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Avila has three beaches Pirate Cove (clothing optional) Avila Main Beach, and Harford beach (also locally called the dog beach because you can run you're dog there all day) .Each has their own unique characteristics the and should be part of any visit .Pirates Cove is one of most beautiful view points on the coast -no silly it's nature view,but at least once a year some old bird falls off cliff leaning too far .This year in world of stupid people tricks a guy was leaning out hoping for quick glance at some naked cal poly coed ,so he asked his wife to hold his hand so he could lean further ..yes you guessed it both ended up in hospital ..
Main beach is where most shops /resturants are and most people go .Pier is un written dividing line ..most families go on right side by golf course /lowtide tideal pools by the bridge are sometimes great finds (beach swings /creek for wading and bbq equipment and childrens playground ) coeds/older folks tend to go to otherside to get away from kids ,On low tide you can walk all way to Fossil Point .. Once under the 100 foot cliffs you could be anywhere New Zealand /Spain or yes Avila .Harford Beach main attraction (other than fore mention dog policy) is the only authorized firepits on coast , weekends usualy high school or college parties take all 7 spots ,but families have weekday bonfires /bring alot wood and keep it in pit . Very fun thing to do ..
Old Avila was called just Avila ..It was made state beach in 50s and than renamed Avila Beach ..if you're cool it's just Avila .Avila among locals is just the small village below the old Tank Farm . Some new "posers" surf lingo for want to bes ,live in gated community called Avila Estates they are not avila only rich retirees living behind gates ..ha
Hotel accommodations are available at four inns ..Joe Momma's is small new bed and breakfast on water, ideal for girls spa weekends or couples, includes full organic day spa,organic clothing store mostly womens bamboo/flax/organic cottons ,and areas only coffee bar (great cinnamon rolls ).
Inn at Avila beach is fun 60s Beach house Inn, right on water ,ocean front units are best but if staying several days pick back units and move into roof deck ..amazing views bbqs,tvs ,hamocks all on roof. A
Avila Light house Suites is new property next door to kid park ,has only pool so good place for families ,contlnental breakfast .
Avila la Fonda is for birthdays/honeymoons/aniversaries lots of art everyoroom has fireplaces,spas,42 inch plasma tvs, nightly wine reception ,small but intimate hotel perfect for couples, not so perfect for kids, leave them home or stay at Inn if on budget or Lighthouse if cost doesn't matter .
Restaurants ..Custom House is doing great job after rough start open for all meals. Avila Grocery store is much restaurant as grocery store - great hamburgers,wraps,excellent food . Coffee - go to Joe Momma's great coffee,cinnamon rolls, beautiful place overlooking ocean ,also wifi..
What to do ? Beach is big draw ..mainly locals from Santa Maria to Paso Robles it's consisently voted as their favorite beach ..
There are spas ..Nekkidd is a brand new and s one part of the Joe Mommas complex on beach .They have massage/facials/spray tanning,also two smaller one Coco Body lounge does great job with hair /nails ,also Avila Resort (san Luis bay Inn has small place mostly peds/nails)
Kayaking has become major new thing you can sometimes rent on beach or bring you're own Central Coast kayaks also delivers to the beach .Take creek trip very pretty ideal for inexperienced kayaks /families .After you get hang of it head south towards Pismo Beach just around the point (called Fossil point ) and you willbe amazed by the many sea caves and small beaches between Avila and Pismo Beach . Basketball courts are end of kids park always game ..
Golf Avila Beach Golf Resort is excellent 18 holes front nine especially fun and scenic ,try to go early or late deer are everywhere /turkeys stay left on course and you're score will go down by at least 5 strokes ..Stay at local Avila hotel and ask if the have guest coupon and save 15-20 per person .They also host incredible comedy review California Cabret in tent ask local hotels or call golf course if they are playing .
Drives ..See Canyon is one most beautiful scenic drives in California (so say Sunset Mag). Avila Barn (great place by the way hay rides ,baked pies,fresh fruit) on frontage road .
Go appoximatelyy 3 miles to San Luis Bay road (usually exit you would get off to go to avila from SF) turn left heading back to ocean ,yes you are heading back to Avila beach ...You will see the local school Bellview Santa Fe (in summer they host Shakesphere festival) on left. Turn right on SEE Canyon road ... several wineries and apple orchards along the way .. stay on main road little forks /lanes shoot off in both directions . Eventually you will get to working cattle ranch (you will know when you drive over cattle grate and road turns unpaved ..don't panic just for 1/2 mile or so ..Now you arrived to top of coast ..This magic place is called Irish Hills because hills are so green in winter they remind you of Ireland ..A favorite lie is to tell people it's where Sound of Music was filmed ..You can pull off a couple places and have picnic or just look at Morro Bay rock 20 miles away .. On clear day you can see to start of Big Sur ..
Best time to come ... September to November weather best of year and kids in school .. and Sunday -Thursday year round . Great Hotel deals ..come wekday ask Inn at avila beach if they have any La Times or radio deals usually do , La Fonda hotel has a Costco deal at 30% off ,and Joe momma's has girls getaway includes treatments thats a discount if bought seperately ,,Avila Light House has several packages on their website .
Busiest Times ..July 15-August 15th is always sellout ..weekends Friday/Sat nights sell out now all yr so book early .Holidays Thanksgiving is one of biggest of year ,and Christmas week , Highest rates are in summer with last weekend of July /first weekend of August highest rates , make reservations weeks inadvance .
Campers ..alittle ...if you got RV best deal in california is 25 or so spots on the water by Port San Luis ,pay at office or ranger will collect from you . There is a small camp ground on front age road by Avila barn that rents by day . There are Showers at Port San Luis and drop off tank .Boats can be driven in (small Cats /jet ski) at hartford ramp,Portside Marine has couple lifts .
If you sail in there are morings for rent and water taxi ..more and more large motor/sail boats stop and spend night with crew or owners spending night in hotel and stopping for good dinner ..
Hope all this helps ..great place ..just cleanup after you're self ..keep it special
Shopping ..avila Grocary Store for most beach supplies and bottle of wine ,ice sodas .
Nekkidd is new womens beach wear ..all organic clothing mostly bamboo ,jewelry ,hand bags
Alapay wine ..gift items ,wine tasting
Couple tee shirt shops ,sounvinor shop under canopy next door to gelatto shop
Port side marine small market /ship supplies /
Avila Barn - amazing place fruit,pies,icecream,vegetables ,lots canned stuff
The other main area is Port San Luis ,excellent local favorite Fat Cats especially for breakfast ,also check out Petes (pete retired but good mexican food and fresh dungness crabs cooked and cleaned fresh for you). BJ fresh fish market does,Patroit fishing takes daily fishing trips and whale watching in season .Also the Portside marine has both small market and host boat services and supplies . Small fountain at beging of parking lot to honor lost sailiors.