Avila Beach is a quaint town that is actually part of the city of San Luis Obispo, but it feels like its own special beach mecca--and seems a world apart. While the inland city gets hot in the summer, people head to Avila to cool off.
One of the few spots in California with three piers in a single bay, two of the piers are open to the public. Harford Wharf features a popular fish restaurant, Olde Port Inn, offering spectacular, up-close views the surrounding ocean and mountains. Outside you can watch the seals and sea lions lounging on moored boats below the wharf. Avila Pier is the closest pier to the downtown shops, hotels and dining.
Avila Beach is seven miles north of Pismo Beach, seven miles south of San Luis Obispo, and half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. You'll find Avila Beach by turning off the 101 where the signs designate the town access.
Avila Beach itself has overcome obstacles to shine even better than before. The ground once was contaminated with toxic chemicals, and the cleanup effort required several years. Everything is brand new in a certain area of town, including a new beachfront hotel.
The other distinction that you don't see is over the hill from the town. Diablo Nuclear Generating Station is off limits to the public. You don't see it and would not know about if not for a small sign or two near f.
When you want to have some old-fashioned fun, Avila Beach is an ideal destination with hardly any night life, but plenty of sunshine, cool ocean breezes, and good times for young families or retired seniors.
What to see: Play golf, wander the two piers; visit the Avila Barn selling produce and tasty foods (has a play area for kids); and spend time at the beach.
Avila Beach was rebuilt from the
ground up after oil leaks from storage
tanks on the hillside in town
contaminated the ground soil several
With three piers all within view of each other, you'll discover you can walk and partake of free fishing on two. The third is a privately owned pier sandwiched between Avila Pier and San Luis Wharf. The other two wooden structures are open to the public.
At the base of the Avila Pier stands a new structure with restrooms. Built as a replica to a previous facility, everything looks clean and neat. Plaques at the base of the pier and across the street at the rebuilt market identify the current structures as replacements to historical buildings. Construction continued on our recent visit, with restaurants and shops planned for opening in the future.
The old Avila is not forgotten as college students from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo have lounged, sunbathed, surfed and visited this warm, friendly beach for decades.
One of the new enhancements to the town is the Avila Sea Life Center. Be sure to drop by and visit it during your next trip to Avila Beach.
There's a playground on a lush, grass lawn. The playground virtually on the beach contains a climbing pole, slides and toddler rides. While the beach is popular, especially in summer months, at one time Avila Beach contained a busy port with thousands of merchants.
Avila's Harford Pier at Port San Luis was one of the busiest ports in California over a century ago. Today, Avila Beach and neighboring Port San Luis are small communities with a resort atmosphere.
While some joke that the Diablo Nuclear Power Plant over the hill creates the warming effect, the sunbathing, swimming, boating, fishing, surfing, golf and the beaches can be 10 degrees warmer than a few miles north in Morro Bay, known for its wind-swept beaches.
Activities include: Avila Beach Golf
Course is a seaside resort located 3
miles off Highway 101 between San Luis
Obispo and Pismo Beach. Nestled in hills
and on the bay, the resort includes a
par 71, 6500-yard championship course.
The front nine is situated within
oak-lined valleys. The back nine
transverses a tidal estuary. Golfers of
all abilities will enjoy the challenge
of this scenic course. The Avila Beach
Golf Resort hosts numerous annual events
throughout the year such as wine and
beer tastings, musical events such as
concerts and fundraisers. Reservations
are available one week in advance. For
times or questions call. Pro Shop