Located along the Central California Coast, Avila Beach is a quaint town with lots of opportunities for fun in the sun. It enjoys a privileged protected location on San Luis Obispo Bay, and calm ocean waters are perfect for boogie boarding and swimming.
The city is home to a vibrant community and a thriving local economy. Its close proximity to vineyards and soft green hills provides a tranquil backdrop for an idyllic vacation.
1. Walk on the Pier
The Walk on the Pier is a great place to see some of the best sights that Avila Beach has to offer. It offers expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and the beach below it. You can also walk under the pier, which is a great spot for enjoying a sunset.
This pier is a great spot to walk with your family and kids as there are plenty of things to do and see! There is an aquarium right next to it, so you can enjoy the ocean view while your children are having fun learning about marine life.
There are lots of restaurants on the pier, so you can stop in for lunch and a snack. A popular choice is Mariasol, which has a menu reminiscent of a Mexican beachfront.
The pier also offers an exciting ride on the Pleasure Pier. This is a fun experience for the entire family, and there are several rides to choose from.
2. Visit Cave Landing
Cave Landing is one of the most popular attractions in Avila Beach. Located just a short drive from the 101 freeway, this craggy headland is a haven for hiking, cliff jumping and exploring tidal rocks.
The trail begins from a large dirt parking area at the end of Cave Landing Road, about 2 miles outside Avila Beach. It offers views of the ocean from a long, open single track, which hugs the side of a rocky point jutting into the Pacific.
After a few miles, the trail comes to a T-junction with another trail descending to Pirate's Cove, a clothing-optional sandy beach.
The county has been working to improve Cave Landing, which has become a frequent place for partyers to congregate and resulted in medical calls and injury reports. In response, San Luis Obispo County is holding a public workshop to get input on what changes need to be made.
3. Visit the Port San Luis Lighthouse
The Port San Luis Lighthouse is a unique attraction near Avila Beach. Located on the National Register of Historic Places, it offers historical tours and activities that educate its visitors about marine life and local history.
There are also hiking trails that offer scenic ocean views and ecological information. One of these is the 3.6-mile round trip hike on Pecho Coast Trail to the Point San Luis Lighthouse.
This is a docent-led hike that must be accompanied by a guide, but it’s worth it for the educational experience. With sweeping views of Avila Beach and San Luis Obispo Bay, you’ll learn about the area’s plants, geology, and history while you explore the historic site.
The lighthouse also has trolley tours that depart from Avila Beach on Wednesdays at 12 p.m. and Saturdays at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. There’s no cost to ride the shuttle, but you will need cash for a $5 donation to enter the lighthouse.
4. Take a Hike
Avila Beach is known for its stunning landscapes, clear beaches, and historic sites. It is also home to a variety of outdoor activities that tourists can participate in throughout the year.
One of the best things to do in Avila Beach is taking a hike. This is a fun activity that will not only allow you to enjoy the beauty of nature but will also help keep you healthy.
There are several hiking trails in Avila Beach that will give you a great view of the ocean. These trails are doable for all levels of hikers and will provide a unique perspective of the area.
You can hike the Pecho Coast Trail, a 3.75 mile round trip that will lead you to Point San Luis Lighthouse or you can hike the Rattlesnake Canyon Trail, which is an 8-mile round trip. Both hikes are guided and will provide you with amazing views of the coastline while you learn interesting facts from naturalists about the history of the area, geological formations, and native plants and animals.
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