Top Avila Beach Activities: From the Beach to the Vineyards & More
Avila Beach is one of California’s best-kept secrets. Ask someone from LA or San Diego if they know of this charming beach town and they may say yes, but even fewer will say yes to having been to it. Outside of California, Avila Beach’s larger neighbor just to the south, Pismo Beach, is better known, but lacks the charm of Avila Beach.
For a small beach town, there are a lot of things to do in Avila Beach. Here are the top reasons why you won’t want to miss visiting it on a getaway from one of California’s main cities or during a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Top Things to Do in Avila Beach
Go to the Beach
It’s right there in the name so you obviously can’t miss going to the beach while I’m Avila Beach! It’s pretty hard to miss, just head to downtown Avila and you’ll be right by the sand. One thing to keep in mind is that the beach is looooong and wide when the tide is out. So if you’re planning on setting up your things for your beach day close to the water then I recommend packing a picnic lunch to save yourself time walking to and from the shops. And plan on going into the ocean if you have to go to the bathroom, or be prepared to walk back a ways to get to the public bathrooms in town.
Also adding to the beach’s charm are the old fashioned swing sets located on the beach close to the boardwalk. Take a swing on one as the sun goes down for a memorable California sunset experience.
Go Wine Tasting…Right by the Beach
One of my favorite things about Avila Beach is that you can do wine tasting right in town and just steps from the sand! The colorful street leading back from the main beach is home to several wine tasting rooms. I love that they are airy and bright with the salt air filling your senses as your breath in the aroma of the wines.
Alapay Cellars Tasting Room in downtown Avila Beach has a laidback beach vibe and is known for its French-inspired, hand-crafted wines. Next door to Alapay is Avila Wine & Roasting Company where you can get your fix of both wine and coffee.
Just a block away is another winery called Peloton Cellars that is located in a cute building and has several varietals ready to pour, and there are several more places around the downtown Avila Beach area where you can get a glass or tasting pour of wine.
If the wine tasting in town isn’t enough to satisfy you, you’re in luck: Avila Beach is a short drive from the rolling vineyards and exquisite wineries of both Edna Valley and Paso Robles, though Edna Valley is much closer to Avila Beach.
Two of my favorites in Edna Valley are Laetitia Winery for Pinot Noir and Wolf Vineyards for Syrah.
Walk to the End of the Pier
I don’t mean the long industrial looking pier you can see from downtown Avila Beach. Nope, for this thing to do in Avila Beach, you’ll need to hop back in your car (or on a bike) and drive a few minutes up the road to Port San Luis Pier, a historic wooden pier that is both beautiful and interesting to walk around.
Port San Luis Pier has a long history in the fishing industry and informational signs are hung up around the pier explaining more about the past for visitors to learn. The large pier also is home to two restaurants and stairs that go underneath the pier where you’re likely to hear to ricocheting echoes of sea lions calling to each other. From the pier, you’re also likely to see sea lions hanging out on the rafters or swimming about in the water.
Start your day by the pier with breakfast at Fat Cats Cafe, a hearty and budget-friendly cafe located right across the street from the pier.
Point San Luis Lighthouse
Avila Beach is home to a lighthouse that isn’t just beautiful to whole from the outside, but is also open for visitors to walk around the inside during guided tours. It’s located right around the edge of the bay from Port San Luis Pier; just follow Lighthouse Road and you’ll be there in minutes.
What makes this lighthouse interesting is the way it appears to be a stately mansion before you realize the grand looking tower on one side of the house is actually a powerful beacon.
During a tour of the lighthouse you’ll learn more about the life of a lighthouse keeper and what it was like to live there when the lighthouse was in operation to help ships safely come ashore.
Avila Beach has great golfing with challenging courses, but without the steep price tag of other golf courses near the ocean in California, like Pebble Beach or Torrey Pines.
For an easy golfing excursion inAvila Beach, stay at Avila Beach Golf Resort, which has an on-site golf course, luxuriously appointed rooms, and a beautiful bluff location overlooking the ocean while still being just a 10-15 minute walk from town.
Get Some Seafood
You can’t miss trying some fresh seafood while in Avila Beach. After all, the city’s origins are in fishing and there are still fishermen bringing in fresh catches every day.
A great spot to try some is right at Mersea’s Seafood Restaurant right on Port San Luis Pier where you might even see some fishing boats coming back into the harbor while enjoying your meal on the large outdoor patio.
Whether your idea of fun is lounging on the sand or sipping wine while enjoying fresh seafood, or just taking in some incredible California views, a getaway to Avila Beach will have just what you need to feel relaxed and recharged.