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Avila Beach

San Luis Obispo, CA
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Avila Beach, San Luis Obispo California

Description

A day spent at Avila Beach is a real treat! There are so many gorgeous views in all directions! The drive to Avila Beach along Avila Beach Road is lovely, with its hills that lead to the sea. Then you arrive at Avila Beach and you can't believe what a gem you've found! Parking at the top of high cliffs, you walk down steep Front Street, enjoying sweeping views of the beach and its long pier. At the main section of Front Street, a pedestrian-only street, it's so perfect and pristine a main strip that you wonder if you're in Disneyland! Have lunch at the U.S. Customs House Restaurant, which has delicious food and great atmosphere on its sunny patio (bring a jacket- the sea air is cold). Historically, Avila Beach was a steamship harbor and new arrivals would come to this building. Now it's a restaurant with a charming outdoor patio looking out on the blue sea. Or for a quicker snack, sit by the window and have a cup of tea at the Avila Beach Grocery and Deli.
Next, there's the beach to explore! To the west is the long pier. Underneath you can stand in its shade and watch all the children jumping over large waves and the mothers screaming frantically for them to come closer to shore! Note the shark warning sign near the entry to the beach. There was a shark attack in 2003 at this beach- yikes!
The east side of the beach is my favorite part. Here you can walk among geological wonders. Look up at the yellow cliffs and then continue around the bend to the blinding white cliffs. I like to sit here, where there are far less people, and have the little cove to myself.
On San Juan Street, at the far west end of Front Street, there's a pirate playground with wood bridge, dolphin sculptures to climb, ship with pirate holding a telescope, sand pit, play structure, bouncy horses, large rocks, and swings. What a nice atmosphere! On the west side of the beach, there are swings for kids in the sand!
You can see jellies, starfish, sting rays, baby sharks and interesting exhibits at the Central Coast Aquarium near the playground, open 10-4 Sat-Sun.
The only creepy thing about Avila Beach are the signs posted that warn you to tune to a radio station if you hear a siren. Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is nearby- it is one of the dirtiest in the country as far as radioactive emissions and it is also located on a fault line. The name adds to the freakiness...
While in the area, check out the stunning views and enjoy a hike at Pirate's Cove. Or drive west along Avila Beach Drive and take in serene San Luis Harbor. After a day by the salty sea, you need a sweet treat- pick some fresh berries or grab an ice cream at Avila Valley Barn. A lovely three mile shady walk to do is the Bob Jones Bike Path.

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Photo Gallery

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Front Street, by the boardwalk!
Front Street, by the boardwalk!
Bike-riding along Front Street.
Bike-riding along Front Street.
Laying out by the pier.
Laying out by the pier.
View to the west from under the pier!
View to the west from under the pier!
Front Street, and the rolling hills behind.
Front Street, and the rolling hills behind.
Yellow cliff face and boulder, the east side of the beach.
Yellow cliff face and boulder, the east side of the beach.
Yellow, white, and green: my favorite side of the beach, the east side.
Yellow, white, and green: my favorite side of the beach, the east side.
I LOVE these white cliffs!
I LOVE these white cliffs!
BBQ by the west end of the beach.
BBQ by the west end of the beach.
Basketball court with a view- by the playground.
Basketball court with a view- by the playground.
Avila Beach is so colorful!
Avila Beach is so colorful!
First Street.
First Street.
I like these orange and blue apartments by the playground.
I like these orange and blue apartments by the playground.
Old Custom House Restaurant has a sunny patio across the promenade from the water.
Old Custom House Restaurant has a sunny patio across the promenade from the water.
Central Coast Aquarium, pirate playground, dolphin to climb, and the wonderful hills and forest behind.
Central Coast Aquarium, pirate playground, dolphin to climb, and the wonderful hills and forest behind.
Little swimmers west of the pier. The water is COLD year round.
Little swimmers west of the pier. The water is COLD year round.
Relaxing and enjoying the good food at Old Custom House Restaurant.
Relaxing and enjoying the good food at Old Custom House Restaurant.
The promenade above the beach.
The promenade above the beach.
You can walk above the beach or lay in the warm sand to defrost from the cold air.
You can walk above the beach or lay in the warm sand to defrost from the cold air.
Colorful tile design on the promenade.
Colorful tile design on the promenade.
Beautiful cliffs frame the beach and its bright blue sea.
Beautiful cliffs frame the beach and its bright blue sea.
Front Street is filled with cheerful buildings.
Front Street is filled with cheerful buildings.
Old Custom House Restaurant on the colorful promenade by the water.
Old Custom House Restaurant on the colorful promenade by the water.
Joe Momma's Coffee on a street corner (San Luis St and Front St).
Joe Momma's Coffee on a street corner (San Luis St and Front St).
A couple enjoys a meal outside at U.S. Customs House restaurant.
A couple enjoys a meal outside at U.S. Customs House restaurant.
Yellow spring wildflowers along the road that leads into Avila Beach.
Yellow spring wildflowers along the road that leads into Avila Beach.
Flowers by the sea.
Flowers by the sea.
Starfish sculpture on the wall.
Starfish sculpture on the wall.
Swings in the sand!
Swings in the sand!
Bird of Paradise flowers with aquarium in the background.
Bird of Paradise flowers with aquarium in the background.
Mix of blue daisies and pink flowers.
Mix of blue daisies and pink flowers.
Giggling Goose Bookstore.
Giggling Goose Bookstore.
Walking and checking out the shops.
Walking and checking out the shops.

Directions

From Highway 101, follow the signs to Avila Beach Drive. Once you're on Avila Beach Drive, you will pass a sign that says "Avila Beach- next 3 intersections." Turn left after that, on San Luis Street. Turn left on 1st Street. Continue until you find a parking space along the road. It's a walk down to the beach but it's better than paying $5 parking down by the beach on First Street.
You can also park for free on San Juan Street by the playground, but these spaces are often taken.
There are showers and restrooms at the beach.
Central Coast Aquarium, 50 San Juan St, Avila Beach CA 93424, call (805) 595-7280. Open Sat-Sun 10-4. Cost is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and free for kids aged 2 and under.
Old Custom House Restaurant, 404 Front Street, Avila Beach CA 93424, call (805) 595-7555.
Avila Beach Grocery and Deli, 354 Front Street, Avila Beach CA 93424, call (805) 595-2500.

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Visitor Ratings

Overall Visitor Rating:


Teri
07/12/2010 21:00
Breath taking....

Heidi
11/06/2009 15:41
The pirate ship playground is a fave.

Ariel
10/22/2009 19:21
THANK YOU SSOOOOOOOOO much!!!! I'm so excited...

Marge
09/19/2009 19:39
I grew up in Avila Beach, lived there most of my life. From our house we used to take long steep walks down to the beach. I remember almost always having the entire beach to ourselves. Great beach!

Last Updated Wed, 26 Oct 2016 01:04:26 GMT