and end at 9 PM. There are more than 120 vendors making this the perfect place for people-watching.

The Farmers Market is held on Thursday throughout the year except Thanksgiving. The market may be cancelled due to heavy rain, but that does not happen very often.

Tip: Come early to find a parking place. Enjoy the party vibe that is like no other farmers market!

Find Other Fun Things to do in San Luis Obispo

Ride an ATV on Sand DunesRide an ATV through the sand dunes at Ocean
This is a blast and it’s something you can’t just do anywhere. Rent an ATV by the hour, half-day, or whole day. The sand dunes are huge and fun to explore.

Taste Wine at the best San Luis Obipo Area wineries
Discover the best wineries in the wine country. There are so many incredible wineries producing world class wines. Visit these top wineries to sample their wines soon.
Laguna Lake Golf CourseGolf at a fabulous San Luis Obispo golf course.
Golfing in SLO is such a treat due to the beautiful scenery and the fun courses. There are so many great courses to choose from!

Most are 18-hole courses, but there are a few 9-hole courses as well.

San Luis Obispo’s Farmers’ Market
Farmers Market FruiteSan Luis Obispo Downtown Association
Address: 1108 Garden St. Su. 210, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406
Telephone: (805) 541-0286

Directions Traveling North on US 101:
From 101 North take the CA-1 North exit toward Morro Bay. Take a slight right onto Osos. Turn left on Walnut. Turn right onto Santa Rosa. Turn right on Higuera.

Directions Traveling South on US 101:
From US 101 South exit at Santa Rosa Street. Turn slightly right onto CA 1/Olive Street. Turn right onto CA 1/Santa Rosa Street. Continue on Santa Rosa. Turn right onto Higuera.

After learning about the fascinating San Luis Obispo Farmers Market, check out other things to do in the area by clicking on these links:

San Luis Obispo Wineries|Oceano Dunes|Golf

Have you ever you attended the San Luis Obispo Farmers Market? If so, please share your experiences in the comments below.