Avila 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
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.
If 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
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.
Once 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
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.
#4 – Soak in a Tub of Hot Mineral Water at Sycamore Mineral Springs
Sycamore 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.
#5 – Browse the Shops in Downtown Avila Beach
Front 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
The 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 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
Lessons, 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
Visit 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 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.