There’s a Reason Locals Call Avila Beach & Valley the Land of Ahhs
Find Charming Ambience, Miles of White Sandy Beaches, Charming Oceanfront Restaurants, A World-Class Spa, Natural Mineral Hot Springs, Magnificent Local Wines and Outdoor Adventure
What’s your idea of paradise filled with ahh moments? Is it a spa retreat in the flora and fauna of Bali, a warm, sunny beach getaway in a place unburdened by coastal fog like Key West, or a relaxing retreat on white sandy beaches like off the coast of New England? Whatever paradise means to you, it’s easy to find your ahh moment in Avila Beach & Valley all without the cost of airfare.
Located along the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route on California’s central coast, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the road to Avila Beach takes visitors through a lush oak valley lined with transformative spas featuring natural, mineral hot springs, world-class massage and facials, and yoga instruction. Journey just a little further and the welcoming paradise of the town of Avila Beach appears with quaint shopping, wine tasting, restaurants and beautiful beaches. Avila Beach is a breath of fresh salty air for all to enjoy. Want to see for yourself? Check out this video to see all the fun adventures that await you in this charming seaside town.
Best Place to Stay
Whether you stay in beautiful See Canyon, in the rolling hills of Avila Valley, or one of several beach front properties, Avila Beach lodging options offer something for every budget and lifestyle. Travelers can choose from quaint boutique hotels steps from the beach, over 50 vacation rentals, or a world-class resort and spa located in an oak grove. Discover how you can Pick Your Perfect Paradise filled with ahh moments when you visit Avila Beach.
Best Place to Eat
Avila Beach is known for its fresh fish market located on the end of the Harford Pier and the seafood restaurants located there don’t disappoint either! Find quaint cafes serving up acai bowls and locally roasted coffee, a local market great for sandwiches to take to the beach, or restaurants for families or farm to table cuisine and local wine. Avila Beach truly has something to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.
Best Place to Play
According to Sunset Magazine, “tiny, out-of-the-way Avila Beach—with its sunny microclimate, beachfront promenade, and down-to-earth vibe—might be the ultimate sampler platter of all things classically Californian.” Here’s a list of popular activities you won’t want to miss:
Point San Luis Lighthouse
Take a classic trolley to this historic lighthouse built in 1868. The Point San Luis Lighthouse is one of the best-kept secrets on the Central Coast, a hidden gem outside of Avila Beach, and a fun day adventure for the whole family. If you are looking for something new and unique to do on the Central Coast, consider a tour of the Point San Luis Lighthouse. A must do for tourists and locals alike!
Wine Tasting by The Beach
You’ve got salt in your hair, sand between your toes and two, maybe three, surf boards in the back seat. Your perfect wine pairing involves a bonfire and the occasional errant Frisbee. Avila Valley is one of the few places where you can taste great wines while enjoying the sunset off the Pacific.
Avila Beach Farmers’ Market
Located on the Avila Promenade this Market runs every Friday from 4pm – 8pm, April through September.
Avila Farmers’ Market features booths overflowing with fresh local produce, hand-crafted artisan foods, crafts, restaurants selling delicious local fare, live entertainment, and fun for everyone!
Avila Valley Barn
While the rest of the world celebrates the harvest in autumn, the rich bounty of the earth lasts all year long at the Avila Valley Barn. Ripe peaches, juicy berries, crisp apples, and a cornucopia of locally grown vegetables are displayed in baskets and crates inside an open-air barn. This unique farm and produce stand offers hay rides, a petting zoo, and the pleasure of picking your own produce during U-pick season. Two distinctive gift shops showcase unusual kitchen wares, jams, jellies, cheeses, candies, and toys, plus homemade baked goods.
The Harford Pier was developed in 1873 by John Harford to handle shipping commerce prior to train service arriving in San Luis Obispo. Smugglers also used the pier for transporting liquor under the cover of darkness. The Harford Pier is now home to recreational and commercial fishing, as well as two restaurants and a seafood market. Perhaps the most notable feature of the Harford Pier, which was previously used by horse-drawn carriages, is that it’s still open to vehicles.
The Bob Jones Trail
The Bob Jones Trail is the “City to the Sea” bike trail that runs from Avila Beach to San Luis Obispo. Used as a hiking, jogging and biking route, the paved trail winds through the forested valley alongside San Luis Obispo Creek and behind the Avila Valley Barn. Find views of beautiful oak trees, bridges spanning the wide creek, the Avila Beach Golf Course, the town of Avila Beach and Port San Luis.
Central Coast Aquarium
The Central Coast Aquarium is a friendly public visitor center that is ideally situated on the beautiful Central Coast just steps away from the beach and boardwalk. Students and visitors get a fun, hands-on experience that allows them to explore the ocean. The small, family-friendly aquarium has a mission of educating and inspiring visitors of all ages about local sea life and marine science.
Avila Beach Golf Resort
The Avila Beach Golf Resort is the most well-known of the Central Coast Golf Courses. Located three miles off Highway 101 between San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach, nestled in the surrounding hills and on the bay, the resort includes a par 71, 6,500-yard championship course. The front nine is situated within oak-lined valleys and the back nine transverses a tidal estuary. Golfers of all abilities will enjoy the challenge of this scenic course.
Stewardship Travel in Avila Beach
Stewardship Travel is about adding a bit of “doing good and feeling good” to your vacation. As you plan your Avila Beach trip, consider adding an hour or two of fun volunteer time to your day, or schedule a travel adventure to a natural, cultural or historic site. Contribute to a historic lighthouse, make new friends at a beach cleanup or become a “citizen scientist” at the Central Coast Aquarium. Your stewardship benefits the Central Coast and adds deeper purpose to your vacation. Get the exclusive Avila Beach Free Stewardship Clean-up Kit & Tote Gift Bag, watch the sharks feed at the Central Coast Aquarium and visit the aquarium’s Jelly Tank, take the Pecho Coast Trail Docent Hikes to Point San Luis Lighthouse with PG&E, and much more.
Must-see Rural Road Trip Map: Avila Beach & Valley
There are must-see spots along the way where visitors can become immersed in Avila Beach, as well as the nine other quaint towns that make up the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route. Exploring the hidden gems and local favorites along the route has become so popular by visitors that 10 rural road trip loops are featured on the website, making it easy to navigate by car. Download the Avila Beach rural road trip map here.