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 Vacation – 15 Fun Things to Do

15 Ways to Have Fun on a San Luis Obispo Vacation

Both locals and visitors on a San Luis Obispo vacation will have a blast with this list of the top fun things to do in the area.

San Luis Obispo Vacation - Farmers Market
1. Check out the Farmer’s Market happening on Thursday evenings from 6-9 PM on Higuera Street in downtown SLO. Enjoy live music, food, entertainment, fresh produce, arts and crafts.

Pismo Beach Pier
2. Walk to the end of the Pismo Pier to enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Watch the fishermen reel in their catches. Poles and equipment are available for rent if you want to give it a try yourself.

Bishops Peak San Luis Obispo
3. Hike to the top of Bishop’s Peak for a panoramic view of Morro Bay, the Pacific Ocean, Cal Poly, and surrounding hills. It’s a short day hike; 4 miles total up and down.

4. Experience vaudeville at The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville located in Oceano since 1975. Popular with locals and with visitors here for a San Luis Obispo vacation.

Oceano Dunes
5. Rent an ATV to explore the Oceano Dunes in Pismo. It’s a blast! You can also reserve a seat on a Hummer and be driven through the dunes by an experienced driver.

beach volleyball
6. Play volleyball on the beach at either Pismo Beach or Avila Beach.

Splash Cafe Pismo
7. Taste the award winning clam chowder at the popular Splash Café. The original café is located in Pismo Beach, but locations have since opened in San Luis Obispo. It’s the place to go for the best Clam Chowder!

8. Private Hot TubSoak in an outdoor hot mineral tub at Sycamore Mineral Springs where you can also pamper yourself with a massage or other spa treatment. Outdoor tubs are available by the hour. If you book a room, you’ll have your own private tub on the patio just outside your room.

San Luis Obispo Vineyards
9. If you are 21 or older, go wine tasting at the many wineries located in and around San Luis Obispo.

10. Enjoy a beach bonfire at Olde Port Beach in Avila.

11. Enjoy a round of golf at one of the scenic and challenging golf courses in the area. If you’re a golfer, there are many courses to choose from on a San Luis Obispo vacation.

Morro Bay
12. Go kayaking at Morro Bay. Rent a kayak and enjoy a guided tour of the Bay.

13. Camp under the stars at Pismo State Beach or Morro Bay State Beach. Or, drive your car onto Ocean Dunes and pitch a tent right next to your vehicle.

Madonna Inn San Luis Obispo
14. Treat yourself to breakfast at the historic Madonna Inn This unique inn is known for its fabulous breakfast. Take a peek into the men’s bathroom. They have an unusual urinal that is something of a tourists’ attraction!

Horseback riding
15. Saddle up and go horse back riding. Wranglers at the Madonna Inn offer guided trail rides seven days a week.

Have fun on your San Luis Obispo Vacation!

Please comment below. We would love to hear your thoughts about a San Luis Obispo Vacation.

Learn How to Save Money on Wine Tasting Fees

Pamper Yourself at Sycamore Mineral Springs in San Luis Obispo

Sycamore Mineral Springs Sycamore Mineral Springs in San Luis Obispo is a unique, one of a kind resort. We are happy to recommend this resort for its fabulous Wine Country accommodations.

The special thing about this resort is the hot mineral springs. Every room has its own private outdoor hot tub. Ours was a natural mineral water hot tub on the patio just outside our door.

This is the perfect setting for a romantic getaway. After a fun-filled day of wine tasting in San Luis Obispo, it’s such a treat to soak in your private tub of warm mineral water. Talk about relaxing; it is heavenly!

Don’t worry about driving to a restaurant. The restaurant at this resort is fabulous. Take a short walk to dine at Gardens Of Avila, which is consistently voted most romantic restaurant in San Luis Obispo County.

Hot Mineral ResortThe amenities at these wine country accommodations are many. There are regularly scheduled classes in yoga, tai chi, and Pilates. They are complimentary for guests of the resort. You can meditate in the Labyrinth, an outdoor tool for calming the mind and relaxing the body.

There are guided as well as self-guided hiking at the resort. You can explore the Central Coast floral, wild life, and learn about this area’s history. This is an historic resort. During the 1920s the resort was called San Luis Hot Springs. It was frequented by Hollywood legends such as W.C. Fields and Charlie Chaplin.

spa treatmentSpa facilities are available, which includes facials and massages. The massage facilities were fantastic. The only sounds I could hear were the sounds of the soft background music playing. My personal peeve is trying to relax during a massage and being forced to overhear conversations of other people.

It was peaceful, the masseuse communicated well to make sure the pressure was right for me, and the 60 minute massage was over before I knew it.

Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort offers unique lodging in a beautiful setting. We’ve already booked our next trip and happily recommend this resort if you are looking for Wine Country Accommodations in San Luis Obispo.

