View from our balcony.

If you are planning a trip to the Central Coast of California, there are many fun towns to explore. Morro Bay, Cambria, Cayucas, Pismo and Avila Beach.

My most favorite is Avila Beach. A little bit of heaven on the Central Coast of California.

We usually start off with a visit to Avila Valley Barn. A rustic looking place with fruit and vegetables for purchase. A gift shop, food shop, animals and a deli ice cream shop. (Under renovation at time of writing)

Front of the Farm

After some fun, go out the exit and turn right on Avila Beach Drive.  Follow it around to the wonderful little town of Avila Beach.

Avila is very popular and can be crowded on weekends and summer days. Parking is hard to find, but there is a huge parking lot that usually has a space or two available. It does cost. Street parking is free. As you can tell from the pictures, we often go during off peak times. But both are fun. The crowds are great if you like to people watch.                The beach walk is about 3 blocks long and runs along the water. There is a pier to walk on, swings on the beach and picnic tables. There is also a park on one end and a small aquarium.

The town has a few restaurants and stores. A fun place to walk along and shop.

There are a few hotels. All are pricey in peak season.  I just stayed at the Lighthouse Inn & Suites with a balcony room, facing the pool and ocean. I feel beyond spoiled. I stayed on a Sunday night so the price wasn’t too bad. It was worth every penny. I had a living room and bedroom. The bedroom had the balcony. Ocean breezes and sound were at my door.


The check in is later than most hotels, 4pm, but you can check in early and get access to the pool. The pool is beautiful and surrounded by plexiglass walls so even if it’s windy you are protected. The pool is heated and there is a hot tub. They also have a giant checker game, ping pong and a two hole putting green. At check in they have large cookies. Make sure you get one at time of check in because they will be gone later. I had a very sad face when I went back to get one. Next time I will grab one right away.         There is a full breakfast. It says continental but we had eggs, bacon, waffles, all kinds of cereal, muffins, fresh fruit and more. All delicious. The breakfast goes until 10 which is longer than most hotels.                                                                                                                 The Custom House is one of our favorite places. It has a patio which has a view of the ocean. The whole street is ocean front. Makes it so nice. It is a bit pricey but most places are when you are at the beach.

We did not eat there this time but ate at two new places. We ate dinner at Mr. Ricks. This is a 21 and over, indoor/outdoor bar with food. You order at the bar and a waiter delivers the food. They have music on weekends. The food was good but I felt the outdoor area was a little dirty. It had been a busy day so maybe that was unusual. It is a very popular place to hang out, have a beer and eat. I have a friend who loves it there and we will probably go again. The food was plentiful and good.                                                                 We also ate lunch at Mersea’s Seafood Restaurant. The food was delicious. You order at the counter and they deliver the food. The view was amazing. It looks back over the water and the town of Avila.                                                                                                         This restaurant is at the end of the pier. This is not the pier that is in town. You take Avila Beach Drive past Avila, go over the bridge to Port San Luis. You can walk or drive on the pier. There isn’t much parking at the end and the walk is nice.


A word about restaurants in beach towns. Most allow dogs on the patio and a few allow dogs inside. Mersea’s only has 4 tables and a bar inside and they allow dogs. My daughter is fearful of dogs so it wasn’t the best experience as far as that goes. But the food was good. It was really windy outside so we opted for indoors.                                                    The gift shops are all fun and each one has different items. Our favorite is Footseas. They have a large selection of sandals and clothes. The shop personnel were very friendly.  Another fun place is Hula Hut. The ice cream is locally made and delicious. The owner said he served over 500 scoops on Mothers Day. They also have some lunch items available. There is a wonderful gift shop inside with all kinds of beach related gifts. I love exploring this store.


The Sea Barn is where to go for t-shirts, sweatshirts and bathing suits. Lots of fun clothing to look through.

Make sure you take a trip to this lovely town. It is my favorite place to go and unwind.

Avila Beach is also easy for those with disabilities to maneuver. Flat surfaces and a ramp to the sand make it accessible to everyone.


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