Avila Beach: Pick your perfect paradise

Avila Beach: Pick your perfect paradise


Cruise the famed Bob Jones Trail.

  • Be a trailblazer! This beloved path is known as the “City to the Sea Trail” for good reason: it’s the westernmost section of a larger trail connecting San Luis Obispo to the beach.
  • Terrain is three miles (roundtrip) of well-marked, flat pavement, suitable for walking, jogging, or cycling and all ages. Ample parking is available at the trailhead on Ontario Road.
  • Enjoy cruising beneath a cathedral of sycamore branches and beside the meandering San Luis Obispo Creek. For a fun afternoon, take the path all the way to the charming community of Avila Beach for lunch or beach fun, then head back and grab a drink at Woodstone Marketplace along the trail.

Go wine tasting at the beach.

  • Want to taste coastal winemaking at its finest? Avila Beach is home to several tasting rooms that welcome visitors, most of which are conveniently located in downtown Avila Beach, making for safe, walkable wine tasting. The others can be found mere minutes away in the leafy and secluded Avila Valley, easily accessible by ride-sharing or taxi.
  • Tasting rooms include a wide array of varieties, from brut-style sparkling wine to deep, dark Syrah and several points in between. Most offer tastings for a very reasonable fee, and many waive it with the purchase of wine.

Enjoy down-home fun at the Avila Valley Barn.

  • A favorite roadside stop since 1985, this sprawling farm is a hoot for the whole family!
  • Shop for seasonal fruits and vegetables, including world-famous See Canyon apples grown just down the road, as well as jams, jellies, baking mixes and flowers.
  • Kids (and kids of all ages) will love the petting zoo with goats, sheep, ponies, ducks, alpacas, and even peacocks!
  • The shop offers decor, cookbooks, linens, a legendary children’s toy section, and other goods, while the deli sells piled-high sandwiches, ice cream, candy and handmade fudge.
  • The Avila Valley Barn is open year-round, with a pumpkin patch and hayrides each fall, christmas trees and greenery in winter, and pony rides and U-pick berries and peaches in the summer.

Take a step back in time to the Point San Luis Lighthouse.

  • Visit this historic lightstation, on the National Register of Historic Places and still in operation under the auspices of the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • The lighthouse is tucked away past the town of Avila Beach, reachable by a docent-led trolley, by kayak, or by hiking in with Pecho Coast Trail Guides. Hikes take about an hour to reach the light station, and offer views of the ocean perfect for whale watching during migration.
  • The two-storey keeper’s building harkens back to Victorian Gothic design atop windswept bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Tours are available Wednesdays and Saturdays at noon, 1pm, and 2pm, year-round.

Journey under the sea at the Central Coast Aquarium.

  • Are you sea-worthy? This thoughtfully-designed aquarium is home to dozens of species, from the giant Pacific octopus and sharks to tidepool creatures like sea stars and rock crabs.
  • For young visitors, the aquarium offers touch tanks and interactive exhibits designed to foster a lifelong love for the ocean and coastal conservation.
  • The aquarium hosts a range of educational experiences, including Sharks After Dark, a monthly adults-only evening event in which local experts discuss marine topics like oceanography…deliciously paired with appetizers and wine.
  • On regular days throughout the year, the Central Coast Aquarium invites trained divers to help with a dive cleanup. Landlubbers are also welcome to help with beach cleanup days.
  • Become a Shoreline Explorer! On the last Thursday or Saturday of the month, the aquarium invites young learners to hear a brief talk on the species of the month, then sets them out with their parents with a Beachcomber’s Guide with everything needed to navigate an adventure to discover the wonderful world under the waves, including Tide Pool Tips, Directions, Photos, Links to Check Tides, and Animal Information.

Get fresh at the Avila Beach Farmers’ Market.

  • On Friday evenings from April to September, this popular farmers’ market and street party takes over Front Street in Avila Beach, including live music and dancing.
  • The event is held on the beachfront, so kids can play in the sand while grownups take in the tunes or enjoy food and drink from one of the many restaurants on Front Street.
  • Take advantage of San Luis Obispo Regional Transit’s free trolley, connecting Pismo Beach, Shell Beach and Avila Valley hotel properties to the market.
  • Don’t forget fruits and veggies! Market-goers can find a range of fresh produce, as well as prepared street foods for purchase.