Tip: The newer rooms, West Rooms, which are over the bridge are very spacious and much more modern.

Stay in one of these rooms if you can. It’s a short walk, but you can always call for the bellhop to pick you up or take you to your room from the lobby. This service is available 24 hours a day and the wait is short.

San Luis Obispo Wineries – Click Here to Learn More

Laetitia Winery San Luis Obispo

Laetitia Winery

The San Luis Obispo Wine Region is rapidly growing. Most are small, family owned wineries. Many great wines are being produced throughout the County. SLO is most known for their world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Browse our guide to SLO wineries. Read about all of the wineries and decide which ones you want to visit.

Sycamore Mineral Springs – Contact Information

Reservations and Information
Address: 1215 Avila Beach Drive, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Telephone: (800) 234-5831 or(805) 595-7302

Directions from Hwy. 101:Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort is south of San Luis Obispo. Exit at Avila Beach Drive. Travel west on Avila Beach Drive about 1 mile. The Resort is on the left side.

Our #1 Recommendation for Wine Country Accommodations in San Luis Obispo

Have you stayed at Sycamore Mineral Springs? If you have, please leave a comment below to tell us about your stay.

San Luis Obispo Golf Courses You Must Play

San Luis Obispo GolfWhile wine tasting in San Luis Obispo, play a round of golf at one of the beautiful San Luis Obispo golf courses. Enjoy challenging courses that take advantage of their gorgeous settings. Don’t forget your camera. You’ll want to capture the breathtaking scenery of these Central Coast golf courses.

Reservations are recommended. Click on the link for each golf course to learn more about the course. Be sure to ask about specials. Many courses have reduced rates after a certain time. Some even offer Stay ‘n Play specials.

15 Fun Things to Do in San Luis Obispo

View Video About San Luis Obispo Golf Courses

Click on the small triangle in the lower left-hand corner to view this short video:

San Luis Obispo Golf Courses

AvilaBeachGolfAvila Beach Golf Resort
Address: 6450 Ana Bay Dr., Avila Beach
Telephone: (805) 595-4000
Par: 71
Designers: Olin Dutra & Desmond Muirhead
Avila Beach Golf Resort is located 3 miles off Hwy. 101 between San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach. The front nine is located in an oak-lined valley while the back nine is surrounded by a tidal estuary.

BlackLake Golf Resort
Address: 1490 Golf Course Ln., Nipomo
Telephone: (805) 343-1214 x4
Designer: Ted Robinson
BlackLake Golf Resort is located south of Pismo Beach. This 27 hole golf resort has 3 unique nine-hole courses. The Oaks Golf Course has a par of 35. Both the Lakes and Parkland Style courses gave pars of 36.

Cypress Ridge Golf Club
Address: 780 Cypress Ridge Pkwy., Arroyo Grande
Telephone: (888) 781-4653
Par: 72
Designers: Peter Jacobsen & Jim Hardy
Cypress Ridge Golf Club enjoys the perfect setting. Mature cypress trees, lush green fairways, and fresh ocean air create the perfect environment for enjoying a day of golf.

Dairy Creek Golf CourseAddress: 2990 Dairy Creek Rd., San Luis Obispo
Telephone: (805) 782-8060
Par: 71
Designer: John F. Harbottle

Laguna Lake GolfLaguna Lake Golf CourseAddress: 11175 Los Osos Valley Rd., San Luis Obispo
Telephone: (805) 781-7309
Par: 30This 9-hole course opened in 1975.

Monarch Dunes Golf Club
Address: 1606 Trilogy Pkwy., Nipomo
Telephone: (888) 343-3332
Par: 71
Designer: Damian Pascuzzo
Monarch Dunes is a beautifully maintained 18 hole course. There’s also a unique 12-hole Challenge Course consisting of 12 par 3 holes ranging from 65 yards to 205 yards.

Morro Bay Golf CourseAddress: 201 State Park Rd., Morro Bay
Telephone: (805) 782-8060
Par: 71
Enjoy a round of golf on this hilly course with stunning ocean views. The course is situated within Morro Bay State Park and Estuary, 12 miles northwest from San Luis Obispo.

Pismo State Beach Golf Course
Address: 25 W. Grand Avenue, Grover Beach
Telephone: (805) 481-5215
Par: 27
Pismo State Beach Golf Course is a 9-hole course located south of Pismo Beach

San Luis Obispo Country Club
Address: 255 Country Club Dr., San Luis Obispo
Telephone: (805) 543-3400
Par: 72
Designers: Bert Stamps & Robert Muir Graves
San Luis Obispo Country Club is a private golf course.

San Luis Obispo Golf Courses You Must Play!

Have you played golf at any of these San Luis Obispo golf courses? If you have, could you please share your thoughts with us. Scroll down to leave a comment about the courses you have played.