Avila Beach is about 10 miles (16 km) south of San Luis Obispo off Highway 101. You can get off the freeway at either San Luis Bay Drive or Avila Beach Drive.
The downtown portion is easily walkable. Driving can take you to some more far flung destinations, but travelling by bike is also a good way, with a bike path from 101 to the town.
- 1 Avila Beach Pier. The main pier was built in 1908 and extends from the center of Avila Beach for 1,685 ft (514 m) out into the ocean. It is used primarily for recreational fishing and strolling. There are three piers in Avila Beach.
- 2 The Point San Luis Lighthouse, toll-free: , email@example.com. Tours Wednesday at noon & 1PM, Saturday at noon, 1PM & 2PM. The Point San Luis Lighthouse is the only surviving Prairie Victorian on the West Coast. It began operation in 1890 with a light that generated alternating red and white lights, visible for 17 nautical miles. Tours are offered on Wednesday and Saturday and are docent-led. Tours last 1 hour and 45 minutes, including travel time on a trolley that departs from a staging area on Avila Beach Dr. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 24/7. Hiking tours are also offered on Wednesday and Saturday and last from 9AM-1PM, traversing a moderately strenuous path that is 3.75 miles one-way. Hiking is limited to 20 participants on Wednesdays and 40 on Saturdays, and reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance. Trolley: $20 for adults, $15 for kids 3–12, kids under 3 are free; Hiking: $5 per person.
Outdoor activities include swimming in the gorgeous but often frigid Pacific Ocean and basking in the sun. Golf and tennis are readily available at the Inn at Avila Beach.
- 1 Avila Beach (Main Beach). The beach that gives the town its name is approximately a half mile long. It is protected from northwesterly winds by Point San Luis, creating a warmer climate than neighboring beaches, with water temperatures reaching the 70s (F) during the summer. Amenities at the beach include bathrooms, outside showers, six BBQ pits & picnic tables, a volleyball court, a basketball court, and a playground with swings & slide. Dogs are not permitted on the beach between 10AM and 5PM (during the day head down the coast to Fisherman's Beach where dogs are allowed).
- 2 Avila Hot Springs, 250 Avila Beach Dr. Su M Tu Th 8AM-9PM; W F Sa 8AM-10PM, hours may vary seasonally. Discovered in 1907, the mineral hot springs bubble up at between 130-140°F and are cooled to 104°F with the addition of fresh water. The hot spring pool is 20 ft by 20 ft and 2 ft deep. The property also offers a heated swimming pool (not mineral spring water), cabin rentals and camping, a game arcade, picnic facilities, laundromat, showers, and massage facility. Adults $10, children (15 & under) & seniors (55 & over) $8, morning only (8AM-noon) $6, spectator (not swimming) $3, after 6PM $6.
- 3 Bob Jones City to Sea Bike Trail (trailhead parking is on Ontario Rd just past the KOA campground). This 3-mile (one-way) trail is a paved, mostly-flat path that follows the Pacific Coast Railroad right-of-way along the San Luis Obispo Creek. The trail begins near Highway 101 and ends at the beach/promenade in downtown Avila Beach. Bike rentals are available at both ends of the trail from nearby businesses.
- 1 Avila Valley Barn, 560 Avila Beach Dr, ☏ . For local produce on your way in.
- 1 The Custom House Restaurant, 404 Front St, ☏ .
- Avila Market, 354 Front St, ☏ . Daily 8AM to 9PM. Restaurant and bar, with groceries, wines, beach items and sundries in the basement
Kraken Coffee Company, 310 Front St, ☏ . M-Th 7AM to 4PM, F-Su 7AM to 5PM.
- 1 Avila La Fonda Inn, 101 San Miguel St, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. An upscale inn featuring spa suites, fireplaces in every room, complimentary gift baskets for all guests, and a daily wine reception. The building suffers from its location - there are no ocean views and the rear rooms offer an overlook of a large parking lot - but the staff makes every effort to cater to guests' needs and cover all of the little things that other hotels might miss. $200-300 per night.
- 2 Inn at Avila Beach, 256 Front St, ☏ . From $100.
- 3 Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort, 1215 Avila Beach Dr, ☏ , email@example.com. From $150.
- Avila Lighthouse Suites, 550 Front St., ☏ . Large oceanfront hotel with a nautical theme. Free breakfast, pool, hot tub, fitness center.
- San Luis Obispo - 10 miles north of Avila Beach and almost exactly half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this small college town and its neighboring communities boast extraordinary resources for hiking, mountain biking, sea kayaking, swimming and surfing, outstanding natural beauty, a carefully preserved and thriving 19th-century downtown centered around a meticulously restored 18th century mission, a small but thriving art gallery scene, and a large and growing collection of top-quality wineries.
- Pismo Beach - Avila Beach's neighbor to the southeast is a tourism-focused coastal town that has more than 65 restaurants and 30 lodging options, and draws visitors with its beautiful coastline, annual clam festival, and the thousands of monarch butterflies that gather to spend the winter in a grove at the edge of town.
- Morro Bay