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Avila Beach | Hidden Gem On The Central Coast

September 15, 2013 by @VanessaRivers

I grew up in the Central Coast of California, on a ranch in the very small town of Creston. Most people have never heard of Creston, and that’s not surprising since it’s in the middle of nowhere and the population is literally 200 people, so I just say I’m from San Luis Obispo (SLO), because Creston is in SLO county. But what is surprising is that 10 minutes south of SLO there’s one of the most beautiful little beach towns on the planet, and most people visiting California drive right by with no clue what they’re missing!


Avila Beach is by far the most underrated, beautiful beach town on the Central Coast. I spent the day there yesterday with my brothers and nieces, first grabbing lunch at the Splash Cafe in SLO (delicious clam chowder!), and then heading to the kid’s playground right on the beach in Avila. Kid paradise found, and adult paradise too. We strolled the cute palm tree lined town, admiring the cute little restaurants, wine bars and boutiques. I walked the pier taking photos like a dorky tourist as usual. And dipped my toes in the cool water of the Pacific Ocean with my nieces, watching them scream with joy and run each time a small waves threatened to reach above their ankles.

Avila can get crowded on the weekends, (locals know this is the best beach to enjoy kid + adult time), but the crowds are nothing compared to what you find in Southern California. If anything you’ll have to park up a hill or around a corner and walk 5 minutes to get to the beach. And just before you reach the town of Avila there is an awesome ranch called Avila Valley Barn. They offer pony rides, a full petting zoo with bunnies, baby goats, pigs and all sorts of other farm animals, free hay rides, a country store offering fresh produce, flowers and local baked goods, and a candy shop with every kind of candy and ice cream you could possible want. The fudge is to die for. Keep me away from there!

But you don’t need to have kids to enjoy Avila. Just down the street from Avila Valley Barn you will find Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort. I remember being so excited prom night, senior year of high school, when my boyfriend and I rented a room there because we had our own private hot tub in our room! That’s pretty cool when you’re 18, and is still pretty cool now that I’m 30. They also have private mineral spring tubs you can rent by the hour to relax and unwind before heading out to a romantic dinner on the water in Avila. And for those who like golf, Avila Beach Golf Resort is just down the road. So wether you are looking to have fun with your kids or want a romantic escape, Avila is the perfect place to spend your next weekend getaway on the Central Coast.

Avila has one of the most beautiful beaches in California....

By far the most underrated beach town in California. Shh don't tell anyone....

My brothers & nieces showing some love for Avila, their #1 favorite beach town to play together

My brothers and nieces showing some love for Avila – #1!

The Avila Beach Playground is right on the beach, fun and clean!

The Avila Beach Playground is right at the ocean – clean and fun for kids!

Being a dorky tourist as usual, taking pictures everywhere

Sisterly love, exploring the town of Avila Beach

You can't visit the beach and not at least dip your toes in the sea!

LOVE the Avila Valley Barn!!!

Fresh produce, flowers, and baked goods @ Avila Barn

I asked my niece yesterday what her favorite thing to do is and she exclaimed pony rides! =)

But candy and ice cream was at the top of the list too! LOL

Auntie Vanessa I am not sharing my ice cream with you, but maybe with this cute little pig…

Pot bellied pigs are my favorite and they have so many cute babies at Avila Valley Barn!



Avila-Golf-CourseSunset over Avila Beach- We are blessed to live in a world where places like this exist!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Ramona May 5, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Vanessa I loved your post! I just discovered Shell Beach and the hot springs a month ago, and was looking for day pictures of the hot springs since I only saw it at night. I love the area and thanks for the post and photos!

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