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Avila Beach takes its independent spirit seriously. Situated near the ocean, the hills, and wine estates, the walkable village hosts galleries and boutiques to suit most any aesthetic whim. It’s hard to imagine that there’s so much to do and see in one place like Avila Beach, and we haven’t even discussed the surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding or fishing off the pier. The town has long embraced its role as the liaison between the sea and the woodlands and between the field and the vineyard. Spend a few days here, and you’ll depart smitten with your surroundings and seduced by the sea air. Avila Beach is a place where you can pick your perfect paradise.
While in Avila Beach, 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. 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. 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.
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.
Things to do in Avila Beach
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Where to Stay in Avila Beach
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Avila Beach Travel Videos
Events in Avila Beach
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Travel Articles about Avila Beach
Read about why Avila Beach is the perfect California Highway 1 road trip for those seeking a special California beach town experience.
Where to Eat in Avila Beach
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