While driving on US Highway 101, between Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo, you'll spot a beautiful oceanfront cove off in the distance. Intriguingly beautiful, this enchanting community of Avila Beach lies just a few miles away.
While it still maintains a working commercial pier, tourism is the main industry today. A newly remodeled downtown sector has strengthened the tourism industry this past decade.
With average temperatures in the 60s and 70s throughout the later spring months into fall, and protected from prevailing northwesterly winds, Avila Beach is usually warmer than other beaches along the Central Coast. This draws large summertime and weekend crowds.
The downtown sector has been revitalized the past few years with newly developed homes, hotels, restaurants and shops. The initial town was rebuilt after contaminated soil from Unocal oil storage facilities had leaked and the entire oceanfront section of downtown needed to undergo a complete clean up process. Today it gleams like a new sparkling gem.
Avila Beach's rebuild and revitalization plan included a plaza area, seawall, memorial overlook deck, a neighborhood park, a lifeguard/first aid station, an amphitheater, public art, streetscape, beach access and public restrooms. Today, Avila Beach draws large crowds for many reasons and to many popular events.
Every Friday afternoon from April to September, the Avila Beach promenade hosts the Avila Beach Fish & Farmer's Market. Great food, fresh local produce and fresh seafood with over 20 vendors and live entertainment bring out the crowds for this favorite venue.
The nearby Avila Beach Golf Resort includes a par 71, 6500-yard championship golf course. Its main clubhouse area hosts a number of music concerts, world-famous events such as the Central Coast Wine Classic and is rented often for fundraisers and weddings. The views of the surrounding bay are spectacular.
Port San Luis, sits on the northern end of Avila Beach and is one of the grandest fishing harbors found along the Central Coast. Residents often head to this favorite Avila Beach pier to buy fresh fish right off the boat including: salmon, swordfish, tilapia and live crab. The Olde Port Inn restaurant is at the end of the pier and is a popular restaurant for many tourists and locals living throughout the county.
Avila Valley Barn, located between the US 101 Freeway and Avila Beach is another popular destination for many visitors and residents alike. Seasonally selected produce and baked goods combine the old-world traditional barn environment where families can enjoy the animal farm, hayrides in the fall and outdoor picnic seating.
For those wishing for a nice coastal walk, the San Luis Obispo Lighthouse lies a bit further north around the point. The newly restored lighthouse can be visited via the Pecho Coast Trail on docent led hikes.
Another popular trail is the Bob Jones Trail, a 2-mile paved nature path lined with oaks and sycamores used by joggers, bikers, inline skaters and those walking their dogs. With hopes of it extending eight miles to the City of San Luis Obispo, it is located right off the freeway and is a tranquil escape for many.
Residents who live here in Avila Beach enjoy the natural oceanfront views, quiet living environment and its remote location that remains close in proximity to San Luis Obispo and beyond.
While the tourists enjoy the newly rebuilt community, many residents still reminisce about the old, historic town they once knew. Tourism, however, is booming and the town is alive and well.
For a small community, it hosts quite a wide selection of favorite offerings. Among the most popular activities for visitors and residents include: