||San Luis Obispo, CA|
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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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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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Overall Visitor Rating:
|The pirate ship playground is a fave.|
|THANK YOU SSOOOOOOOOO much!!!! I'm so excited...|
|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!|