Hundreds of well-known destinations may be found along the Pacific Coast Highway, but it’s little-known gems like Avila Beach that really distinguish California as a great location to visit. If you’ve never heard of or been to Avila Beach, you need to keep reading! On the Californian coast, just off Highway 1, approximately an hour north of Santa Barbara, lies Avila Beach. Here are some of the fun things to do in Avila Beach if you come there now.
1. The vineyards of Kelsey See Canyon
The Kelsey See Canyon Vineyard, one of my favorite places to visit in Avila, comes first on the list. An afternoon wine tasting in such a wonderful and cozy setting. Additionally, it is extraordinarily inexpensive, with 5 wine samples just costing $12, and the tasting fee is waived if you buy more wine than $29 worth.
Since so many empty bottles of the 2015 Red Delicious Rose and Apple Blend were discovered next to the hot tubs at Sycamore Mineral Springs Hotel, we learned from some of the helpful staff that it is also known as the “hot-tub wine”!
The location is picture-perfect, and the wines are delicious and come with intriguing backstories. You may drink your wine while relaxing in the garden, taking in the live music, watching peacocks go by, and playing a few games of corn hole. You will find it tough to leave this excellent setting to while away a few hours since there is still so much to see in Avila.
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2. The Bob Jones City to Sea path
The Bob Jones City to Sea path, a 2.5-mile route that leads directly up to Avila Beach, is very well-liked by runners, hikers, bikers, and plenty of lovely moms (we spotted more ladies running with strollers along the trail than we did ordinary runners!). We had heard that bicycles could be rented close to the parking lot and had intended to do so at the trail’s “city” end, but after parking and searching the whole parking lot area, we were unable to locate the bike rental.
Instead, we made the decision to return to our hotel in Sycamore Mineral Springs and hire bicycles there. Conveniently, the hotel has a bridge that crosses the street and connects to the trail’s beginning. If you’re unsuccessful in finding the bike rental, I recommend renting them via your hotel. The cost of renting a bike from us was $25 per day or $10 per hour.
The route itself is simple and level, making it a relaxing approach to enjoy Avila Beach’s natural beauty. You’ll pass several vineyards, lovely hills with undulating terrain, and a variety of bird species along the river. It was tempting to pause and sit on one of the seats to take in the scenery when we saw a huge heron fishing. We persisted however, and the leisurely ride came to a conclusion at Avila Beach.
3. Avalon Valley Barn
The Avila Valley Barn is one of the coolest and prettiest stops on a road trip—something most people wouldn’t associate with a barn! One of the cutest and coziest places I’ve ever visited is the Avila Valley Barn, which is so unmistakably American that I fell in love with it.
If you live in Avila, we will imagine you would like to conduct your weekly shopping here since there are so many fresh food alternatives available there! But if you’re a guest, I advise you to come here to stock up on their juicy strawberries, fruits, freshly baked pastries, biscuits, nuts, and an endless array of other delectable treats for a picnic! At any time of day, you may stop by Avila Valley Barn to discover enjoyable activities to do and delicious food. It’s a terrific place to stop for breakfast in the morning, and for lunch, there are BBQ selections and freshly roasted corn on the cob. Families may also enjoy spending time with all the farm animals in the barn, particularly the young goats.
4. Avila Hot Springs
The Avila Hot Springs, which opened in 1907, provides campsites and accommodations for overnight guests. If you just have time to come for the day, you may utilize the freshwater heated pool and relax in the natural mineral pool.
The mineral pool is heated to the ideal temperature of 104 degrees from a geothermal spring that is located deep under the Earth. The water is pumped to the surface via a well at the Avila Hot Springs, where it is subsequently cooled from 135 degrees. There is a waterslide for youngsters as well as a spa if getting a treatment is how you want to unwind. Adults must pay $12, and children must pay $10 to enter for the day.
5. Mallaghs Landing and Pirates Cove
To get here, enter 1551 Cave Landing Road, San Luis Obispo into Google Maps rather than Pirates Cove. The latter will lead you to the incorrect location! When you arrive, there is a gravel parking area where you may leave your car for no charge. There are paths to the left and right of here (looking out towards the ocean). Take the path to the left to reach the Sea Cave and the clothing-optional beach at Pirates Cove.
Less than five minutes later, the route descends to a junction, where you may choose to walk left to the beach or right to the sea caves. I advise seeing the sea cave first. When you peek through the cave, this provides a spectacular and distinctive picture of the ocean. From there, you may decide whether to wear swimsuit or not as you make your way back to the beach. Although the beach is lovely, what truly attracted me were the views of the ocean and the rock wall. Stop for a moment at the summit to take in the genuine Californian beauty that surrounds you there.
6. Central Coast Aquarium
If you are traveling with your family and children near Avila Beach, the Central Coast Aquarium is the ideal destination. The aquarium benefits from having a large children’s play area right next to it and is situated around 50 yards from the beach. Since it first opened its doors in 1994, the aquarium has grown to play a crucial role in the life of the Avila Beach neighborhood.
Prior to the aquarium’s opening, its creator, Russell Kiesseg, started teaching people in a classroom on Harford Pier about marine life and ocean preservation. The present team is dedicated to teaching pupils about marine life, continuing Russell’s enthusiasm for ocean preservation.
Given its handy location and modest size, a stop to the aquarium may be added to your itinerary with ease. If you plan your trip correctly, you may be able to participate in the Shoreline Explorers’ monthly Sharks After Dark event, a guided tour of the tidepools, or perhaps one of their beach or diving clean ups to support the preservation of the beauty and integrity of our seas.
7. Avila Beach Pier
Of course, a trip to Avila Beach wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down the pier! One of the great things to do at the pier, which is positioned directly in the middle of the beach, is to relax in one of the hammocks strung beneath it! In this region, you could also witness some young tightrope walkers setting up their equipment and practicing.
Even though Avila Beach is not very crowded compared to other California beaches, you should go there early in the morning if you want to see it before families and large groups arrive for the day. Alternatively, if you like watching the sun set, wait until late in the day and hang out on the pier. If you wonder things to do in Avila beach, you can go for this without thinking twice.
When you’ve eaten your fill, cross the street and choose from one of the restaurants that face out over the beach. Popular choices include Blue Moon and Ocean Grill, but we chose the Custom House since it had wedge salads, my go-to lunch! If you want to enjoy the beach at your doorstep, you may also reserve a stay at a posh Airbnb on Avila Beach!
8. Harford Pier
One of those locations, Harford Pier, doesn’t quite scream, “Come see me,” but if you do, it will be happy to share its past with you. Before even stepping onto the boards of the unassuming pier, we decided to scramble over the rocks to the beach below. Down on the beach, walk to the right, climb over the rock boulders that are perched close to the cliff edge, and around the next corner, you will be rewarded with an empty private beach that can only be seen from the water!
Once you’ve got your fill of your little cove, return up the pier and make your way leisurely to the end. Sea otters playing in the water, some sea lions sunbathing, and coastal vistas that genuinely made me miss the Dorset Coast in England, where my family resides, can all be seen as you stroll down the pier.
When you get to the end, you’ll see that the pier is truly in use, with fishermen spending the day casting their hooks out, boats returning with their catch of the day, and merchants selling fresh fish, crab, and oysters straight from the fishermen.
In addition to taking in the sights, you may stop for lunch at one of the two restaurants on the pier that face out over the ocean, go on a whale watching excursion, or rent some paddle boards and explore the region from the sea.
This is a perfect list of things to do in Avila Beach. You can keep these activities in mind and plan your visit to the beach accordingly. Then you can end up with securing a bunch of impressive experiences without encountering any struggle.