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Exploring Charming Avila Beach, California

By Edited Dec 22, 2014 5 8

A Wonderful Central California Location for a Beach Vacation

Avila beach and pier


Sunrise in Avila Beach, California is a surprisingly popular time to take a stroll, particularly with your dog. This pet-friendly beach town is located along the central California Coast, about half-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is only about a 15 minute drive south of San Luis Obispo.  Although it is only three miles from Highway 101, it feels quiet and secluded, and has substantially fewer visitors than the better known beach towns nearer Los Angeles, such as Malibu or Manhattan Beach.  This friendly little community is perfect for the person who wants to get away from traffic, crowded restaurants, and packed beaches.

Come prepared for fun:

Be sure to bring along your walking shoes, swim suit, a kayak, or golf clubs, all of which might add to your enjoyment.

You also want to come prepared to relax.

Kayaking is popular at Avila Beach
There are many cute restaurants, shops, and hotels in Avila Beach. One well-located hotel is right on Front Street. It is the Avila Lighthouse Suites, which is a modern hotel with a Victorian flare. It has a heated outdoor swimming pool and a whirlpool. Next door to the hotel is a small park with a children's playground, facing the beach.

A hotel on the way to Avila Beach that has a completely different atmosphere is the Sycamore Mineral Springs Hotel, which is located on Avila Beach Drive. You will pass it on your way into town on the road that runs from Highway 101 into the town of Avila Beach. This hotel feels more like a spa in a forest. The hotel has a heated pool, and most of the rooms have private, outdoor whirlpools on their private patios and balconies. The Sycamore Mineral Springs Hotel has a rustic ambiance, a lovely full-service spa, mineral spring water and wonderful walking paths shaded by towering trees. It also has a restaurant called The Gardens of Avila, which is popular for its healthy, gourmet meals.

Speaking of restaurants, do not expect to find fast food restaurants in Avila Beach. This charming town has its own coffee house with a spectacular ocean view, on Front Street. Some of the other popular restaurants located around Avila Bay are the Custom House Restaurant, and the Fat Cat's Cafe. Both of them are known for their hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, and both have ocean views. There are many other restaurants to choose from, as well, within a short drive of central Avila Beach.

Golf is a popular activity in Avila Beach
As for activities in Avila Beach. the town has a wonderful little public golf course. Several of the holes have ocean views. As I mentioned before, the town also is very pet friendly. Dogs can be walked on the beach in the early morning, and late afternoon. (Don't forget to pick up after your pet!) There are also many cute shops, including the Avila Valley Barn. This fun business is a combination of farmer's market, craft store and gift shop, and many tourists enjoy perusing the variety of food and gift items available. If you get bored in Avila, the town of San Luis Obispo is only a few miles north on Highway 101, and has abundant restaurants, grocery stores, movie theatres and, of course, fast food franchises!

Whether you plan to drive along the California coast on Highway 1 or Highway 101, Avila Beach is an ideal place to plan an overnight stay. The town is quiet and secluded, yet full of charming hotels, restaurants and shops. We stop there once or twice a year, and have always found it a relaxing place to break up our drive between Southern and Northern California.  Be sure to make reservations, however!

Tips & Warnings

Don't expect the water off the coast of Avila Beach to be as warm as the beaches in Orange County and Los Angeles. However, some hearty people still swim there. Avila does not usually provide large surf, either.

To read more information about California vacations, you may also want to read:

Enjoying Your Laguna Beach Vacation

Cheap Hotels near Disneyland

Universal Studios Hollywood, a review

One of the Best Places to Retire is Laguna Woods Village, California

Buy a Fun Mug to Remember Your Trip

mug_164724_2 Doreen Erhardt Scenic - Disembark is a Photograph taken at Avila Beach, California - Mugs - 15oz Mug
Amazon Price: $26.98 $14.99 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 22, 2014)
Whether you go to Avila often or just once in a while, you will love to remember your trip with one or two of these mugs. The photo on them was taken in Avila Beach.


Apr 17, 2010 10:42pm
Sounds like a wonderful place as you explain it so well. thumbs up for you!
Apr 19, 2010 7:07am
Would love to visit, you write it as so inviting, thumbs up, thank you
Apr 28, 2010 7:13am
Great article and what a lovely place to visit. It really sounds so inviting. I'm rating you 5* for this! :-)
May 5, 2010 10:38pm
Thank you for a great article and the wonderful photos.
Sep 12, 2010 7:02pm
It's nice that you let beach goers know about a less popular place to go. But maybe your article will end up help creating the beach a crowded place to go to.
Sep 15, 2010 12:25am
I hope that all of you do get a chance to visit the charming beach community of Avila Beach. It is such a relaxing place to visit!
Aug 16, 2011 5:12pm
You described everything about Avila Beach so beutifully. Sounds like a great place to spend some time.
Dec 22, 2014 6:16pm
Avila Beach is such a fun place to visit. It is a nice place to really get away from it all in Central California.
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